Sun Bleached! 1976 Pontiac Firebird

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Sometimes those of us looking for bargain classic car finds need to expand our search parameters! Nestled amongst the fleets of Crown Victorias, Chevy pickups and other nondescript governmental sedans, I found this inexpensive (if the auction stays low) but sun victim 1976 Pontiac Firebird here on It’s located in Carson City, Nevada (which explains some of the sun issues). Bidding is currently at just over $1,000, but the reserve has not yet been met.

We’re not told much about the car on the website, although some of the comments lead me to believe it was listed earlier at an unrealistic $5,000 opening bid. The car does start and run, although nothing about moving under it’s own power is stated. You can see the effects of the sun all over the car.

Unfortunately, it’s not just sun damage you’ll want to consider. I can see some of the common rear quarter panel rust in this picture, as well as some beginnings of rust around the rear window. I wonder if this is the original paint?

As you can see, the interior is, well, shot would be too complimentary of a term. I don’t think I’ve ever seen duct tape used to just hold a seat back together versus a temporary upholstery repair. The plastic parts in the dash, steering wheel and console have all deteriorated badly as well.

One of the comments in the auction listing states that the engine is an Oldsmobile 350; this was about the time when GM was unabashedly using engines from various divisions in their cars, but this page states it’s a Pontiac 350 with 165 horsepower based on the VIN having a “P” in the fifth position. We also know that it was manufactured in the Norwood, Ohio assembly plant and was just over the 500,000th car produced that year there. As shown recently by our reader’s 1975 Firebird Esprit find, it is possible to find a mint condition car if you so choose. Which do you think ultimately is the better way to go — preservation of an original, but higher-priced car, or restoration of one like this? I think there are pros and cons to both approaches, depending on your skill, time and resource levels. Also, have any of you dealt with a car as sun-damaged as this one? Tell us your experiences!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Little_Cars AlexanderMember

    Except for the “Olds 350” powerplant, this looks exactly like a 76 Firebird I owned, down to the rusty quarters. Traded it in 1988 for a Ford Ranger. Wish I had it back. As far as one GM divisions motor going into other division’s car, mine had from the factory a Chevy-sourced straight 6 stovebolt motor! With air, power steering and brakes this thing was a real dog!

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    • Alan J Schmitt

      That is definitely an Olds engine
      The oil filler is a dead give away.

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  2. slickb

    this is a great project with some time and love

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  3. Rock OnMember

    The experts always say “ buy the best example that you can afford “. One of these days I’m going to have to listen to them! Buy this sun damaged gem and one from the rust belt with a good interior. Combine the two to make one good one.

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  4. Bill

    Nice car at that kind of price. Also appears to be a factory air car. The engine was a Pontiac 350, but the one in the car is an olds 350. Nothing wrong with that. The Olds was an excellent motor as well. Pontiac division only used Olds motors starting in 1977. They only came in trans ams and formulas from 77 to 79, and they were only the 403. Not the 350. This engine is obviously not original, but for this kind of money, who cares?

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    • Danton J A Cardoso

      Olds and Pontiac are both from the General, no? Why would the engines be different? That’s like saying a GMC truck is vastly superior to a Chevy when the only differences are badges and color names. Makes no sense to me.

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      • Jeffro

        Uh…a GMC truck is vastly superior to a Chevy. Just sayin.

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      • MDW66

        At one point all GM divisions had its own specific engines

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      • Henry Drake

        GMC are the cheap models. Rejected Chevrolets.

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      • Henry Drake

        Each division made their own engines. Olds, Pontiac, Chevrolet, and Buick all made their own 350 for example. Then in the mid 70s, they realized what a waste this was. Chevrolet needed an economical V6 so they started using the Buick 231 in the Malibu, Pontiac “borrowed” the Olds 403, etc. – and then customers lost their wad, when they bought a Chevy and found out at maintenance time that their 350 was and Olds or Pontiac…. so GM had to start adding a disclaimer in 77 I believe, saying that any GM car could contain an engine from any GM division. I don’t believe any other division used Cadillac engines, although the Cimmarron probably used a non-Cadillac power plant.

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      • JW

        I was always under the impression GMC was the upscale model to Chevrolet as Lincoln was the upscale model to Ford.

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  5. JW

    I would say if you could get it for 2500 or less it would make a great restomod project.

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  6. Kerry Dahl

    Jim Rockford special???

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  7. James

    Ill give him 500 for it

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  8. Steve R

    That thing is rough, it has rust and the interior is destroyed, $1,000 is a very generous bid.

    Steve R

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  9. Maestro1

    The Seller’s expectations are unrealistic. And the person who said $500.00 is closer.

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  10. ACZ

    Parts car. Nothing more.

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  11. Jeffro

    Be prepared to spend atleast another $1000 on duct tape to finish the interior. Well then, you could say it’s the rare Duct Tape Special Edition. Seriously though, I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve done that to some seats I had in a VW Bug one time. It was either $ for interior or dual carbs and exhaust for motor! What’s in your wallet?

    Like 0

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