Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
Rest assured that in 1978, there were still guys who wanted big performance without the extroverted look of the Trans Am. That's why this 1978 Pontiac Firebird was built, to make all those Trans Am guys think twice before jumping on the Bandit Bandwagon. This mostly-stock muscle car packs a lively small-block 350 V8, a smooth-shifting automatic, and period-perfect factory paint and interior to make one heck of a killer Poncho.
Finding a late-2nd generation Firebird isn't easy as it used to be, as most of the '78s left are either true T/A or faithful reproductions. Popular movies and the power of the zeitgeist has that power over certain makes, and it's a shame because supercool cars like this Firebird are sometimes forgotten in all the commotion. The Cameo White paint found on the original bodywork is a respray, but it's relatively recent and shows very well, with nary an imperfection to really complain about. Sure, it's not a trailer-queen, not at this price point, but this Firebird could pull right up to a T/A and look like it belongs. The slanted-front facelift occurred a year prior on the Firebird, giving the car a very clean, no-nonsense look that works especially well with that iconic urethane nose and slick hood. The blacked-out split-grille panel with Pontiac's famous four-headlight set-up is instantly recognizable, further augmented by the parking light slots just below, and the ducktail spoiler and louvered-style taillights out back look slick as well. The 'Red Bird' graphics are the perfect complement to the slick Cameo White paint, with the 'Screaming Chicken' on the hood taking up the most real estate, matched by the fender decals and Firebird script on the rear spoiler. The paint is quite good for a car that's supposed to be a driver, the panels fit pretty much where the guys on the assembly line put them, and even the urethane bumper covers are in great condition and match the rest of the body. There's not a ton of chrome either, other than the window surrounds and flashy wheels, but that's okay because the blacked-out elements and tinted windows are the perfect complement to the bright-white finish.
The brilliant black cloth-and-vinyl interior is the perfect contrast to the white livery outside, and it looks fantastic today thanks to a thorough and correct restoration. The upholstery, carpets, door panels, and dash pad are all factory-spec and in excellent shape, and even in the photos you can see how beautifully preserved everything is in the original style. Front buckets are sporty and supportive, and they're split by a factory center console that houses the tall shifter for the automatic transmission below. An original three-spoke anchors the cabin, and just beyond it there's a full array of factory gauges inside a woodgrain bezel, and they cover all the vitals of the 350 under the hood. Like many of these Firebirds from the era, the options list is fairly slim, but you do get seatbelts for safety, a heater for comfort in the elements, and a Pioneer AM/FM/CD/AUX head unit that handles the tunes inside. Plush black carpets below insulate the cabin and are protected by thick vinyl mats, there's a taut headliner above, and out back the rear seats look like they haven't been used since someone took their friends to Bon Jovi's first tour. You also get a fairly sizeable trunk in this F-body, and it's finished with matching black carpets.
The Trans Am had the reputation, but there's an argument to be made that the Firebird's 350 V8 was the motor to have. It's a peppy small block with an 8:2:1 compression ratio and 170 factory horses, along with a stout torque curve over 275 lb-ft. Topped by what is likely the original Rochester Quadrajet 4-barrel carb, the motor is essentially stock, with a black air cleaner up top and chromed valve covers at the flanks adding a touch of flash. Signs of maintenance show everywhere you look and the engine runs superbly, with a crisp burble from the long-tube headers that feed into the H-pipe dual exhaust system that's punctuated with Flowmaster mufflers. A TH350 3-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and spins a 10-bolt rear end out back, while power steering and power front disc brakes ensure a great ride every time out. Flashy chrome wheels look slick as cans be, and they're wrapped in a classic big-and-little tire combo that gives this Firebird an added rake.
If this was a Trans Am with similar features, it would cost tens of thousands of dollars more. Instead, why not enjoy the rarity, the preservation, and the performance offered by this dialed-in 1978 Firebird. Call today!
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