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15k Original Miles: 1980 Pontiac Trans Am Turbo Y84 Special Edition

Describing any unrestored classic with over four decades of service under its belt as “mint” is a high-risk strategy. However, that could be appropriate for this 1980 Pontiac Trans Am Turbo. From its glistening paint to its spotless interior, there is little that deserves criticism. It would suit someone seeking one of the best examples of the breed available in the current market because it can’t help but attract attention wherever it goes. The Trans Am is listed here on eBay in Miami, Florida. Bidding sits below the reserve at $78,969, with time remaining for people to stake their claim for this beauty.

Pontiac was marking time with its Second Generation Firebird range in 1980. With a new model waiting in the wings, it wasn’t prepared to splash excess cash on cosmetic or styling updates. Therefore, there is little visually to distinguish a 1980 Trans Am from the previous year’s model. When the subject turns to these later cars, there is little doubt that the combination of Starlight Black paint with Gold graphics, as found on this Pontiac, remains the most iconic and instantly recognizable. Its place in the public’s consciousness was cemented following the Trans Am’s starring role in the 1977 movie Smokey and the Bandit, and it remains the most desirable over four decades later. This Trans Am is claimed to be an original survivor, making its overall condition and presentation noteworthy. The paint holds a depth of color and shine you could almost walk into, with the panels laser-straight. There is no evidence or mention of rust, with the underside shots confirming this classic is rock-solid. This is unsurprising, considering the car has been garage-kept for its entire life. The original owner ordered the Pontiac with the Y84 Special Edition package. The Fisher T-Top was an integral part of the package, and the lack of interior moisture damage suggests the seals are working perfectly. The decals and graphics are free from shrinkage, and the glass and plastic are perfect. The 15″ “Turbo” wheels are free from marks and damage, but it is worth noting that they offer more than good looks. They were designed to drag air through the four-wheel disc brakes to improve cooling, a principle used on many racing cars during this era.

The Trans Am’s interior reinforces the impression this classic has been treated respectfully since Day One. The Deluxe Camel Hobnail seatcovers are free from wear and marks, with the remaining upholstered surfaces equally impressive. The carpet is spotless, as are the dash, machine-turned gauge fascia, and console. The pad hasn’t succumbed to UV damage, and there is no wheel wear. It may be unrestored, but if Pontiac still existed, this Trans Am wouldn’t look out of place in one of its showrooms. It is also well-optioned in a 1980 context. The original owner equipped it with air conditioning, power windows, power locks, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel, and an AM/FM radio/cassette player with optional rear speakers.

The big news for 1980 was Pontiac’s decision to scrap the large-capacity V8 engines in its Trans Am range. The change was forced due to evolving emission regulations, but the company endeavored to claw back lost ground with its turbocharged 301ci V8. It was the most potent weapon in the Trans Am’s armory, producing 210hp and 345 ft/lbs of torque. Unfortunately, Pontiac didn’t offer a manual transmission option, raising a “what might have been” question. Instead, buyers received a three-speed Turbo 350 automatic and a ¼-mile ET of 16.1 seconds. Had a four-speed been available, it is fair to expect that the ET would have dropped to around 15.7 seconds. The seller claims this Pontiac has 15,000 miles on the clock, and the included documentation and known ownership history means they may hold verifying evidence. It runs and drives perfectly, ready to give the winning bidder immediate classic motoring pleasure.

This 1980 Pontiac Trans Am Turbo Y84 Special Edition presents superbly. It is ideal for someone who likes and is prepared to pay for the good things in life. The high bid is eye-watering and significantly higher than recent sales results. It is consistent with what Hagerty might expect for one in Concours condition but remains below the reserve. I would typically quote a potential sale price at this point, but I am unsure with this Trans Am. I’ve decided to leave that task to our readers, and it will be fascinating to see if anyone hits the nail on the head.


  1. Avatar photo Keith C

    This is the model used in “Smokey and the Bandit II”..in order to have enough power to do the scene where Bo “Bandit” Darville had to jump over Sheriff Buford T. Justice’s car, the Turbo Trans Am used had a Marvin Miller nitrous oxide system.

    Like 6
  2. Avatar photo Keith C

    And also..the “performance” rear axle gear was 3.08:1, so THAT didn’t help.

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Stan

      Some deeper gears ⚙️ would’ve really helped these heavy birds w the autoloader.

      Like 2
  3. Avatar photo Nelson C

    Beautiful Turbo T/A. Appears about perfect. Someone must have cared for this car a whole lot. I love that people purchase cars and care for them like the last one they’ll ever have. The original owner may not have even known that to other people this wasn’t worth saving. Sure glad it’s here today.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Rw

      The turbos where pos

      Like 1
  4. Avatar photo dan

    The asking price doesn’t reflect the appraised values of these, although this certainly looks like a #2 car. For the sake of originality this car needs to be left as is but with that 301 turbo not as renowned as the Grand National 3.8 turbo I wonder if this car will even top $60k in its lifetime.

    Like 3
  5. Avatar photo Truth

    Exceptional nice condition. But people are insane paying that much. Should max out around 50k for the lame version of a bandit one.

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo GuernseyPagoda

    Regardless of turbo model or not, I am a wheels/rims person, and the 8” snowflakes make these cars look way better IMO.

    Like 3
  7. Avatar photo Guy Wind

    I love the lines on the trans am, more so than the Camero from the same era. But that hood, that hideous, vomitous, garish hood

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Greg

      I think you’re in the minority with that opinion. I guess it’s not for everyone, which is why the hood decal was optional, with the exception of the ‘79 10th anniversary edition…

      Like 4
  8. Avatar photo Dean Johnson

    I think the interior fabric Is houndstooth, not hobnail

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo PRA4SNW Member

    Dealership says it is going to take 100K to buy this car, so I guess this auction is just marketing fodder.

    Like 1

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