1995 Pontiac Firebird Formula - $16,900
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  • Overview & History
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It's obvious that this car was always treated as something special and not abused or thrashed.

If you're a certain age like I am (mid-40s) then you remember when the muscle cars made their comeback. Fuel injection made performance real again and suddenly the GM vs. Ford horsepower wars were on once again. By the mid-90s, there was genuine performance to be purchased for not a lot of cash, and the absolute biggest bang for the buck anywhere was the Pontiac Firebird Formula. Packing the Corvette's LT1 powerplant, a 6-speed manual, and no frills, it was light, fast, and handled better than anything in its price bracket had a right to. As a result, most of them were raced, modified, abused, and tossed aside when newer cars showed up, making it a real challenge to find one of these icons today.

Fortunately you're in luck, because this incredible 1995 Pontiac Firebird Formula coupe is exactly the car you would have bought when you were 20 years old if you could have managed the payments: LT1 V8, 6-speed manual gearbox, T-tops, and loaded with options. Better yet, this one is almost completely unmodified and shows just 37,990 original miles, making it the next best thing to buying one new two decades ago. And if you're going to run the fastest F-body made that year, then why not go with brilliant Torch Red to really make it jump? The styling has aged rather well and it's hard to fathom that this car really is nearly 23 years old. It's not dated or awkward like the early 80s nor over-styled like some of the later cars managed, just clean and chiseled like a performance car should be. The clean nose shows remarkably little evidence of having been driven and if you need to find flaws, you'll have to get down on your hands and knees and look closely. The body is composite plastic save for the rear quarters, so that means rust is a non-issue in most areas, and the Formula skips the Trans Am's body kit and bloated look, leaving only the aggressive nose and modest rear spoiler intact. We're especially fond of the cool bi-plane side mirrors, the blackout look of the T-tops, and the way-cool taillights, all of which are in excellent condition. It's obvious that this car was always treated as something special and not abused or thrashed.

The interior is equally nice, starting with the ultra-comfortable black cloth sport seats. Yes, cloth. Leather is fine, but guys who understand going fast will want cloth because it holds you in place far better than slippery hides. Aggressive bolsters certainly help, and the seats are adjustable enough that anyone can get comfortable, no matter how tall you are. The fat steering wheel is not only leather wrapped but also has handy thumb slots for aggressive driving and the Hurst T-handle shifter for the 6-speed manual transmission is only inches away. A full set of big, easy-to-read analog gauges monitor the engine and you'll note that this hot LT1 will spin to nearly 6000 RPM without issues. This car appears to have almost every available option, including ice cold factory A/C, power windows, locks, and mirrors, cruise control, a tilt steering column, rear defroster, and a Delco AM/FM/CD stereo with built-in graphic equalizer (remember those?). Everything works and in truth, it feels very fresh. No squeaks and rattles (rare in a T-top car), no deferred maintenance issues, no excuses. The back seat has probably never been used and the trunk is reasonably sized and includes a neat storage rack for the T-top panels.

But the real reason the Formula is special is under the hood, where you'll find a 350 cubic inch LT1 V8. It was rated at 275 horsepower in the F-bodies, but performance numbers of the period suggest that all of the Corvette's 300 horsepower are showing up ready for duty. Regardless of the actual number, this sucker is downright fast. It barks to life with ease, thanks to all OEM hardware and software, with the only modification being a K&N air filter assembly up front. The last 25 years have proven that the LT1 is virtually indestructible and with the care that this car has received, it feels barely broken-in. All the factory equipment is still in place, including fittings and clamps, making it quite correct under the hood, which is great if you're into authenticity. All the original decals and markings are intact as well, so you could take it back to stock in a matter of minutes by reinstalling an original air filter assembly. Do you have any idea how rare it is to find an LT1 that hasn't been modified?

It's backed by the very desirable 6-speed manual transmission, which shrugs off the 330 pounds of torque the LT1 is dishing out. Thanks to that Hurst shifter, it's as precise as a ratchet and it's almost impossible to miss a shift. It offers not one, but TWO overdrive gears, making it a fantastic highway cruiser that actually gets decent fuel economy (25 MPG isn't out of the question in these cars). It remains completely stock, so the CAGS skip-shift is still in effect, but you'll learn how to drive around it pretty easily. And if not, well, the LT1 has the torque to pull fourth gear from a crawl without complaint. Out back there are 3.42 gears, which are a great compromise between acceleration and comfort, making the car feel quick but not burning up the power in expensive tire smoke. F-bodies also received powerful 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS and the torque arm rear suspension is surprisingly sophisticated, planting the power without feeling twitchy. One glance underneath will convince you that this car has never, ever seen snow and very little rain, as the floors are unmarked and only the raw steel parts show any surface scale at all. The rear end cover shows a little seepage, but that would be easy to fix if it bothers you, but the car does not leave a mess on your garage floor, so it's quite minor. The factory catalytic converter is still in place, so it's 50-state legal, but a brand new stainless exhaust system was installed behind it, giving the car a great sound and those two shiny chrome exhaust tips. Stock 16-inch alloys have a handsome 5-spoke pattern and carry recent 245/50/16 performance radials, likely only the second set of tires this car has ever worn.

Beautifully preserved, never abused, and almost completely stock, this Firebird has to be the biggest bang for the buck available anywhere. It drives like a new car and the performance (and performance potential) continue to make it one of the most perennially popular cars you can own. Call today!

Vehicle: 1995 Pontiac Firebird Formula
Price: $16,900
Stock Number: 114100
Mileage: 37,990
VIN: 2G2FV22PXS2251888
Engine: 350 cubic inch LT1 V8
Transmission: 6-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 3.42
Wheelbase: 101 inches
Wheels: 16-inch aluminm wheels
Tires: 245/50/16 performance radial
Exterior Color: Torch Red
Interior Color: Black cloth
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