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Never-Restored Runner! 1973 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400

Pontiac described the Firebird Formula as “Two Scoops, Three Flavors” in its 1973 sales literature. Choosing the only Firebird model available with a choice of 350, 400, or 455 cubic inches let Formula buyers set a performance level matching their personal style and practicality. This 1973 Pontiac Firebird Formula in Lincoln, Nebraska runs the middle option, and the 400 V8 is recently running after sitting for many years of “extended storage.” What’s next rests in the hands of the new owner. The listing here on eBay includes more pictures and details than most, prompting at least 15 bidders to stoke the bidding beyond $12,000. Pontiac’s integrated Endura front bumper makes a smooth entrance during a time when American designers struggled to meet new bumper standards without giant chrome railroad timbers, front and rear.

The Custom Interior blended vinyl and cloth, and the sporty black cabin features power windows, air conditioning, and tilt steering for some luxury on top of the built-in performance. A three-speed automatic transmission handles the gear changes. Passengers can grab the dash-mounted panic handle for reassurance when the driving get spicy.

The rear spoiler mainly looks good, though theoretically it may add downforce at high speeds while decreasing fuel economy above 50 MPH. Though not described, we should assume this Formula wore a black vinyl top, another nod to the Formula’s blend of performance and style.

With no four-barrel 350 (5.7L) for ’73, the Formula’s four-barrel-only 400 (6.6L) kicked off Firebird performance with 230 HP and dual exhaust. Lesser Firebird and Esprit models could be optioned with a two-barrel 400, according to brochures on lov2xlr8. You could also spec your Formula with the top-shelf Super Duty 455 (7.5L) V8 and its obligatory Trans Am-style ram air hood.

Residual Royal Blue on the rear subframes suggests minimal exposure to harsh weather. This shot also shows how the rear foot wells interrupt the line between front and rear subframes, though aftermarket subframe connectors can curtail body flex during spirited cornering. Many classic car owners simply enjoy the nostalgia of a throaty V8 under modest acceleration. Do you prefer the double-scoop Formula or the in-your-face Trans Am?


  1. Maggy

    She looks real solid underneath.Needs a lot of work though once you go thru the whole car.I’d say it’s about a 10 -15 k car.I always liked these .Sharp looking car especially with the Pontiac rallys. .Glwts.

    Like 6
    • David Parkin

      Had a 1980 esprit silver/red and 1979 trans am black bandit/tan loved them both until 2001 then bought a 2001 bmw msport 330i black and tan with manual transmission. Still have it.

      Like 0
  2. C Force

    I owned a 76 trans am with the 400 and a th350 trans.my shaker scoop was functioning and sucked in air with a k&n filter.you could feel the air being sucked into the 850cfm carb i had on it.i definetely like the “in your face”look of the t/a.mine made real power,not stock.more like 1969 or 70 hp numbers

    Like 4
    • Mr Meowingtons

      How many HP was yer 76 putting out??? 375?

      Like 1
      • Lee

        Nice car yes, but it needs alot of interior work, and its powered by a low end hp motor. The car will need a good 8k -12k to be brought to decent condition. More than likely needs new front end parts and bushings, etc.

        Like 0
      • Paul

        The 76 TA 400 had 185 HP.

        Like 0
  3. JoeNYWF64

    A lot of options, but i would have ordered cruise control b4 ordering vinyl roof – perhaps best to restore car w/o the latter.
    I guess those pontiac delux steering wheels do not crack?!
    I can not believe that endura nose is not cracked! – maybe repaired over the years?
    Odd there’s more surface rust up front than in back – in the underside pics.
    Either the oil pan/valve covers were steam cleaned or wiped, or they are new ones or repainted originals.
    Did not know you could get aux gauges, but no tach! I would swap out that big clock 1st thing. lol

    Like 2
  4. PL

    Definitely a fixer… for the right price. You are still going to dump a bunch of money into this one. Perhaps one reason why they didn’t redo it before listing for sale. Better to make a fast nickel, than a slow dime.

    Like 2
    • John

      Yeah… I see a lot of the cars go on hers and… Wow. People must just enjoy overpaying. Sorry to burst bubbles but. REALITY people REALITY. It’s a maybe 5k car at best. It literally needs EVERY nut and bolt gone over. Do any of you really know what it takes to completely redo a car? Judging by the prices I see some pay… Obviously not.

      Like 4
    • Harry 1

      Its all there from a stock perspective but will take a good bit of moolah to bring it back fully after the purchase price. Hope a true poncho guy or gal buys her. Keeping the Formula original would make it priceless over more time.

      Like 0
  5. Jay Martell

    At least it’s not a straight 6 banger Esprit model.Such a disappointment when you open the hood,on a Firebird.More like Spark Bird.

    Like 0
    • John

      I had a 69 Nova with the straight 6 2 speed automatic. Sold it to a friend he put in a V8 with the three-speed automatic and it was actually slower than my 6 cylinder

      Like 1
  6. JoeNYWF64

    I believe on all ’70-74 firebird(& camaro?) V8s with dual exhaust(except maybe 455 HO &/or SD-455?), the driver’s side stock exhaust pipe is SQUISHED up front in the area between the trans & torque converter – anybody know why, & if that is robbing hp & torque?
    Look closely here for the squishing too – it’s not from hitting something underneath …

    Like 0
  7. Ray

    Ray, had one with the white vinyl top and white interior. At 110 mph. the thing felt like it was ready to fly. Love the Pontiac blue. Funny how the fuel gauge and speedometer seem to be synchronized. Ha,ha. Bought a pro-am in 89.w/t-tops. The 305 wouldn’t get out of it’s own way. It was blue also.

    Like 0
  8. john holmes

    I say SHELZBOT!

    Like 0

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