Market Spotlight

The most valuable Firebirds from every generation

by Greg Ingold
1 September 2021 3 min read
Photo by Mecum

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. Although most were relatively affordable when new and remain so today, a select few have appreciated into exotic-car territory. We looked at each generation, and here are the most expensive cars from each series.

First Generation (1967-1969): 1969 Firebird Trans Am Convertible

Courtesy Mecum

#2 (Excellent) condition average value: $1,000,000

1969 is when it all started, Pontiac introduced the famous Trans Am to the Firebird lineup. Aside from the famous Cameo White body with Tyrol Blue stripes, the Trans Am included plenty of other upgrades. This included a standard Ram Air III 400-cid engine, with the optional Ram Air IV, heavy duty suspension and quicker ratio steering. Trans Ams are very uncommon to start with.

Only 697 total cars were produced, so they bring six-figures for any car in excellent condition. Convertibles are a completely different story, though, with eight being produced. While all are equipped with the less powerful Ram Air III engine, a pristine T/A Convertible is easily a seven-figure car. Being even rarer than a Hemi Cuda Convertible, these cars come up for sale just about as infrequently.

Second Generation (1970-1981): 1970 Firebird Trans Am 400/370-hp Ram Air IV Coupe

Courtesy Mecum

#2 (Excellent) condition average value: $172,000

Although the second-gen Firebird achieved pop-culture fame in its later years—think, T-Tops and screaming chicken—serious collectors prefer the high horsepower, tightly wound thoroughbreds of the early ’70s. It should thus come as no surprise that a the most expensive of this era would be an early Trans Am. For the first few years of Trans Am production, numbers were the lowest and the most sought after engine options were offered. One of the rarest being the Ram Air IV. Pontiac offered this engine (distinguished by round-port, high-compression cylinder heads) in the Trans Am for only two years, producing only 88 of the cars. The Ram Air IV T/A is closely followed in value by the 455 Super Duty equipped cars in 1973.

Third Generation (1982-1992): 1992 Firebird SLP Firehawk Coupe

#2 (Excellent) condition average value: $61,000

GM discontinued production of Pontiac V-8 engines in 1981, forcing the third-gen Firebird to find other ways to distinguish itself from its Chevrolet twin, the Camaro.

The Firebird of this era that managed to do that well is the Firehawk, built by Street Legal Performance (SLP). While SLP was technically an outside tuning company, you could walk into your Pontiac dealer and order yourself a Firehawk using option code B4U. This got you a fire breathing Firebird making 350-hp out of it’s 350-Chevy engine and a number of additional braking and handling upgrades. With 25 cars produced in total, these represent the top end in terms of both performance and value, for F-Bodies. The very best of these cars can flirt with the $100,000 mark. Given how rarely they come up for sale, we wouldn’t be surprised to see these continue to climb.

Fourth Generation (1993-2002): 1997 Firebird SLP Firehawk 350/330-hp LT4 Coupe

#2 (Excellent) condition average value: $59,600

The final series of Firebird launched in 1993, lasting nine years with a final send off in 2002. Traditionally, the very last year of any significant car will bring the most money, this is not the case with 4th Gen Firebirds. It takes a truly special car to make that happen and the 1997 SLP Firehawk equipped with the LT4 engine is it.

The Firebird would see a major face lift and a complete engine change in 1998 to the LS platform; however for 1997, SLP had a few tricks hidden up its sleeve. It sourced a number of LT4 engines used in the Corvette program, most notably in the Grand Sport. SLP would install the LT4 in just 29 Firehawks (and 100 Camaros). Like the third-gen Firehawk, these cars rarely come up for sale and are highly coveted by Pontiac enthusiasts.


  • Judi Edwards says:

    Sorry to see you did not include the 1967 Firebird. We owned a 326 for 50 years and in mint condition. It was the first year they came out. I bought it in February 1967 as it didn’t come out in the fall. It was teal blue and we showed it in multiple car shows.

    • Dina Winchel says:

      I am in agreement with Judi Edward’s. I like the 1967 Firebird & Camero’s.
      But, I guess the reason they aren’t on this list would be because they didn’t make the Transam until 1969?

  • Frances Smith says:

    What happened to the values on 1982 to 1988

  • Frances Smith says:

    What happened to 1982 to 1986 . i have 1986.

    • George Hodges says:

      82-86 F bodies were rattletrap garbage once you hit 100k miles. My 85 T/A was the biggest piece of crap ive ever owned. The GTA and Turbo Anniversary edition should be the big sellers from that era. The rest was pretty mediocre.

  • Dean lewis says:

    What about the gta 1989 limited edition t roof they were made in v6 turbo and 350 chev turbo 700 gearbox built for the 20 th anniversary grand trismo I thought they would be way up around the million dollar price I have mine up for $70,000 at the moment for sale because I no how rare and special they are out of the whole trans am company

  • Greg_I says:

    @Dean lewis If you peek at the Hagerty Price Guide for those they’re still under that of the Firehawk which they only built 27 of for the 3rd generation.

    That said a 20th Anniversary making $100,000 some day seems a lot more feasible than $1 million. It takes a lot of factors beyond rarity to reach that number. That goes for just about any car.

  • Greg_I says:

    @Dean lewis If you peek at the Hagerty Price Guide for those they’re still under that of the Firehawk which they only built 27 of for the 3rd generation.

    That said a 20th anniversary selling for $1 million would take a lot of convincing for me. They’ve fluctuated a lot, but keep in mind, rarity can equate to value, but not always and to get to $1 million.

  • Allan Quarles says:

    I think the 69 Pontiac trans am coupe should be worth almost a million also

  • Roosevelt Matos says:

    I have a Pontiac Firebird Trans Am 1986 with a 350cid engine and a HT700 transmission, it’s for sale $79,000.00

    • Vinskin says:

      There’s always someone every time. The comments are hard to read, I feel bad. 86 T/A for $79,000 LOL WTF!? LaLa land

      • Daryl Rigney says:

        Sorry to see no 1967 Firebirds mentioned here. I own a 1967 Firebird convertible 326 w/3speed manual floor shifter. I’ve had the car since 1971 when my late father purchased it, it’s been in the family since then. Great condition and lots of fun taking it out for weekend cruises. Gets a ton of looks all around.

  • Danial says:


  • Matt says:

    I have a 1971 formula 455 with vinyl split top and honeycomb wheels. Matching numbers. Anyone know the value on it?

  • Gloria Atkins says:

    I have a 1992 Pontiac Firebird convertible. Is it worth anything?

  • George Hodges says:

    82-92F bodies were rattletrap garbage once you hit 100k miles. My 85 T/A was the biggest piece of crap ive ever owned. The GTA and Turbo Anniversary edition should be the big sellers from that era. The rest was pretty mediocre.


    I own a 68 Firebird 400 with a 4 speed. It’s priceless for many reasons. For one, it’s hard to put a price on a piece of machinery that you truly enjoy looking at. A car that you’ve bonded with over years, creating a soul of sorts to the car itself. You can tell when something is not right. Carb, fuel filter, fuel pump? But you already know. .. because you’ve become one.

  • Vince says:

    What has happened that people are asking crazy amounts of $$for 82-89 firebird/Trans Am’s? I try to follow all , but lately asking prices are are way up there.

  • William Gray says:

    Funny,i get that the fire hawk is definitely desirable, but myself its funny because i have a rarer car than that,2001 ta ws6 convertible white with black top camel interior auto,1 of 14.they have not hit the mark yet but the last 3 yrs of convertible ws6 will be highly sought after at some point,just like 03 04 12 13 mustang cobra very low production.time will tell.

  • Joe says:

    U forgot the 98-99 WS6 1LE
    Very Rare CARS

  • jim says:

    I have a 2002 formula firebird , with just over 100.000 miles . very nice condition , has the Ls1 and runs strong. Im curious to see how high the value may get. pretty navy blue with leather interior

  • David S Shurick says:

    In 1968 my dad bought a used 1967 gold color Pontiac Firebird with a basic 6 cylinder 230 with three on the tree. It was in the shop more then on the road. Early on we had the engine rebuilt and nothing really changed. I was too young to know of all the problems but he sold it for hardly anything. I just remember being so jealous of the owners/neighbors 1969 yellow Pontiac Firebird 400. They seemed to never have had a problem.

  • Robert Evans says:

    I’ve got 2 fire chickens . A 75 and an 88 both formulas . I just put twin turbos on my 88 .. it’s now a demon from hell .. not sure how fast it hits because the speed speedometer only goes to 140 . . My goals to hit 200 in it . . My 75 is just for picking up chicks añd douche pools who drive ford’s who are broke down in there high heels. Not sure why those ford lovers always brake down in high heels but each to there own I guess lol 🤣

    • Graham Barnes says:

      Reading these comments is kind of fun and kind of sad.
      Either way these cars are burning up the planet.
      I understand we can feel attached to symbols of the past (for most people it’s probably a reliving of teenage days).
      Maybe we can move on without burning up more oil.
      I love Lotuses but I’ve trained myself to not need one.
      Let’s love our planet.

  • Charles Anthony says:

    Are 4th gen NHRA Formulas and TAs worth more than regular ones?

  • Brian martinsen says:

    i just rebuilt a 1972 firebird transam all original numbers matching i know this for a fact because it sat in my garage for over 40 years 455 ho colum shift cameo white saddle interior everything flows real nice better than the black or blue also original build sheet and pitures of the build fun to drive

  • Charlotte A. Rose says:

    This list is JUST the highest value of each of the 4 generations. Therefore only 4 we’re going to be included. I have a 97 & 2000, 4th gen Ws6 white convertible top. All of our beautiful firebird/trans Ams can’t be on the list. Bring them to Trans Am Nationals in Dayton/Fairborn, Ohio Aug 25-27, 2023. The largest gathering of owners, can tell you a value, or you can sell, and see others.

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