Rarebird: 1978 Pontiac Firebird Redbird

1978-pontiac-firebird-redbird

This 1978 Pontiac Firebird is a special edition Redbird and the seller claims it’s a barn find survivor. The Redbird was a special order visual package and no one knows just how many were built or how many are left. It looks to be in good shape and drives, but needs some work. The seller has listed it here on eBay with a BIN of $6,500 and the option to make an offer.

1978-pontiac-firebird-redbird-interior

The Redbird option included Roman Red paint with gold accents and Carmine Red upholstery with more gold accents inside. The interior looks to be in great shape, but the hard plastics could use replacing. The seller claims the engine runs, but it is leaking oil and needs new gaskets. It has the 305 cui V8, which was rated at 160 hp and 235 lbs of torque.

1978-pontiac-firebird-redbird-rear-corner

For some reason Pontiac struggled to keep track of how many Redbirds were ordered and built, meaning there isn’t much information about the option, but this one looks to be correct and in good shape. The question is, does this package increase the value or just make it an interesting find? If any of you know more about the Redbird or any of the other special edition Firebirds, please feel free to enlighten us!

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Comments

  1. braktrcr

    I have never heard of these before, and it really just looks like a red Firebird with a red interior, which doesn’t seem much different from any other red on red car. Shouldn’t there be badging for this option? The seller does seem very straightforward, and honest about the car, and a moneyback guarantee is hard to beat. Just wondering if a blue exterior and blue interior is then a Bluebird : )

    • Raticalls6

      They did in fact make a “Bluebird” RPO W60 Skybird It was powder blue with light blue cloth interior.
      And it was features in Pontiac ad’s at the time.http://www.pontiacpower.net/spotlight0802.html

      • dan

        i remember a few of these working at a dealer in summers of school, did see more of the bluebirds though in pgh area

    • Phillip

      I own a Redbird. I bought mine from the original owner in 1998. It was designed to be a ladies car but the red is a sharp one to rebuild into a hot rod. That’s what I did. I had a good clean car and was on the fast track to making a show car out of it. I still own it. Life has gotten in the way. I have put a 350 in and full roller rockers, headers, had the transmission juiced a little. Better matching stall torque converter since I added a little B&M Blower and 4.10 posi rear end. I did other simple things like cleaning the under carriage and under the hood. I added polished aluminum in several places. Just like the street rodders like to do. I paid $3250 back then for a car that was very sharp after 20 years. I was able to sell all of the swapped out parts. The car had a slight roadrunner peacock emblem instead of a big Bird. There isn’t much value in those cars in original or restored original condition. They serve as a cared for car that is easier to restore as a hot rod. Whereas the actual T/As suffered young men racing them and abusing the car in most cases. There’s no reason to show under the hood. It’s a heavy 305 with a high geared rear end. It’s clean. Get some low gears and it’ll be a decent 16 second quarter mile car. The color of this car is only beat by the black T/A. I had a choice between the 2. Both were nice. But you could see which car the man drove the majority of… The T/A. And it was a more expensive overhaul for a 17-18 year old kid.

    • Frank A.

      In 1976 GM created a concept car package based on a Firebird Esprit called the Bluebird and took it around to a few Auto Shows and had very good feedback on the car and GM were planning on offering the package for 1977 production but the Bluebird Coach Bus Company complained about GM using the name Bluebird so in 1977 they offered this package to the public but called them Sky-birds .
      They offered the Sky-bird package into 1978 and then stopped the Sky-bird package and offered a Red bird mid 1978 through 1979 . Then GM stopped offering the Red bird and then offered a Yellow bird for 1980 only and ended this package after the 1980 model year .
      I have a 1979 Red bird that I bought from the original owner and it’s in amazing condition and a blast to drive to shows .

      • Phillip

        I haven’t ever seen another Redbird. The production #s were low for all 3 colors. I’ve seen a yellowbird, and my grandmother had a bluebird when they came out. She got the Smokey and the Bandit T/A real soon. We have pictures of all our cars but the bluebird isn’t one of them. I have the build sheet from the factory and the window sticker too. I found the build sheet under the rear seat when I pulled it out during the interior change. I took all the firebird esprit metal badges, chrome wheel Wells and door moldings off to give it a sleek look.

  2. Keith

    Odd, interesting, but not overly desirable (at least not to me). From what I’ve read/heard, these – along with their sky blue and pastel yellow counterparts – were marketed as “ladies’ cars” and outfitted with V6es and a few wheezy 305s. Small motors and estrogen-infused paint schemes… not really my thing, but still interesting.

    Saw a Bluebird last fall, in the employee lot at the local hospital. First one I’d ever seen in the flesh. Pretty clean too… gotta wonder if it was the “hers” in a his and hers set of restored ‘birds (the “his” hopefully being a TA or Formula with one of the bigger mills).

  3. Dolphin Member

    I would prefer an early ‘Bird or Camaro, but you won’t find one as nice as this car for $6500, or less (if your offer is accepted), with the right of refusal if you don’t like the car when you go to pick it up.

    I suppose not everyone will bother to get the car up on a lift for underside shots, but it’s funny that a drag racer would not even lift the hood for an engine bay shot on a car that he’s selling.

    • MikeG

      Being a drag racer, he probably figured, “Who’d want to look at a 305?”.

      • paul

        By 78 these cars were lame but for $6,500 what else can you find better, I am betting very little. You can’t restore anything for this #.

      • Dolphin Member

        Ha! Good one, Mike.

  4. Rick Rothemel

    There were several of these packages, it was a neat visual prop for otherwise bog-standard F-bodies. There were reds, yellows and blues as I recall, each with its own graphics packages, simple profit pumps for dealers.
    I have always thought they should have done a ‘Rockford Edition’ to commemorate the best promotional use of a nice car in TV history.

  5. Matt

    I was also unaware of this particular stripe & color package for the T/A, but this site has all the info you could ever want about it:
    http://www.78ta.com/redbird.htm

    Also worth noting that there was a 1977 T/A ‘Skybird’ in an atrocious robin’s egg blue over navy that preceded this model. There’s your Bluebird…

  6. Patrick Calhoun

    It was just a appearance package, if I remember right they also had a Blue bird in sky blue. Just decals, I never cared much for them seemed like it was geared more for women.

  7. tww

    Know where there is a Bluebird. Sitting and rotting in the original owners driveway. Bought it new for their daughter. Sitting and rotting next to it is a 75 T/A, white with blue stripes.

    • Larry

      Are you willing to give up where these cars are??

  8. Wiley Robinson

    I had to laugh a bit when he said he didn’t pull the engine and fix the oil leaks because “someone might want it that way”. Yea, that’s how I like my cars – leaking oil all over my garage!

  9. Anastos

    Holy crap….my mom drove one of these in the early 80s….

  10. dave

    305 cheby? naaa more like 301 poncho row boat moter. After the last of the HORSEPOWER WHORES (455,428.400) PONTIAC Moters ALL birds were JUNK!

  11. Jim

    Actually it came with a 301 cubic inch engine.

  12. Anonymous
  13. ConservativesDefeated

    If any car symbolized the bloated depressing state of American cars in the seventies, for me, it is the GM F bodies …………after all the good stuff in the sixties.this junk just screamed redneck.

    Used to see said rednecks in Mississippi pumping gas into these while holding a cigarette in their pump hand!

  14. J. Pickett

    T/A’s are out of my reach right now, I’m hoping maybe to find and Esprit, for decent money but I would prefer at least a 350.

  15. stigshift

    The most detailed site regarding the “Yellow Bird”. lots of info. http://www.cartype.com/pages/2017/pontiac_firebird_yellow_bird__1980

  16. Your Name

    I’ve seen bluebirds yellowbirds but this is the first redbird and I love it, but I’d drop in a 400 or 455

  17. AMCFAN

    They made Blue/Yellow and yes Red. Duh, Colors of birds (get it?). A word play on Firebird (get it now?). I remember when these were new (wearing white walls) and then as now these are a chic or better, a chick car

  18. Rancho Bella

    at 160 H.P and approx. 3600 lbs…….this thing should go like stink…………….

  19. FRED

    301 OR 305 DOESN’T MATTER BOTH ARE JUNK.AS I DID WITH MY 83 EL-CAMINO THE VERY FIRST THING TO DO IS SWAP MOTORS. I AM PARTIAL TO THE 454 AS I HAVE DONE IT A FEW TIMES.JUST DON’T FORGET TO CHANGE THE SPRINGS TOO.DO THAT AND DETAIL IT AND THEN GO SHOW OFF A RED BIRD ON STEROIDS.

  20. John

    I’m 44 now & have lived in St Louis my whole life. I remember being being at a St Louis Cardinals game in ’78, when all the players came out they were riding in these cars as they were introduced, There were about 30 or so of the cars circling the field, and I don’t recall seeing any since. pretty cool barnfind!

  21. monti

    In 1980 my than wife bought a firebird redbird. One night we were partying in Madison Wi. On the way home to Fond du Lac WI. I got into a race with a 1966 Pontiac Bonneville the 1966 blew the doors off the bird. I never drove it after that, it was all her car.

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