Bad Bandit: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am

There are so many nice Trans Ams still out there! People must have assumed they would be collectible some day so they stashed them away. Well, they were right, but I still think it would have been more fun to thrash mine instead. Anyway, this awesome example is claimed to have been with the same owner for 33 years! It’s only showing 61k on the odometer and everything is said to work as it should. It’s located in Tacoma, Washington and is listed here on eBay where bidding ends in a few days.

This isn’t just any old black Trans Am. It’s a Special Edition car so it included many unique touches besides the black paint. There’s a gold bird on the hood, gold on the grill, and gold in the pinstriping. It even rides on gold Snowflake rims. The theme continues inside with a gold swirl dash, gold steering wheel, and even little gold birds on the door panels and shift knob! Everything is claimed to work in here and someone has already fitted a CD player so the only thing left to do is to repair the AC system.

Personally, I would rather have the stock radio in the dash or nothing at all because my ears would be busy listening to this. Yes, there is an engine in there under all the hoses. A big one too! Four hundred and three cubic inches may sound like a lot, but unfortunately the emission rules of the day choked things down from what they had previously been. There are rumors out there that you can remove the catalytic converter and a block off plate in the hood scoop to really unleash the beast. Has anyone experienced this firsthand?

The gold accents, louvers, and flipped up spoiler really make this thing a looker. This black beauty has had one respray, but it was completed 14 years ago so it must have been done right. The fact that it’s not the original paint should just give the next owner an excuse to drive it everyday without feeling bad. Let’s just hope they at least take it out for the occasional thrashing instead of waiting for it to appreciate more. There’s still a lot of low-mileage TAs out there so why not enjoy this one?

Fast Finds


  1. Big tony

    Right on . I used to have one of these . Got in a wreck on way home from Loverboy / quiet riot concert in 1984

    • Bruce Kendall

      I was a passenger in 1977 and we went under a tractor trailer at 150mph since it did not have tail lights. My buddy driving was killed and I spent the next year getting back on my feet. I was saved by my partner upstairs because there is no way I could have survived… I shutter every time I see the inside of those cars.

      Like 1
      • Brad C

        Incredible. Glad you survived, sorry your buddy didn’t. We’ve all done stupid stuff and rarely seem to predict this outcome enough to scare us to slow down.

    • Don

      Lover boy hahahahahaha

    • Don

      Lover boy hahaha

      • Andrew

        I still have their albums as well as from Street-heart. Those were the real good days.

  2. Car Guy

    Being a 79, this car has the wrong engine decal on the hood. The 403 Olds V8 was the only engine availble with the automatic other than the T/A 4.9 Pontiac 301. The Pontiac 400 was only available with the 4-speed manual that year and those engines were left over from 1978 production.

    From the setback of the shaker on the air cleaner assembly this is an Old 403 car and should have a “6.6 Liter” decal on the hood, not T/A 6.6 which only came on Pontiac 400 engine cars. Still a clean example though.

    • Bobby Dawkins

      I agree with car guy
      The only thing that’s not correct is the decal on shaker but not a huge deal such a nice car

    • Tom Magda

      I get paying for the 400 4 speeds, but the 403 autos?

  3. Larry

    I remember when disco parking lots were packed with these things. It has aged better than me. I’m old and feeble now. Gotta get back to “The Wheel” and my baked apple.

  4. Anthony Rodrigues

    Very very nice… I do love these black Trans Ams and it has power windows and power door locks… only non-original item I see is I believe they used the wrong decal on the shaker scoop after the re-paint this is an automatic and as such is equipped with the Olds 403 not a Pontiac 400 I believe all the Olds equipped T/As had 6.6 Litre on the scoop… T/A 6.6 designated the Pontiac engine still I wish I had the funds to buy it….

    • Tom Magda

      I noticed that too.

  5. Big tony

    Guy says in ad it’s a 403 car. Just must have wrong decal as they want $20 more in a stripe kit for correct 6.6 liter decals . Looks to be PHS documented

  6. Rock On Member

    Yes Jesse, when you run a “test pipe” instead of a catalytic converter and open up the hood scoop this car will definitely wake up. Long tube headers would be even better. Mine even had some ball bearings find their way into some of the rubber emission hoses! Don’t know how that happened. Anyhow, the automatic could chirp the tires on the 1-2 shift.

  7. gene

    Tacoma is not the best place to buy your car from. Oregon plates?
    Paint is not original.Missing stickers under the hood. Orange heater hose
    has black over spray.Sticker on driver’s door was not well taped before repaint.
    Numbers on odometer are crooked, usual sign of tempering.
    I am thinking , miles over 100000 but well painted and rebuild.
    But I guess if you want one and you got the money to waist, who cares?

  8. Rod

    Nice barn!!! Would love to own that and put my prized possessions in it. I like the car a lot as well.

  9. Tony S

    FYI – the “swirl dash” is actually an “engine turned” finish.

    • JoeR

      We used to use a dowel rod in a drill press with some abrasive to make those patterns.

  10. Scott Bishop

    Curious to see the final price on this TA.

  11. Jeffro

    Where’s the CB?

  12. Clint Belew

    Car seems like the real deal. Somebody gunna need a cowboy hat.

  13. Jay Soder

    PHS Documented Y-84 , prices are all over the board on these cars. Wish I kept my 79 Silver Anny

    • MKEGreg

      Seems like nice ones are getting $20K on the low side now.

  14. That Guy

    Funny, just this morning I saw a picture of Steve McQueen driving what I think may be an identical car. It would have been very near the end of his life if so. He gave it a lot more coolness than it really deserved. :-D

    • Moparman Member

      @That Guy: IIRC, Steve McQueen starred in a movie in which he was a bounty hunter and drove a T/A. :-)

  15. mtshootist1

    every time I see one of these, I get that Smokey and the Bandit song in my head, and hear Burt Reynolds yelling YEEEHAWWW!

  16. JW

    I just love early Pontiacs especially black ones.

    • Richard bowers

      I still have a 74 SD car with 4 speed that I bought new. That car has been a lot of fun. 70,000 orig. miles.

      • John

        My all time favorite muscle car.

    • JimmyinTEXAS

      Wouldn’t consider this as an early Pontiac. Pontiac made Pontiacs from mid 1920s IIRC.

      • JW

        OK I will restate it, I love the black Pontiacs of my early driving experiences seeing as I got my license in 1969.

  17. Neil

    Wish I’d kept my ’79 with the 4 speed manual box – and I only paid £2,500 for it. :(
    I love this one – out of my price range now though I’m afraid once shipping across the big pond is added in..

  18. Anthony

    I am 99% sure the black cars did not have the cowl areas where the air intake for heating cooling sprayed black, they looked primed in red, that is original. Only the black TA’s in 79 had this difference. Yes shaker sticker is not correct. This was definitely painted with little attention to these details. Also the interior looks like it was redone at some point. For the owner to get the original build sheet removal o some interior is required to access it. Lastly the odometer number alignment is good, many of the odometers in that year had poor alignment. One more thing the glove box looks a little rusty, a sign of improper storage. A nice looking car though.

  19. Nova Scotian

    I had removed a 🐱 convert one time because it had malfunctioned. It was going to cost me several hundred dollars to a thousand or more to buy another. Cheap solution…cut the pipe near the 😾and beat out the clogged ceramic stuff. Run/ rev engine a few times to blow out the guts. Not good for the environment. I agree. But stupid me did it and then reweld the pipe back up.
    The car had wayyy more get up and go after that. WAY more. But it was clogged to begin with.

  20. Dillin Crawley

    my father used to have a 82 camaro and he took the converter off and after the tickets he left it sitting until someone came and took it.

  21. Rob from Texas

    The Trans Am and Steve McQueen reference may be from the 1980 movie The Hunter”. McQueen played and aging bounty hunter. The sequence with the Trans Am is very good.

    • Andrew

      Isn’t that the one with the cornfield chase scene?


    Arguably the definitive car of the Disco Era.
    Seems to be in good shape. The buyer should spend the dough to pull max HP out of that massive 403.

  23. Martin

    What’s with these idiots cutting up the dashes of these cars for a crap stereo . I just bought a merc truck with the dash cut ,they need a slap up the ear !!

    • Terry C.

      Read below, I feel your pain.

  24. KevinW

    I still miss my 1976 455 4 speed Trans Am. Took the back plate off the shaker hood scoop, test pipe for the cat converter, and a couple of other very minor mods made Quicksilver FLY! (silver with red interior). What a beast she was.

  25. Susan Carpenter

    I prefer my ’99 firebird trans am

  26. Rolf Poncho 455

    A lovely car I want to have it but my 455 is best

  27. Terry C.

    And somebody already fitted a CD player. Absolutely kills me every time. I ask “did you keep the stock unit?” Nope. Really? Well I guess I’m off to eBay and swap meets to spend 300 to replace what you spent 100 to change in then threw out. Well there’s my rant for the week. Thanks, I feel a little better now 🍻

  28. Eric Pierce

    I had a 79 Bandit like this, also had a 77 Bandit… as per ur question about unleashing the beast… 403 cars were equipted with a sluggish rear end gear, best to change out the 2.46 gear or whatever 2 series gear is in there and swap in a 3.23 or 3.73 gear. Open the scoop, richen the carb, play with the timing, install a decent dual exhuast, and you can bet your Coors that T/A will kick u rt in the butt when you stab the go pedal! My 79 had true dual exhaust, no cat, open scoop but still had the sluggish rear gear, but it moved out pretty goid. My 77 wasa H.O. 400 Car with 3.23 gear, dual exhaust no cats, neck snappin off the line . :)

  29. David Miraglia

    more like Smokey and the Bandit. Never a fan of the Screaming chicken.
    If I had a firebird I would rather have Jim Rockfords more laid back version

  30. Jon Sherman

    The 403 was ok but a slug compared to the 400. Great cars but I personally wouldn’t pay the big money some of these are priced at for a 403 car

  31. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Sold for $ 29,600.00. With 36 bids.

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