No Reserve! Very Original 1979 Pontiac Firebird

GM’s F-bodies are either a car you get (and might have worn a mullet at one point) or you don’t (why is anyone interested in these overweight, underpowered 1970s legacies?). If you wore your mullet proudly, you might want to check out this 1979 Firebird being sold here on eBay at no reserve. Bidding has just passed $4,000 as I write this and there’s not a lot of time left in the auction. The car is waiting for you in Cincinnati, Ohio.

The fit and finish on F-bodies was notorious, and this one is no exception. Assuming the seller is correct when they state the body is original and straight, just look at how the various trim lines don’t meet up. I’ve seen worse, but remember, this is typical and don’t downgrade the car for it. It is nice to see that this car got the Trans Am type rear spoiler which I think improves the appearance greatly.

The paint is claimed to be original, and while it could stand to be replaced at least I don’t see any rust. The seller assures us that condition continues under the car as well.

On the inside, it’s all-original again, but that means you’ll probably want to replace or repair some components like this seat. I do like the understated look of this Firebird compared to the over-the-top Trans Am, but I would miss the performance suspension and other components. I would call the 78,435 miles probably correct, and as the car has been owned by the same family since new, I would hope there are some records to prove that.

 

Under the hood we have a 301 cubic inch V8 per the VIN. The air conditioning belt is present which is always a good thing, although of course we don’t know if it operates or not. The seller indicates that “the car is a blast to drive. The car starts, runs, drives, shifts, brakes, handles and sounds excellent.” Even if you aren’t interested in this particular Firebird, would you be willing to fly in and drive home an old classic? Tell us about your experiences doing that in the comments!

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Comments

  1. SAM61

    Remember these well as I graduated high school in 1979. Still look cool IMHO. The neighbors had a 78 Camaro…rear quarters rusted out fast.

    Envision, if you will in 25 years, a Pebble Beach sub category of “restored” cars…F bodies with ill fitting panels, Honda’s with factory correct defective Takata air bags, Jag xj8’s with original wiring defects…you get the idea and I know it’s a bad one.

  2. Jose Delgadillo

    These cars bring back a lot of good memories. My brother had three F bodies from this era, two Camaros and one Trans Am. The ’76 Trans Am was the best of the bunch, but it was only a couple or years old at the time. They weren’t built to a high standard of quality but they’re easily fixable if not too rusty. I may end up with one someday.

  3. Ray Smith

    We flipped quite a few of these “plain Janes” back in the day. Slap a screaming chicken on the hood, some tape stripes and immaculate detail job. They would sell quick and for a good profit.

  4. mike D

    Looks like it could be buffed out, but, if not, drive as is , it would still attract lots of attention if I remember correctly the 301 was a slug , and seeing as it is ” only” a Firebird swap out a crate 350 good find! hope someone does it justice!

  5. Max

    Even if its underpowered Its original. for me a 50hp original Survivor car more worth than modded & hot rodded 1000hp car!!

  6. Miguel

    “why is anyone interested in these overweight, underpowered 1970s legacies?”

    Why?

    They feel great to drive.

    Somewhere the idea that every car has to have a ton of horsepower and corner like it is on rails has taken over how people think.

    These F bodies have always been fun to drive no matter what engine or transmission they had.

    If any of you young guys haven’t driven one, go do it.

  7. Miguel

    By the way, a car that feels fast is much better than a car that is actually fast.

    You get less tickets that way.

  8. Ron

    I have owned more than a few of the 2nd generation firebirds. They are fun cars to own and drive. I have owned a few 3rd generation and a couple 4th generation including my current 2000 Firehawk trans am. I have had more fun driving the 2nd generation than any of my others. Simple is often best.

  9. Michael Flynn

    The Pontiac 4.9L 301ci engine was the worst V8 ever. Not only under powered, but tough on crank bearings too. It needs a 400 to peak my interest

  10. Andy

    “This car is being sold without reserve, as I feel this is the only fair way to sell a car at auction.”
    But the family is accepting offers. Hmmmm. Sounds like a reserve to me.
    Under carriage is rust free but no pics…

  11. Bill

    I dont understand why Jamie has to say stupid things about this car. Ive owned 50+ of these cars and I never had a mullet. Also, build quality was just as good if not better than anything else of it’s era. As for the fit, you are making an opinion about a 40 year old cars urethane body pieces. Really. Again, for their era, they were not underpowered. The 301 4 barrell in this base car had 15 more horse power than the mustang gt in 79. Chrysler offered nothing. The reason these cars are so loved is because they were beautiful, reliable and fun to drive. I wish Jamie could present these cars with fact, not his uninformed opinions about a vehicle I guarrantee he has never owned. As far as the 301, Ive had multiple examples of this engine. None of them ate bearings. I have no idea where that comment came from. Maybe you should change your oil more often. This is a nice original car, and I hope someone restores it just the way it was made.

    • glen

      No offence, just curious, but why would you own 50+ of these? A quick search revealed that the Mustang GT wasn’t available until ’82, w/157hp, the 301 4 barrel was either 150hp, or 170 hp. They were fun to drive, my brothers ’85 Camaro (3rd generation) with a six in it was fun to drive. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, but honestly, 50 of them?

      • Miguel

        Why would 50 cars be hard to believe?

        They were cheap used cars for a long time and they ran for a lot of years.

      • glenguel

        Hi Miguel. It just is, to me. I guess they’re just throw-away vehicles, just keep replacing them. A little variety would be nice, though.

      • glen

        Who’s glenguel? I did right the comment, however.

      • Shaun

        In 79 they made the Mustang 2. Very small version. It offered a 4 cylinder to off set the gas prices of they day. It also offers a V8 also. My buddy owns a mint 78 fastback V8 4 speed in gold ext and black interior. I was born in 66 I’m fully aware of cars of that era. Ugly Corvettes etc. And alot of the Auto manufacturers had engineers that were more like mad scientists. Trying all sorts of strange ways to save gas but make horse power. Like cross fire injection what junk. Or Cadillacs 4,6,8 engine another piece of junk engine. The engine was supposed to fire or not fire depending on driving conditions. Good idea. If it worked. Guess what? It hardly ever worked.lol

    • CCFisher

      Do a little research. The 301 is not up to the standard set by other Pontiac V8s. It was built for light weight (2 counterweights on the crankshaft instead of 5) and fuel economy. I learned to drive in a ’78 Grand Prix with a 301-4bbl and a THM-200 transmission. Reasonable performance for the day, but despite careful maintenance, the transmission failed at 60,000 miles and by 80,000 miles, the engine had severe blow-by. Not worth fixing, as the rear frame rails had holes you could put a fist through. Replaced by a sensational ’84 6000STE, but that’s another story.

      • Michael Flynn

        Thanks for the support, as I stated, junk! There was many other great Pontiac engines, and this is coming from a Ford guy.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Bill…
      1) No, build quality wasn’t as good as other cars. I lived with them, contrary to what you said and think. And since your “guarantee” was wrong, the rest of your comments are questionable as well.
      2) I never said they were bad to drive, either. Personal experience says otherwise.
      3) I would suggest being a little less sensitive.
      4) If you had bothered to actually READ the post instead of blindly criticizing me, you would have noticed I actually LIKED the car.

  12. Ensign Pulver

    To me the split headlights changes the looks for the worse. Perhaps my Rockford Files memories, I see them as completely different cars than the previous model year. Even then there is little worse than a black Bandit tribute car with split headlights.

    • Superdessucke

      Rumour has it that James Garner refused to drive the updated 1979 body style in the Rockford Files, as he thought it was ugly, so they stayed with the previous 1978 model until the show’s eventual end in early 1980.

  13. David Ulrey

    These sure are image branded aren’t they? Rightfully so too, I mean Burt Reynolds looked awesome sporting his mullet in Smoky and the Bandit right? Oh wait, I don’t believe he had one in there did he? Yes the stereotyping does bug me. I had 2 second generation Camaros and a good friend of mine had a second generation T/A and for some reason we chose not to grow mullets.

  14. Fiete T.

    301. Universal despised for good reason…Nobody builds parts for them and nobody “In the know,” does anything with them beyond throwing them in the scrap pile. Crap in a ferrous coating

  15. UK Paul

    Great looking car. Would love this..
    Probably a good buy. Feels like a good one to have as a sort of running project.

  16. Henry Drake

    What difference does it make if this has a 301 or a 231 Buick? Nobody is buying this for a daily driver, or for a frame off restore back to original. If the 301 is tired junk, pull it out and drop just about any 6 or 8 you can imagine in there.

  17. irocrobb

    I agree with Bill on his reply. I too have owned probably owned 15 or so 2nd and 3rd generation f bodies over my lifetime and do not understand the bad rap they get. Great driving cars that handle well plus easy to work on.

  18. Pete

    My ex had a 79 Camaro Puke Green with dark green interior. It had a 305 in it that at 12,681 miles blew out the piston rings. If that 301 is like that my vote would be to swap in a 350 or 327 and remove all the smog crap so it actually flies like a Firebird should. I do like the simplicity of this car and condition. But I wouldn’t put more than 3500 in it. I do see some minor rust repairs on one of the doors. It is at $4,101 as I write this. May even top 4500

    • Bob c.

      Hi Pete, those early 305s were all boat anchors, prone to camshaft rounding. Eventually, they worked the bugs out say, by the mid 80s.

  19. SC/RAMBLER

    How about a Buick turbo v6, or go with a 327 if you don’t have to worry about passing smog check.

  20. Paul

    Compared to other cars of the time, I can’t think of any other car that I would rather own other then these at the time!
    mustangs were complete junk back then. These cars sold really well in 78-79.

  21. Brian Sawdo

    In 1987 I bought a dark blue ‘79 Trans Am. Beautiful car. A great cruiser but not a performer as it had the 301 also. First owner ordered it that way. It was a slug. Standard eng would have been the Pontiac 400 or the Oldsmobile 403 right?

  22. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    This car “nerd” owned 2 Camaros – an ’81 plain-ol, and a ’99 Z/28, red loaded w./ every showy option imaginable. Never came close to wearing a mullet.

    Owned a Corvette too, and never wore a gold chain.

    These sterotypes are humorous, but very tired.

    We drove them because they were great cars for the time.

  23. Michael Flynn

    I’m not sure why we’re talking about Camaros when this post is obviously about firebirds made by Pontiac, an obvious upgrade over Chrevrojunk

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