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Old 06-10-10, 03:08AM   #1
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Join Date: May 2010
Location: delray beach fl
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Cool Differences of an 88 Formula & a regular Firebird with a v-8?

Hello everyone! This is my first post & I hope to get to the point & not be long winded. My son bought his first car & I told him if he bought a front wheel drive Jap "tin can" he would be paying a lot of money to get it fixed. I'm a shade tree mechanic & have had a '66 &'67 GTO and a '70 Firebird Esprit (my 1st cam install). I also removed & installed a "stroker" 377 cubes in my '95 C1500 pick-up I'm not bragging this just to give you some background-experience everything takes me a long time the first time I try. Sorry for such a LONG sentence but I'm using an I-Phone keypad.
My first question is can someone tell me how to tell the difference between an '88 Formula and a regular Firebird SE? This bird was sold as a Formula but how do we verify? Also, I think it has a WS6 suspension it's got a big sway bar in the back & 16 inch aluminum mags with the WS6 center caps. I guess I'll wait to see what kind of answers & probably questions to ID this car. My boy paid $1700 for this car & he is tapped out but he works part time & saves his money he loves his first car! My brother calls it a "beater" any comments on this? Thanks in advance for any insight on this insult or words of advice?
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Old 07-10-10, 12:13AM   #2
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Thirdgen.org is a world of info on that car.Check it out.
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Old 06-14-14, 07:34PM   #3
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Formula's had the WS6 suspension, that was the key difference between a Formula and a standard Firebird/SE. The Formula's also offered the 305 and 350 TPI engines which were not available in the Firebird/SE. The Fomula had the hood bulge on the driver's side while the Firebird/SE had a flat hood. Formula's also had 16 x 8 " aluminum turbo wheels while the Firefird/SE had similar looking wheels that were 15 x 7". I can't remember if the Formula had bigger brakes or not.
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Old 08-07-14, 12:55PM   #4
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Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: La Jolla , California
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1988 Firebird Formula VIN Decode

If the 5th digit in the VIN # is an : 8 = 350" Chevy Multipoint FI engine
: F = 305" Chevy MFI
: E = 305" Chevy TBI (throttle body injected)
: S = 173" V6 TBI

10th digit is the production year : J = 1988

11th digit is the assy. plant : L = Van Nuys Calif

Last 6 digits are production #'s starting @ 100001 and go up

an option code of W66 would indicate the Formula appearance/trim package
Step Away From The KOOL AID !
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