Ram Air Barn Find: 1970 Pontiac Firebird Formula

While bidding ends in just a few hours for this awesome (and rusty) 1970 Pontiac Firebird Formula, it’s too good not to share. These discoveries, no matter how deflating they may be once you drag it out of the barn, are wonderful moments as a car enthusiast. Just seeing a vehicle no one has laid eyes on in decades for the first time is a pretty great feeling, even if five minutes later you realize there’s no way in heck you’re taking it on. This Firebird Formula is a factory Ram Air car that originally came with a 400 V8 and automatic transmission. The engine and transmission are gone but the factory air cleaner and Ram Air hood are accounted for. Find it here on eBay where there’s one bid to $2,500 and no reserve.

The Firebird has clearly been sitting for years, and if I was a betting man, it was likely parked in the barn after the drivetrain was yanked for whatever reason. The fact that this was a factory Ram Air car didn’t deter the owner from his plans to raid the Firebird, unless the 400 expired one day and he had big plans to drop a better engine in when time and money allowed. Whatever the cause of the Firebird’s retirement, time hasn’t been kind to it. The rear fenders are effectively destroyed by rust, as seen in the pictures, and the seller simply says the body is rusty and doesn’t go any further. Based on the photos, I’m guessing he’s assuming it’s fairly self-explanatory. At least the interior remains complete.

The Firebird looks better on the trailer, hooked up and ready to see daylight for the first time in years. The seller is located in Rapid City, South Dakota, which more often than not seems to turn up cars in dry, preserved condition – but winter does exist there, and if this Firebird was driven daily in the muck and salt of January, you can bet those fenders would get eaten up pretty quickly. The good news is lots of desirable body parts that are unaffected by rust still look good, including the grill insets and the induction scoops on the hood. The front fenders are faring better than the rears, but I’m not sure that’s enough to justify restoring this forgotten Firebird.

You can tell right quick this is an engine-less car based on the reverse rake lean it has going on, and from this angle, we can see the trunk lid looks good and that the driver’s side door glass may be missing. The one good thing about a long stored barn find like this is vulnerable areas like the dash pad are still crack-free, so this Firebird has more than a few parts that someone restoring a more solid project may find useful. At the current bid price, it’s a safe bet for a parts car, but would any of you take a chance on restoring this one back to good health?

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    Looks more like a parts car than a viable project. If the rust has eaten away the rear leaf spring mounts it’s history. Needs a copy of the PHS documents and an accounting as to what original parts are still with the car, such as the 12 bolt rear end.

    Steve R

    Like 9
  2. Rick

    A friend had one. For reasons known only to him, he totally disassembled a running car. IRS seized his business – good bye car.

    Like 2
  3. Doug F.

    First picture clearly shows car complete with motor intact inside that barn. The sale site pictures then show the car minus the motor with an early 70’s late 60’s Grand Prix sitting next to it after it has been removed from that barn. My bet is this guy bought it for the motor and trans for the Grand Prix and is now selling the leftover rusty skeleton.

    Like 11
    • Steve R

      That theory only works if the Firebird had a replacement motor. An original Ram Air III or IV engine is to valuable to install in a Grand Prix, it’s worth considerably more when sold as a complete unit to someone restoring an original GTO Judge or Trans Am.

      Steve R

      Like 2
  4. Don Eladio

    Yeah, he took the motor and transmission and is selling the carcass. Car is junk. The only way it’s worth restoring is with the matching-numbers drivetrain.

    Like 3
    • Johnny

      Curious,what would it be saleing for then? I have a 76 Trans Am –numbers matching with a really bad rusted body ,With title.

  5. Terrry

    ” couple cans of Rustoleum and she’ll be good as new”

    Like 1
  6. t-bone BOB

    Located in:
    Rapid City, South Dakota

  7. Tracy

    Drag it to the crusher!

  8. t-bone BOB

    Ended:
    Sep 30, 2021
    Winning bid:
    US $2,550.00
    [ 2 bids ]

  9. tommy

    In the late 80s I bought a 69 firebird Green with white top and white interior.yanked the motor and purchased a 1967 ram air lll motor rebuilt for 800 bucks Sharp car, installed a fairbanks converter and away this bird flew
    Damn If i only new. street racing I blew the motor only spun a bearing was going to rebuild at the time but pops had enough of me taking over his garage so i had to sell it for a more economic car for long distance driving for work
    Im so mad today but could not see this down the road so now i just have memories.. All good though one day maybe ill get something else before i get to old to turn a wrench father time creeping up now…

  10. AMCFAN

    It is unfortunate that the seller pictured the car in the barn with the hood up showing what we assume is the original motor in place. Then we see the car pictured on a trailer being saved. Lastly out in the open with the front end hiked up and still with flat tires. The air cleaner now propped on the top of the car. It always makes me leary when I see this. He took a quite a rare car and ruined any collectibility. I have to question what else good has been stripped off?

    I happen to really like the first gen birds over the Camaro. Pontiac really had it going on making power. By the end of the decade Olds would be doing it. Worse are the Gen III’s with a Chevy (chuckle) 305. In 71 the Formula hood was in your face as fire was under the hood.

    As a time stamp this is what I enjoy finding. The vintage tires date the car when it was parked. This to me is quite the find. Too bad it was left for dead…….then raped. It appears to have sold.

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