1979 Pontiac Trans Am: Bandit In The Barn

1979 Pontiac Trans Am

I grew up watching shows like The Dukes of Hazzard, Herbie the Love Bug, and Smokey and the Bandit. For many of us that watched these movies and shows, these cars have special meaning. They were more than cars, they had actual personalities (especially Herbie). I have no doubt these connections equaled great sales numbers for Dodge, VW, and Pontiac. Finding a car that looks exactly like Herbie or the General Lee can be a challenge, but finding a car that looks like Bandit’s Trans Am isn’t nearly as difficult. As you can see this original ’79 Trans Am looks exactly like the car used in the movie, but that’s because it is a Y84 Special Edition (of which only 1,100 were built in ’79). All this one needs is a good cleaning, a service, and a CB radio! Think, you could be relive all your favorite scenes from the movie! If you’ve always dreamt of owning a Blackbird, this one can be found here on eBay in Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania with bidding over $14k and the reserve not met. Which movie would you rather relive?


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  1. Rev Rory

    Movie? 9 1/2 weeks. Or maybe The Italian Job, the original…

  2. hhaleblian

    Elwood: It’s got a cop motor, a 440 cubic inch plant, it’s got cop tires, cop suspensions, cop shocks. It’s a model made before catalytic converters so it’ll run good on regular gas. What do you say, is it the new Bluesmobile or what?
    [a brief thinking pause while Jake attempts to light a cigarette]
    Jake: Fix the cigarette lighter.

    Hands down the best movie, best cars, and Twiggy in a V12 e type.

  3. Jason

    Is the firebird airbrushed? I thought they were large decals.

  4. jim s

    American Graffiti but not More American Graffiti.

  5. Larry

    Has to be the roughest 17000 orig. miles I’ve ever seen. Look very close, carpet, paint, pin stripping, rear bumper, cracked dash, speakers in door and so on. something just doesn’t seem right here. Or is just me ??

    • Will

      Larry, I concur, looks like its been rode hard and put up wet!

  6. Al Member

    Don’t cover your cars with plastic outdoors or inside it keeps the moisture/condensation on and in the car . One reason the interior looks worn and rust on gear shift. Friend put a 71 Cuda under plastic for 3 years inside. When we went to pull it out what was decent paint and crome wasn’t and interior smelled moldy.

  7. Livermoron

    Smokey and the Bandit 1 had a 77 (actually 76 made to look like 77) Trans Am, Smokey and the Bandit 2 had an 80 Trans Am Turbo.

    Interesting side note – one of the 55 Chevys used in Two Lane Black Top and later American Graffiti provided some of the engine sounds for the Trans Am in Smokey 1

  8. Doug

    Yeah, maybe 117K, and that paint isn’t going to “clean up” very well either. looking at the wheel wells, and the airbrushed eagle–“clone”?

  9. RoughDiamond

    Owned one close to this, but our ’79 had the black velour with gold accented instrument bezel and snowflake wheels. Still miss that car, but not as bad as my wife does. She could drive the heck out of it with that factory Hurst shifter which angled back perfectly to the driver. Miss seeing the movement of the flapper and the sound when you kicked the 4 barrel in for some spirited driving.

    • Bill

      The flapper I assume you speek of is on the rear of the shaker. Unfortunately there were no functional slackers after 1972, so you either made that up or you simply have no idea what you’re talking about.

  10. Karl

    I don’t know much about the Y84 code, but I will assume that it includes a genuine Pontiac 400 engine. The reason I say that is that a friend of mine ordered a ’79 Firebird Formula and specified the 6.6 liter engine. It arrived with a 6.6 alright–an Oldsmobile 403. BIG difference, and by the time he figured out why it felt like it was pulling an anchor behind it, there was nothing that he could do about it.

    • Rees

      For the 1979 model year, they didn’t manufacture any new Pontiac 400 engines. They had leftover stock from the last production run, and so very few made it into 1979 Trans Ams. The only way to get one was to order the 6.6 engine with a 4 speed manual transmission. All 6.6s with an automatic were the Oldsmobile 403. There were more than 100,000 1979 Trans Ams produced, but less than 9,000 with the 400/4spd combination.

      • Karl

        Thank you, Rees, for the enlightenment. My friend’s car was automatic, so that fits. What really bothered him was that another friend of ours had a Formula 400–a ’77– so he could directly compare the difference between the genuine Pontiac 400 and the 403.
        This was around the same time that GM was being sued by Oldsmobile owners who found Chevy V8s under their hoods. GM was rationalizing all the division engine families into one corporate family, which made money sense, but it would have been nice, and saved considerable legal fees, to have been more forthcoming about what was actually under the hood.

  11. don

    BU;; SHI;; on the mileage! when these were sold new, people drove them! PERIOD!

  12. bigwhiteman

    Im having a hard time believing the mileage is true. After seeing that most of the carpet on drivers side is worn away.

  13. Dutch 1960

    Anyone know what the “special edition” is all about? I recall seeing scads of black T-A’s with gold trim back in the day. A few came with gothic style lettering, which I favored, rather than the 70s style seen here.

    I think all late 70s T-A’s in California got the Olds 403. It made the car a lumbering, lurching beast, but it was so much fun at speed, as the car actually had some good handling manners at 50 or 75.

  14. pontiactivist

    Ok here is my ywo cents worth. The only way you could get the pontiac motor in 79 was to specify the 6.6 with a 4speed. The gold trimmed interior gothic lettering and extra pinstripes were part of the se package. Not all black trans ams are bandit editions. The pontiac 50th anniversay trans ams are the predicessor to the se. In 78 they also made a gold se. Iirc they also made a gold se in 79. But ive ingested a lot of paint fumes over the years. Memory osnt what it used to be. Lol.

    • Bill

      There is no such thing as a “Bandit Edition”! Please stop this crap. They are black and gold Special editions that started in 1976. There was one every year through 1981. RPO code y84. There was also a gold opposite twin 1978. PRO Y88. Just because it was used in movie doesn’t mean it was made for that movie.

  15. BradL

    The Y84 Special Edition was merely a trim package. This one, being a manual, has the Z code Pontiac 400 ci 4-bbl (W72) engine – good for all of 220 hp. The automatics got the Olds 403 (180 hp).

    It appears to have all the SE bits except for the gold chicken on the B-pillar and the gold trim in the right grille. 17,000 miles? Whether it is or not, it’s too moldy for my taste.

    BTW, do I see a Batmobile in the rear corner?

  16. tballusn

    Agree with most, if true, those were some tough 17k miles! Nice find, however I’m more of a Bullitt guy than a Bandit…

  17. Greg S

    According to the documentation this seems to be the real deal however it is missing some important details that were part of the Y84 package. The first thing I noticed was no gold tint on the turned metal dash. The second thing was that all Y84s had blacked out chrome on all window surrounds. I owned a 1981 Y84, and have seen a handful at my Los Angeles
    car club as well as In several auctions. This car should have been equipped with these items when it left the factory. Do your due diligence when inspecting this car.

  18. RoughDiamond

    If I remember correctly the Pontiac division at GM actually ran out of the Pontiac 220 HP engines and saw nothing wrong with substituting the Oldsmobile 403 dogs because technically they could still say they equipped the cars with a “400” cubic inch engine. I understand some unsuspecting buyers were not too happy.

    • Bill

      The 403 started in the trans am in 1977. It was not because the ran out of 400’s. Also they were rated at 185 horsepower. That is only 35 less than the 400 “H.O.” as they called it .But if you look at it, the torque of the two was almost identical. Torque is what moves the car. I have personally owned over 50 of the late seventies T/As. I have no
      understanding of the negative comments about the 403. I have many of both and I’ve found the 403 to be far superior to the 400. Reliability, maintenance and yes power. Keep mind the 400 cars all have 3.23 gears. They were a little quicker 0 to 60 but that’s it. Putting a 3.08 gear in the 403 car made the performance almost identical. The stock 2.73 is my preference. These engines made max torque at 2000 rpm. This was perfect for that gear. The 400 had to be revved to 4000 rpm. This is why that had the 3.23. If youve ever driven a stock 400 4spd on the highwayvery long, you would wish you had a 403. Unless you’re just upset that it’s an Olds and not a Pontiac, if you have owned both long term you would understand the preference. Also, it’s all GM so who cares? As long as the VIN is stamped on it, that’s all I need to know. Your friend who got the Formula with the 403, I bet he wishes he had it now. They are very rare and very desirable. And they were not a “dog”. You obviously don’t know what you are talking about.

      • JV

        Is the 2.73 gear that much different than a 2.41 on a 403?
        Would it be worthwhile to swap a 2.41 rear to a 2.73 gear?

  19. Rev rory

    Bill, relax, buddy- that’s all 21/2 yrs ago!

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