30 Year Owned: Survivor 1978 Pontiac Trans Am

Sometimes you can tell when a car has been loved even without seeing it in person. That’s certainly the case with this 1978 Pontiac Trans Am, which has been with the same owner for more than 30 years. Now they are selling it here on eBay, with a buy it now at a pricey $33,000 — but tell me when you’ve seen a nicer original one? It’s located in Plainville, Connecticut if you want to include transportation costs when you go tell your spouse about it.

It’s hard to believe this is really a survivor considering how nice it looks. Was Pontiac factory paint really that good? I’m impressed–are you? So many of these cars were trashed by my contemporaries–I remember vividly opening passenger doors and having to lift them back up to get them aligned enough with the latches to close them.

Ah, that 6.6. Or, as we ‘Mericans call it, 400 cubic inches. Either way, the shaker scoop let everyone know it meant business. And unlike a lot of these things, this scoop is functional.

The interior looks every bit as nice as the outside.  I’d lose the dice, but the four speed manual can stay! The seller tells us everything works!

The shaker scoop was removed for this shot, but you can see how nice and original this car really is under here. Other than not being in the “bandit” black and gold (I prefer the red myself) I really can’t fault this one for anyone. Sure, it’s a lot of money, but that original base price of $5,889 before options would be the same as $22,279 now. It’s starting to sound better to you, isn’t it? Get back to us below after you’ve thought about it, talked with your spouse/significant other if you need to and let us know if you think this late 1970’s icon is a good deal!


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  1. slickb

    nothing wrong with these cars. drive for the rest of time I say

  2. Billy Bob

    A/C needed.

    • Ben

      No A/C needed.

      • 86 Vette Convertible

        Agree, it has ‘go-conditioning’. Open the windows and go like heck.
        I like it.

      • Mike

        No AC is a death sentence in Texas.

  3. Kincer Dave Member

    I can tell you when I’ve seen a nicer original one, of course I’m a little biased as the car I’m talking about is sitting in my uncle’s garage since brand new lol. This red one is very very nice too though.

  4. Neil

    I wish I had $33,000 – plus the cost of shipping to the UK. I had a manual ’79 in black and gold with T-roofs back in the 1990’s and of all the cars I’ve had I regret selling that one the most. Rear screen or boot leaked like sieve and the quarter panel wells constantly filled with water in winter necessitating a wet ‘n dry vac to empty them.

  5. Howard

    As far as the door sagging problem went, that was a typical GM problem of the day, especially on 2 door cars. The bushings wore out.

    • SAM61

      Are you Wisconsin Howard? If so, welcome back…always learned something from your comments.

  6. Iron Maiden

    When I was in high school, a few people bought these. They were so slow we had to clock them in the quarter mile with a sundial, or a calendar.
    I’ll stick to my 69 GTX with the 440 cid.

    • Henry Drake

      What did you smoke before writing that?

      • Mlaw


      • Mlaw

        Well said!

      • mark

        …the result of years of drug abuse…..

    • Johnny Joseph

      Why do I get the feeling that you didn’t have the same results going against the 73-74 Super Duty TA’s with the 4 speed? Nothing but taillights, huh, Maiden? Too many years of playing 22 Acacia Avenue cranked up to max volume is my guess. Rock out Bro. Rock out.

      • Troy s

        Super Duty 455 was the last, if not one of Pontiacs best , true high performance engines, although not many were built. Big difference between the SD455 an this smogger, just sayin’.

  7. glen

    I do wonder why “Mericans” use litres instead of cubic inches.

    • DR Member

      For Pontiacs, it started with the GTO in 1964 – the 6.5 litre badge on the lower fender. John DeLorean loved European cars and felt they had a certain flair about them and wanted to bring a bit of that to his new creation.

      Ford picked it up again for the 302 in the Fox body Mustang (5.0L) and GM followed suit for the third Gen F-body engine sizes.

      • glen

        I’m Canadian, but I prefer cubic inches, does that make me a bad Canadian,…eh?

  8. Derek

    Nice car pretty but not worth 33k…I love the look of these but always found them cramped and not that comfortable. Like a 70’s Vette.

  9. Billly

    nice car a little chocked up emissions … Pontiac need to breathe they make good power once you work em a bit..I had 1967 GTO that would Go a bit the Pontiac head is one best for natural asberated.. 3 duces headers cam it….for starters…

  10. RDGRNR

    Wipe clean till the end of time don’t look like it’s been driven anywhere, how many miles on it,sweet ride 20k max.

  11. Steve

    A very nice car exceptional I think a bit high-priced especially with no power options no AC no T-tops or sunroof. Low mileage nice Survivor but for that kind of money should be less mileage. Nice motor option but for me I would prefer to automatic transmission. It is a beautiful car for its age.

    • al8apex

      No t-tops is a blessing

      No a/c is a curse

      A “sunroof” would indicate a hack job sometime in its past

      The salvation comes from the clutch pedal

      • Tom Member

        Very well put!! Amen.

    • Johnny Joseph

      Yeah, the 3rd pedal is what makes it! Newer muscle cars can stick with the automatic but for anything pre 1980, the only automatic I would want would be the Hurst Dual Gate (also called the His and Her shifter) or any Mopar with a 727 Torque Flight.

      • Steve

        What about Lighting Rods in the 80’s G body H/O’s???

  12. Jesper

    It has bin paintet. There is a little overspray in trunk

  13. DR Member

    The wheels tell me it is NOT a WS6 car, it would have the wide 15 X 8 snowflakes for WS6. Without that optional performance suspension he/she is dreaming at low 30s by about 10K.

    • Johnny Joseph

      True, good eye. And I agree 100% about the price without being a WS6. Realistic price is more like $23k. But I think it was W C Fields who said that there’s a sucker born every minute, so he may get full asking price, or close to it.

  14. johnfromct

    This one struck a chord with me, because I remembered seeing a restored 77 that looks identical, also in Plainvile, but for sale at a highly reputable Jaguar (and more) restoration shop. Ebay ad for this one is gone. Motorcars, Inc is asking $25.5K for theirs and representing it honestly as restored, not original.

  15. Mark

    A 4-speed Nice!!!

  16. Vintageant

    Clearly you “no A/C needed” guys have never driven in Florida….

    • Robbie R.

      Correct! …or SC, GA, AL, MS, LA, TX, AZ, etc. Hot air outside doesn’t magically become cool just because it’s moving about.

  17. Tara L Hartman Member

    This car looks GORGEOUS!!!!!
    I just hope it’s a true survivor!!!!

  18. SR

    No ac/ no t-tops/no $33,000.00 just can’t see it.

  19. Turboomni

    What is the stock HP and torque for this poor emisions poisoned low/no lead 400? What was the compression ratio?
    Nice car ,if only made in 69.

    • James

      220 hp with the performance package. XX casting on the block. 78 hp was 20 higher than 77.

  20. Scott Sabinson

    It may not be Smokey and the Bandit black and gold, but it is Sammy Hagar red.

    • Michael L

      Best comment I’ve seen on here in a long time. Red Rocker Rules4Life

  21. Bill T

    Loved mine. Wheels and tires stolen while in winter storage. Replaced with aftermarket. No matter how hard I tried I could not keep the tin worm from it. Sold it with less that 50K in 1987. Loved that car.

  22. Pete

    Hah, I was a senior in HS when this car was sold. Had a guy who drove a black and gold one like this to school. His dad was the GM at the Pontiac dealer. This is a post 73 car. That means unleaded gas and smog controls came stock. As cool and clean as this looks. It’s to new for my tastes.

  23. Kevin

    I decided to keep the car for this summer, it will be up for sale again shortly for 23k.

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