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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

The most valuable Firebirds from every generation

Almost everyone has an opinion about Pontiac Firebirds. Ours, for the record, is that they're pretty great. Spanning 35 years, four generations, and myriad high-performance variations-not to mention three Smokey and the Bandit movies, Knight Rider, and countless other cultural touchstones-the Firebird transcends typical collecting considerations and cuts to the core reason most of us like old cars-they're fun.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/market-trends/hagerty-insider/most-valuable-firebirds-every-generation...
90 REPLIES 90
TA76
Intermediate Driver

The number I have show 3196 TAs were made and 1046 were blue.

Edwardsg
Intermediate Driver

1968 RA2 convertible needs a mention. Total RA2 production was low - a mid year release with round port heads. Does anyone know if more than 1 was built? The one I know of is still original owner. Overall, 110 were put in Firebirds, while 199 were in GTO’s.

The ohc 6 sleeper model one refers to was the 4 bbl sprint model. Fast for a 6 cylinder, but hard pressed to hang with any v8. Kind of interesting seeing a quadrajet feeding that little 6. And I seem to recall they had split exhaust headers and dual pipes. Also compression was bumped to 10.5 requiring premium. As good as some of the innovation was at the time, the old adage ‘there is no replacement for displacement’ tells the story. For someone seeking a rather unique pony car, this is worth looking at.
RW68RSConv
Intermediate Driver

You have to give additional honorable mentions for the first gen series...and I can speak with authority because I was there during the sales.... My good buddy owned 2 of the 12 RAM AIR II '68 Firebird Convertibles, one which sold at Mecum Indy for $150K in 2014 and his 1969 RAM Air IV Trans Am 4spd sold for $375K 5 yrs ago. Yes, neither 1 of 6, but notable values for first gen regardless.
didkie
New Driver

I have a 1999 Trans Am Fire Bird, 30th Anniversary Convertible, arctic white with all the 30th anniversary blue trim inside and out , it is show room new with only 12,500 miles. There was only 510 of these convertibles made in 1999. A beautiful car!

MSRP
in 1999 $32,500
Michbc3
Pit Crew

MSRP for a 1989 20th Anniversary Trans Am Indy Pace car was $33,000 for comparison.
jdreeves
Pit Crew

I owned a 67 Shelby GT 500 4 speed Top Loader with the 428 Police Interceptor. 18K miles, Moss Green I bought it 1996 for 34K and sold it in 1999 for 59.5 K. The only thing that I do not miss about the car was the 5-6 m.p.g. that it got around town and 10-11 on the freeway with a 3.91 rear end. I have always loved the 67 to 70 Firebirds and the 69 and 70 Trans Ams. These iconic muscle cars were affordable for the average gear heads. However the prices of a lot of classic cars over the last ten years are through the stratosphere. They are not affordable unless you are very affluent. I paid 20K for my 63 Split window Corvette in 1990 and I have put another 40K into her restoring her from a driver car to a nice car. She is probably worth 110 to 130K.Currently I am purchasing a 70 AMX Go Pack 390 with a 4 speed, leather interior and factory a/c Big Bad Blue with a shadow hood with 35K miles on it for 27.5. At least the AMX's and Javelins are still reasonably priced. The only time you will pay 150K is if you buy a rare 69 SS AMX they only built 52 of them. I would love to buy a 70 Trans Am or a 68 to 70 Firebird convertible with a 400 and a four speed. The Camaro and the Mustang and the Cuda seemed to eclipse the other GM muscle cars which is a shame as I like the Firebirds and T.A.s and the GTOs. In my opinion they are better looking cars than the Camaros and the Chevelles and the the Mustangs.
lenscats
New Driver

God I wish I had my 72 Firebird back. Loved that car but stupedly sold it. Big mistake!
ThumperUSMC
Intermediate Driver

While I have always liked the Firebird's, concerning the Gen 1 cars, my choice would have been the 1967 Firebird 400 Convertible. I would even trade one of my Corvettes for one of those. And that is saying a lot...
One of my best friends brother-in-law still has his, that he bought brand new. I loved it, but couldn't afford it back then, and he won't even budge on selling it now, with a straight up no, to ANY offer I make.
dncowand85
New Driver

This is my 1992 Formula Firebird. Only 82,300 miles. Check it out on my YouTube channel. CHARITYBOWL85
OldFitz
New Driver

Great article, takes me back to college days. As a mostly broke college student, I bought a 66 Sprint convertible in 1969 from a friends older brother who was shipping out to Vietnam. Gray with black top and interior, 4-speed with posi and nothing else but a radio. Actual experience in Atlanta, Ga. proved it would stay with just about anything stock up to about half way through 3d gear. Tires were the limiting factor, and I tried to break the drive train daily. It turned 7000 rpm with ease. Met my wife driving that car. After getting out of engineering school, the US army had plans all set for my immediate future, so I treated myself to a new car. Tried to trade the Sprint in on a 70 Trans Am at the local dealer, but USAA would not insure officers under 30 years old in a Trans Am in 1971. So I sat down with the dealer and ordered as close to the same car as the spec sheet would allow. I could insure a Formula 455 with USAA, so that was what I ended up with. The lower compression of the 1971 motor hurt the performance compared to the previous year. A fact I proved conclusively one night outside Ft. Dix, NJ. when I did find a 70 model to compare notes with. After consultation with my commanding officer, I refrained from further research while on active duty. Drove the car three more years until totaled by a drunk driver one night while it was parked outside my in-laws house in Atlanta. Those were good days.
Duck60
New Driver

Last new car I bought was an 81 T/A, 305, 4-speed, Hurst, WS6, charcoal with red decals and black interior. Special ordered it, and it was one of the last built. The Pontiac guys walked it through the build. The 305 doesn’t garner much respect, but it would light the tires in all four gears. Also had a nasty habit of swapping ends if you hit a bump at speed! I still regret selling it.
Dlyon
New Driver

In 1980 I purchased a 1967 H.O. Firebird, VIN# 100002, from a friend of my dad who was a GM engineer living near Pontiac, Michigan. The purchase price was $3200 (about $10,000 in 2021 dollars).

At the time, the 100002 “show” VIN plate was interesting but, it wasn’t anything spectacular. We were told the car had originally been used for media photo shoots and car shows. After a few months of ownership I quickly learned to stop telling friends and other fellow car enthusiasts about the Firebird’s pedigree and unique serial number. Their reaction was usually one of skepticism or total disbelief.

Fast forward about 20 years. The car is still in our family. It is now peacefully resting in total disarray in my dad’s back yard in Tucson, Az. An unfortunate run-in with a Phoenix telephone pole by my younger brother years earlier had rendered the car to an early retirement. In the early 2000’s, my father sold #100002 for $10,000.

Now fast forward about 15 years. The reality show “Gas Monkey Garage” find 2 Firebirds, #100001 (a convertible) AND #100002, in a barn and restore them to sell to a Pontiac collector.

My dad is gone but, we still have the original build sheet for #100002 as our family’s reminder of our 20+ year history with the 1st production Firebird Hardtop.
84MSE
New Driver

20191116-20191116-IMG_20191116_073537571.JPGFinally the 3rd Gens are starting to worth something! I am the original owner of a 1984 Mecham Racing MSE (Motor Sport Edition) that I recently did a on frame restore with the original paint in tack. Was always surprised at such a low value for the 3rd Gen TA's, which is why I never sold it... now I'm glad I didn't. Bought the car when I was 25 and now am really enjoying it after the full restore especially with much improved drivetrain.

Ultrared93
New Driver

Greg, I was the happy owner of a 70-1/2 TA in blue with white stripe, RAIII, 4-sp, 3.51 rear that I ordered. It was the last car delivered by Robert Lee Pontiac in Philadelphia before they closed. Apparently shipment was delayed since they "couldn't find it" in the Lordstown, OH plant parking lot. How do you not find/see a spoiler bedecked car in bright blue with a big white stripe?
I owned it until 2002, when, due to another purchase, I ran out of space, and my wife hinted that the "garage furniture" needed to go. However, if I had optioned it with air, I might still have it.
I think there is a mistake in your description of the car. All the factory literature (shop manual with TA supplement) referred to a SD400 engine, not RAIV. For all practical purposes, it was probably the same engine, but possibly with the name changed to circumvent the GM lb/hp limit at the time. That engine option also did not appear in the ordering information, but if you knew the proper option code, you could get it. I did not. I had lots of good lots of good times with my TransAm, including doing lots of autocrosses. Thanks for the article.
gtoguy4
New Driver

The rarest Firebirds are the 1973 and 74 super duty Formulas. My 1974 is one of only 59 made. I don't see them ever mentioned.
TOG
Pit Crew

The formulas rock!
None of that silly boy racer stuff on em
more of a sleeper
the 455 HO in our '73 Bird was "donated" by a rollover '71 formula with functional ram air
TOG
TOG
Goldingirl
New Driver

Wish the article mentioned the TransAm that I owned. Only 110 were made with this combination; 1976 T-top, 455 engine, 4 speed. Of course it came with the gold bird and pinstriping. However, I didn't like the gold and my dad arranged to have all of the gold stripped and replaced with a gorgeous metallic silver. I was 15 when he bought the car and couldn't drive it until I was 16, but my boyfriend could! The fastest that I ever drove it was 160 MPH. Still shaking my head as to why I sold it!
DanMartin
New Driver

I've owned several Firebirds, but my favorite, by far, was a 70 1/2 Formula 400, metallic (Lucerne?) blue.. It was my first new car. Only option was a console, and an uncle helped me with the payments--MSRP was ~ $3400.
I later had a same year Camaro RS/SS 350, which I mildly hot-rodded (cam, intake manifold, carb, headers, true 2 1/2 duals over the axle, with Sonic Turbos. It genuinely kicked butt, but for unknown reasons, I still preferred the stock Firebird.
ThePorscheMan
Intermediate Driver

How do you miss the greatest Firechicken of all... McQ??
Firebirdnick67
New Driver

I have a ‘69 350 HO auto convertible - also pretty rare, I believe - These are understated icons of the era. Absolutely beautiful and o-so-amazing to drive. I will never sell it. Just never get on the wrong side of Rochester 4bbl 😬
MsFirehawk
New Driver

I was hoping my car made this list before reading… it didn’t, but I’m sure it’s not much further down the list. 2001 10th Anniversary Firehawk…. I knew my ultimate dream car would top this list though! I’d even settle for the hard top! Great article and I appreciated reading
Julie
Community Manager

Love the first gens!
Callen
Pit Crew

Wish I could have kept all my Firebirds, but it never works like that. My first car was a 67 sprint, OHC 6 with a 4bbl and 4 speed. My second was a 72 Espirit, 350, 4 speed, brown metallic, tan interior and honeycomb wheels, a really pretty car. Next was a 70 Trans Am, white with the blue stripe, blue interior and RA III. After that was a 77 Formula 350, blue with blue velour interior, a very comfortable car to travel in. The final was a 72 455 HO Trans Am, M22, white with blue strip and as I recall black interior. My favorite out of all of these was the 70 Trans Am. The car I always wanted was a 67/68 with a 400, 4 speed, convertible with a hood tach.
Smithsonite
Intermediate Driver

I always loved the 1st gen Firebirds. Everything that came after didn't look as good to me. They really hit it out of the park right out of the gate with this one. Each generation that came out got less and less appealing to me.
Crashnburn
New Driver

I'm on my second 2nd gen Firebird. The first was a 77 Formula with a 400 engine with 350 heads to raise the compression a bit. It also had a 4bbl carb, Posi-Trac, and a 4 speed. It was metallic silver with white upholstery, and black carpets. I drove it really easy most of the time. Although, I only had to think about going fast, and it would press you back into the seats. I sold it to make room in the garage for my wife's car right after we were married.

I bought a 1981 301 NA SE without T-Tops in 2017. It has an automatic transmission. As far as I know, it's a numbers matching survivor car, minimal rust. I miss the power of my 400, and have looked for go-fast addons, but the 301 is a low deck engine, so it's next to impossible to find any go-fast parts that both fit, and are CA Air Resources Board allowed.

It came from the factory w/o A/C, had an unkown 3rd party A/C on it when I bought it, and had that replaced with a Vintage A/C unit. I thought I had a cooling problem, so I replaced the original fan with a flex fan and the radiator with a Cold Case radiator, then added an auxiliary electric fan to the radiator. I think the problem is in the temperature gauge; I put a reverse biased Zener diode into the temp sensing circuit to keep the gauge from reading scary ( but erroneous) temperatures.

Unfortunately, I think it was in an accident that wasn't reported (at least CarFax didn't find it), but I'm not giving the car back!
MidwstFirebirds
New Driver

Great article! We appreciate the love for our Firebirds, Formulas and Trans Ams of all generations. The Midwest Firebirds club is a first generation ('67 - 69') Firebird club, and I have been a Hagerty Member for over 10 years. No question the '69 TA 'vert is the king of the first generation 'birds, but the '68 Ram Air II is very special too. On the second gen side, I would say a '73 Super Duty TA or '73 Super Duty Formula would have to be brought into the argument. Any Pontiac round port engine is very collectible. Sorry, but the Chevy guys have no answer for the '73 Super Duty!!!!
Sajeev
Community Manager

I guess I'm not surprised that the 3rd Gen Firehawks are more valuable than the 20th Anniversary turbo cars, but I'm still kinda disappointed by this fact. 

Michbc3
Pit Crew

Certainly not more valuable to me. In 1992 the "smash mouth" front bumper change was so ugly that buyers were having dealerships retrofit brand new cars with the previous design! But that's fine that the 1989 TTA is underappreciated - if that is indeed the case. Makes it easier to get one when you want it.
melrip76
New Driver

Love these cars, thanks for sharing this, Hagerty! I own a 99 SLP Trans Am Firehawk #0114 with just 27k on the odometer. It's for sale and located in the Denver area! Email melrip76@gmail.com.
Gary_Bechtold
Technician

I'll take any one of these. I also love the late 70's early 80's look even though they are slow.
Olds34dude
Pit Crew

In ‘72, I bought a ‘67 Firebird convertible, 48000 miles, that “funny “ green with white guts and top from the local Pontiac dealer for $1100! Then gas went all the way up to 50 cents a gallon and I had to by a new Civic😱🤦‍♂️, that did solve the gas problem, I drove it 1500 miles from Vermont to Florida for $21 and some change- lol it probably would have cost $80 or so to drive the ‘bird!
DUB6
Technician

Ah the days when a 5 - or - 10 dollar bill would get you a full tank.  I worked for a time at a carwash that had self-service pumps out front, and our regular was 26.9 cents in 1968.  And for 2 quarters you got enough time on the magic wand to clean just about anything except a muddy work truck.  Of course, I was probably only making $0.80 per hour at the time, so everything is relative.  But I too remember when that awful 50 cents per gallon mark was hit, and we ALL were looking for Civics and Beetles and such.  I still had my big V-8s and such, but they got a LOT less miles put on them daily!  😢

Birdman1969
New Driver

What if Pontiac picked up on the Hurst Olds idea and crafted a Hurst Trans Am?
I built what could have been but never was and put a 462 under the hood. It has the standard Cameo White body with Gold stripes, Gold trim and Gold wheels.
DUB6
Technician

Sounds like a nice ride @Birdman1969 - got any pictures to share?  Would like to see it!

And hey, are you by any chance the Birdman from the rock star's cars posting that stirred up so much controversy?  😋

Birdman1969
New Driver

@DUB6 - Thank you for your interest and appreciation. I am not familiar with that Birdman controversial posting. I have a picture or two to share but I do not know the trick to posting a photo here.
DUB6
Technician

https://www.hagerty.com/media/entertainment/20-rock-stars-cars-for-those-who-love-to-drive-we-salute...

 

    Hey @Birdman1969 - I think the link above will take you to the rock star story - I asked you that tongue-in-cheek, as I sincerely doubt you're the guy, but it gave me a chuckle to remember some of the replies to that story.  Maybe you'll enjoy it too.  As far as posting photos, I've found it really simple, as I just click the little "camera" icon along the top of this REPLY box that I'm currently typing in, and follow the directions.  However, I think that doesn't always work for everyone, and @Sajeev sometimes has to jump in and give out a link to help with posting photos.

   At-any-rate, welcome to the forum, and as a fellow Pontiac owner, I'm glad to have the company!

DSCN2348 (2).JPG

Ronm
New Driver

I have a 1974 TA, 455 automatic. Total Jasper performance rebuild on the motor, with added 100 hp, transmission rebuild, new interior, new suspension. Very fun driving car. Body was painted by 2nd owner several years ago. I’m 3rd owner. I’ve got about 35k in so far. I love the car but don’t seem to have enough time to enjoy it. I’m open to a discussion about selling to anyone who knows enough about how special this car is. My phone # is 518-470-0347. Please only text.
MARK400
Intermediate Driver

Actually the most valuable Firebird is the one you own, and sitting behind the wheel and enjoying driving it, whatever year..
Kolectindust
Pit Crew

Found during an ice storm downtown Nashville, 1993. Used car lot front row special. $4300 for this 1984 15th Anniversary factory four-speed. After twenty years, it belongs to my son now.
Kolectindust
Pit Crew

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Kolectindust
Pit Crew

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