READER AD: 1986 Pontiac Firebird With 39k Miles

Over the past few years, we’ve watched Trans Am prices skyrocket, especially for ones built between 1970 and 1981. The third generation Firebirds have yet to really take off, but as time goes on, we’ve seen a definite increase in interest. While they aren’t as eye-catching as the earlier cars, these were actually really good cars. They were lighter weight than previous years, comfortable to drive and even offered better fuel mileage. Unfortunately, they were a cheap car for a long time, so it’s hard to find a clean survivor like this one. With just 39k miles, it’s possibly one of the nicest examples I’ve ever seen. Reader John N bought this car a few years back, but has decided to thin the herd so this one is up for grabs! You can find it in Monroe Center, Illinois and here on craigslist.

What Makes It Special? This vehicle is probably the best example of a “time capsule” you will ever see! Even though the car has been in Illinois all its life, there’s not a spec of rust ANYWHERE on it! Everything works. When we bought the car, we became its third owners. We bought it from a dealership, and the general manager came over to us and explained the history of the car. The first owner had a body shop, and the car was just another in his collection. The second owner was a mechanic and bought it for his son, but the son wasn’t interested, so it sat some more. The second owner then traded this car, along with a newer Camaro, for a new Corvette. The only turn off on this car is the fact that it has a 2.8L V6. I originally bought the car, to do an LT1 swap, from a Buick Roadmaster wagon I own, but when anyone sees the showroom condition, especially the underhood, they all say “Keep it like it is”! I don’t like the “tinny” exhaust sound the V6 makes, so I put a Flowmaster muffler on it, that everyone said would sound so much better. But, in my opinion, it sounds like it has a “coffee can” muffler. I do have the original muffler, and can be swapped back out. This car drives like a 39,434-mile car, and everything works! When I bought it, the rear hatch latch and third brake light didn’t work, but I got that fixed. The AC has been charged, but I haven’t driven the car since last year, so I don’t know if it has held the charge. The only thing that needs to be replaced, is the battery, which is dated 2013. The only reasons why we bought the car is because my wife always wanted a Firebird. But, she always wanted a second gen, but with the “Bandit” car and other Trans Am’s going for tall cash, and the fact that this car is so pristine, we went with a third gen instead. Plus, it does have that “Knight Rider” look! We own some other old cars, and basically want to “thin” our herd! But, it doesn’t owe us anything, so if I can’t get what I want for it, I’ll keep it. The $9,000 is a firm price. I do have pictures of the overhead console, and the Pontiac Flashlight (that is stored in the console) that I just took, and since there’s no more room on the Craigslist ad, I can send them to you if you like. Even though a VIN decoder says it’s a “base”, it does have PW/PL/Tilt/Cruise. The cool thing is that we also own an 84 Hurst/Olds, and the paint scheme is identical on both cars! Silver on top, black on the bottom, with the orangy red stripe in between.

Body Condition: The body is in excellent condition. No “door dings”, or scratches. The tops of the plastic bumpers have some fading, and could probably stand a good detail. I don’t know if it will take that out though.

Mechanical Condition: Mechanically, the car is also perfect. Like I mentioned above, the A/C might need a charge, but it might also be fine. The HVAC controls work like new, the red dash lights are cool, and they all work. Even the standard AM/FM/Cassette radio has the red display. This car truly drives like a new, 39,434-mile car! It has some strange numbers on turn knobs on the overhead console. I honestly don’t know what that is supposed to do. It also comes with a Pontiac flashlight, that has its own mount on that overhead console. The hidden headlights operate perfectly, and evenly.

It might not be a high trim level car, but that makes it’s originality seem that much more special. Many of these cars have been turned into cheap drag and race cars, so finding one that still retains its original V6 and automatic transmission in this nice of condition really is rare. I would be perfectly happy to drive it with the V6, it’s a good engine, but I would want to change the exhaust back to the original. Overall, this is a really exceptional example of a car that you really don’t see that often anymore. I have a feeling values for these is set to go up, so this one is definitely worth a closer look!

Seller’s Listing: Here on craigslist

  • Asking Price: $9000
  • Location: Monroe Center, Illinois
  • Mileage: 39,434
  • Title Status: Clean
  • VIN: 1G2FS87S1GL208783

Do you own a low mileage survivor car that needs to go? We’ve helped countless sellers find good homes for their classics, so please consider listing your survivor here on Barn Finds!


  1. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    Nice car.

    Like 1
  2. Ralph

    The flashlight is cool, it interesting how the Rally II wheels still look good even though they were 19 year old design at this point.

    Like 3
  3. Chebby Staff

    I always thought the 2.8 had a nice snarl to it, at least in Celebrities and the other cars they stuffed it into.

    Like 3
    • TimS Member

      Underrated engine I thought. It did sound good in my parents’ 6000LE.

      Like 1
      • CCFisher

        Even better with the tuned exhaust in a 6000STE.

        Like 2
    • Ralph

      They had a 123456 firing order from what I recall, which gave them that snarl.

      Like 1
  4. slickb

    I have a confession mine has the same engine and for what they are, these things ROCK!!!!!!!!! I can easily cruse over 100 in mine

    Like 5

    $9,000 for a 2.8 V-6? No thanks.

    Like 5
  6. edh

    No thanks, it would struggle to keep up with traffic today.

    Like 1
  7. Bakyrdhero

    I beg to differ that these aren’t as eye catching as the earlier cars…these were nice looking cars. The fourth generation on the other hand has yet to grow on me, much like the endura nosed second generation cars.

    Like 2
  8. JC

    Nice but NADA high retail for this car is $8400… Avg clean retail is about $5200, which IMO is where this car is at… if it was in that territory, I’d buy it as a first car for my daughter if it were about 700 miles closer…

    Like 1
    • John N

      ” Average Clean”? You need to see this car in person, THEN say that! Try looking for a low mileage, unmolested, rust free “survivor car” in this pristine condition!

      Like 1
  9. #69pacecar

    I like the looks on the third gen cars. I have a 1983 firebird with the 2.8L v6 which blew up about 20 years ago and has sat in my garage since then and is getting ready for a 350 transplant from a 1988 trans-am which is a nice car but has a rusted out drivers floor and a cracked frame. The 83 has been in my possession since 84 and is still very solid.

    Like 2

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