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Yellow Gold WS6: 1987 Pontiac Firebird Formula

Great colors can make or break a car. For me, seeing a Firebird Formula wearing this rarely seen (and hard to miss) shade of Yellow Gold paint transforms it from another ’80s muscle car in a crowded field of such vehicles on eBay to a standout worthy of a closer look. Of course, its unmodified condition, WS6 package extras, and reasonable Buy-It-Now are all good reasons to put it on your watch list. The Formula is listed with a reserve price here on eBay, where bidding is up to $4,710 but still short of its Buy-It-Now of $8,500. You’ll find the Firebird in Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey if you want to scope it out in person.

The Firebird has just under 78,000 original miles and is in decent condition. It’s not perfect, but it has good paint, clean glass, and the little details still accounted for, like the Formula lettering on the doors and the red striping above the black undercoating. The seller notes the Firebird was sold new in Michigan, then relocated to Indiana, and finally ended up in New Jersey. Certainly, this Formula has lived in some harsh climates, but between the respectable cosmetics and no obvious signs of rust (and the low-ish mileage), it’s likely been a fair-weather driver since new.

The interior of this era of GM products was a particularly bleak affair, and it’s not necessarily easy to make it look all that sharp – especially in bland colors like this mouse-fur gray. The carpets look slightly tatty, but a set of floor mats would address this. The plastics like the console and shifter trim all look fine, and while the seats won’t hold you tightly in the turns, there’s no obvious damage or wear to the fabric. I’d still swap in a set of Recaros to dress up the cabin, as it’s really just a set of buckets away from looking as sharp as the exterior. The seller notes the driver’s seat belt does not retract, but that it will be repaired prior to sale.

The engine is the standard-issue 5.0L carbureted affair paired to a four-speed automatic transmission. The real appeal is in the WS6 package, which added bigger sway bars, quicker steering, upgraded wheels and tires, a rear spoiler, and the power bulge hood. The handling was more than respectable right out of the box and breathed some life into the chassis even if the engine wasn’t the most exotic mill ever stuck in a Firebird. The seller notes recent maintenance as including a new muffler in February and new tires installed by the previous owner in 2019. Cheap fun doesn’t get much better than this, and it’s cruise night ready for when the warmer weather returns.

Comments

  1. Poppapork

    I dont get it at all, who in their right mind would order WS6 handling package with a 305 anchor and a lazy auto?
    305 was available with a borg Wagner 4speed that would make more sense, the 350TPI was a nice troque motor and would make more sense if automatic was needed but this combo? What am I missing?

    Like 8
    • Cal

      Not everyone wants speed or temptation. This has ample power, goes around a twist in the road with ease, plus it is stylish. The 305 was more than enough performance for most, plus less expensive and the insurance man wasn’t so spiteful about it. I like this a lot, a sensible mans sporty car.

      Like 6
      • Poppapork

        Sorry about the 4 speed brain fart.

        Cal, i’ll be honest, when you wrote “ample power” i had to check “ample” in the dictionary because i never heard ample power describing a 305TBI lump.
        A 15year old dodge grand caravan will out accelerate (280hp and 6 speed) outhandle (independent suspension, modern tires) and stop faster then this thing. Nothing sporty about it, cant even use the extra handling with tha lazy automatic upshifting whenever it thinks is apropriate (mid turn etc).

        (Manual valve body would be my first mod but at this price? No thanks)

        Like 3
      • Steve R

        Sorry, but this engine/transmission combination is probably good for mid-16’s. I had an 85 5spd Z28 Camaro with the same engine. It was a pig at the track, the best it ever ran was 16.20 at 87mph.

        It’s a cool looking car, but most enthusiasts will hold out for either of the TPI engines.

        The last time the seller listed the car bidding stopped at $6,100, that’s probably realistic.

        Steve R

        Like 4
      • Cal

        Okay, maybe the 4 speed would be nice, but what is this, 170/180HP? Guys, that is good enough for any and all driving. Lets not forget, the 55 MPH speed limit was in force too in most places.

        Like 4
      • Steve R

        Cal, you are right, it would be fine for a daily driver, but is hardly suited for a performance car like you initially suggested.

        The nation wide 55mph speed limiters rescinded in 1987.

        Steve R

        Like 3
      • Poppapork

        I disagree again, who wants a 17 second daily driver to have racing suspension?

        Like 1
      • steve

        My 1991 Mark VII used to routinely embarrass my buddies TBI 1991 Formula 305. TBI 305’s are turds.

    • Jeremy

      After ’83 Camaros and Firebirds only available manual transmission was a 5speed,not the 4 speed,but I totally agree,at least opt for the stick shift,and tuned port injection was also available and much better all around

      Like 3
    • Superdessucke

      I had a Formula this exact same year with the TPI 350. Mine was white with the lower dark gray like this and red interior, which was much sharper than this gray interior.

      That car was a blast. Very fun to drive. In retrospect, I wish I held on to it because the 350 is pretty rare in these.

      Like 4
    • firemedic2714

      I bet that 15 y.o. minivan would outperform a 350 equipped F-body, too.

      Like 2
    • Big_Fun Member

      If you look at the options (or lack of) I’ll bet the on the dealer ordered the basics to keep the price attractive. Or they didn’t know how to order. This color and model was was on the front of the brochure. Pontiac also was going to the now normal quick spec packages. Could be they went with the “top” package…but nothing else.

      • Big_Fun Member

        Picture 1 click on image to see full size picture. From the ’87 Pontiac Product guide. More to follow.

      • Big_Fun Member

        Picture 2 click on image to see full size picture. From the ’87 Pontiac brochure (full line) More to follow.

      • Big_Fun Member

        Picture 3 click on image to see full size picture. From the ’87 Pontiac Product guide.

  2. Dan the man

    I love these late 1980s firebird formulas but always thought this yellow paint looked faded from the sun.

    Like 2
  3. Skorzeny

    Ok, Poppapork is in my head, but I am not going to go on a rant. I would have ordered this with a manual, I don’t care about the 0-60, the 1/4, or anything like that. It’s about the third pedal and your right hand. I like this but I would paint it and do quite a few modifications…

    • Poppapork

      Why am I i your head? I didnt mean to trigger anyone- just brainstorming here
      I would prefer to be in a head of a 38yo atractive brunette ;)

      Like 1
    • Miguel

      Skorzeny, have you driven one of these with a manual?

      It isn’t the most pleasant experience in the world.

      The transmission was clunky at best, and besides the fact that most cars of this era weren’t ordered, but rather bought off the lot, I bet this was ordered by the new car manager to sell as quickly as possible.

  4. firemedic2714

    As an owner of a 92 WS6 5-speed T/A convertible, the manual transmission is the way to go with these cars. When equipped with the T5, the 305 got the L98 cam making the horsepower equal to a 350 (at least in 1992). Of course all that was going through a transmission basically made of glass, so as long as your rear tires didn’t hook up too good, you’d go home with an intact transmission. Boy are they fun, though. There’s nothing like rowing through the gears to make all your problems temporarily melt away.

    Like 1
  5. JamesHGF
  6. Daved

    I was excited until I saw the absence of T-Tops 😭

    Like 2
  7. hsche426

    The car sold for $5,100,00. Someone picked up a great car.

    • Daved

      Did the seller state that he let it go for the ending bid? The final price $5101 was “RESERVE NOT MET”….

      • hsche426

        You are correct. I only looked at the first layer: bidding ended. The second layer of the ad shows reserve not met.

        In any event, I would look at it if it was closer.

      • Daved

        I’m not a big fan of eBay’s revised format that requires you to go that additional step in viewing a listing to confirm reserve met or not. When you said it sold at $5100, I starting getting upset! 😂

  8. Chris M Pulieri

    That’s why I’m going to put a built LS in mine

  9. Leallen Crabb

    I have one just like it in my garage. Hasn’t moved since 1996. Black interior.

    • Dave

      I’ll move it for you 😉

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