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Satisfying Restoration Project: 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula

Reading the listing for this 1979 Firebird Formula, I get the impression that it might be one of those restoration projects that has stalled in the very early stages. It looks pretty crusty and sad, but it does appear to be a structurally sound car just waiting for someone to bring it back to its best. The Firebird is located in Des Plaines, Illinois, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding for the Pontiac is sitting at $1,575 in what is a No Reserve auction.

The Nocturne Blue paint on the Firebird has definitely seen better days, but below the surface, things seem to be quite encouraging. There is certainly a fair coating of surface corrosion under the car. The owner says that the floors are in decent shape, and the supplied photos tend to support this claim. The worst of the rust seems to be confined to the passenger side of the Firebird, with obvious rust in the lower fender, and in the quarter panel just behind the door. There is similar rust visible on the driver’s side, but it doesn’t look like it has actually penetrated through the metal. One interesting thing that the owner has done is to have the original Rally II wheels freshly powder-coated, and they have come up a treat.

I looked at the photos of the interior of the Firebird, and I was itching to give the seats a good clean. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they responded well to that. One other surprising feature for a Firebird of this age is that the interior looks to be very original. No-one has decided to fit an aftermarket stereo, and the factory one is still holding pride of place. The owner says that it works intermittently, so it might not take much to get it working properly again. The carpet is looking pretty shabby, as is some of the plastic trim, but by and large, the interior actually isn’t too bad. The operating lever for the turn signals is hanging down from the steering column, so that will need to be fixed. A real bonus is the fact that the power windows, power locks, and the rear window defogger all work properly. The Firebird also features air conditioning, but it isn’t clear whether this is working.

Things under the hood of the Firebird don’t look particularly tidy, but the car actually appears to be in pretty decent health. The owner admits that the transmission does have a leak, but he says that the car runs and drives really well. The 301ci V8 was no fireball, but this one has just received a tune-up, so should be running at its best. The alternator and battery have just been replaced, as have the brakes. In addition, those freshly powder-coated wheels wear nice new BF Goodrich tires. It appears that if the transmission leak is addressed, this is a car that is ready to be driven and enjoyed.

A late 1970s Firebird Formula with a 301 under the hood probably isn’t the most desirable car on the planet, and in spite of the tired look that this one exhibits, it is an original and unmolested car that isn’t afflicted with major rust issues. It is never going to be worth mega-bucks when restored, but with the rust issues addressed and a fresh coat of paint, it would still be an attractive and distinctive car. For the person looking for a long-term investment, it might not be the right car, but if the price on this one stays low, it does have the potential to be a satisfying restoration project.


  1. Mike

    Good candidate for the crusher.

    Like 0
  2. PRA4SNW

    Anything over 2K is too much.

    Like 0
  3. Bakyrdhero

    AC car. Brake booster and master cylinder look newer. Alternator looks newer also. Weird how the rims got the works done first.

    Like 0
  4. TimM

    Doesn’t seem to bad a price for a driver if it doesn’t go any higher!! I’d beat it till I could find a 400 to build and slide it in there!!

    Like 2
  5. karl

    I guess its just me ,but I’ve always thought the front end treatment on these cars was hideous ; the front snoot looks like a vacuum cleaner head . I thought the 1976 and down models had a much nicer header panel – they looked more like Pontiac should, IMO . This one, with the awful 301 and a tired body with a faded interior looks like a parts car to me.

    Like 0

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