Crated Creativity: 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula – Sold?
December 19, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
November 18, 2021 Update – We just came across a fresh Craigslist ad for this ’79 Firebird Formula we first featured in early October 2021. The price, description, and pictures, all remain the same in this latest listing.
In the late 1970s, if you wanted all of the performance of a Pontiac Trans Am without all the flashy spoilers and screaming chicken hood decal, you bought a Firebird Formula. Unfortunately, 1979 was the final year for the availability of Pontiac’s 400 cubic inch V8. Not well known is that Pontiac actually completed production of the engine in 1978 after stock-piling what forecasters believed would be needed for the new model year. Consequently, the first priority went to four-speed equipped 1979 Trans Ams while automatic-equipped TA’s and Formulas made do with either a Pontiac-built 301 cubic inch V8 an optional Chevrolet built 350 cubic inch small block V8, or a big block Oldsmobile 403 cubic inch mill. As long as the VIN tag confirms this car came with either one of the first two and not the latter, we’re okay with the 350 cubic inch Chevrolet crate motor installed in this highly optioned, 54K original mile, 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula originally listed in November 2021 on Craigslist in Bristol, Connecticut (Hartford).
Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Firebird Formula priced between this guide’s #3 “Good” estimate of $14,000 and its #2 “Excellent” appraisal of $23,000. Similarly, the Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 “Very Good” estimate of $14,775 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $22,175 before making adjustments for power train and equipment options.
Heading into its ninth production model year run, Pontiac completed its final styling update of the second-generation Firebird line for the 1979 model year. Upfront, the somewhat polarizing difference was the new integrated front bumper and grille featuring four inset headlights set above two bumper-level intakes. In back, however, was a cool new blacked-out taillight treament. With the big news for 1979 being the 10th Anniversary Trans Am, the Firebird Formula remained unchanged save for the aforementioned front-end update combined with paint and trim options.
The VHS Vintage YouTube Channel features this 1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula commerical highlighting the styling changes:
With the Chevy 350 crate motor combined with true Flowmaster dual exhaust and a 3:73 positraction rear end, this is actually a 1979 Formula that likely offers much better performance than when the car was new. However, the change to a crate motor on a car with only 54K original miles combined with the lack of a rear spoiler and no “Formula” door sill labels has us wondering whether this car may have left the factory as a well-optioned base Firebird. We hope we’re wrong, but thoroughly decode the VIN tags on this one to know what you are really buying before putting down any money. That may be why the seller hints they are negotiable on price.
Here’s the seller’s description:
“1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula. 54,000 miles. White with custom red velour interior. T-Tops with factory storage bags. Automatic transmission. Air conditioning. Power windows. AM-FM cassette radio. Rear window defogger. This car is rust-free and was rustproofed when new and garage kept. It had a new driveline installed 2000 miles ago which included: GM 350 crate motor, transmission, A/C compressor, dual Flowmaster exhaust with headers, Edelbrock intake and carburetor, electric fuel pump, electric fan, B&M shift kit, and 3:73 posi rear end. Also replaced at the same time were brakes, tires, and air shocks. This car is road and show ready and can be driven and enjoyed right away. Reasonable offers considered. Please include your phone number in your reply.“
Show or go: what would you do with this Firebird Formula? Comment below and let us know!