1979 Pontiac Firebird Formula was a sophisticated breed of 'bird

Several decades later sophistication is hardly the word that comes to mind when you think about Pontiac Firebirds from the late 1970s, but that is the angle they were using to sell the Firebird Formula back in 1979.


From the pitch black tail that marked your path to the redesigned recessed headlights to guide you, Pontiac wanted you to believe nothing else came close to the upscale malaise muscle car—except of course for their screaming chicken equipped Trans Am.


Team Punkass

While I love the 2nd Gen F-bodies, this reminds me of a doofus I encountered back in the day while cruising Hempstead Tpke in my youth, back in '92.

I was 19 and driving a '92 Sentra E that I bought new, my 1st new car - it was so base it came w/ no stereo and a 4 speed, but I sprung for a/c. It had a 110hp DOHC 1.6 under the hood. It was something like $10,900 out the door.

So I was driving with my buddy and said doofus driving a '79 Formula w/ the ultra pathetic 301 under the hood pulls up next to us at a light and says something idiotic like "It's kinda late, you should get that car back home to your mom" so I told him to shut up and get ready to lose to a fucking Sentra. He laughed.

Light turned green and I beat him pretty good - he was definitely racing, this wasn't some Fast and Fictitious bullshit dream. Doofus pulls up next to us and flashes a NYPD shirt path - a fucking shirt patch - telling us the cops are on their way because we were speeding. Again we told him to go fuck himself and laughed at him as he turned off.

We saw Formula doofus again a week later, driving through the lot. He wouldn't even look at us when we called him out.

I know it was no big win - that 301 he had made only 140 or 150HP and my car weighed 1000 lbs less. I also humiliated my friend in his '84 Hurst with his 175hp 307 with that little car. His excuse was I had a stick, and also killed my friend's '73 Javelin w/ a 304 :)

That poor Sentra lived a hard life - Nissan rebuilt the transmission at 45k and the clutch was replaced shortly after and then I sold it. I also went through a lot of tires - thankfully they were only 155/80/13s and I could replace 2 (the front) for $100 ;) It also hit the fuel cutoff at about 119mph a bunch of times.

It was fun to be young and stupid.