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71 Firebird Formula 400

#1

I had this car in 1978 when I graduated high school. Was searching for the same car for over 6 years when I finally found it. My high school car was a 4speed but the one I just found is an automatic. I was willing to overlook this because everything else about the car is amazing. Less than 8000 original miles, same Castillian Bronze as the one I had in high school. This car even has the original Firestone wide ovals and original break pads. Interior is like new. I didn’t believe it was for real when I spoke to the owner but I had to go see it for myself. Once I saw it in person and inspected it I knew it was a true original car. The documentation is over the top, everything from the original title (one owner) to original dealer invoice, protecto plate, letter from GM Pontiac division sales manager (including the envelope it was mailed in) and so much more. I have kept the car in it’s original state and I’m trying to decide if I should have the car cleaned up, fully restored, restomoded or just keep it in its original found state. I want to be able to drive it. All opinions welcomed.

#2

That car is beyond cool! Here’s my two cents. Since it sounds so original, I’d try to maintain it in that state as long as you can. Real Firebird 400s are very difficult to come by and with documentation to go with the car, it is more desirable left completely alone. Resto modding would be the last thing I’d do. I see it as needlessly altering a car in a state you’ll probably never see again. I’ve been going through the same thoughts on my 69 Grand Prix. It is mostly original minus the repaint. It is worn in enough that it’ll probably need a cosmetic restoration in a few years. I’ve set aside the idea of modifying it too heavily due to the fact that those cars are very hard to find in decent shape. If I did anything to it, it would be an engine swap from the 400 to a 428, but I’d keep the original engine ready to go back in. Like with your car, I think it would be a shame to do anything too altering from original.

Just my two cents. Bottom line is it is your car and you should do what you’ll get the most enjoyment out of it.

#3

AWESOME car. I also had a few Firebird’s in high school and would love to find one in this good of condition. Agree with Greg. Keep it all original ! Really cool that it even has the original tires and brake pads. I would take the wheels and tires and put them in storage as the tires have to be dry rotted and I would be afraid to drive anywhere and have a blowout. If you (or the next owner) decided to show and not drive, you would have the original set to put back on. Looks a lot like the Rockford Files car that Jim Gardiner drove, but I remember it being an Espirit (76-78) Enjoy that car !

#4

I would leave it alone except for needed maintenance. All original unrestored cars are all the rage right now and bring a premium. I agree with Bob in that if you want to drive it I would swap out the tires and wheels for safety reasons but other wise drive and enjoy it. If you want a restomod buy a standard Firebird and restomod away! I have been restomoding cars since before there was the term “restomod” but I always start with a non special or performance model, I like to leave those for the purists.

#5

Leave it as is. Its a very original car and can only be that way if you keep it as is.