Original Sky Bird: 1978 Pontiac Firebird

This 1978 Pontiac Firebird is a special edition model known as a “Sky Bird”, which is about as marketing-gimmicky as you can get in the 1970s. This edition joined the legions of other domestic specials that were really just a case of unique cosmetic treatments designed to get customers in the door and signing on the dotted line before the “limited” supply ran out. This one appears to be in respectable condition with no rust and an automatic. See it here on craigslist for $7,500,and thanks to Barn Finds reader Russell G. for the find. 

As someone who holds a secret affection for smurf blue paint (not to secret anymore), I can actually dig this look with the color-matched wheels and bumpers. I’m not sure what was in the air at the time to make Pontiac’s design team settle on this color and that name for a special release, but I’m pretty sure it involved throwing the proverbial dart at the proverbial wall. The seller calls it a “..real nice driver.”

The interior also got in on the action, with a custom interior that included a blue Formula steering wheel and blue seatbelts. Those elements are accounted for here, and the dash doesn’t appear to show any cracks. Some of the exterior features of the Sky Bird package included blue grill liners, blue-tinted taillight bezels, Sky Bird graphics, and a two-toned finish, which is hard to see in the pictures provided.

The engine is a standard-issue 305 paired to an automatic transmission, and the engine bay looks surprisingly tidy. Mileage is reported to be 66,315, and this Ski Bird presents as a nicely kept driver-quality example. The seller opines that it could make for a good platform for a Trans Am replica, but I’d leave this Sky Bird alone and find a more heavily trashed example to make a builder out of.


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  1. Bakyrdhero

    The colors are killing me, but I dig the white wall tires on those snowflake rims.

    Like 3
  2. LARRY

    What got into the designer’s was probably LSD and a good bit of experimental drugs lol…but still a beautiful car

    Like 2
  3. Jim in FL

    My Dad’s mom had a 71 Firebird in white with a black vinyl top. I loved that car – I was four when he bought it for her. In 78 she was t boned at an intersection. She was okay, and dad ordered her one of these. When it came in, we all crawled around it and thought it was the coolest grandma car ever. As it turns out, she really disliked the colors. She picked a sunbird off the lot instead. Go figure. Totally a girls car in my opinion, but a cool one at that.

    My daughter gets her permit in two months. I’m seriosly thinking about this.

    Like 9
    • John T.

      Go for it, Jim! You may never get another chance.

      Like 7
      • Gary

        I really like this car and the color. Reminds me of the Wedgewood blue that Lincoln used. The only thing is the 301 engine. A friend had one back in the day. It didn’t have much stock power. Guess you could add some bolt on’s to boost the horses.

  4. Troy s

    Don’t know what people expect from ’78, looks was about all Pontiac had to work with by then…more of a pretty woman’s car if anything. Definitely a soft machine nonetheless. Nearly eight grand to relive the driving experience from ’78? Huh…

    Like 3
  5. CanuckCarGuy

    Although likely targeted at women back in the day, today it’s a nice cruiser finished in a very cool retro colour…that I’d buy for my wife. I’ll stick with green as my retro colour of choice.

    Like 6
  6. Pat L Member

    I’ve also seen these in red (Red Bird) and yellow (Yellow Bird).

    Like 9
  7. Bakyrdhero

    Sky bird, Red bird, and…yellow bird? Someone missed the boat. It could have been a “big bird”. Hey, it worked for the road runner.

    Like 5
  8. Jay

    Pontiac motor was a 301 ?

    Just sayin’

    • Dan Bayne

      The year later was the 301.

      • Gary

        Thanks Dan, I love learning new things. I am a Ford Guy. However I like that Firebird.

      • Marty Parker

        The 301 Pontiac engine was optional for ’78 in Firebirds, but this is a Chevrolet engine ( A/C compressor mounted on driver side.) Probably as stated above a 305.

        Like 1
  9. 86_Vette_Convertible

    That color is something else! Good looking car overall but the color is not something I think I could live with.

    Like 2
  10. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    This was the car your girlfriend Brittany or Tiffany drove in the early ’80s. If this color combo doesn’t scream “chick-mobile,” I don’t know what does. I never had a girlfriend named Brittany, but I did have a ’68 Torino painted Brittany Blue. Close enough.

    Like 1
  11. JeffD

    Color probably popular in North Carolina. It is the UNC colors for their basketball team. I have been there in that area and every third driveway has a light blue car or truck. Dealers used to special order this color every year. Some down there even refer to it as “Carolina Blue”.

    Like 2
  12. Lee Yarbrough

    I would leave this as is as well. You don’t hear about or see many sky birds anymore.

  13. Steven Gray

    Please leave this one as is… there aren’t many left like it. A dermatologist I dated drove one… nice car. I believe the stereo automatically plays disco hits from the era. (At least that was my experience!)

    Like 2
  14. starsailing

    It’s all there as it was. Leave as is with repairs needed. Trying to clone it into another Firebird with different color, engine etc, would take a lot of bucks. Bought my second 58 Impala Cashmere blue in 73. Cashmere blue was not the color of choice in 73, but with the 348 Tripower and adding a TH350 Trans, it spoke for itself stoplight racing. Driving a lot of Mn freeways in 70s following semis with the road full of gravel for winter driving…the front end looked like it was shot with birdshot from a dozen shotguns. Could not get Cashmere blue then, so here was the sky Bird blue from Pontiac. Looked great and got quite a few street rod cars who asked for the color. Looks good in 50s, 40s, 30s. Stock hard to find colors of the 50s are WAYYYY back in now. The more rare the color the better. Stock rims, with NO hub caps or new toy hot wheel type wheels the way to go. Add back on the Bias Ply wide whites, painted the rims to match, nosed and decked along with no rocker panel molding…clean lines with back end up….The Sky Bird blue with some clear coats became quite a popular color again…As for the Sky Bird in the article…always saw cute women driving those Pontiacs…They looked good in them then, and would look good driving it today. It was the late 70s then, and this Pontiac says that out loud.

  15. chevybill

    I’ll add another “Britanny” comment.

    There is a video of Brittany Spears driving a car identical to this.
    I do not know if she actually owned that car.
    Definitely marketed to the ladies.
    I personally wish today’s car color choices were as broad as the 1970’s, inside and outside.

    Like 1
  16. JoeNYWF64

    Odd it has snowflake wheels, a/c, delux interior & formula wheel, but no optional gages or rear spoiler.
    Back then, apparently, most people also could get by w/o cruise control.

    Like 1
    • Walt

      The snowflake wheels, and delux int w/ formula wheel, were all part of the Sky Bird package. Gauges, w/ or w/o the tic-tack, spoiler, pw, pdl, cruise control were all options.

      Some ordered them. Some passed.

  17. Ken

    Way. Too. Much. Blue.

    Like 2
  18. Stevieg

    I like blue as a color, but this is just too much lol.
    I had a standard firebird back in the day, slightly lighter shade of blue for the body back in the early 1990’s that almost perfectly matched the lighter blue interior of this car, and with the white vinyl seats looked nice. Of course, it had the standard gray grill & the regular Pontiac rally rims that were also argent colored, so less blue.
    I never saw a straight Male drive one of these, but I would actually consider it just because they are not seen around anymore. I like oddities, and this is odd.
    Really nice condition too.

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