Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
If an affordable, slick-looking, and turn-key 1973 Pontiac Firebird is what you seek, then this Formula Tribute should be at the top of your search list. It checks all the boxes of a solid, driver-quality muscle car, with a strong 400 V8 under the hood, some choice options that improve the car's road manners, and a comfortable, sporty interior - all wrapped in a gorgeous, high-impact shade of Regatta Blue Metallic paint.
This particular interpretation of Regatta Blue isn't exactly what Pontiac was offering back in the early '70s, but with a good amount of sparkling metallic flake in the mix and a lustrous shine to the finish, the paint job is very impressive. Part performance color and part head-turner, it's been fully restored and while it's not perfect, it's still a darn nice Poncho. Sure, there are some signs of use, but the curb appeal is undeniable as an eye-catching, strong driver-quality coupe that's a big hit wherever it goes. The car obviously led a very good life as a cherished piece of Pontiac performance, and during the restoration all the sheetmetal was smoothed and massaged back into shape, the gaps were set precisely, and it was block sanded for hours and hours in preparation for that glowing blue paint. Nothing coming out of GM showrooms in 1973 looked this good and if you want to cause a stir at the next Pontiac national meet, this is the car that'll do it. The dual-snorkel, Ram Air hood is functional and gives the coupe a sporty look, and while it isn't exactly subtle, it's a perfect complement to the ducktail spoiler out back. Details like the catfish-style blacked-out grilles, large headlight buckets, and the sculpted nose cone are big reasons why these early 2nd generation Firebirds were fan favorites (the '70'76 Firebird front ends were all fairly similar), and because of new safety requirements introduced in '73, there's extra steel reinforcement in the bumper and fender core supports. The lack of giant and 'loud' decals make cars like this Formula Tribute (born as an equally subtle W67 Esprit submodel) look much cleaner overall, while also allowing for the slick paint job to do most of the talking. The rear bumper was painted blue to match the body, so there's not a lot of chrome on the car at all, but the bright stuff surrounding the lights, side windows, door handles, and on the exhaust tips provide just enough extra flash to the already bright presentation.
Black interior is the perfect complement for a bright car like this, but this Firebird takes things up a notch with two-tone 3A Racing bucket seats equipped with racing harnesses up front. The bright blue and black upholstery on the sculpted buckets complement the exterior paint scheme nicely, while the black vinyl rear seat, black door panels, black plush carpets, and taut headliner above (you guessed it, also black) are stock-spec and in solid shape. There are some signs of use inside, mostly on the buckets and other high-traffic area, but the cabin is still a comfortable place to be. The machine-turned gauge bezel a Poncho staple looks fantastic surrounding the factory gauges and original heater assembly, and with the addition of a column-mounted tachometer and trio of auxiliary units inside the center console. That very center console also houses a Hurst dual-gate shifter that manages the TH350 3-speed automatic transmission below, matching the sportiness of the bucket seats. There's a retro-style AM/FM/AUX radio inside the factory slot, but there's nothing else in this car that would slow it down or hinder performance in any way. Matching black floor mats protect the carpets and the surprisingly spacious trunk is neatly finished with plush carpets and a Firebird mat.
Under that aggressive hood is a strong 400 V8 engine, running great and dressed for success with plenty of dress-up. The twin snorkels above feed a Holley open-element air cleaner that sits atop a Pontiac Turquoise engine block, which decodes to a '75-'76 era block. It shows little signs of use, no burned engine paint, no crusty exhaust manifolds, and all the correct finishes are still bright and clean. Things like the Edelbrock finned valve covers, chromed alternator, and billet pulleys give the block a very slick look, while a set of Hooker headers, a Holley 4-barrel carburetor, MSD ignition, and mild cam inside provide some extra giddy-up. The TH350 3-speed automatic rocks through the gears without much effort and the 10-bolt rear end doesn't seem to mind the added power. Underneath is a custom Magnaflow dual exhaust with an H-pipe set-up that sounds killer up and down the throttle, just in case you can't get enough attention with the paint. 17-inch 'Honeycomb' alloy wheels add a very sporty touch and carry grippy BFGoodrich radials that set the perfect stance.
Neatly finished and ready for the road today, this dialed-in Firebird needs only one thing: a new owner. Cal
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