Rockford Files Style: 1974 Pontiac Firebird

Most of us who grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s remember James Garner in the Rockford Files TV series. Many of us even mastered the “Rockford Turn Around” in high school parking lots to imitate James Garner’s famous driving skills. This car is not one of the Firebirds used in the filming of the TV series but it does look like the car driven by the private detective, Jim Rockford. This 1974 Pontiac Firebird is located in Oswego, Illinois and is listed here on eBay. The current bid is $4,100 and the Buy It Now Price is $8,000.

In the first season of the Rockford Files, Jim Rockford drove a 1974 Pontiac Firebird Esprit that was gold with a tan interior and a 400-cubic inch V8 engine. Based on the demands of the stunt driving, a Trans Am suspension was added to the Esprit to improve its handling. After 1974, the Rockford Files selected Firebird Formula 400 cars provided by Pontiac to replace the Esprit. James Garner preferred the Formula 400 but did not care for the dual hood scoops so the producers had the hood replaced on the TV cars with flat Esprit hoods.

Under the hood is a Pontiac 350 cubic inch V8 engine fed by a 2 barrel carburetor. The L30 350 cubic inch V8 engine was the low performer as far as engine options in 1974 and produced 155 horsepower. The car is said to be a nice, reliable driver. The engine sends power to the rear end via a floor shifted automatic transmission which has a leak. The seller states that all the gauges and lights work on the interior. The odometer is showing 94,000 miles.

The black vinyl interior looks original and the seats show some wear after nearly 48 years of use. The dash is not cracked but the car has very few options. The seller has recently installed new white wall tires on the original Pontiac Rally II rims. The exterior shows rust rotting through the rear quarter panels. The ad states that the front frame and floor boards are solid but the rear floorboards and rear frame rails are rusted and need repair.

The car looks nice from 10 feet but the rear passenger quarter is damaged and the gold paint is flaking off the rear bumper. This was the last year of the 2nd generation Firebird to have a small back window.


  1. Sam61

    Plaid sport coat not included. We need a barn find for Rocky’s pickup truck.

    Like 14
  2. Moparman Member

    RING!! RING!! “This is Jim Rockford, leave your name at the tone and I’ll get back with you!” This one has some needs! GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 13
    • Emel

      That was high tech back then. Hardly anyone had an answering machine hooked up to their phone. The changes in tech we’ve seen has been pretty amazing. Hopefully it won’t end up, turning on us.

  3. Phil B

    Hey I’m watching Rockford Files right now on grit tv. Season 1 episode 8. Jim lived in a crappy trailer and drove a new Firebird.

    Like 13
    • Rick Rothermel

      The car wasn’t exactly ’new’, it was always at least one model year old. Garner didn’t like the ‘79 front end so the ‘77/‘78 cars served the final season. Had the show continued there would’ve been either a GMC Caballero or a pickup replacement for the ‘birds.

      Like 5
    • Emel

      His address was Malibu Canyon Drive I believe…right on the beach.
      And he could walk across the parking lot, right to a nice bar/restaurant.
      Sounds good to me !

  4. Scott

    Illinois car where salt was used on the roads in winter to melt snow. The issue with this car will be the rust on the under carriage. Buyer needs to check that out before a purchase.

    Like 5
    • Rick Rothermel

      Have to wonder whether a would be rustier than one parked in the salt air 100 feet from the Pacific…

      Like 4
  5. Shuttle Guy

    Even an Esprit!

    Like 2
  6. John W Kriegshauser

    The Rockford Files was one of my favorite TV shows growing up in the 70s. Not only was James Garner a good actor, but he did a lot of the stunt driving as well. He was a racing enthusiast and actually competed in different forms of motorsports.

    Like 11
    • Emel

      Well he was one of the stars(and race drivers) of the big budget 1960’s release. Grand Prix.
      And Garner drove one of the racing cars in the movie. this is a stmt at the time.
      Garner’s talents on the road became strong enough that some of the professional drivers, including Bob Bondurant(iconic Shelby Cobra driver) , remarked that the actor could have been a successful Grand Prix driver if he had not gone into making films; director John Frankenheimer himself agreed.

  7. John Oliveri

    Throw Beth in the pass seat and I’ll take it

    Like 11
    • Emel

      How about Linda Evans….who was a guest star in several episodes. My she was gorgeous.

  8. joenywf64

    Very few options to me means blackwall tires with poverty hub caps, no a/c, no radio, & no chrome wheelwell trim.
    I would imagine the std bird steering wheel here was not seen too often.
    The car does not have optional hidden wipers.

    Like 2
  9. Jay McCarthy

    When I was younger my Dad belonged to National Rent a Car’s Emerald Club which had much nicer rental cars and they gave me a Rockford Firebird that I beat like I stole it

    Like 5
  10. Mike

    Wow I should check this out. I live in Oswego

  11. Emel

    All it needs is one of Rockford’s GF’s. How about his polaroid partner….
    and File’s guest star….Mariette Hartley in her Star Trek outfit.

    Like 3
  12. Emel

    I pulled a Rockford……down the Driveway of an unknown house….then scoot down on the seat, so as not to be seen… the chasing Police Car.

    Damn if it didn’t work. Ahole went flying past…..and i proceeded to drive back the opposite direction. Cue the Mike Post, Pete Carpenter Theme song !

    Like 2
  13. DON

    Rockford exterior yes, but his interiors were always beige

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