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Real Deal: 1970 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 W66

The Pontiac Firebird got a restyle for 1970, with the buyer having a choice of four different models to pick from, starting with the base Firebird.  An Esprit model was available which included a 350 V8, plus you could also get a Trans Am or a Firebird Formula.  The Formula 400 featured a unique hood with twin scoops, plus a 400 cubic inch V8 that delivered well over 300 horsepower.  Pontiac just missed the 50,000 mark in total Firebird production for ’70, with 7,708 of them rolling off the line as Formula models, numbers that would have likely been somewhat higher if it hadn’t been for a UAW strike that year.  If you’ve been in the market for an early second-generation F-Body project, this 1970 Pontiac Firebird Formula 400 W66 might be a good candidate.  It’s located in Georgia and can be spotted here on Craigslist with an asking price of $15,000.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank Barn Finds reader Pat L. for the great tip on this one!  The seller says that this car has been in the state of Georgia its entire life, and prior to his acquisition it had only had two previous owners, with the last one in possession of the Formula since ’73.  It left the Norwood plant in April 1970, wearing Atoll Blue paint, but judging from the patina it looks like the finish has been black for quite some time.  The current owner thinks the Formula has excellent potential, but he also realizes and states up front that the vehicle is in need of a complete restoration.

About all that is mentioned regarding the interior is that it’s black, and while it appears like a lot of it is still intact there’s a lot of work that’s going to need to be done inside there.  The carpet is MIA, but that’s probably good as we can see parts of the floor pans, which the seller mentions are going to need replacement.  Also in need of attention are the trunk pan, lower quarter panels, and both the front and back valance.  The frame and chassis are said to be solid, as are the drip rails on the trunk and roof.

The only thing said about the engine is that it currently runs, but is not roadworthy at this time.  So how well it runs, how many miles it’s run, or whether or not it’s ever had a rebuild is anybody’s guess.  No word at all on the state of the automatic transmission or the rear end.  What are your thoughts on this 1970 Pontiac Firebird 400 W66?  Is $15k a reasonable price for what you’re getting here?

Comments

  1. 19sixty5 Member

    The seller talks about the strike affecting production and the rarity of the Formula, but the strike primarily affected 1971 model years, not the 1970 cars. The strike began in September of 1970, the 71’s were already on the production line when the strike shut down the assembly lines. As mentioned by Mike in the article, there were 7708 Formulas built compared to 3196 Trans Am’s. Still cool to see a Formula, and fairly rare with a vinyl top, although I would not put it back. I like Vinyl tops, just not on the 2nd gen F body’s.

    Like 2
    • Dave

      The one year “vents” on the front quarters are a nice touch

      Like 4
    • Marshall

      The strike at Pontiac affected the 72 cars. Only 1286 Trans Ams were built that year. The 1970 Formulas were not that rare, and there were more built with the automatic than the manual. There 7708 Formulas built in 1970, of which 4931 were automatics. While this is a potentially awesome car, it will take someone with either deep pockets or massive amounts of skill and equipment to bring it back. Let’s hope someone does! And return it to its original blue paint!.

      Like 4
      • 19sixty5 Member

        No worries… I was referring to the sellers writeup “The Formulas Were a Limited Production Build in 1970. The UAW Strike in September of That Year Slowed The Production to a Halt for 67 Days limiting production to a mere 7000 Formula Models” That particular strike affected the 1971 cars, not the 1970’s. The 1972 strike that lasted 174 days began in April, and definitely impacted production numbers. 1100 F body cars were scrapped at the Norwood plant due to upcoming 1973 federal safety and emission standards.

        Like 2
  2. Dave

    The auto trans is ok, but a deal breaker. Not exactly sure the details of a W66, but I guess thats not worth mentioning. They are beautiful cars.

    Like 3
  3. RoughDiamond Member

    While these Formulas are cool cars, I personally cannot see putting the kind of money into this car that it would take to restore it. Unfortunately, it appears someone used something abrasive across the firewall data plate partly damaging it.

    Like 2
  4. DGMinGA

    Asking price seems very high for the condition of this one. Cool car, if original 400 engine and 400THM transmission are in place and I reaaaally wanted a G2 Firebird Formula, I could see about 1/3 to 1/2 the asking price (and I am in GA.)

    Like 3
  5. Motorcityman Member

    There is no “W66” option package.
    I think the seller has it confused with later years “WS6” option packages.
    I have a “FIREBIRD REDBOOK” By Peter Sessler and it lists Firebird info from 67 to 97 and no mention of any W66 in 70 or 71 or any other year. The WS6 package was offered in the latter 70s.

    Like 6
  6. Don P

    The W66 designation means the car is a Formula 400.. The Norwood trim tag shows the W66 code on the bottom line..

    Trans Ams had the WS4 designation. The Norwood trim tags differ from the Van Nuys tags.. Norwood have the base Firebird model series (22387) for all models on the 1st line of the trim tag (Base, Esprit, Formula and Trans Am) vs. the Van Nuys tag which has the specific model series (the first 5 characters of the vin), which negates the need for the W66/WS4 designation..

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