11k Genuine Miles: 1980 Pontiac Trans Am

This 1980 Trans Am has been loved and cherished since new, and during its entire life, it has only managed to accumulate a genuine 11,000 miles on its odometer. It presents beautifully and would be well suited to the person who is searching for a classic car that they can drive and enjoy immediately. If that thought appeals to you, then you will find the Trans Am located in Los Osos, California, and listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding on the Trans Am has now reached $23,000, and with the reserve having been met, it is set to head off to a new home.

It really doesn’t matter where you live on the planet, the Black Trans Am is one of the most instantly recognizable cars to have ever rolled off an American production line. Of course, a star turn in the film “Smokey and the Bandit” was never going to hurt on that front. In fact, it was that starring role that raised the profile of the Trans Am, sharply increasing sales, and this undoubtedly saved it from early extinction. This particular Trans Am has spent its life in sunny California, and when you combine that with the fact that it has been garage-kept for its entire life, it should be no great surprise to learn that it is rust-free. Marks and chips on that beautiful black paint are minimal and seem to be largely confined to the chin spoiler. The car features the Fisher T-Top, which was introduced in mid-1978 to replace the original Hurst item. The famous gold graphics on the car appear to be flawless, while the Snowflake rims are free of curb strike or staining.

The Camel Tan Deluxe interior trim that is fitted to the Trans Am presents just as well as the rest of the car. There are no signs of rips or tears in the upholstered surfaces, while the dash pad is free of cracks. One of the great indicators of a hard life with a Trans Am of this era is the condition of the steering wheel. High mileage or long-term exposure to UV rays can result in significant deterioration of the rim, but this looks to be really good. There are no obvious aftermarket additions to the vehicle’s interior, while the car comes equipped with a factory AM/FM radio/cassette player and ice-cold air conditioning.

The engine bay of the Pontiac presents very nicely and tends to support the owner’s claim of the vehicle’s low mileage. Unfortunately, by 1980, the Californian-delivered Trans Ams were not fire-breathing monsters. In this case, you will find a 301ci V8 engine, a 3-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. With only 150hp at its disposal, performance tended to be more leisurely than the car’s looks would suggest. When new, a 301-equipped Trans Am was capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in around 10.7 seconds, while a ¼ mile was despatched in 18 seconds. Having said that, the owner of this Trans Am says that the motor feels really strong, and seems to have plenty of power. If that’s the case, then this sounds like it would be a pretty enjoyable car to own and drive.

While its movie appearance saved to Trans Am from extinction and saw the car enjoy renewed popularity in the new car market, I doubt that anyone would have foreseen the fact that the Trans Am would maintain that popularity four decades later. Today, good examples of the Tran Am are quite eagerly sought, and this one looks like a real beauty. It really looks as though the next owner of this one is going to be a pretty fortunate individual.

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Comments

  1. 86_Vette_Convertible

    It’s a very attractive car. Looks like it’s in very good condition and loved during the PO’s ownership. Due to the smog laws changes at that time it may not be the fastest car out there but I’m sure it’s a great cruiser. Wish the seller and buyer all the best

    4
  2. Jwinters

    dear lord that thing is all show and no go

    7
    • Doc

      301 v8 = 11k miles. End of story.

      4
      • RTS

        Nice looking TA. The 301 is perfectly fine for highway cruising, and it will have no problem keeping up with traffic. Non-turbo with less HP, but at least you still get the cool shaker.

        4
  3. Paul

    Looks great…..Someone is going to get a nice car!

    1
  4. David G

    Has an odd combination of power locks with manual windows. Lost count of how many you see the other way, windows without locks. Both on the same car are ideal. The ’80 and ’81 models still have the looks, but without the soul. Sad that the 301 was the largest engine after ’79, although California 4 speed Firebirds had the 305 Chevrolet engine this year. One was for sale recently in so Cal. this car is great and well cared for, just not much power to speak of. New owner is getting a turn key show car for sure.

  5. George Mattar

    Beautiful. But a boat anchor engine. A new Camry 4 cyl will pass this like it’s tied to a tree. But a Camry is a boring Jap pile of recycled Bud cans. Gimme this USA bird.

    1
  6. JoeNYWF64

    You can’t drive it unless
    1. you want to destroy the value of the car
    2. you buy new tires – those are original!
    It’s got a 301, a 70’s converter, AND and an air pump – no thanks!
    It’s an embarrasment & a disgrace to even advertise this or the 305 on the shaker. No pontiac (or dare i say chevy) 350’s available? Jeez.

    2
    • Dex

      You actually can drive it, but

      1. Not a daily driver but can be driven and will retain much of it’s value, just don’t trash it!
      2. Buy new tires and keep originals – who would have thought of that!
      Guessing your factory 1980 ride was some incredible high horsepower performance model that nobody knows about. Stop complaining! It was 1980, deal with it!

      1
  7. Superdessucke

    0-60 would take a leisurely 10.9 seconds.

    https://www.automobile-catalog.com/make/pontiac/firebird_2gen/firebird_2_trans_am/1981.html

    By comparison, the slowest new car sold today, a crappy little Indian-built Ford Ecosport with a 3 cylinder, 1 liter engine would take 11 seconds.

    https://www.automobile-catalog.com/performance/2019/2593445/ford_ecosport_titanium_1_0l_ecoboost_2wd.html

    The victory would depend on the driver.

    1
    • RTS

      In my opinion that’s a poor comparison. Let’s make it fair. If you want to compare it to today’s vehicles, 40 years newer, maybe you should go 40 years the other direction. What were the 0-60 times of the 1940 cars?

      1
    • Superdessucke

      Fortunately, a 1940 Ford, Chevy and Pontiac did not have a big gold chicken slapped on its hood. Nor a swoopy sporty muscle car body. Nor t-tops and white letter tires.

      You go out in that getup and people are going to want to see how tough you are. And sadly you’d get smoked by every single new car except a very goofy looking 3-cylinder upright stubby CUV, and even that’d be a photo finish.

      1
      • RTS

        Obviously you don’t understand the comment. It’s about the 1940 performance comparison. No mention of the looks. Show up in your “very goofy looking 3-cylinder upright stubby CUV” and see the response! 0-60 times for the 1940? I didn’t think so!

        3
      • Dex

        Sorry Superdukie, have to side with RTS on this one. Apples to apples! Compare it to all other American cars from 1980 and 1980 only.

        2
      • Superdessucke

        That’s not a fair request because they didn’t commonly measure 0 to 60 times back then. Back then the primary focus was on the top speed.

        This being said, the performance cars of the 1940s could hold their own against this Trans Am. The 1937 SS Jaguar 100, for one example, could hit 60 in 10.4 seconds, quicker than this T/A.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Jaguar_100#Construction

        For 1980, there were quicker cars too, such as the Z28 and of course Corvette. Bottom line is this is a slow vehicle!

  8. John Oliveri

    After the 400 was gone, so was the car, it was all stickers and show, like the up coming Monte Carlo SS and Olds 442, Buick was the only one that did something, and that was a 3.8 liter 6, cars were over for a few years yet, ever drive a 80 Corvette? Dead !!!

  9. .

    A friend of mine bought an 81 Turbo T/A for $400 out of a barn in Idaho, where it sat for 27 years. Actually really good condition. But yah, the 301 was definitely strangled by the smog. Beautiful car though.

  10. jimmy the orphan

    Dex is right. If you weren’t alive or just a child in 1980 don’t bother to tell us how under powered these cars were. We were there. we know. Don’t say jeez no 350? What does that even mean ? And anybody that can’t at least take a smog pump off ……………..Just a K&N air filter will get you 10hp. there are other things you can do to this eng, to make some more power. This is the nicest factory correct example I’ve seen for a long time. Price seems about right. I’ve owned two of them and they are comfortable to drive long distance. I’m sure the little engine would be good on gas as well Later.

    2
    • JoeNYWF64

      CHEVY apparently was willing to share its 305 with pontiac (for California) but not YET its 350 for any state t/a or formula.
      I doubt the chevy 350 motor was in short supply.
      In the EARLY game of “musical GM motors” , i bet Chevy was afraid of cousin firebird beating or even matching its Camaro’s acceleration in ’80 & ’81 with 1 of its own engines! lol
      At the very least, with regard to the “peformance” u were gettin with that 301 or 305 firebird, compared to a 350 camaro, the price should have been cut at least 2 or even 3 grand over the ’80 or ’81 350 camaro! But instead it was MORE money.
      I still can’t believe they sold ANY 305 or non turbo 301 heavy 2nd gen t/a’s.
      Even worse, the lot more expensive turbo 301 that req’d a/c was spanked by the z28.

  11. John Oliveri

    I gotta say, the 301 was no 455, but a 73 455 is no 70 455, or a 70 350, for that fact, and I’ve owned them all, it’s what was available at the time, the Trans Am suffered like everything else did in 1980, and the funny thing is, I bought a 1980 Grand Prix brand new in September of 80, after my 79 Grand Prix w a 301 got totaled, I wanted the same body style the 81 was changing and I didn’t like it, so like a spoiled 19 year old, I got a beautiful black w saddle interior GP with everything in it, and a 3.8 Buick V/6 in it, now I giggle every time I hear some 40 something scream the praises of that legendary motor that they had in the Grand National, one guy called it fire breathing Ha, mine did have blow by at 20,000 miles, drank gas like a big block and pinged w anything but premium in it, What a piece of S—t

    2
  12. JoeNYWF64

    Oddly, the ’70 455 pontiac even in the GTO was not really considered a hi po motor – just a good torquey one that could also be found in dad’s station wagon!
    The ’71-2 Pontiac 455 HO is more desireable than a ’70 station wagon 455.
    & you forgot one ’73 motor – the ’70 455 was no ’73-74 sd-455!! lol.

  13. John Oliveri

    Absolutely, my holy grail is the Pontiac 428

    1
    • Johnny R

      Agreed John. The 428 was some engine. My buddy Pete had a 69 Grand Prix with a 428 bone stock. Beautiful beige color with a black vinyl top. We had 6 guys in the car and smoked my friend Kevin’s 79 400 T/A like it was standing still. Wouldn’t mind picking one of those up today. What a cruiser!

      1
  14. RH

    1980 American car to other 1980 American cars performance seems fair. No wait, let’s compare it to a 1937 Jaguar SS 100!! Really?? Give it up and quit reaching!!

    1
  15. John Oliveri

    My neighbor had a 69 428 Bonneville, smoked a lot of neighborhood GTOs and Mustangs back in the early 70s, figured it out I didn’t have to suffer to have a quick car, I’ve owned big engine luxury cars my whole life, 1/4 mile times didn’t impress me, I had my AC on

    1
  16. Brent in Winnipeg

    My 2010 Hyundai Sonata with the 2.4L four can crush this car like a grape.

    1
    • Johnny R

      …you’ll get some leg for sure tonight. Tell us how you do…

      1
    • RH

      You drive a 2010 Hyundai? Sorry to hear that.

      1
  17. Ryan Hilkemann

    Where’s Burt Renalds when you need him?😁

  18. Stevieg Member

    I drive a 2018 Hyundai Elantra that will crush this Trans Am in a race, and get 42 mpg on the freeway on my way home. But I still would rather have this Trans Am. Priced right, very nice condition, what is to not like?

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