Surprise Packet: 1970 Pontiac Firebird

In spite of its somewhat crusty and ravaged appearance, this 1970 Pontiac Firebird does appear to be a surprisingly solid car. Increasing confidence levels even further is the owner’s open admission that this is not a real Trans Am, but a clone. That means that he is not trying to pass the car off as something that it isn’t. The Firebird is located in East Greenbush, New York, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has made it as far as $4,350, but the reserve hasn’t been met.

The owner of the Firebird reveals that there is some rust for the new owner to deal with, but it sounds like it is fairly minor. There is a spot about 6″ x 8″ in one area of the floor, along with a couple of much smaller holes in the trunk floor. There are a few spots visible in the bottom corners of the doors, but that really seems to be about it. The body looks pretty rough and ready, but it could be brought back to its best with a bit of effort and patience. One bonus is the fact that the Pontiac rides on a new set of Rally II wheels and fresh tires.

This Pontiac didn’t start life as a Trans Am, but as an Esprit. It has been transformed into a bit of a fire-breather. The original 350ci V8 engine has made way for something a bit more substantial. In this case, it is a freshly built 455, backed by a T-10 transmission. There are a couple of issues to be addressed by the next owner, but there’s nothing that actually sounds bad. The clutch makes a bit of noise, and this is believed to be coming from the throw-out bearing. This sometimes causes the transmission to be a bit “baulky” on down-shifts. However, that really is an easy fix. Otherwise, the car is said to start easily, the engine feels really strong, and the car drives straight and true.

When you look at the external appearance of the car, you could be forgiven for expecting the worst when you look inside the Pontiac. Admittedly, it is going to need some work, but it does pack a surprise or two. The first is the condition of the dash and pad. Both appear to be in quite nice condition, and really shouldn’t need touching. Also, some of the upholstered surfaces such as the door trims look like they could be restored with very little effort, and without having to resort to replacement items. From a personal perspective, the owner has not done himself any favors by photographing the interior in its current state. I mean, how hard would it have been to attack the interior with a vacuum cleaner? There is some work to do here, but I get the feeling that a simple clean and detail would make a world of difference to the Firebird’s interior.

You can’t help but feel that under that faded and bettered exterior hides a really strong and solid Pontiac Firebird with a load of potential. If those couple of rust spots in the floor were addressed, and the body was stripped of the old paint, cleaned, and a fresh coat of paint was applied, this would be an attractive looking car. It could potentially make a great project to take on in a home workshop, simply because there are no major rust issues to address. When the car has been refurbished, it really could be one tough piece of machinery.

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  1. Kevin

    Clean up the engine bay, perform service on the clutch, clean the interior and drive it as is.

  2. art

    “Crusty and Ravaged”…P E R F E C T.
    From now on this will be the fitting description for many cars featured on here…kudos to Adam for nailing it. “C & R”. Too funny.

    • Brad

      Crusty & Ravaged Automotive Perfection……C.R.A.P for short

  3. Troy s

    Ain’t she a beaut!
    Purists, numbers matching nuts, and ice cream runners don’t even bother with this,,,, it’s either a street machine in progress or a weekend racer.

  4. Nick

    What a Garbage Scow. A near worthless assemblage of leftovers that you’d have to pay a metal recycler to take off your hands.


    Nick is correct, that’s my kind of car! It should be in the movies.

  6. Geeto Man

    455 with a 4 speed. Sweet!! I’d drive this thing sideways more than I’d drive it straight! New tires every 500 miles. Yeehaw!!

  7. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member


    @Nick that is the first use of the term “garbage scow” that I am aware of on Barn Finds. Au Propos. I’ve brought home and sent away many a garbage scow in my years of automotive restoration. Never a dull moment.

  8. Al

    I want the ’68 GTO he has hidden in the background!

    • Sal P

      It’s a 69. Give me your phone number and I’ll call you about it. It was also featured in a barnfinds article back over the winter. Thanks, Sal P

    • Al

      What I want & what I can get are far apart lol. Wife’s flipping now to sell 2 of the 3 Harleys first before another toy here.

  9. C5 Corvette

    back about 1975 I bought a Firebird Esprit with a bad motor. I bought a 455 from a smashed full size wagon and put it into the Firebird. I left every thing else stock looking. Talk about a sleeping screamer. I did go thru some tires with it. I drove it awhile and then sold it to a young guy. Next time I saw it was in the junk yard with the front end pushed up near the windshield. He was OK.

  10. Tom Member

    Wow. Where do you start. Being born an Esprit = very little value. TA front clip, Formula trunk lid. Is that green paint or MOSS?

    Only money is IF you make a 70 TA Clone. AT that you will still probably lose money. This is a 6 figure restoration that will be worth about half of that when done.

    The first comment by Kevin is probably the best.

    • Tired of this same comment

      Six figure really? Who’s doing it? King midas? If you can’t do some of the restoration work yourself, don’t buy a project. Duh

  11. King Midas

    Wow $7900 final sale price. Guess this one really wasn’t so bad after all. With 10 different bidders and 22 total bids, it’s apparent people saw past the dents and rust and really found the value in this one. $7900 is a lot of money to spend on some “C.R.A.P.” Hopefully the new owner drives it sideways more than straight.


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