Rare Leather Option: 1968 Pontiac Firebird Convertible

Both Chevrolet and Pontiac countered the Ford Mustang in 1967 with the Camaro and Firebird, respectively. As the Cougar would be the Mustang’s upscale companion, the Firebird will fill that role at General Motors. Just under 17,000 Firebird convertibles were built for the encore model year, with a 400 cubic inch V-8 lying under the hood of this one, and its numbers-matching. The ‘Bird can be found in Washington Island, Wisconsin, and is available here on eBay where the bidding has hit $22,600 but the reserve is still open.

After a successful launch for 1967, the 1968 Firebird was little changed. Eagle-eyed observers will catch the absence of window vents and the addition of side parker lights on the ’68. To compensate for the removal of the former, the Firebird (and Camaro) now had flow-through ventilation using dash vents like those on air-conditioned models. Also, Pontiac engineers replaced the ‘67’s single-leaf rear springs with a multi-leaf set-up and staggered shocks to reduce axle hop. The Firebird was available with Standard and Deluxe trim, with the fancier set-up likely being with the seller’s car.

We’re told this is a one-owner, California Pontiac with 91,000 miles. So, it has only averaged 1,700 or miles each year since it was first delivered. The body and paint look very nice and the finish could be original, but the seller only provides a couple of full-length exterior photos. The convertible top is said to be original, but it doesn’t look like it quite fits properly in one of the pics. This car may be especially rare as it’s fitted with a factory leather interior, which the seller speculates may make it one of three cars so built.

There is no mention as to how well the car runs with its original 400 V-8 and automatic transmission. The Firebird will come with a ton of paperwork that goes back to the dealer showroom, and the build sheet for the car was appropriately located under the rear seat. Online resale guides peg the value on a Firebird convertible like this between $20-30,000 in excellent condition. So, if this car qualifies for that rating, the bidding is likely to end up somewhere in the middle, assuming that’s where the seller’s reserve also lies.

WANT ADS

WANTED 1950-80’s Alfa Romeo , Aston, AC, Ferrari, Iso, Lamborghini, Lancia, Maserati, etc. Also 66 Toronado, 63-5 Riviera, 70-72 Firebird, round headlight Studebaker Avanti, and XK120 SE roadster Any condition, anywhere, instant top cash, finders fee happily paid- thanks! Contact

WANTED 1960-1964 Chevrolet corvair WTB Gen1 Chevrolet Corvair Contact

WANTED 1970-1976 Pontiac Trans Am Must be 4 spd. Like big block. I can fix motor or tranny. Needs to be somewhat sound other than that Contact

WANTED 1959 Cadillac Seeking convertible Rust free Contact

WANTED Caterpillar Any Wanted Caterpillar , in any condition running or non running for restoration project parts machine Contact

Submit Your Want Ad

Comments

  1. alphasud Member

    Yea I’m a sucker for this one! Love the color and the leather interior which I never knew that you could option one that way. My first choice would be a coupe but this convertible gets a👍Yea the top has shrinkage but if I owned it it would only be driven on nice days with the top down.

    Like 22
  2. SteveHyde Member

    The fit and surface area showing on the top looks like an ill fitting replacement.
    Unlikely original

    Like 7
    • Bob K

      Is the cars in southern California we would tend to say that it has a top from Tijuana

      Like 5
  3. Gtpred99 Member

    Why doesn’t it have a side view mirror or mirrors?

    Like 6
    • Darren Kuper

      You can see a hole in the driver’s side door for a mirror.

  4. Steve R

    I’m not sure I’d believe everything the seller claims. How can a car be called one owner when they include a picture of a registration certificate that shows a title transfer in 2012. The plates number is consistent with something that would have been issued in 2004/2005, which is odd for a one owner car that spent its life in California.

    Their “documentation” doesn’t add up either, most of it looks like generic copies with specific lines highlighted. Real proof would be a copy of the manufacturers invoice provided by PHS, that would show the VIN and all of the options ordered on the car. Every Pontiac enthusiast knows it either proves or disproves any claim made by the seller.

    Steve R

    Like 29
  5. Jcs

    Not passing the smell test.

    Like 8
    • Doug

      Wrong wheels as those are wider ’69 and newer versions with wrong color center caps. Also “documentation” has 2:56 rear axle which is not consistent with a true 400 Firebird…

      Like 5
  6. socaljoe

    Looks like a nice car. The PHS Docs come that way with the yellow highlight of options if you are doubting them. I’ve ordered for several cars. The title looks like a replacement title with the $15 fee. It could have been purchased from original owner’s family The top would be very nice for original but looks like it has shrunk rather then an ill fitted replacement. If I were looking this would be on my radar, I’m not a fan of saddle interior in these though it is nicely optioned. The seller should get down and take a picture of the engine and code on the block to show if it matches the PHS docs.

    Like 4
  7. local_sheriff

    That is a shockingly nice color combo,would be even better with the top matching the beautiful saddle interior. I understand the deletion of vent windows for ’68 was an improvement from a visual point, personally I find them very helpful to reduce wind noise and draught during spring or on the colder summer days. However the way PMD solved the issue with the side markers is nothing but ingenious

    Like 3
  8. Firebird owner

    Looks like a nice rust free Cali car, but I have questions:
    Repainted? Looks like clear coat. That might explain missing mirrors.
    Does it have the cocktail shakers?
    Why no good interior shots or the rear view or engine compartment?
    Paper work shows A/C, but seller doesn’t mention. Does it work?

    Like 3
  9. John King

    The leather interior looks a little too fresh to be original. If it was available from the factory, why would they only make 3 of them?

    Like 3
    • Will Fox

      I seriously doubt only 3 Birds built with leather guts–“IF” in fact that is correct for this car. Second, the paint is fresh, not original. Too many unanswered questions on this car. It’s nice looking, but I would not stop shopping. `68 Birds aren’t that scarce.

      Like 4
  10. Vin_in_NJ

    Another minor difference: Rear quarter panel side marker light
    1967 – Firebird Phoenix shaped
    1968 – Pontiac Crest shaped
    1969 – Firebird Phoenix shaped
    No side marker light – Replacement quarter panel

    Like 2
    • Will James

      1967 had no side marker lights. 1968 was the first year for them.

      Like 6
      • Tom

        You are correct, Will. No rear side marker lights on a 67. I have a 67 400 4 speed convertible with no rear marker lights.

        Like 2
    • DON

      I thought there were no marker lights in 1967 ? I thought they were mandatory in 68.

      Like 4
    • E.L. Puko

      You wanna run that ’67 Bird light by me again? That’s ’69 only.

  11. Gus Fring

    That interior is FAR from original…it doesn’t look correct at all. I don’t believe leather was an option on any Firebird in 1968 (or any other year in the ’60’s or ’70’s) although, I’m no Pontiac expert.

    Like 2
    • Dwayne

      I have a 68 Firebird with saddle tan interior PHS paper work, special order but it’s real

      Like 3
      • John King

        Is your interior leather? Was it 1 of 3?

        Like 1
  12. Greg

    Don’t believe this seller to be accurate. The seats are not the pattern that Pontiac used for their 68 Bird’s. Someone has recovered them and the top does not appear to still be the original, either. Willing to bet it has been repainted.

    Like 2
  13. Frank

    1967’s didn’t have a side marker light, They started that in 1968.
    Please do your research.
    Re leather seats, I also wasn’t aware of the option but he is claiming 1 of 3 made.

    Like 1
    • Chuck Dickinson

      There was a leather option (in saddle only) on Firebirds in 69. Whether it was in 68, I can’t confirm, but it could well be.

      Like 1
  14. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Very weird ad. More pictures of the documentation than of the car itself.

    Like 3
  15. Tomk

    I agree with Gus and Greg. Leather and style is all wrong for a 1968 !!! May have been redone at one point so please call it what it is.

    Does anyone out there know of this body color being available in 1968? It’s certainly a nice color. But……

    As Frank said, side markers in 1968, definitely!!!!

  16. 68BIRD

    Lots of unanswered questions on this car…and yes it’s a great color…but does it bother anyone this car is being sold on eBay without a ‘clean title’? Isn’t that a requirement of eBay’s vehicle protection program?

    • local_sheriff

      To all of you guys above questioning these options it’s recommended you don’t just SCROLL through the provided PHS docs; READ them – carefully. You will observe this is Pontiac’s new-for-’68 Autumn Bronze and the 281 interior (Saddle, leather)being available. It’s still allowed to perform your own research also; the link provided by John below shows that others have dealt with this exact matter before. A quick google shows other ’68 Firebird owners have too and have found the 281 interior code arriving in spring ’68.

      It’s OK to be critical, however just because you never saw specific options IRL back in the day doesn’t necessarily mean they never existed. That’s also why I enjoy BF as I learn something new most every time I visit the site (this time too)

      Like 5
      • JOHN Member

        People don’t read, or research anything anymore, they just post, post, and post. Barn Finds at times resembles social media platforms, people read something or post something without any doing any research, and at times it even becomes a bit testy here. I was unaware of the leather option until I looked, and posted the link. Despite my age, I still have a remarkably good memory about cars. I graduated high school in 1970, pretty much the high point of muscle cars. I have had over 125 vehicles, the majority of them 60’s to early 70’s, the majority of them were muscle cars, primarily GTO’s and 442’s Despite all the repair and restoration work I have done, I still learn new things here I was never aware of. When I post I do my best to ensure my reply is factual and helpful to others, and if I am wrong I will comment back positively. Lets try to keep Barn Finds from becoming Twitter or something…

        Like 5
  17. Bruce curry

    Not original style interior. It has sidelights it’s a 68 and why don’t people understand 5 digit odometers. Even if only driven5k a year in 53 years would have 265000 miles and not many were driven that little

  18. Paul G

    I used to live in Door County, WI. Washington Island is home to some rugged souls. Maybe 300 or so? The ferry is about the only attachment to civilization.

    Like 3
    • On and On On and On Member

      I too lived in Door for a couple years, great in summer, brutal winters. I believe it got it’s name from maritime sailors who called the area ‘Death’s Door’ …….treacherous currents, thusly lots of wrecks.

      Like 2
      • Socaljoe

        Sounds like a great place to have a transporter pick up a vintage car

        Like 1
  19. JOHN Member

    Info regarding the leather interior: https://firstgenfirebird.org/f-a-q/saddle-leather-int-281-1968/
    I have no idea of why the seller has so few photo’s of this car. The few photo’s he as shows what appears to be a very nice Firebird. Regarding the top, convertible tops shrink with age, the gap on the sides is a dead giveaway that this is an older top, it just might be the original. My 65 GTO still has the original top on it!

    Like 2
  20. RJ

    Repainted or not, someone purchased a great, unique Firebird. I own a PHS documented 1969 Firebird 400 4-speed convertible show car with gold leather interior. I believe the leather in this 1968 convertible is very likely original as the pattern of the leather is exactly like mine. Also, if you look closely at the pictures of the underside of the back seat, the cloth sewn at the edge of the vinyl and the hog rings all look aged and original. I think Pontiac sold very few leather optioned firebirds because is was so expensive. The invoice on my car shows the leather option was $199.05. Also, you could only get leather in one color: saddle in 1968 and gold in 1969. I’ve owned several 1969 firebirds since 1985 and attended over a hundred car shows across the country since then. I’ve never seen another 1968 with leather and only saw one 1969 and it was another documented show car exactly like mine except it didn’t have A/C. In 1968 and 69 Pontiac offered a special “Comanche” firebird exclusively in 4 major cities in Canada. These cars came standard with factory leather interior. I’ve heard of two 1968s and two 1969s that still exist.

    Like 1
    • 68BIRD

      Totally agree RJ. I have seen several leather interior ’68 Firebirds over the years so more than a few, though its certainly a rare option. My question about buying this car (or any collector car) -does it matter it was sold without a ‘clean title’? I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to titles etc.

      • RJ

        I’m not sure where you got the information that the car was sold without a clean title. I just confirmed that the eBay listing shows the car has a clean title but did not sell because it did not meet the seller’s reserve price. eBay shows there were 39 bids with a high bid of $30,100.00. A clean title means that the car has never been “totaled” by the insurance company. In some states like Texas a “salvage” title may be issued to a vehicle that was repaired and passes state inspection to be road worthy. This is more important with newer more complex cars. I am very experienced in classic car restoration but I shy away from newer salvage title cars. There are also states like Georgia where classic cars can be bought and sold with a bill of sale and do not require a title. Once that’s done the state will not issue a title to a future buyer. There are many barn finds and junkyard cars that were not worth restoring 20+ years ago but are today with or without a clean title. Documenting every aspect of the car’s restoration is critical to increasing the value of the car.

Leave a Reply to Vin_in_NJ Cancel reply

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.

*

Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.