HIGH SCHOOL FORMULA
Story and Photos by Bob Wicker
What did you drive in high school? I was somewhat fortunate in that my parents' hand me down 1976 Olds Cutlass Salon was at least a 350 4bbl, bucket seat and console car, although it was the ugliest shade of cream ever painted on a vehicle. It had the same color cream interior to match (yuk!) Oh, and my Mom wrecked it just before I started driving it, so the rear 1/4 panel was bashed in. At least it wasn't a Pacer, or a Mustang II, or worse.
But that was a few (ok, many) years ago. What about today? The typical high school parking lot today is filled with used Toyota's, Honda's, Kia's and other examples of bland, milk toast rides.
However, if you happen to be Kyle Albritton, of Katy, TX, you are far better off when it comes to the set of wheels that you drive in to the school parking lot every day. Kyle, you see, has a Dad who grew up on GM Muscle cars, and still owns one today (a 1970 big block Chevelle). So when it came time to find young Kyle a ride for school, Kyle's dad, Steve, wasn't going to let his son arrive at school in some used up Hyundai, or other mundane ride.
Steve found this fine bird, instead. A 1977 Formula with under 75,000 miles, with one repaint in its original color (code 69 Brentwood Brown), otherwise all original, and priced right. Steve made the buy, and Kyle gets to cruise to school in style.
Kyle's Formula was sold new in Whitehall, PA, to a Pennsylvania State Trooper who owned the car for 29 years. During that time the car was garage kept and never driven in inclement weather. In 2006, the original owner sold the car to its second owner in Houston, Texas. That is where Steve found and purchased the car for Kyle in 2010, making Kyle the third owner.
The 1977 Firebird Formula sported a newly designed steel hood with flat, non functional, twin scoops. The same hood design would be used on the Formula through the end of the second generation in 1981. As the 2nd generation of the Firebird production progressed, more and more features became standard on the Formula model. For 77, such standard features included a V8 engine, power steering and brakes, a luxury cushion steering wheel, front console, outside dual sport mirrors, a rear deck lid spoiler, Formula decals for the fenders and spoiler, and a bird decal on the spoiler. Kyle's Formula was also ordered with Rally II wheels, air conditioning, a Formula steering wheel, AM/FM radio, deluxe seat belts and a few other trim options.
While the Pontiac built 301 V8 was standard for the 77 Formula until June 2, 1977, Kyle's car ( A February 1977 built car) came equipped with the the code LG3 305 2bbl Chevrolet built engine, and a TH350 three speed automatic transmission as no cost options. This was probably due to the lack of 301 inventory that was being eaten up by Grand Prix and other Pontiac production in 1977. After June 2, 1977 the LG3 305 2bbl became the 49 state standard engine in the Formula for the rest of 1977 and in 1978. The engine was designated both years by "U" code in the VIN.
This Formula's originality shows in it's excellent, code 64R1, Buckskin standard interior. And the air conditioning still blows cold with its original R-12 Freon. The Formula has never been modified, save for some tasteful after market gauges added to the console map pocket and the reversing of the air cleaner lid for that sucking ram air sound.
Pedigree for Kyle's fine Formy is in the form of the original owner's manuals, sales paperwork, warranty booklet, and other original documents.
Thanks to his Dad, Kyle can be content knowing that his high school ride turns heads and oozes old school 70's cool. Thus, making it a High School Formula we would all like to evaluate.
Kyle and his girlfriend cruising in the Formula
CLICK HERE FOR A PRINTABLE POSTER OF THIS CAR
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