Bandit Wanna-Be: 1978 Pontiac Grand Am

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You’ve got to give Pontiac credit, they liked to take chances. In 1973 they brought out a new car called the Grand Am. It wasn’t the performance car that the GTO was. It had more of an international flair, including both 2 door and 4 door models. It sold in decent numbers for three years and was discontinued. When the new smaller body style was brought out in 1978, Pontiac tried again with the Grand Am but selling in even smaller numbers this time. I think the problem is that Pontiac was competing with itself. While it wasn’t a direct competitor, Pontiac buyers found they could buy a base Grand Prix for less than the Grand Am, and that’s what most people opted for. It was sold again for three years and discontinued. On the third try, Pontiac hit a sales home run when they brought out a smaller Grand Am that appealed to the masses. Here is a 1978 Pontiac Grand Am 2 door coupe for sale here on Craigslist in Johnson City, Tennessee.

The seller calls this Grand Am a Smokey and the Bandit edition. I thought that was reserved for the Trans Am. When I googled it, the only thing I found was this same car for sale on a site named Classic Cars for Sale you can read here. That’s being a salesman though, bring out anything positive. While it is an attractive black and gold combination, the paint is not in very good condition. The car appears to have no rust, dents, or dings though. The gold honeycomb pattern wheels make it more appealing and are mounted to new tires. It looks like it may have a new dual exhaust peeking from under the rear bumper. The car also has a sunroof.

The interior is a bit worn, however, the seats do not appear to be torn. They do need a good cleaning along with the carpeting. The dash pad is definitely going to need replacing. There is also an aftermarket steering wheel. The seller points out that the power windows, headlights, and wipers work. That statement pretty much tells me the air conditioning doesn’t.

There is no picture of the engine. The standard engine in the 1978 Grand Am was the 301 cubic inch (4.9 liter) V-8 with 2 barrel carburetor, but buyers could opt for 4 barrel. The seller doesn’t disclose the car’s mileage. The front of this Grand Am has the soft front end nose to absorb minor bumps. The seller has two pages of over $2,800 of recent work done by a master mechanic that can be reviewed with a potential buyer. It sounds as if the car has sat awhile and had quite a bit of work done to get it running. While there appears to be no body rust, apparently there was some rust underneath because the floorboards have been patched. The seller has spent nearly the asking price in repairs, so this may be a good car for someone that can drive as is, or get a new paint job to make this car look wonderful. It can be yours for $3,000.

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  1. ChebbyMember

    LOL compared to The Bandit, this one is a petty criminal.

    Like 8
  2. Maestro1

    I can be cynical about this and say that it’s a Chevelle Malibu in wolf’s clothing, or something, just switch the front and rear clips and change the interior and voila! Chevrolet. GM was notorious for mixing and matching between car lines. Having said that; you will have a unique experience since there are very few of these around not beaten to death. It would be a good entry level car for someone new to the Hobby. Pontiac had some really interesting designs in the 70s, and they are all worth looking into. If you have the time and the tools, by all means buy this. Join the Pontiac Owner’s Club, or whatever it is, and they know where the parts are, who to call and so on. Good Luck.

    Like 8
    • Tom

      Judging from the condition, I think this one might be beaten to death…

      Like 0
    • Joey

      Maestro1 I bought a 1978 Grand am a few years ago and the front end was damaged. I couldn’t find any other parts cars around my area but was able to find quite a few malibu’s. So I did just what you wrote. I changed everything over to make it a malibu.

      Like 0
  3. Vance

    Probably would be the only one at a car show or on a cruise night. There is something to be said for exclusivity, you could separate yourself from the herd with this car. Like 1979 Camaro, all it needs is time and money. Like the exterior colors, I would keep it that way.

    Like 9
  4. Rocket8

    I’ve a ’78 GA out back. Gathering parts for a GA CA ‘kind of’ clone: that was a 301 4bbl with an led bulge hood, this will be a 400 4bbl/shaker hood. Just picked up the WS6 wheels at Iola last year. Mine is a California model with a 305 s/b for now.

    Like 0
  5. Sam61

    I like it for $1,000…it does have the right equipment to be fun…snow flake wheels, console, buckets, black/gold.

    This would make for a good Purdue student car after some work.

    Deal breaker if a screw driver is not included for the ignition and trunk.

    Like 4
  6. Suttree

    This car has been off the road for years. The license plate was phased out and replaced about 20 years ago.

    Like 0
  7. Superdessucke

    1 of 1!

    Like 0
  8. Miguel

    The car is too filthy to consider inside and out.

    Like 1
  9. randys

    need more shaker

    Like 1
  10. Nick G.

    If this was Bandit’s car, the movie would have ended around 15 minutes in… caught by the officer doing a “10-100”.

    Like 0
  11. Del

    Need more Cow Bell

    Like 3
  12. Steve

    They made these with 4 speeds also. Those 301’s are known as boat anchors but they are lightweight. The T/A 4.9’s were rated at 170hp (It had a 4bbl and a bigger cam). I think a neat cruiser would be a Grand Am like this with a 4 speed/301 built to T/A 4.9 specs, free flowing exhaust/headers, suspension work and some 15×8 WS6 wheels.

    Like 5
  13. stillrunners

    Actually it was a time – 1978 – and they weren’t that bad…..and not many did survive. Do the mechanics – with a newer drive train and go spankin’…….

    Like 0
  14. Bill

    This is well worth the money,unlike some crazy stupid prices people put on some cars people watch those dumb TV shows and believe that crap

    Like 2
  15. JoeNYWF64

    Odd GM made the non hardtop Colonnaide midsize models starting in ’73 – in anticipation of rollover standards(& a couple yrs later on their fullsize & nova cars), but still made a true hardtop like this in ’78? I dont get it. A lot more money than an early 70’s hardtop & the side rear windows don’t roll down at all – poor value – should at least roll down halfway.

    Like 1
  16. Del

    Listing for a friend.

    Ads like this always make me wary.

    Like 1
  17. sam hain

    Only worth it if you can do the work yourself. Paying someone to do it will cost more than the car is worth – to anyone.

    Like 0

    it’s an o.k. buy at a grand… the G.A. just isn’t desirable, it’s the bottom of the barrel gbody and you can find one in pristine condition for $3k… I’ll do $800 if he is interested

    Like 0
  19. Grand Am Man

    Pristine these are $8,000 to $10,000+.
    This one, around a grand to $1,500 imo.
    Buy yeah, change the body and the interior and you have a Malibu lol.

    Like 0
    • Tom

      Change the body and interior…whats left???

      Like 0
  20. Grandamman

    The drive train. But oh, that’s different too.
    Exactly my point…

    Like 0

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