Rare Bird: 1982 Pontiac Firebird Mecham Racing MSE

One of the most fun parts of the automotive hobby is finding a rare or unique model that you didn’t know existed. Such is the case for me with this 1983 Pontiac Firebird. I didn’t know that these Mecham Racing Motor Sports Edition Firebirds were produced in the Firebird’s third generation model. Found here on eBay and offered by Worldwide Vintage Autos, this is a rare Bird that could interest many a collector.

Many enthusiasts likely know of the Mecham brothers building the Macho Trans Ams in the late 1970s, but many may not know of this model. I was intrigued to learn that when Pontiac ended the second generation Firebird and began the third generation Firebird, that Mecham continued creating their own versions of the car. This version here commemorates Mecham Racing’s 1982 championship in the S.C.C.A. Trans Am racing series. The seller states that this particular MSE Firebird only has 68K miles on the clock and is number 65 out of 150 produced in 1983.

The Cross-Fire Injection quickly became a controversial option on the Corvettes, Camaros, and Firebirds. While many Cross-Fire Injection cars likely didn’t survive an intake a carb swap, this car looks to have the original equipment intact. There is no mention of Mecham Racing introducing more power to this 305 V8 with an automatic transmission model, so the performance likely isn’t much to speak of. But for a car with under 70K original miles, the original equipment would certainly add to the collectibility.

Aside from a bigger rear spoiler and some unique badging, there isn’t much that separates this Firebird from others in 1983. Is the uniqueness of it being a Mecham special edition enough to sink the asking price into? Or with the option to make an offer, what would be a reasonable price? Fortunately, this one looks to have been well taken care of and could be a great investment for a vehicle that could gain some value in the years to come. So, were you like me and learned about a special edition car that you hadn’t heard of before?

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Comments

  1. Bob S

    Chris, you just posted this 15 minutes ago, the listing on eBay is pulled already, what was the price?

    • Chris Clark Chris Staff

      Bob, I wrote about the car last night. The post went live today. At some point between those two times the ad must have been pulled. I believe it was $11,900.

      Like 3
    • Steve R

      The link is still live even though the listing has ended. They were asking $11,900.

      Nice car, though their late-70’s versions are the ones enthusiasts desire.

      Steve R

      Like 1
  2. Tom c

    Classic case of rare doesn’t necessarily mean valuable , geez that 2 tone paint job is fugly.

    Like 5
  3. glen

    I like it!

    Like 3
  4. Skorzeny

    Ugly wheels, Cease-Fire, automatic, no additional horsepower, umm, pass. But no, I’ve never heard of one and I read a lot of auto mags back in the day.

    Like 7
  5. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    I’ve never heard of it. I don’t mind the paint job, but I was never a fan of the Turbine wheels on these early F3’s. That steering wheel is ugly also. The spoiler looks cool if not a bit heavy. I wouldn’t kick it out of my garage.

  6. Bob S

    i Looked at this 10 minutes after it was posted, and the eBay listing was already pulled, what were they asking for it?

    • Chris Clark Chris Staff

      I believe it was just under $12k, Bob.

  7. Troy s

    Had one of these pulled up to the traffic light with a healthy sounding exhaust, idling a bit hard, ready for action I would have remembered one, no doubt about it.
    But that never actually happened.
    I am completely lost on the cross fire injection as they were N.A. in California.

  8. Chris M.

    These designs were sh#tboxes when they were brand new. I had a neighbor who bought one in ’82. Even though I was only 14 at the time it wasn’t hard to see how cheap they were built.

    Like 1
  9. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Nothing special about this Firebird aside from the spoiler and graphics most folks have never heard of. It’s basically a clean 38 year old Firebird with the less than desirable Cross-Fire Injection system. Buy it, re-grow your mullet and re-live the ’80s.

    Like 2
  10. JCA

    Build quality was atrocious in these models. A rattle box of plastic bits, especially with the T tops and giant hatch that robbed structural integrity. And an auto trans to boot…That said, since we live in a world of “classic car hedge funds” and the new generation believes that scarcity no matter how it’s created equals value (eg: Bitcoin), a car like this a perfect fit for a buy and hold classic car fund. I’ll stick to the low cost high mileage drivers cars that don’t make the cut as I can fix, maintain and insure them cheaply.

    Like 4
  11. Scott

    It’s a cool car, the Crossfire probably hurts it’s value some though. Mecham made other 3rd Gen cars with normal carburation, and a “Git-Kit” which helped improve the performance.

    What some of these naysayers don’t realize is that these cars weren’t modified for straight-line performance like dealer modified cars of the sixties and early seventies.

    Instead Mecham built their cars for road course racing with improved coil springs, shocks, sway bars, and polyurethane bushings. The rear spoiler actually provides downforce for better handling as well. I’ll bet this car handles better than any stock Firebird from that generation.

    It should also be noted that in 1982 Dennis Mecham and team were the only people to ever give Pontiac a Championship win in SCCA racing.

    Mecham quit building their dealer modified cars after 1986, but would return again with specially tuned Firebirds and Trans Ams from 1998 thru 2002.

    I think it’s that kind of legacy that makes any Mecham modified car more valuable than a standard version.

    Like 2
    • Chris Clark Chris Clark Staff

      Scott, I really appreciate your response here – very informative! In my surface-level search of the Mecham third gen cars, I had a hard time finding any real concrete information. Do you have a good source for this? While the Mecham name on the car doesn’t cause it to soar in value, I agree that the legacy of having that name definitely makes it a more unique car. Many readers will only consider the upgrades to horsepower (or lack thereof) and completely forget about the upgraded suspension performance and how that sets this car apart. Thanks again for your comments here and for adding real value to the conversation!

      Like 1
      • Scott

        Thank you for the kind words Chris.

        Unfortunately you’re correct, there isn’t much surface-level information available about the MSE 3rd Gen cars. My knowledge comes from years of following the Mecham modified cars, and collecting as many magazine write-ups as I could about their cars. I’ve also been lucky enough to get a hold of some of their dealer pamphlets showing what packages/modifications were available on their cars.

        Dealer modified cars have always intrigued me, being a Pontiac fan, it’s only fitting that Mecham cars would be my passion.

  12. Djjerme

    There was someone who some years ago was modifying the old crossfire system to make it work a little better and more reliable.

    If I recall, he was using a later TBI setup and upgraded DME. Almost bought a camero with it back in ‘95, but passed because I was a broke college kid who knew it looked expensive to maintain.

  13. Mike

    This same car is now for sale by cincy classics for $15900

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