1989 Pontiac Firebird Reviews - Page 6 of 10

1989 Pontiac Firebird 2.8 MPFI V6 from North America

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership2001
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 2.8 MPFI V6 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired80000 miles
Most recent distance140000 miles
Previous carToyota Corolla

Summary:

Beautiful piece of junk

Faults:

Ignition problems galore! Replaced the key and cylinder (key has chip in it).

Replaced neutral start switch.

Replaced starter (4 times).

Installed a heat shield on the starter.

Had the security system bypassed (300 dollars!).

Replaced fuel injection control module (another 300 dollars!).

Replaced alternator (with original equipment - 150 dollars).

Replaced all of exhaust system including muffler, pipes, and catalytic converter - 400 dollars.

Headlights would not go up or down on their own (I repaired them myself).

General Comments:

A stunningly beautiful car with a flawless sapphire-pearl paint job.

Original rims with Goodyear Eagle T/A tires in awesome shape.

The best handling car I've owned, and quite powerful for a V6!

Excellent gas mileage, even with A/C on and stepping into the gas.

Blue tinted windows to match the car's "chameleon" white to blue paint.

With all the problems I had with the ignition, and still had with it even after all the repairs, I called this car a "beautiful piece of junk".

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd April, 2003

6th May 2003, 10:18

What did you mean a chip in the key? I'm not familiar with this. I'm having ignition problems with 88 Pontiac 2.8 V6.

4th Dec 2005, 19:54

The pass key system is a pita, and I am allways afraid of loosing my keys. I don't blame you for being frustrated with your car. I own an 89 IROC Z Camaro (350 with all options), and it is very costly for repairs on this car also. The trick to owning these cars is to buy all the parts you need aftermarket, and either put them in yourself or pay someelse to do it. EBAY has been the best thing ever happen to my car, since I bought $2000 of suspension and brake parts for $600. They are new parts from respectable manufacturers also. EBAY is also great for NOS stuff like locks, panels, interior and trim pieces, badges, and much more.

I think you would have been happier with the Formula or GTA version of your car, it has more features, more horsepower, and is more fun to drive. I'll admit though that I have driven the V6 version also, and they are fast for a V6 too.

Good luck with your car, just use the Internet and better mechanics to your advantage. Otherwise the "little problems" will continue to put a big hurt on your wallet.

If your disappointed with your car, older Camaros are cheap and come without the hassle of "flip-up" headlights.

1989 Pontiac Firebird Formula 350 5.7 liter from North America

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership1989
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 5.7 liter Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.2 / 10
Distance when acquired6 miles
Most recent distance92000 miles
Previous carPontiac Firebird

Summary:

I love this car. PERIOD

Faults:

The transmission went a few years ago. She is idling ruff right now, but I don't drive it very often. I needs a new exhaust, (first one) tune up, power steering pump and a paint job (2nd one). Among other interior fixes. Minor at best.

General Comments:

Back in the mid 70's when I first sat in my brother-in-laws 1968 red convertible firebird, I wanted one of these cars. After the show Knight Rider, (I was a teenager then), I REALLY wanted a Bird. So, I bought my first in 1986. I loved the car, but it got rear ended in 1989 and was never the same. So I traded it in for a fully loaded Formula 350. I will always love this car. I have fond memories with it. Taking it up to MT. Washington in NH 2 weeks after I got it. Driving with the T-Tops off, man this is some car. I wish Pontiac would continue making them. My friend got a 2002 fully loaded Trans Am, that is some car as well. I will miss the F-Body, but will never get rid of mine.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th February, 2003

1989 Pontiac Firebird Formula 350 5.7 Litre TPI from North America

Year of manufacture1989
First year of ownership1991
Most recent year of ownership1997
Engine and transmission 5.7 Litre TPI Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.8 / 10
Distance when acquired50000 miles
Most recent distance72000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Caprice

Summary:

The vehicle has its flaws, but its BRUTAL performance FAR outweighs them. A BEAST for the money

Faults:

Brakes had to be replaced around 70000, however, it was not unexpected. The Formula 350 comes with 4 wheel disc brakes and I tend to accelerate hard and brake hard (hehe), so worn brakes are to be expected.

Transmission had to be replaced around 60000 miles. When I bought the car I thought I detected a slight slip, but I was so excited about the car I ignored it and bought it anyway. Even after it was replaced it never seemed to be able to put the full torque to the road.

The car never idled smoothly after warming up. I took it to several mechanics who couldn't fix it. When cold, it ran like an animal, but at a stop sign when warm it would die.

Hood and hatch struts are POORLY designed. If you get more than 2 years out of either you need to buy a lottery ticket because you have beaten the odds.

General Comments:

For a tall person (6'2") I had PLENTY of room and the seat was comfortable and secure. The back seat is good for speakers or SMALL children, but otherwise useless.

I did not know what "handling" was all about until I bought this car. The straight line acceleration is phenomenal, but the whiplash traction through the turns is what really made me take notice. Simply stated, the Pontiac 5.7 litre Formula 350 could navigate turns that had me white-knuckled on the steering wheel. The wide stance coupled with the 17" tires I put on it NEVER failed to shred a curve. Stability and control through the turn is INCREDIBLE and that is stock, without any suspension modification.

A well cared for 5.7 litre Formula 350 will consistently trash other stock "wannabe" Mustangs and Camaros and establish its dominance.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st August, 2002

7th Sep 2003, 23:04

This page is awesome! I too have a formula 350, but it is a 87. I was surfing the net looking for info about my car when I came to this site. I don't have the original engine. The engine I put in it came out of a 1990 Chevy caprice interceptor. A D.O.T car! The caprice rant a 1/4 et. time of 15 seconds. After putting the engine in the bird I think it will fun flat 13's.

27th Sep 2008, 12:54

I bought my Formula 5.0 TPI 5-speed new in 1989 and sold it 13 years later to buy a new 2002 Camaro Z28. The Firebird was a wonderful car, beautiful, fast, reliable, and affordable.

Here I am in 2008, and I still miss its good looks.

30th Dec 2010, 12:37

You could not have said it any better about the Formula 350, what a car. I just purchased one myself. It's an 89 Formula 350 WS6 with t-top option.

This car left an everlasting impression on me at the age of 15. My older brother purchased an 89 Formula 350 (beautiful red machine) in 1990 with very low miles. It was dealer owned and had a performance chip, stage 2 shift kit, headers, and a complete slp 3" exhaust, just awesome!!! I remember being in it with him, and a five liter Mustang GT tried to pass us. That thing got just past the driver side door before the Formula reeled it in like it was in neutral. Don't get me wrong, I respect the 5.0 Mustang, and actually own a couple fox body Mustangs as well, but that Formula 350 is so underestimated. With a few "some what" low cost upgrades, it goes from animal to beast! So needless to say, it was only a matter of time before I would buy one for myself, before the prices of these cars start climbing!!!

31st Dec 2010, 13:00

Stock to stock, the Mustang was faster when equipped with the traction lok 3.08 rear end and a manual tranny, period end of story. The Formula 350 lacked posi-traction and was not the best performer. 0-60 was close to 7 seconds to the Mustang's just over 6.

Average review marks: 7.6 / 10, based on 30 reviews