Speed Shop Find: 1985 Pontiac Firebird


Does anyone here remember Steve Mallion’s speed shop in Philadelphia? Well, if you do, you might recall seeing this electric blue Pontiac Firebird stuck in the back of the shop. According to the seller, this is the classic case of unpaid bills resulting in a custom performance build languishing in the dark corners of a garage until just recently. You can find this forgotten Firebird here on eBay with bidding just over $800 and 12 hours left. 


As the story goes, the engine received untold amounts of performance work before the original owner decided not to pay his bills. The car then sat, effectively being used as work bench before being exhumed. To the seller’s credit, he tracked down the original owner and got the title squared away so there are no headaches (hopefully) with the next owner taking rightful possession.


The seller does not know what exactly was done to the motor while it was stored at the shop. The seller has never started it for “fear of being so excited by the sound that I would want to keep it.” Sure, whatever you say! The Firebird is not complete; the carb is off the intake and it needs a driveshaft. But the body looks solid and the interior is salvageable, despite showing ripped upholstery.


The paint, which I thought looked pretty good, is a “3 out of 10,” notes the seller. I’m not sure what’s exactly wrong with it, other than the aforementioned use of the Firebird as a work bench possibly putting deep scratches into the paint after all of these years. Still, bidding seems cheap for what you’re getting, which could yield some nice performance gains that have never been exploited. Anyone want to take this forgotten ‘Bird home?


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  1. Joe

    Back in the day we used to ridicule the drivers of these cars as low class folks. The owner of this that didn’t pay his bills followed that stereotype, now didn’t he!

    Trans-camaro starter kit= mullet, pack of Marlboro reds, Aerosmith tape stuck in tape deck, old single wide trailer in trailer park, at least one dui, suspended license, and you top it off with a skanky wreck of a woman for a girlfriend that would be hot if she could get herself together.

    • Doug S

      We did too, talk about stereotyping a F car owner LOL

  2. Fred W.

    Down in northwest FL we tended to extend that stereotype to most post ’70 Firebirds, Transams and Camaros. Saw hundreds on blocks in trailer parks.

  3. dj

    Factory 305 Tune Port engine has been removed and a Pontiac V8 of some sort installed.

    • dj

      My bad the blue paint threw me off. Chevy engine. Thanks for the down vote.

  4. jeff6599

    That is not a Pontiac engine. Very typical SBC

    • Captain ThirdGen

      My 86 has a pontiac 400/th400 in it

  5. packrat

    A friend of mine had a slightly later F body (an ’86 i think) Firebird that he inherited from his folks, in Dwight Schrute Red. Someone totaled it pulling out in front of him, and he fretted the whole six months it took for it to come back from the local country body shop. This was an insurance total on a car that was probably seventeen years old at the time. It had been enjoying its second (secondhand) engine because the original one overheated due to some fan shroud problem. It “only had 12O (something) thousand miles” on it– which was not something to raise great huzzahs from anyone who knew malaise-era GMs, but You Find Your Joy Where You Can. When he got that back from the bodyshop, the paint was lustrous–just bubbly enough at the corners and a couple of drips to tell a concours judge it’s an overspray without lifting the hood. They’d had to replace quite a few of the engine bits, but that went well, and the doors were aligned to the point you could get them to shut with an almighty slam. The true reveal was the chorus of squeaks, rattles and pops that emanated from the dash when you were riding in it. None of them were necessarily really quiet drives, but the process of pulling all of this apart to straighten out the cowl and reassemble it took its toll. After the first ride in it, i ventured a “are you satisfied with the job they did?” and received an unequivocal yes. It was a very valuable car, he said, because he had a 350 engine in it that you couldn’t get that year. (!) His endorsement of the repair didn’t abate in the next year or so as the clear coat recovered its authentic scabrous factory appearance.
    On a different note, ‘David’ showed up at our Vintage Radio Club Meet exactly a week ago in a ’92 Camaro in a slightly different shade, and I congratulated him on its appearance. Always garaged, enduraflex panels not peeling paint, clearcoat intact. While showing some signs of use, it was car show ready, and a welcome sight, as in my life span they’ve gone from ubiquitous to “hey look at that.” It’s always been his Pleasure Drive, so it’s wearing an original 67,000 miles, and is truly a time capsule compared to the ones remaining in the backyards of the ‘My Name Is Earl’ crowd here in the South.



  6. S Ryan

    Solid looking car. Not enough info or pictures to confirm anything.

  7. RobF

    In 1985 the car wasnt that bad. I had a 84 as my first car in the late 80’s. no trailer park, didnt park it on blocks, and with the seat reclined you could have some fun in it with what was def not a wretched girlfriend. It was a little pricey in its day maybe some people were a little too envious?
    Mine was a little beat but drove it and improved it to the point a GN, mustang gt, iroc or GTA were no match.

  8. Brad

    Love the colour Dwight Schrute red !! …. And the Office :)

  9. GoodoleMike

    What did ‘packrat’ really say ?

    • packrat

      What I tried was:
      /personal reminisce with FrankenBird a friend had, interior parts reassembled make lotsa noise/
      /prevalence of well worn examples in stereotypical locales in my area, but said gentler than others did. Southern Boys like these cars, no matter if they ever do anything with their Stub End of one or not./
      /reassurance that a beautiful example of these, is, indeed beautiful/

      Tryptophan-induced deterioration to composition skills..some. I write like this all the time, really. Can’t blame it on the turkey. I did another long post on the Olds 442, but relax guys, I’m gonna quit. I’m getting to that age that I should just talk to the keyboard. Have a great Thanksgiving Weekend.

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