Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
One of the most under-appreciated second-generation F-bodies is the Firebird Formula, which had a redesigned front and rear end for the 1979 year and embodied the futuristic styling elements that were so prevalent in the designs of the coming decade. Less ostentatious than the Trans Am on the outside, this particular 1979 Formula packs a swapped-in, fuel-injected 5.7L V8 bully under the hood today that catapults it into the 'sleeper' category, further aided by its subtle and sophisticated white-on-grey paint job. Take a closer look because this underrated coupe has a whole lot going for it, making it a strong contender in the modern muscle car category.
With new front and rear fascias, the Firebird looked radically different in 1979 compared to its 2nd generation predecessors, and sales prove that it was a popular look. On this particular Formula, code 11 Cameo White was indeed the factory-correct color, but during the car's respray, a bright mind decided to spice things up a bit by adding gray paint to the lower portion of the car, and then separating the two shades by a stark red, pinstriped line of demarcation. Although not a perfect trailer-queen, the finish is consistent and shines up very well, putting it squarely in the very good driver-quality tier that can be shown off with pride at local car shows and cruise-ins. The Formula was pitched as a more sophisticated, upscale model, and without the Trans Am's showy graphics package, it is a bit less ostentatious, but don't get us wrong, this coupe still has a commanding curb appeal. With those aforementioned bright red pinstripes, a familiar ducktail spoiler out back, T-tops up top, and faux ram air ducts on the hood that actually look pretty cool, there are plenty of performance goodies on this Formula that make it look fast and loud just sitting still.
Inside, the performance story continues, with a beautifully upholstered black-and-gray bucket seat interior that was swapped in favor of the rather drab factory code 24 Blue cloth the car was born with. The high-back front buckets are comfortable and feel right at home inside the cabin, as do the matching rear seats, slick black door panels, and plush black carpets below. Perhaps the dash could use a little attention as it looks a tad wavy, but it flows nicely into the factory middle console that houses the factory shifter for the swapped-in 4L60E automatic transmission below. Pontiac's racy engine-turned dashboard looks great here, as it does in the Trans Am, and it's now full of black-faced aftermarket gauges that cover the engine's vitals. A killer 3-spoke wrapped Pontiac steering wheel feels great in the driver's hands, and a Sony AM/FM/cassette stereo fits neatly in the original radio's slot. You'll also note that this car has factory A/C, which blows cold thanks to a nice upgrade to R134a refrigerant inside. Out back, the trunk is sparse, but offers enough space for travel bags or car show goodies.
An Oldsmobile-built 403 cubic inch V8 was part of the Formula deal when you specified an automatic transmission, but that wasn't enough for the former owner of this Poncho. Fortified instead with a swapped-in 5.7L LT1 V8, it runs beautifully with a fat torque curve that moves the Formula effortlessly. Wearing black valve covers and a K&N air filter, it's certainly not stock but still looks right at home in the 'Bird's engine bay and the overall condition is impressive. Power steering and power 4-wheel discs make for a wonderful driving experience, and long-tube headers feed an X-pipe dual exhaust system that uncorks some extra horsepower and gives it a proper high-performance voice. Handsome Pontiac 'Snowflake' wheels wear staggered 245/60/15 front and 255/60/15 rear white-letter BFGoodrich T/A radials.
These cars are seeing some increased action in the market, and the less common Formula is a neat alternative to the Trans Am. With extra pop under the hood and great everyday options, you can buy this one with confidence. Call today!
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