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10th Anniversary Edition: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am

In 1979, the Pontiac Trans Am was 10 years old and Pontiac celebrated by producing a 10th Anniversary Edition. Among Pontiac enthusiasts, this car is known as a TATA (Tenth Anniversary Trans Am). This example is rough and in need of restoration. It is listed for sale here on eBay with 5 days remaining in the auction. The Trans Am is located in Surrey, British Columbia.

The interior of the TATA is special with shag silver carpeting which has been removed in this car. The seats were leather and these will need to be recovered. The door panels and rear seat had a special stitched tenth anniversary bird. Legendary and PUI make the replacement interior for these cars but they are expensive. My brother, Barry who has one of the larger collections of Trans Ams, has two of these TATAs. One was just recently restored and one is a driver.

There were two engine options available in the TATA. The base engine for the TATA in 1979 was the L80 403 cubic inch V8 that came with an automatic transmission. It was rated at 185 horsepower. The performance engine was the W72 400 cubic inch V8 came with a Borg Warner T-10 4 speed manual transmission, 3.23 rear gears, WS6 suspension and dual turbo mufflers. There were 5,683 TATA’s built with the 403 cubic inch V8 engine and 1,817 TATA’s built with the W72 400 engine. Which Pontiac changed its RPO code to L78 in 1979 which in prior years designated the low horsepower (180 hp) 400 cubic inch V8 engine.

The TATA was also the first Trans Am to sport the new “turbo” wheels which were 15×8 and were used in 1980-1981 on Turbo Trans Am cars. These cars were loaded with every option from the factory from power antennas, to T-Tops to a special ETR 8 track radio. The hood bird on the TATA was extra large and extended to the fenders which contributed to the two tone paint job.


  1. BajaPFE Member

    The Joe Dirt school of car care…

    Like 2
  2. Bick Banter

    At one time, it was beautiful, and expensive. About as good as you got in America in ’79. Now, it’s grungy. Pretty neat IMO.

    Like 9
  3. ccrvtt

    I agree with Bick – pretty neat. This is a bucket list car for me, with the requisite LS swap of course. It doesn’t have too much rust so I would drive it and replace parts until I saved up enough for a decent paint job and new graphics kit.

    Trans Ams were the “it” cars of the mid ’70s to early ’80s. Corvettes were blandified and too easily associated with the gold chains and Members Only guys. I should have bought one before I got married, but hindsight is 20-20 and I ended up with the better end of the deal after all.

    Currently bid to $3,650 – reserve not met. Reserve is most likely way optimistic. Hopefully a Canadian with taste will snag this puppy and put it right.

    Like 0
  4. Stan

    One of the cooler looking cars ever built.

    Like 4
  5. Roger Winstorff

    Obviously the family gave a dogs**t about car care. Probably they abused it as a pulling tractor in their farm. A pity….
    Restoring it to former glory will cost an arm and both legs. Or you transform it into a fulltilt Mad Max vehicle. In this case theres not much left todo….

    Like 0
  6. C Force

    A 403 Olds,well that’s unfortunate….

    Like 0
  7. DGMinGA

    As more of the “malaise era” cars are coming into their own as desired classics, I assume because us Gen Xers are getting to the age where we have kids out of college and income to support our desires to have cars we wished for back when, the “only original once” mantra of some car folks is going to come under serious stain. In 1979 there was NO good engine choice in any US vehicle. In the T/A, whether 403 Olds or 400 Pontiac, they were all detuned for emissions and just weak. While I am sure there will still be a few of the “keep it original ” fanatics around, people who like cars generally like them to have some performance potential. For cars of these years, they will have to be customized or drivetrain swapped, period. I know I am not going to spend tens of thousands of dollars to restore a 79 T/A to its factory fresh 170 HP, when for the same (maybe even less) money I can easily have 400+ HP. My personal car was a very rare car – but I swapped the drivetrain because the original sucked. A few people have gasped when I told them I took out the still functional drivetrain from a car with only 39,000 original miles on it. Then when I tell them it was a 260 diesel in a 79 Cutlass with T-Tops, most seem to agree, but even the Olds 350 in the limited edition 79 Hurst Olds was under 200 HP. Keep a 69 T/A all original? Absolutely. A 79 10th Anniversary T/A, I would restore the exterior to original, and build the 400 with Holley Terminator fuel injection, or go the LS route as I did with my 79 Olds.

    Like 1
  8. PRA4SNW

    Made it to $6,300, Reserve Not Met.

    Like 0

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