400/4-Speed/WS6: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am SE

1979 Pontiac Trans Am SE

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Pontiac cranked out a lot of Firebirds in 1979. In fact, at over 100k, it was the most that had or ever would be produced in one year. Why then are so many people bidding on this rough looking Trans Am here on eBay? It obviously needs paint, so it must be hiding something special under the surface. This car came from the factory with a 400 cubic inch V8, 4-speed manual transmission, and the WS6 Special Performance Package. According to the seller, only 1,107 SEs were built to the same specs. That makes it relatively rare and obviously desirable. So, how would you like to own one of the last traditional American muscle cars?

400 Cubic Inches

It may have been strangled with emissions control equipment, but this V8 was the one to have in ’79. It was the end of the line for the W72 400 engine. You can read more about what made this engine special here. Later cars only offered small blocks and lost much of what made these cars so thrilling. Horsepower numbers weren’t that impressive on paper, but I bet the massive amount of torque made things fun. Especially when routed through a manual transmission!

Hurst Shifter

This one is going to need a lot of work before it’s going to be thrilling to anyone though. There are bits and pieces missing, but the seller claims that they got the engine to run… for a few seconds at least. They also have a dash for it. With so many built and replacement parts plentiful, this shouldn’t be an expensive restoration. If bidding gets much higher though, it might be hard to not get upside down here. Then again, it does have the right options and that seems to be name of the game when dealing with muscle cars. What do you think – is this one special enough to justify the current high bid?

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  1. leiniedude leiniedudeMember

    From Hemmings Muscle Machine, May 2016 issue. A 1977 Smokey and the Bandit promo car Superchicken sold for $550,000! That is no typo. Barrett-Jackson Arizona Car Week. 1/23/2016 to 1/31/2016. Scottsdale. Wow!

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  2. Blindmarc

    And that car was in Burt Reynolds private collection since 1977.

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  3. Barnfind Bill

    Yeah, that car sold foe 550K but the guy that sold it paid almost that much at Burt Reynolds auction a year earlier. By the time you add in auction fees from both auctions the guy that sold it lost money, thousands, on the car. He speculated on a batmobile type auction and didn’t break even. Rule of thumb is to buy a car because you like it and want it. There are few individuals that can play the flipping game at the high end successfully

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  4. Mike D

    for one, this does look like it’ll make a great car, BUT.. note on the window sticker, it states it was delivered to Michigan, and the seller says it was an AZ/CA car all of its life….. the undersides look remarkably clean would love it, but unless I hit the Lotto…

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    • Steve

      You couldn’t buy a 400/4speed in California in 1979 it wouldn’t pass emissions. It could have been delivered at the Michigan dealer and shipped/brought to California. You could only get the 403/auto. The 301 was also available with a 4 speed and an SE with that drivetrain is the rarest 79 TA.

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    My cousin has a Redbird SE, ever seen one?

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  6. pontiactivist

    NRed birds are really rare. They also did sky birds and yellow birds. As for this se, these are hot right now. Of the late second gens this has some desirable options. 79 400/4 gear see. Only one better might be a tata (10th anniversary trans am) with the same drive train. 77 & 78 she’s don’t seem to command the same kind of money. Being the last year you could get a 400 in a trans am and 4 speed only. These are gonna go up when the next generation of money comes around.

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  7. Steven C

    License plate needs to be IEATZ28

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  8. C brand

    Always liked these rides. I saw where a company in Fl. are building new tran ams (only 77 of them) w/840 hp ! I believe they are calling these specials “The Bandit” . Standard black & gold color only. Saw the video with car & Burt on tues of this week. Cool looking ride…..But…..get your wallet out !!! By the way Mr Renolds is autographing every one. (that should add some value to them !) lol

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    • Mr. TKD

      Those are reskinned Camaro SS’s.

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  9. SidMember

    Heck with the car.
    I want the Texaco sign!!

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    • brian crowe

      I’d rather the Elco in the one pic.

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  10. Van

    The 79 was built in such large nubers I would think only a 4 speed or a special edition would have much value.
    If I remember, my buddy put ram air 4 rocker arms and ram air three metering rods in the carb. Made a major improvement in a aniversary 4 speeds performance. I know 1/4 mile time would have dropped minimum of a second, felt like 0-60 dropped a second.

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  11. Bruce

    I want the ’69 Cougar in the back round….

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  12. JamestownMike

    Too bad it isn’t a 77 or 78 TA or I’d buy it! The WS6 came with FRONT and REAR 8″ Honeycomb wheels (like the one pictured in the driver rear). The 8″ has the polished lip.

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  13. Rob

    I had a black and gold 79 shortly after high school. Loved that car. Now I want another but too poor. :(

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  14. Pablo

    A beauty , I would take it for less than 5k to restore, beatifull interior and bid engine ! Need still lot of work but its solid base

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