Not The Right Formula: 1972 Pontiac Firebird

1972 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400

I guess the formula just hasn’t ever been quite right for this poor Firebird Formula 400, as it has spent more of its life parked than on the go. It arrived in the UK in ’76 and was in the care of the owner until just last year. They put it in storage about 22 years ago and that’s where it stayed. They would supposedly go to the storage unit and start it every so often, but that’s it. Well after having a stroke, the owner decided they better sell it. That’s where the current owner comes in. They rented a storage unit at the same location and just happened to ask about it. Long story short, they ended up buying it for £8,000. And from here is where the story gets sad.

1972 Pontiac Firebird Interior

The new owner, aka this seller, didn’t know much about American cars at the time of purchase, but like it and decided to give it a go. It ran well enough when they bought it, but they just couldn’t leave well enough, so out came the engine for a rebuild. They also decided to pull the front clip off and get all new bushings, which don’t seem to have made their way onto the car yet. The engine was reworked for unleaded fuel (hardened valve seats?), but never reinstalled. It currently is sitting on a pallet and will need to be installed.

1972 Pontiac Firebird before restoration

I applaud this seller for their candor, they even admit they wished they had just left it alone. I don’t blame either, tasks like this can be daunting and it never feels good to let something go for less than you paid for it, especially after you spend money rebuilding an engine. At least they have realized they aren’t ever going to finish it and that it’s better to take a lose and get it moved onto someone who will finish it. At least that’s the hope! If you think you’re the one to finish this 6.6 liter V8 powered Bird, you can find it here on eBay in Northampton, Northamptonshire for £5,995 or best offer. So how much would you offer them?

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Comments

  1. Tirefriar

    Why is it that every time I see American iron abroad it’s always has funk to it. Like this F’bird for example with its aero kit and pathetic slotted rims. Are those brake dust covers upfront? Good luck running this beast in Europe with their crazy gas prices. Surprised this want converted to diesel or LNG…

  2. Van

    I so want to get this.
    Can I drive it around Europe with lynyrd Skynyrd full blast, maybe paint a US flag on the roof. Dixie horn, “Ye Haw”

  3. JW

    Too bad about the whole story as this was once a very nice car. Saddens me to see a car end up in this situation no matter the make or model.

  4. Rando

    What a funky aero kit. Hard to fix that? So I’ve been reading a book I got as a gift about Muscle cars. Written by an English chap. The Firebird story explains all of the versions, but funny thing is, the author could not understand why the Trans Ams were so popular in 77 – 80. Guess he never heard of Smokey & the Bandit, eh? I also remember in college I was working as a sign painter; a guy brought in a Formula 400 in really good shape. He had turned it into a Dirt track car. It hurt me then and still stings…. that car should have been saved THEN. But that’s what makes the survivors more valuable now…

  5. JW454

    At around 8500 bucks (5995 pounds) this would be a hard sell over here. I’m thinking it would be even harder over there. Anything needed to fix it is fairly easy to find in the U.S. I’m not sure how easy it would be over there. I’m not too sure how easy it would be to part it out over there. How many ’72 Firebirds could there be in the UK?

    • Bill McCoskey

      JW — The typical costs to import a car like this Pontiac are what makes them more expensive. Shipping (use a container or the dockhands will drive the hell out of it) will be $1,500 to $2,500 or more, from east coast US ports to Southampton or Swansea in the UK.

      Then you pay the import taxes, and that can be around 20% or more, the tax prices based on what the goverment says the car is worth THERE.

      I know of cars costing more to ship & import than the actual purchase price!

  6. Poppy

    What’s the deal with the shaker hood and Formula hood scoops? Is this the automotive equivalent of belt and suspenders?

    • moosie Craig

      Yeah, one or the other, not both.

    • Lewis Jones

      like ‘Ponch’s’ from the lame show ‘chips’…..

  7. Mark

    JW454, there is quite a following for American cars in the UK, thankfully most dont end up like this poor Firebird, in the past i’ve had a 68 Charger and 70 Mach 1 Mustang, currently restoring a 72 Formula like this one, will be kept standard (Gold/Brown interior) apart from period Cragar wheels. Parts are easy to source through specialists.
    Gas prices are high over here but these are not daily drivers anyway, they qualify for cheap insurance and this car would be road tax exempt.
    I could use a lot of parts off it but hope someone gets it to restore back to standard.

  8. Lewis Jones

    the rockers and that rear spoiler treatment would be a deal breaker.

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