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Nicely Optioned: 1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula

The original owner of this 1978 Pontiac Firebird Formula took his checkbook in one hand (it was the 1970s), the order form in the other, and ordered himself what he believed to be his perfect car. The result is this nicely optioned Firebird that is located in Chester, New York. If you look at the vehicle and also feel that it’s your perfect car, then you will find it listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the frisky Firebird has now reached $7,100, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The Laredo Brown paint certainly allows this Firebird to stand out from the crowd. This is the car’s original color, but it did undergo a repaint at some point in the past. I’m not sure when this was, but it still looks pretty good. The shiny paint does hide a little secret, which is that the firebird has some rust that will need to be attended to at some point. Thankfully it doesn’t appear that it is at the level where it would need to be addressed immediately, or possibly yesterday. There is a small amount in both of the lower quarter panels that could be repaired with patches, along with the very typical rust in the rear bumper skirt. The rest of the car looks to be in great condition, and the decision by the original owner to choose Rally wheels was a really good one.

Opening the door of the Firebird reveals an original interior that seems to be in very nice condition. The edges of both front seats are starting to develop a bit of a squashed look that can occur over time, but it isn’t bad. The rest of the upholstery, the dash, and the carpet are in amazing condition, especially for upholstery that is this light. There is an aftermarket radio/cassette player fitted into the dash, but I don’t think that the dash has been cut to fit it. It was inside the car that the owner had his fun with a pen and the options list. As well as the velour seat upholstery, he ticked the boxes next to air conditioning, power windows, power locks, power trunk release, cruise control, and a tilt wheel.

The box-ticking didn’t end with the interior, because the owner wanted the Firebird to possess some sort of muscle. To this end, he ticked the box next to the 220hp, 400ci V8 engine, 3-speed automatic transmission, 2.56 Posi rear end, power steering, and power brakes. The only mechanical fault that the owner notes is an exhaust leak that will require a new manifold gasket. Otherwise, the car is said to run and drive very well.

With 93,351 cars built during 1978, the Trans Am really became the dominant image when people consider the Firebird in general terms. That they also built 24,346 Formulas has tended to get lost in the Trans Am onslaught. This car is a very nice example of one of those 24,346 cars and doesn’t appear to need much to really bring it up to a high standard. It is also a nicely equipped car and looks like a pretty decent option for the person wanting something different to a Trans Am.


  1. Avatar photo Moparman Member

    VERY nice! Que the theme to “The Rockford Files”, LOL!! :-)

    Like 20
  2. Avatar photo redwagon

    Brown with brown mouse fur interior. What were we thinking!!!???

    Like 5
  3. Avatar photo JohnD

    The brown, brown color combo is nothing compared to the elephant in the room. Or, should I say, elephant in the roof!!!! Or, elephant-sized hole in the roof!!!! The writer didn’t notice what the seller did his best to disguise . . . an aftermarket sunroof .. . ever try to fix one of those holes so that it didn’t telegraph in hot and cold weather extremes???? Just move on . . .. I think the seller is just reprehensible in, not only not mentioning it in the listing, but doing his best to provide photos that hide this, well, big hole. What else is hidden?

    Like 12
    • Avatar photo King Al

      You are right about that elephant. Almost impossible to see in the provided pics in the ad. That looks to be one of those funny little plexiglass panels usually installed in vehicles with flat roof areas, like vans. Very strange accessory add on.

      Like 4
    • Avatar photo local_sheriff

      JohnD; personally I like the color combo however I fully agree with you on the toilet seat sunroof. I spotted it in the 2nd pic in the write-up already before going to the ebay ad. It’s obvious seller has done his best to conceal this TERRIBLE MISTAKE when selecting his pics, however he does indeed mention the sunroof in the ‘items specific’ section.

      Could be a nice Firebird but that sunroof alone is reason to walk away. Apart from never completely keeping the elements out;being it hot or wet; such a period sunroof is plain UGLY. So, so sad…

      Like 6
  4. Avatar photo William Shields

    I think it’s an interesting combination.
    Colour and looks make it seem like a well optioned Esprit but underneath is the power and handling of a Formula.
    I’d take the Formula badges off it and go have some fun with ones that just think it’s Grandma’s old car!

    Like 3
  5. Avatar photo Rosco

    Add at least $10,000 in body and paint and it will be a pretty nice Firebird.

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Mrtinwoodie

    2nd time on EBay. Reached $7000 last time and didn’t make reserve. Besides rust the sunroof ruins the car. Shady seller conveniently not mentioning sunroof in description.

    Like 5
  7. Avatar photo 408interceptor

    The rust on this car indicates to me it was driven through several salty New York winters before the owner made it a summer only car. The underside is more than likely a corroded mess making this a $4,000 car in my opinion. Barn Finds posted a 78 Firebird in Denver several months ago and that car was worth every penny of the asking price.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo ChallengerChick

      AGREED! When I saw that first underbody photo, my first thought was, “I’d bet this thing has more than just skin cancer.”

      Having grown up in suburban Philly, it broke my heart as a kid to see all the “projects” rotting away in people’s yards.

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo NY.RockCrusherM22

      The lower rear sections of the both quarter panels have had a lot of work done to them from what I can see in the pics. Having owned these before, I’m sure there was and maybe still is a lot of rust to deal with in them as well as the trunk floor.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Rosco

        Agreed, and don’t forget the panel in the area under trunk/behind rear bumper that is also a common problem area.

        Like 0
  8. Avatar photo mark

    Having owned and wrenched a mean 78 Formula 400, I’d need VIN proof to claim this is a Formula – too many missing features.

    Like 1
  9. Avatar photo Bill

    This Jim Rockford please leave a message and I will get back to you.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo George mattar

      Way overpriced. I lived in Upstate New York. Salt, salt and more salt. And that hole in the roof. Ugh.

      Like 0
  10. Avatar photo TimM

    Nice car!! Great observation on the leaking roof!! I honestly didn’t see it!! Still it looks pretty nice if there’s not some stupidly high reserve on the car!! Although the 400 motor from this era had a little more horses than the model T!!!

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Paul

    I still like this car….the sun roof I completely missed in the pictures. It looks like a $10,000 to me….without sunroof $15,000

    Like 0
  12. Avatar photo CFJ

    Why would anyone have that silly sun roof on this car? With all of the other options on the car, why put a hole in the roof? From first glance, the Bird looks nice, but after looking closer, there appears to be quite a lot of rust that will have to be addressed! $4K big money for this Rockford ride……

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo leiniedude Member

    After market sunroofs were a popular add on back in the day. I might have done it myself back then. Ended: Jul 07, 2019 , 8:47PM
    Current bid:US $8,200.00
    Reserve not met
    [ 18 bids ]

    Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Ronald G Bajorek jr

    Jim Rockford

    Like 0

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