Unused Gift: 1984 Pontiac Firebird – Sold!

The stories we come across of why some vehicles go unused varies as much as the cars themselves.  Such is the case with this 1984 Pontiac Firebird that originally started as a Christmas present for a daughter ended up being a garage queen as an interesting set of circumstances allowed her to forego using her gift after the first year of ownership.  Consequently, the car first listed on Craigslist in March 2020 in Palisades Park, New Jersey with an asking price of $4,500.   Checking the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the father has his daughter's Firebird priced $800 above below the current #3 "Good" estimate of $3,700.

The Firebird and Camaro were completely redesigned for the 1982 model year, with the windshield slope set at 62 degrees, (about three degrees steeper than anything GM had ever tried before), and for the first time, a large, glass-dominated hatchback that required no metal structure to support it. Two concealed pop-up headlights, a first on the F-Body cars, were the primary characteristic that distinguished the third generation Firebird from both its Camaro sibling and its prior form (a styling characteristic carried into the fourth generation's design). In addition to being about 500 pounds lighter than the previous design, the third generation Firebird was the most aerodynamic product GM had ever released. Wind tunnels were used to form the new F-Body platform's shape, and Pontiac took full advantage of it. The aerodynamic developments extended to the finned aluminum wheels with smooth hubcaps and a functional rear spoiler.

The private seller of this Firebird provides a number of contrasts in his description.  While his daughter only used this Firebird the first year after buying new, all of the new parts combined with mentioning the driver's seat needing to be reupholstered hints the father ended up using his daughter's car quite a bit over the year.  Unfortunately, with no interior pictures provided, we can't rate the condition inside, however, it's clear the exterior paint appears to be original and in excellent shape.  This is one of those cars you'll need to inspect in person to confirm its true condition.  While not a more desirable Formula or Trans Am, this is a slick top RADwood-eligible Firebird that could form the basis for a cool street machine without harming its value.  Good luck with the purchase!

Here's the seller's description:

"84 Firebird New battery 4 New tires New dual exhaust New starter New battery CD player Air Conditioned
Garage kept all it's life Car was a Christmas present for my daughter Car was used about a year She went to out of state college and didn't take car After college joined the Peace Corps over seas without car After coming home moved to NYC without car Car has been in garage since 2006 Runs great Needs driver seat recovered (OEM still Available)
Don't waste my time with promises, checks or Paypal Been there, done that Interested parties only, no low balls
No Texts or codes Call me

Do you have a third-generation Pontiac Firebird story you'd like to share?  Comment below and let us know!

  1. Analog Man

    The first new car I ever owned was a 1985 Pontiac Firebird, in red, a clone of this car in looks but with a V6 engine and a 5 speed manual.

    Having just finished grad school I was literally penniless. In a brilliant marketing move, GM sent me (and I assume hundreds of thousands of others) a ‘recent graduate’ card, a ‘credit card’ that allowed one to buy any GM car for no money down and 5 year financing (with the total amount based on the annual income promised in a job offer letter). I would have much preferred to buy a Japanese car, preferably used, but with exactly no money to my name, that wasn’t an option.

    So I made the rounds of GM dealers. I was tempted by the Fiero, but thought it wouldn’t be ‘practical’ as an only car (even for a mid 20-something). I yearned for a V8 Camaro or Firebird, but my upcoming pay didn’t qualify for that much of a loan from GM. A V6 was the most I could stretch to. I searched far and wide for one with a manual transmission, and finally found a red Firebird, 2.8 liter V6, 5 speed stick, that I could swing under the GM loan program.

    It was red all over. Red outside, with a red and grey cloth interior. Even all the instrument panel and other interior lighting was red. My girlfriend thought it looked like a whorehouse inside. I felt like such hot shit driving it, even though it wasn’t exactly the fastest car on the road with its whopping 135 hp. I was particularly painfully reminded of that once when I lost a streetlight drag race to a Volvo 242. Ouch. That was a blow to my manhood from which I never recovered.

    I couldn’t afford to do much to the car and didn’t want to jeopardize the warranty, so it stayed pretty much stock. The only thing I did after getting a few paychecks was to swap out the factory fake wire wheel covers (too embarrassing) for gen-u-ine ‘three piece’ machine styled wheels. They and the tires were still too small for the car, but at least it looked better.

    The car was fun to drive, modest power and tepid acceleration notwithstanding. It somehow felt ‘exotic’, a factor of the steeply sloped windshield and looonngg hood and dash. But it wasn’t the most reliable thing on the road. Actually, it was probably one of the worst. I was bringing it back to the Pontiac dealer pretty much every week for something big or small. It had endless creaks, rattles, and water leaks. The window weather-stripping was awful, some kind of cheap foam rubber probably from the lowest cost bidder somewhere in the third world. It would hold up for about a week or two before it would crease, fold, or just fall out and start leaking in the rain. Likewise the shifter boot was made of the thinnest pleather ever to come out of an extruder. It would split after only a couple of thousand miles. After nagging the dealer to replace it about half a dozen times in a year, I sprung the bucks and paid an upholstery shop to make one out of properly thick vinyl.

    The biggest issue was oil leaks from the engine. This was the peak of the Roger Smith era and his relentless cost-cutting to find fractions of a penny wherever his accountants could. That engine was assembled largely without gaskets but instead using some generic liquid sealant. This was 1985, and sealant chemistry back then wasn’t as good as a Loctite-type product is today. The engine seeped oil from the day it was new, and only got worse over time. I can’t remember how many times I brought it in for oil leaks, but it had to be over a dozen times over a couple of years. The dealership’s service manager finally told me they could take apart and reassemble the engine with an aftermarket gasket kit, but it would be completely on my dime.

    That was the last straw. I decided to sell the car, but with a 5 year loan, I was upside down in it. I wrapped a cover around it and decided to keep paying down the loan until I could afford to sell it. Being relatively flush with cash by then, I bought a 1973 Datsun 510 for $700 to drive. It was a revelation to me, how that 15 year old Japanese car with over 70,000 miles felt so much better built and was infinitely more reliable than the new Firebird.

    About a year later the loan principle was finally less than its market value, and I sold it. To my boss. I took a new job and left the company a couple of months later, before his honeymoon with it was over.

    There are many cars I used to own back in the 70’s/80’s/90’s that I sorely miss, lust after, and routinely troll craigslist ads in a vain search for a nice one. My 1985 Firebird isn’t one of them (but give me a nice 67-69 and then we’d be talking!)

    • Guys with Rides

      That must have been a lot of red! Thanks for sharing Analog Man!


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