Cheap 23k Mile 4 Speed: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am

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We have seen several Trans Am come up for sale recently on Barn Finds. This one might be the best deal. It is a 1979 Pontiac Trans Am with only 15,800 miles, according to the seller. It is a 4 speed car painted in Code 24 Atlantis Blue. The Trans Am is located in Liberty Hill, Texas which is near Austin. It is listed here on Facebook Marketplace for only $23,500. The Trans Am ad has been up for about a week. The car is said to original and rust free.

Upon initial examination, the car looks to be in excellent condition. It appears that someone put a decal on the front spoiler that says “PONTIAC” but otherwise the car looks stock. This Trans Am is powered by an L37 301 cubic inch V8 engine that was rated at 150 horsepower in 1979 and equipped with a 4 barrel carburetor. The engine is backed by a Borg Warner T-10 4 speed transmission. The 301 cubic inch V8 engine was the lowest horsepower V8 option in 1979 for Trans Am and was a $150 credit for the buyer. The base engine in the 1979 Trans Am was the L80 Oldsmobile 403 cubic inch V8 engine that produced 185 horsepower and 315 lb ft of torque. This more powerful engine was only available with the Turbo 350 automatic transmission. The rarest engine in a 1979 Trans Am was the W72 Pontiac 400 cubic inch V8 engine which was rated at 220 horsepower. The W72 engine only came with a 4 speed, WS6 suspension and 3.23 rear end in 1979.

The interior shows that the car is not heavily optioned. It does not have T-Tops or power windows but does have tilt steering, air conditioning and remote driver mirror. The camel interior is vinyl and optioned with the deluxe upgraded seats and door panels. I think this color combination looks great with the Atlantis Blue exterior. This car has 15×8 aluminum snowflake wheels. If these wheels came on the car from the factory, it means the car has the WS6 Performance Handling Package which also included J65 4 wheel disc brakes in 1979. The WS6 package also included special shocks, larger sway bars, and improved steering ratio.

Out of the 117,000 Trans Ams built in 1979, just over 3,300 came with the L37 301 cubic inch V8 engine and 4 speed manual transmission. I would assume that this was the economical engine option for the Trans Am compared to the larger 6.6 liters engines. I own 1979 Firebirds with the W72 engine and the L80 engine and they are a lot of fun to drive. I wonder how this one feels with 30 to 70 less horsepower?

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Comments

  1. eyes4color62@gmail.com CooterMember

    If it truly has the WS6 suspension, I couldn’t resist finding a nicely built 400 engine and a lower gear such as the .323. May even consider a .373 and definitely a repaint with that beautiful bird hood emblem! Although it wouldn’t be original, you’d have yourself a nice W72 clone. The prices on these will continue to soar.

    Like 4
  2. Matt

    In my town, as heavily policed as it is, i will take a 4 spd 301 over an auto 6.6 any day just for the fun of interacting w/this poncho rather than trying to be a streetlight hero. That color combo seems odd, but no T tops is a huge plus, in my opinion/experience

    Like 11
  3. eyes4color62@gmail.com CooterMember

    I am 62 and no longer do streetlight racing. However, when driving a classic Poncho, I prefer a 400 or 455 cu. In. powerplant stroking under my hood. Never cared for a 326 and definitely not this sewing machine motor.

    Like 7
  4. ACZ

    “Cheap” must be in the eyes of the beholder, because this does not strike me as cheap.

    Like 6
  5. Michael Berkemeier

    So, what we have here is about the least desirable slug of a “Trans Am” ever built…neat-o. You’d have to pay ME to take this car.

    Like 3
  6. HarryQ

    Herb Adams did a series of modified Firebirds, branded as Fire Ams, in this time frame, providing both turnkey upgraded cars with various options, including 180 degree headers and a custom dry sump pan. His son, Matt, and a friend, whose dad worked with Herb and company on several projects, have done a restomod with Fire Am decals and parts. Not so well known about those is John Schinella, of GM Design, responsible for Pontiac, designed the logo, and hood decal, which is a more minimalist, simpler design than the very successful production decal.

    Matt has a supply of parts to build (or sell the parts to build) one.

    If one wanted to build one, this car, apparently rust-free, with no structure-robbing T-tops, would be a great start.

    Like 5
  7. JC

    Imagine thinking it was a good deal to get a $150 credit… smdh

    Like 1
  8. Elwood

    According to Road&Track the 301,WS-6 Trans-Am was the best handling American car in 1979. All the horse power in the world isn’t worth anything if it won’t go around a corner. I still have the 301, WS-6 Trans-Am that I bought new. When I was auto-crossing it my times were as good or better than my bigger horse power competitors. It is still a blast to get out on a back road and drive it the way it was meant to be driven. Stop bashing the 301 and just appreciate that these cars are still around and unmolested.

    Like 8
    • Tom

      Well said and I couldn’t agree more!

      Like 1
  9. Gman

    is nobody else seeing the shackle extensions and roll cage!?

    Like 1
  10. Blake, does my opinion really matter ???

    Wow, how clean and striking without the screaming chicken hood decal. Not having that was a detriment back then, now it is definitely a plus. That hood looks really long without the bird sitting on it! Seeing one without the decal back in the day was rare, it was almost like someone forget to check that bird decal option box because they all had one.

    Like 0
    • Johan

      But your opinion doesn’t matter…🤣

      Like 1

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