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400-Powered 1978 Pontiac Grand Am

The sporty Grand Am was an on-again, off-again model at Pontiac during the seventies and early eighties, seeing only moderate sales numbers for the period, but later went on to achieve a successful spot in Pontiac’s lineup beginning in 1985 and lasting without interruption for the following two decades.  The car was reintroduced after a two-year absence back in 1978 and looked a lot like the redesigned LeMans, which had been considerably downsized from the previous Colonnade styling, but the Grand Am did receive some unique trim outside to set it apart.  It’s been a long time since I spotted one of these on the road, and if you’ve been in the market for a late seventies G-Body that’s sure to turn some heads this red coupe here on eBay might be worth considering.  The car is in Chatsworth California, and comes with an asking price of $14,500.

Production for ’78 was just 7,767 coupes and an additional 2,841 sedans, so there weren’t all that many to start with and I’m sure considerably fewer still exist today, and of those remaining this one’s bound to be in the upper echelon inside and out.  Interestingly, we don’t get a whole lot of information about how and why this car still looks so good after 45 years, but what the seller does offer is that it’s very well-preserved and maintained.

There’s no word on whether or not that’s still the factory red paint the Pontiac is wearing, but even if it’s gotten a respray at some point the finish appears to be of high quality, as does the silver area below the lower body trim.  The grille and lights up front and taillights in the rear are different from those of a LeMans, so if you spot one of these cars don’t call it that in front of an owner!

If you’re a purist and prefer the numbers-matching powerplant under the hood, you may be disappointed here as the 301 the Grand Am came with is long gone.  But the good news is there’s something more potent in its place now, a 400 sourced from another late seventies Pontiac, although no further details are provided regarding the motor.  There’s also a Turbo 350 automatic transmission plus a dual exhaust system, so this one’s probably a pretty decent performer.

The interior is in overall excellent condition, with some minor wear on the driver’s seat possibly being the worst part inside and even it’s not all that bad.  The buckets and console are a nice touch, and for a 2-door model, there’s even ample leg room for the rear occupants.  If this one’s caught your eye, it’s important to note that the seller is also accepting offers, if you’re finding the $14.5k price tag a bit optimistic.  I’m liking this 1978 Grand Am and wouldn’t mind having it in my garage, how about you?


  1. Richard c arra

    What a cool, and unique, sticker power Pontiac.

    Like 17
  2. David Michael Carroll

    Beautiful car but, I never liked those GM colored wheels

    Like 4
    • Richard c arra

      Oh well, that was the time. Over the years I’ve grown to like these sticker power cars. We couldn’t get HP, so stickers had to do.

      Like 4
      • William Daniel Toel

        The beauty of life in Washington County, Tennessee. No smog test. Ever.

        Like 3
    • Peter Pasqualini

      Love modified cars that look factory. Well done on this car.

      Like 11
  3. MoragaPulsar

    Humm, could this even be registered in CA? Seller makes no mention. But does state “New A/C compressor (may need to be recharged)” new but may need a recharge?? and “Vehicle is sold as is”. Okay, missing information = lots of caution for potential buyer. Pretty but no thanks.

    Like 3
    • Mike76

      Of course it can be registered. The problem will be getting the smog completed to get the car registered. These post-75 thru 80’s cars are getting to be more of a pain in the a$$ with all of California’s bureaucratic bs and green love. Back in the day there was always that go to smog shop to get your modified car passed but nowadays with the states crackdown on what shops are authorized to perform smog checks on autos from this era, those shops are far and few between.

      Like 8
      • Jon Rukavina

        Back in the 90s Mn. wisely🙄spent millions to check cars for smog equipment, etc. People would walk around the car with a long handled mirror to check for catalytic converters, etc. and I think did a tailpipe test. Rumor has it that you could fail in one stall, drive around the building and pass in the next one!! LMAO! These places went by the wayside years ago. Lots were torn down and others became repair shops. What a joke.

        Like 7
    • Richard c arra

      It must suck for the car enthusiast to live in California.

      Like 29
      • Ed

        You mean with the year round cruising weather? Yes, that must suck.

        Like 9
      • ClassicP

        You bet it would be and California is where many car guys ruled in the 50’s and so on. It started there. Beach Boys wrote songs about it 409’ and T-Bird. Bleeding hearts gonna save a planet who’s billions of years old and will withstand and survive long long after we’re gone.

        Like 3
    • Michael Berkemeier

      Do you even know the laws in California? Of course it can be registered. It’s over 25 years old. Were you even interested in it or, did you just want to ruin a possible sale for the seller? Negative Nancys are so unbecoming.

      Like 1
  4. jwzg

    Oh wow! A 400 and a dual snorkel air cleaner that looks like factory. This is my kind of car! If I had the funds, I’d be on it.

    Like 13
    • Richard Jones

      No smog checks in Alaska, but only 5 -6 months of driving weather.

      Like 1
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Same here in NH. No smog check for any car, and not title for a car this old either.
        But unlike some states, there is a safety inspection.
        That is something that I can’t understand. I get a chuckle at some of the automotive pieces of crap that are driven on the streets of Florida.

        Like 0
  5. Jon Rukavina

    With a finish like that in the late 70s, it has to be a respray. Very sharp shiny and nice color combo. If I bought it I would fix the driver’s seat maybe find a tilt wheel column and cruise, then drive it. Some concern about the emissions not being there simply for the legality of being able to drive it.

    Like 2
    • Jon Rukavina

      Some friends of mine bought a new ’75 Grand Am, collonade. Mist green, white vinyl roof and white interior and a console. Rally rims and fender skirts to finish it off.
      Sharp car.

      Like 5
    • Matt S

      Definitely a nice ride and one you see a duplicate of at your local Cars & Coffee, but the Malibu was a better looking car IMHO.

      Like 1
  6. Richard c arra

    I don’t recall where, but last week I saw this car with an article written about it. I read the article. It said it’s legit..

    Like 4
    • jwzg


      Like 2
    • Ten50boy

      Nah, I believe they were only offered with the lowly N/A 231, the anemic 301 and the boat anchor 305.

      It’s a pretty car though. This engine choice definitely improves it. More fun for sure. At this price, in the pretty condition it’s in……I’d love to add it to my collection. I’ll get get AC sorted.

      Like 0
  7. BigC

    I owned a 1978 Grand Prix. With the 301. It was a nice looking dog of a car, put together with spit and toilet paper, in typical GM fashion. I never even heard of the ’78 Grand Am. An Interesting find.

    Like 2
  8. Frank Denardo

    A friend I know who is General Motors mechanic has a 1980 coupe. Not many of those were sold during the 1980 model year. About 1647 cars were built and was dropped for 1981.

    Like 3
  9. K. R. V.

    Here in freedom loving Florida the non working AC is more of an issue than the missing emissions equipment.

    Like 13
  10. SteveG

    Too bad they couldn’t have come up with a shaker style hood of some type.
    A hint at what’s under the hood would be cool with the T/A 6.6 stickers letting you know this ain’t no 301 grocery getter.

    Like 7
  11. Bama

    I love it. Back when Detroit built fun family cars and not just soulless slick blobs that all look alike. I’d rather have this than a Camaro or TA of the same year mainly because it’s different and because it would be more comfortable to take the family out to a cruise in or show. Like was said above, the non working AC would be more a problem than the smog junk here in Bama.

    Like 7
  12. Garry T

    It sure looks like my 1978 Pheonix … I had the LJ model … Great car …

    Like 2
  13. Nelson C

    Whether you call this an encore or a second attempt the Grand Am was a good looking car that tried desperately to rekindle the midsize performance/touring car. One can only do so much around government regulations and this owner appears to have assembled something worth while.

    After the fullsize cars were downsized successfully these were the next progression. Nobody was more disappointed than me to learn that I couldn’t sit up straight in them. At 17 I was about 6’4″ and not done growing. Wouldn’t be the last car this knuckle dragger didn’t fit in.

    Like 2
  14. Novaman

    I love the car . Would love to have it. Think that’s a little pricey for a Malibu/Lemans of the 80’s .

    Like 1
    • Cobra

      It’s a Grand Am just a touch more money.

      Like 0
  15. Randy Anderson

    I used to own a pee colored yellow with brown interior.I was the second owner of it the reason they traded it was the transmission slipped a little it had just under fifty thousand miles on it.it came with the 229 v6 hi rise intake two barrel carburetor it was pretty fast not drag strip fast but freeway fast.the transmission needed a adjustment no big deal. The car was immaculately clean you could eat off it anywhere I had new shocks springs tires brakes.they have a problem of sagging after a while but those springs were a lot better than the original ones.I put in a hi fi stereo and equalizer to sounded like a symphony. The transmission was a two hundred transmission I wanted to put in a Pontiac three fifty or a small block four hundred with the three fifty transmission wide tires in the back with key stone classic rims.mine was a 1980 Pontiac Grand lemans.I traded it for a Ford pickup instead.

    Like 1
  16. ClassicP

    This car would be fun to drive. Leave as is or get a set of different wheels.

    Like 1
  17. C Force

    Very clean under the hood.The 400 looks right at home,makes this a sleeper for sure.Being from California myself immediately brought one question to mind.How could you register and drive it out there?It would not pass an emissions inspection with a 400 in it,unless you happen ” to know a guy” to get a cheater smog inspection.That’s how my stepdad kept some of his cars on the street when we still lived there.Perfect to go to a state with no inspection programs.very clean car with alot of time and money put in it.In any case i’m sure it will sell quickly..

    Like 2
    • jwzg

      Well, if it passes visual and a sniffer, then you don’t need to worry about the extra 99 CID

      Like 2
  18. Dan K

    I owned a ’78 Grand Am 4-door. It was repo’d at the bank my mother worked at and I got it in late 1979. Unfortunately it had some “repaired” body panels and I traded it a year later (Dumb). One of several cars I should have kept along the way. Had no idea there were so few of them.

    Like 0
  19. Jack M.

    There was a red Grand Am up here in Ontario, Canada like this one. It had a 500 cubic inch Cadillac engine sitting in the engine bay. Looked factory stock. You could easily walk by it if you didn’t look at it closely.

    Like 1
  20. Michael Berkemeier

    Very cool car.

    Like 0
  21. Beauwayne5000

    These 78 series coupes in this chassis type still had tons of overhang frt & rr.
    All thru the GM line.
    1979 model yr the cleaned it up & cars handled better due to improved geometry & suspension equipment.
    That 301 was a Dog totally gutless.
    The 400 in this one is really a boat anchor of an engine BUT there’s plenty of cheap cams & intake setups to at least get it down the road proper.
    I’d check that rear end – 1 wheel drive most likely from the 301set up.
    New rr & HD sway bars.

    Like 0
  22. Davey Boy

    “I like it”. Pull the motor and bring some real horsepower out of it.(around 450) some Keystones. And as Steve G hinted at. I would have to customize it a little and put a shaker on it. Since it’s not stock I don’t think it would hurt anything.

    Like 1

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