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Stock #:


1981 Pontiac Firebird Esprit



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1981 Pontiac

Firebird Esprit



Engine Size
6 cylinder
71,156 (Unknown)
Fort Worth
Questions? Send A Message

or give us a call at (817) 764-8000

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A heavily redesigned Firebird debuted in 1979, and they weren't all Bandit Trans Ams. If you just wanted a nice car to drive every day, one with a little personality and great handling, something like this 1981 Pontiac Firebird Esprit would have been just right. Loaded with options and a lot of recent work, it's affordable fun today just like it was back then.

With new front and rear fascias, the Firebird looked radically different by 1981, and sales prove that it was a popular look. On this Esprit, there's fresh white paint that looks fantastic. There's no '70s silliness, just clean bodywork that showcases one of Pontiac's better designs. Of course, all the sheetmetal is original and completely untouched by rust or accident, and the way it fits together is the way it was when it left the factory 27 years ago. The Esprit was pitched as a more sophisticated, upscale model, and without the Trans Am's showy graphics package, it is a bit less ostentatious, but only just. There are gold tape stripes, a familiar ducktail spoiler out back, and aggressive grille openings up front, so it definitely looks like a Firebird, just not as overwhelming. We like the look a lot.

Inside, it's the same story, with a very nicely preserved tan cloth bucket seat interior that combines old and new seamlessly. The seat covers, carpets, and headliner are new and duplicate the original look exactly, and the goal wasn't a performance look, but comfort. Perhaps the door panels show a few minor signs of age, but there's really not much to complain about, and the dash pad has zero evidence of UV damage or cracking. A woodgrained dashboard looks great here, an interesting, luxurious contrast to the racy Trans Am, but while there are still multiple dials, the only gauges you get are speed and fuel level. The lone upgrade inside is a Kenwood AM/FM/CD stereo that fits neatly in the original radio's slot. You'll also note that this car has a tilt wheel and factory A/C, which blows cold, a nice upgrade and mandatory on a car from down south. The very clean trunk even includes the original space-saver spare as well as a complete jack assembly.

A 231 cubic inch V6 was standard equipment, and that engine would go on to fame as GM's 3.8 liter V6, so you know it's durable and smooth. It's really tucked far back by the firewall in the large engine bay, but that means the Esprit has great weight distribution and handling, and service access is good. With a 2-barrel carburetor, it makes a very smooth 190 pounds of torque, so it's no slouch, and fuel economy will surprise you, even today. There are a lot of fresh parts, including a new water pump, new motor mounts, and a fresh set of valve cover gaskets, so everything works as it should. A quiet exhaust system is the right choice in this low-key Poncho, and there are new shocks and brakes, so it really does feel like a car you could drive every day. Handsome Pontiac "snowflake" wheels look great and wear newer 215/65/15 Goodyear radials.

These cars are seeing some action in the market, and the less common Esprit is a neat alternative to the Trans Am. With lots of recent work, you can buy this one with confidence. Call today!

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  • Defrost
  • AM/FM Radio
  • Air Conditioning
  • Cloth Interior
  • Heat
  • Tilt Wheel
  • Front Disc Brakes
  • Power Brakes
  • Power Steering
  • Seatbelts (Front)
  • Seatbelts (Rear)
  • CD Player
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  • Factory Buildsheet
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Exterior Color
Interior Color
Buckskin Tan
Front Suspension
Coil Spring
Rear Suspension
Leaf Spring
Front Brakes
Power Disc
Rear Brakes
Power Drum
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