1969 Pontiac Firebird Resurfaces After Decades, Fighting for Survival

A 1969 Firebird project coming with lots of mysterious tidbits will soon look for a new owner as part of an online auction.

The car still looks like a solid restoration candidate, checking the essential boxes, including an overall good condition and a V8 engine under the hood.

The auction house provided limited information about the car, but the car comes with a little over 50,000 miles (approximately 80,000 km) on the block. The engine is paired with an automatic transmission, though its condition is unknown.

The engine doesn’t look good, with the photos showing rust under the hood. I wouldn’t be surprised if the engine is seized from sitting, but a good mechanic checking out the vehicle in person should be able to tell more about the V8’s condition.

Pontiac produced over 87,000 Firebirds for the 1969 model year, and most (over 74,000 units) rolled off the assembly lines as a 2-door coupe. Approximately 11,600 units left the factory as a 2-door convertible.

The base six-cylinder engine was installed on nearly 21,000 Firebirds, while the top V8 choice was the 350. Pontiac also offered a 400 big-block available for the Trans Am.

The car still exhibits a solid shape, with some extra parts currently stored inside. The cabin looks good, though the headliner shows some rips that’ll have to be resolved first thing during a restoration job. However, the buyer should thoroughly clean the interior and remove the extra parts to correctly determine the cabin’s current shape.

The listing fails to answer several key questions, but I believe this Firebird was recovered from an estate, so the auction house might not have additional information either. For example, it’s impossible to tell how much of this Firebird is still original and whether the car has received any substantial fixes (such as a rebuilt engine or a repaint) throughout its lifetime. If I were to guess, I’d say the car is all-original, unmolested, and unrestored, but I can’t tell this for sure without first seeing everything in person.

It’s also unclear if the mileage is original.

The auction will end on October 3, and I don’t expect this Firebird to sell for more than $10,000 if the car is completely original and the engine still starts and runs. Otherwise, it’s just a project requiring a full restoration, and similar projects are already available online.

A fully restored Firebird coming in tip-top shape and with original parts can sell for up to $100,000 if it’s a V8-powered example.

If you want to see this Firebird in person, you’ll have to go to Appleton. I’m certain you’ll also need a trailer, as the vehicle doesn’t seem roadworthy, and there’s a good chance the engine no longer starts and runs.

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