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1 of 12: 1978 Pontiac Trans Am Gold Special Edition

1978 Pontiac Trans Am

Anyone who thinks the muscle car was dead by 1976 has not looked at a Trans Am. Pontiac tried their hardest to keep the flag flying. Even their 400 cubic inch engine wasn’t quite enough to stave off the power-choking emissions requirements though. Still, a car like this is an impressive machine. This one not only has that desirable big block, but is also fitted with a manual 4-speed, the Special Edition package, and the Performance package. That all added up to lots of visual effects and some handling improvements. The seller claims that this car is only 1 of 12 made and I assume they are referring to the number of cars built with the same exact options. They also claim that the car has never been taken apart, but obviously they haven’t looked inside. Just kidding! This last of the breed is located in North York, Ontario, Canada and is listed here on eBay. Thanks goes to Jim S. for the tip!


  1. Cory

    I always wonder how much of an effect smokey and the bandit had on the values of these. I know I would have to have a black one just for that reason

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  2. Cassidy

    Never taken apart??? Like you said, “Did you look inside?” Looks like the rear quarters have been repainted. I am glad to see that the entire interior has been safely stored inside a garage.
    I don’t understand these eBay sellers who set a high reserve for their cars, yet really haven’t much to say about the vehicle. Why would anyone shell out thousands of dollars with no car history? When BF sells a car on eBay, buyers have tons of information, too bad these sellers with dollar signs in their eyes can’t figure out how to dispense information.

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  3. randy

    I wonder how many bricks held the cover on the T/A?

    The muscle car ended in ’72 in earnest, with a few exceptions, this not being one of them.

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  4. Bobsmyuncle

    Don’t forget the exchange rate REALLY favours you guys. It’s not too far from my travels so if anyone is truly serious I’d be happy to take a look and assist in any way.

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  5. Hoos Member

    I’m sure that the movie cars drive the prices. There is another Gold Edition on ebay now with a buy it now of $48,500. No claims to be one of twelve on this one.

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  6. JW

    Had a friend bought one of these new in 78, same color which I would have bought a black one but that’s me. It road like a wagon with no suspension travel at all but was pretty fast for the times. My 78 Ford stepside with a 400 v8 would keep up with it in a straight line though.

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  7. Another Bob

    This is pretty rust free for just sitting in a Southern Ontario garage. Looks like a fun project for someone with a Hairy Chest and assortment of Gold chains. I certainly wanted one of those once. I’d love a White 1970 455 SD.

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    • Utes

      @ Another Bob…
      SD T/A’s didn’t exist until ’73….& only stuck around for 1 more year.

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  8. Adam B

    Not only is the interior completely removed but so are all the aft lights. The seller shows new front quarters and door skins which means they know these original panels are beyond saving. He states the car was running, they were all running at one time, but does it run now.
    Already at almost 8k and reserve not met. This car will need 10-15k minimum to restore. You can buy a nice one for that amount and not have to worry about breaking your budget.

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  9. Slim Chance


    The truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    I’ll take a ’70 RA IV thank you very much.

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  10. don

    Oh my! never been apart? looks like it’s been apart to me, sorry pass on this one with reserve not even met.

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  11. jeff6599

    “even has the big block?” They only made one engine for the Injun that year and it was the 400. Sorry, no “big blocks” ever came out of PMD. Same thing with that ’70 TA 455SD; All those cars had was a RA III 400 or a RA IV 400.

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    • Jim

      I dispute that Pontiac never made a Big Block. The 421, 428 and 455’s were all considered Big Blocks. The difference was in the diameter of the crankshaft journals.
      This particular model didn’t have a Big Block but earlier models did.

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      • randy

        Big cubes did not necessarily make it a big block I don’t think. I know Olds use the same block for their 350 and 455, was the 455 considered a big block?

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  12. Slim Chance

    Should have bought the Brewster Green ‘ 73 455 SD for < $30k when I had the chance. 😕

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  13. Mark 'cuda man

    I laughed right out loud when I read this guys description. “Never taken apart” and “all original parts”……is he NUTS????? Don’t people proof read their own ads???? Don’t they realize how ridiculous they are and how ignorant they sound??? This guy is what gives us “car guys” a bad name….

    I just figured it out….he means it’s 1 out 12 that are taken apart just like this one!

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  14. RoughDiamond

    This seller is dreaming. My wife and I owned a S & B colored ’79 T/A with the 400 6.6 engine, Borg Warner 4-speed and the WS6 rear end. Was it that fast? No! Was it fun as heck to drive? Absolutely! Nothing like seeing the hood scoop twist to the side every time you nailed the throttle and the sound of that engine was so sweet. I have never driven a car that turned as many heads as that one.

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    • krash

      Rough Roads:
      your final line (I have never driven a car that turned as many heads as that one)
      applies with this car as well….except they’re turning away from this baby rather than (in your case) toward it…

      …thanks to the seller’s listing, this unfortunate auto is just turning stomachs

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  15. Alan (Michigan)

    Ended, unsold at $8300

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  16. Alan (Michigan)

    Looks like maybe a Lincoln under the sheet and bricks next to it?

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  17. pontiactivisit

    My friend in fairview pa has one of these. Automatic car. Bought it 7 years ago and has enjoyed it ever since. Gave 10k for it already amateurly restored. Not 1 of 12 but was a way better deal than this thing.

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  18. jeff6599

    The ‘new’ Olds engine series which came out in 1964 were 330 cu. in. and had a 4.62 in, bore center. lots of displacements were based on the standard deck height of 9.33 in. When more cubes were needed for the big cars, the deck height was increased to handle the longer stroke of the 425 and 455 motors. Hence the standard block and the raised block.

    Chrysler’s famous B block started life as a 350, then 361 then 383 (RoadRunner) and finally the 400. When more cubes were needed via stroke increase the deck was raised to handle the longer stroke of the 413, 426 and 440. Naturally it is called the RB block.

    Ford has true small blocks and big blocks. There are three currently popular engine families: the Windsor/Cleveland family, the FE family and the 385 series family. The Windsor started life as a 221, 260 289 and 302 displacement. There was a raised deck version that handled the 351 Windsor, 351 Cleveland, 351M(Medium- sometimes called Montreal) and the 400M . All of these are called small blocks with a 4.38 in. bore center. The FE series came out in 1958 as a 332 and 352 size and was built up to 428 at it’s conclusion. No raised decks. It had a 4.63 bore center and was generally called a big block until the 385 series came out around 1969. Now it is normally called just an FE. The 385 series grew from 385 cu. in. in trucks only to 429 and 460 in trucks and cars. No raised decks; called a big block.

    Pontiac’s engine came out in 1955 as a 287 with a 4.62 bore center. it grew to 316 326, 336, 347, 370, 389, 400, 421, 428 and 455 with no deck height change. Standard block; no different series ever known as a big block. There was a short deck engine sized at 265 and 301 cu.in. for several years known as the short deck. Very unpopular.

    Finally Chevrolet. It began as a 265 in 1955 and grew through many displacements up to 400 cu.in. with a 4.40 bore center and just one deck height. Always called a small block since 1958. In ’58 a 348 engine family was introduced with a 4.84 bore center. Usually called the W engine but also the big block and had displacements of 409 and 427. In 1965 the ‘new’ big block was introduced in 396 form. It had the same bore centers as the W engine due to production machinery (boring equipment) already in use in the factories. The big block was sold in cars up to 454 cu.in. in one standard deck height. A raised deck truck version was used in 366 and 427 displacements. Over the counter versions can be up to 572.

    I hope this helps everyone to understand the difference between engine families, big blocks, small blocks, standard decks, RB raised decks and short decks. You can certainly call them what you want but automotive journalists, manufacturers, parts purveyors and car guys do know the correct designations. This is simply presented to tell you why.

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    • randy

      Thank you very much, saving this info for later use as well.
      That is why it is so easy to put more “cubes” into an Olds or Pontiac!

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      • pontiactivisit

        I’ve put more cubes in my 400. Lol. 488 in an 80 lemans safari wagon just for shits and giggles. Lol

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  19. JW

    Thank you sir for the excellent breakdown of most popular engine families.

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  20. Eddie

    Pontiacs don’t have big blocks, the 400 and 455 were the same block, different bore/stroke though

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