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Bandit Recaro Edition: 1983 Pontiac Trans Am

The term “Bandit Edition” isn’t one we hear much of anymore, but for a few years after Burt Reynolds burst onto the big screen, it was like shooting fish in the barrel for Pontiac when it came to selling gussied up Trans Ams. The true Bandit Edition, of course, was the previous generation, but the next rendition of the T/A to wear black and gold enjoyed a bit of an afterglow effect in terms of being referenced to as such when it had the right colors. This example is in very nice shape and has the desirable Recaro interior option, not to mention a manual gearbox and the L69 H.O engine. Find it here on eBay with a Buy-It-Now of $14,995 and the option to submit a best offer.

This is the kind of malaise era car that I love, as you can tell the owner did everything possible to order the best combination of features despite performance-oriented options being quite limited. Not only did he spring for the H.O. engine, but it also has 3.73 gears, T-tops, A/C, and power windows. Throw in the Recaro interior and it makes sense that the first owner wanted the hottest T/A he could get, and of course, the colors were a must-have as well. I wonder if the rear wiper was optional – I don’t recall seeing those all that often. The seller notes the Pontiac has recently been revived after being off the road for a few years.

When it was entered into early retirement, it was still in fine shape as the Recaro interior goes to show. These cabins can look awful if they’re not loved, mainly because it’s so painful to see such beautiful seats in a neglected condition. The light colors don’t help matters either, but neither is a concern here – this Trans Am was clearly loved. The dash looks to be in good shape, too, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the backseat has never been used. The seller notes the paint and interior are original, and while it’s definitely a 20 footer, it still presents quite well for a car with 75,000 miles that hasn’t been kept in a museum.

The engine benefits from a carburetor rebuild, fresh fluids, and a new battery, and the suspension has been sorted out as well: the front end has been rebuilt and the T/A rides on four new tires. The seller claims it’s a one family owned example, which aligns with the description of it being parked for several years but thankfully, not outdoors. This is one of the more enticing Trans Ams I can recall seeing recently, thanks to the iconic colors, the great options, and the seemingly unaltered condition. The price seems fair to me, but an offer in the ballpark of $12,000 seems fair as well. Which generation “Bandit” do you prefer?


  1. Avatar photo Mike D

    Nice car. Fair price.

    Like 6
  2. Avatar photo CJinSD

    That asymmetrical hood bulge really bothered me when these were new. Still don’t like it. Wasn’t it created for the equally-awful 301 turbo at the end of 2nd generation Trans Am production? Why burden a naturally aspirated V8 with this uncomfortable affectation? The previous Trans Am shaker hood scoop was all ate up with awesome. I still miss the days when GM had new ideas, like the styling of these F-bodies. Wouldn’t it be great if the last two Camaros weren’t tributes to the original Chevy II ‘sporty’ coupe?

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

      This car(unlike the ’73-81s) does have functional ram air & maybe the shaker would not look that good on this gen. &/or might be hard to fit with its sloping hood.
      I would think a rear wiper on this t/a is quite rare.
      Quite a tall shifter.
      It may be missing the black bowling ball aero wheel covers – they actually covered ALUMINUM wheels?!

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Matt

        Those are the correct rims & center caps for this car. The “bowling ball” caps were a separate wheel choice.

        Like 1
      • Avatar photo PRA4SNW

        Tesla copied that idea – aero wheel covers over nice looking aluminum wheels – on their Model 3.

        Like 0
    • Avatar photo Fred

      The 1980 301 turbo wasn’t that bad, all it needed was an adjustment to the waste gate to add some pep.

      The hood was offset because the original intent was to install the turbo 301 in it.

      I have a 1982 TransAm, and also have a 301 turbo motor. All I need to find is the elusive 301 flywheel and I will install it.

      Like 1
  3. Avatar photo mike

    I could never really warm to the 3rd generation of the Camaro/Firebird, mostly because of build quality and lack of performance from the early prefuel injected versions. They always looked like you were one second away from a door falling off or something breaking or the engine exploding. And it’s sad that Gm couldn’t find a way to make the early versions more powerful and better running. I mean they couldn’t get their top of the line engine fuel injected while the Iron Duke four cylinder was? That was typical GM. IMO by the mid to late 80’s when the engines got their fuel injection and the 350 was introduced you could say that the Z-28 and the Trans Am were true performance cars.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Brendon

      You could get a fuel injected V8 in 82/83- it was the cross fire fuel injection. It was available for the ’82 Pace car Camaro as well (perhaps other Camaros, too?). Now, the subject of it being good and desirable is up for debate, but it was available.

      Like 0
      • Avatar photo Carlos Guzman

        I have the crossfire fuel injection. Hard to adjust.

        Like 0
  4. Avatar photo The_Driver

    This model was used in “Smokey And The Bandit 3”, where “Cledus” played “The Bandit” as neither Burt nor Sally were part of that film.

    Total sad big screen ending for “Smokey And The Bandit” series. Of course, in the t.v. series, “Bandit” drove a Mistsubichi 3000GT!

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Bhowe Member

      Bandit 3 is my favorite. Stupid acting but funny as hell in an Airplane sort of way. Loved it when they obviously floored the 82 TA and all you saw was gentle acceleration!! Nice car

      Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Chris

    Only one generation represented the TRUE ‘Smokey & the Bandit ” We al know these are knock offs . What would Burt say. R.I.P

    Like 3
  6. Avatar photo Gremlin X

    I will forever associate this car with Knight Rider. I even hear the theme song when I so much as look at it. Ugh.

    Like 6
  7. Avatar photo Carlos J Guzman

    I have a 1982 Pontiac Trans am. Doing a Knight Rider Conversion. Mine isn’t as nice as this one but this is definitely one that can be made into a Knight Rider car. This probably has good bones. I would buy it.. or keep it stock.. This is a good example. I’ve had my car 21 years now.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo Daved

    I will forever associate this car with Knight Rider. I even hear the theme song when I so much as look at it. YESSSSS 🖤 💛

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Carlos J Guzman

      I’m fortunate to have met most of the cast of Knight Rider. I’m in a Knight Rider group and have a few friends who have full replicas. I have a few friends that have worked with the Hoff or know him really well. I haven’t met the Hoff yet but have been invited several times.. but haven’t met him. I have done alot of work on my car but not so much on the outside. More mechanical and interior.

      Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Stan Marks

    I like this car. Nice not to see the big bird on the hood Interior is superb.
    Less is more….

    Like 1
  10. Avatar photo Tweezee

    Correct me if I’m wronG, but this is more like the KniGht rider than a Smokey and the Bandit, even thouGh the KniGht rider was actually a Formula 1, I believe. Nice car, but this isn’t what you want when you think Smokey and the Bandit

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Carlos J Guzman

      Knight Rider literally took the 1st 3 cars that were trans ams. Later they got about almost 20 cars because of a derailed train. They had a law that they couldn’t be sold so Paramount bought them for a dollar each on the condition they all be destroyed after the series ended.. original cars left is 5 2 are owned by a Knight Rider group.

      Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Jim in FL

    The “bowling ball” caps on the 82s used to come off (or get stolen in Philly). After owners lost a set, we would either replace with expensive new ones, or sell them an 83 center cap kit. The wheels still had the prongs that looked odd close up, but from a distance they looked like 83 wheels.

    This is actually a pretty nice iteration of the vintage. The recaros and t tops, plus a manual. I think this will draw decent money. I really liked the cream-white color they offered these years. The lower air intake covers were black on some and cream on others.

    I remember doing a burnout out back in one of these, and the other new car prep guy was alongside me. Dad came out and stopped us. The other guy said he thought he was stalling and hit the gas. I knew my dad well enough not to lie, so I said I was doing a burnout. I got in less trouble. We used to break these in on an access road behind the auto mall.

    Not sure what year they changed it, but these used to blow out the back glass when you slammed the hatch. So GM added a little motor. You would slam the hatch, but it wouldn’t seal, then the motor would pull it down.

    Cool car, these feel faster than they are.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Carlos J Guzman

      Mine is an 82 does have button to pop the trunk hatch. Mine has no motor.. that came later.. maybe 83 not sure.

      Like 0
  12. Avatar photo John Oliveri

    Listen, in 83 if it had a 301 in it at least it was still a Pontiac not a Camaro in a Tuxedo, Chevys 305 was no rocket either, but a Pontiac is still a Pontiac, it was all downhill from 1979 anyway, we at least as Pontiac guys kept our own identity

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Carlos J Guzman

      1982 had a 305 v8 and like you said came out of chevy. Pontiac as we knew was starting to change. Later Pontiac’s did have some more powerful options.. SLP FIREHAWKS are some of my favorites.

      Like 0
  13. Avatar photo Matthew Terry

    It’s had a few subtle mods. The original fake grilles in the front have been replaced with the smooth covers from the ’84 T/A and the taillight bar comes from the post ’85 T/A. I still prefer the ’85 to ’90, with the revised nose and the plastic body extensions on the sides that, for once, improve the car’s looks.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

      Would functional grills provide better cooling? I would think there must have been aftmkt functional ones.
      Not sure how this car would look like with NO grills.
      The ’74-75 birds have no lower grills.
      I would run a test with covers & w/o grills & watch/compare the temp gage.
      Is there something inside the dash on the pass side that prevents fitting a proper glove box?

      Like 1
  14. Avatar photo James Noble

    Smokey And The Bandit 3 used an early production ’83 with an automatic and the factory vinyl seats. Knight Rider cars used the optional PMD cloth seats

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Stan Marks

      I worked on the first Bandit movie.

      Like 0

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