Car Show Classic: 1972 Pontiac Firebird – I Laugh At Over-Restored Cars!

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(first posted 9/5/2013)    Tired of seeing the same old better-than-new Camaros, Mustangs and other ponycars? Well you’re in for a treat then, as this ’71 Firebird is anything but! You don’t need to spend fifty grand on a restoration to enjoy a cool old car.

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Here’s a CC you can drive, enjoy, and never have to worry about getting dinged in the parking lot. Not to mention a more easy, carefree driving experience, as other motorists will give you a wide berth. A win-win situation. And this is no Trans Am, Formula or even a Rockford Files Edition Esprit, but just a plain ol’ no-frills Firebird. And in ’70s green, no less–well, mostly…

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Inside, there is a Formula steering wheel, bucket seats (from a later ’70s edition, judging from the velour and uh, contrasting color), and even a genuine wood console lid–the owner must be a handy sort. It is rare for me to see that woodgrained instrument panel outside of the Pontiac sales brochures, as it seems that all of the 1970-81 Firebirds at shows around here are Trans Ams, with their engine-turned inlay.

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It has a V8, natch, and judging from the aquamarine-painted block, is an actual Pontiac engine and not a bellybutton SBC. How refreshing! I dig the vacuum gauge on the underside of the hood too.

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Judging from the honeycomb grille, it is a ’72 model, like these fresher versions shown in the ’72 catalog. The 1970-73 Firebird is my favorite gen-2 F-body, with that twin-snorkel grille, smooth lines and Pontiac flair. Yeah, the Camaro was pretty too, but I like the Pontiacs a bit better, particularly the instrument panel.

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I would especially love one in Navajo Orange or Verdant Green. This ’73 would do nicely, but with Rally IIs and a white interior, please!

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But back to our featured ‘Bird. Though the paint job (or lack thereof) make the car look worse than it really is. Indeed, it is quite sound, with only minor rust. This is one of 12,001 base Firebirds built that year. This was during the time when the ponycars were tanking (thanks to a big, expensive GM strike that year, primarily), and that shows in the Firebird’s other model take rates: 11,415 Esprits, 5,250 Formulas and just 1,286 Trans Ams.

But at the eleventh hour the F-body was saved, to the joy of its many fans, then and now. And this one is still trucking along, anything but a trailer queen. I like it!

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