400/4-Speed: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am

As the 1970s were drawing to a close, the muscle car era must have seemed like a dim memory for many people. However, Pontiac was doing all that it could to keep the memory alive, and while the ’79 Trans Am paled next to its predecessors, it could still hold its head high in the company of the ’79 Mustang or Camaro Z28. Barn Finder Roger located this 1979 Trans Am for us, so thank you so much for that Roger. It is located in Norwood, Massachusetts, and is listed for sale here on Craigslist. The owner is asking $7,000 for this old classic.

Photos for this Trans Am are a bit scarce, but we do get a lot of information about the car. While the paint looks pretty tired, the car also has some rust issues to be addressed. The owner identifies some in the front floors, in the quarter panel just rear of the driver’s door, and under the hood in what sounds like it might be the corner of the cowl. Otherwise, it looks like it might be pretty solid. The interior is going to need some work as well. The owner has cleaned the seats, and what we can see looks reasonable. The driver’s door trim is missing, the headliner is sagging, and there is also no carpet. However, the dash and pad look to be quite good, as does the center console. It isn’t clear what options were fitted to the Trans Am, beyond a tilt wheel and power windows. This Trans Am’s saving grace might rest with what lies beneath. If the mechanical components are original, this one should feature the 220hp 400ci V8 engine, 4-speed manual transmission, 4-wheel disc brakes, and the owner believes that it also features a Posi rear end. The owner says that the engine runs using an external fuel source and that it does sound strong. He then goes on to suggest that the engine may need a head gasket but doesn’t explain how he has come to that conclusion. There are also no maintenance records with the car, so we have no idea how well, or otherwise, this old girl has been maintained.

This 1979 Pontiac Trans Am is a car that is going to take a leap of faith for the next owner, because it will require a lot of work, and there is precious little history on the car. It has a few points in its favor, including the mechanical configuration, and an owner who is not only willing to answer intelligent questions but also welcomes inspections. That is going to be the key to this car’s viability. Only a personal inspection will be able to confirm whether its condition justifies the asking price.


  1. poseur Member

    looks like a great opportunity for someone of skill to restore this beast & have a lovely driver or make some decent bucks.

    still hard to believe a derelict like this is worth more than a couple grand though

    Like 2
  2. JoeNYWF64

    Odd in ’74 for the pontiac 400(with turbo 400 automatic), the yellow line on the tach starts at between 50 & 5500 rpm, & the redline starts at close to between 55 & 6000 rpm. Both higher rpms than the tach on this car. Both engines have cast rods.
    I don’t get it. Maybe there is worry about blowing out the cat converter?
    The tach in ’74 goes up to 8000 rpm. hmmh.

    Like 1
    • JoeNYWF64

      Just thought of something. With the 100 mph & later 85 mph limit on speedometers in the late 70’s, could the above lowered tach yellow & redlines have been attempts by manufacturers/government on some [big] engines to reduce emissions & increase mpg? I wonder.

    • TJ

      74 to 79 Probably had a pretty large Emissions change. Also a huge drop in compression ratio. Might explain the lower expectations…

      Like 1
      • JoeNYWF64

        The ’74 400 has only 5 more hp than the ’79 220hp 4 speed 400 at the same rpm.
        The ’74 400 has 8 to 1 compression. The ’79 has 8.1 to 1 compression.
        The ’74 has 10 more ft lbs torque(330) than the ’79 at same rpm.

        Like 1
  3. MJF

    Hmmm no title, sounds like a problem…

  4. Rosco

    Entire ad is full of red flags!! A lot of mentions of “I believe, likely, I assumed”, as well as floor rust in a non-t-top car? I know it happens, but does any of this sounds good?

    Like 1

Leave A Comment

RULES: No profanity, politics, or personal attacks.

Become a member to add images to your comments.


Keep me in the conversation via email. Or subscribe without commenting.