Daily Driver: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am Survivor

This 1979 Pontiac Trans Am is a solid car that is ready to be driven and enjoyed today. There is some work to be done, but none of this could be classed as urgent. It has spent a large part of its life as a daily driver and is still said to drive very nicely today. Located in Waukon, Iowa, it is listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN price of $13,995 for the Trans Am, but the option is available to make an offer.

For a 40-year-old daily driver, the Trans Am doesn’t look too bad. The original Heritage Brown paint has a nice shine to it, and the decals have all held up fairly well. There are no major dings or dents, and the owner does say that the floors and underside of the car are clean and solid. The only rust that he identifies is a small spot in the rear valance near the exhaust, but that should be pretty easy to fix.

It’s when you climb inside the Trans Am that you see the visible signs of this car’s life as a daily driver. The covers on the front seats are looking quite tired, as is the carpet. The armrest on the center console will need to be replaced, and the headliner has been removed due to the fact that it was sagging badly. The original material is included in the sale, but it will be the new owner’s choice whether to have this reinstalled or they may choose to replace it. Personally, if I were doing the carpets and the front seat covers, I would probably make the effort to replace the headliner at the same time. The rest of the interior looks quite good, and that oh-so-1980s CB radio is actually working. The other thing that works, well, sort of, is the air conditioning. It blows cool, but the owner does believe that it will need a recharge.

Opening the hood on the Trans Am was a bit of a disappointment for me. The “6.6” decals are deceiving, because what you get is the 301ci V8, producing 150hp. This is hooked to a 3-speed automatic transmission, while you also get power steering and power brakes. Disappointment aside, the owner claims that the Trans Am is in very good mechanical health. He does say that he has taken it on some pretty long road trips in recent times, and the car has been faultless. It appears that this is a car that is ready to be driven and enjoyed.

While I have always had a soft spot for the black Trans Am, a car like this makes a pleasant change. I know that brown cars don’t appeal to a lot of people, but this is a color that is very much of its time. It does need some work, but there doesn’t appear as though that there is anything major involved, and none of it is urgent. It is a car that appears as though it could be driven and enjoyed today.


  1. NotSure

    I could rock this brown TA! Problem would be that I’d be wishing that I was 18 again. Hopefully wouldn’t act like that though…

    Like 4
  2. Moparman Member

    A brown beauty! Love it! :-)

    Like 1
    • Superdessucke

      With the 301 underfoot you’d be more dangerous in a golf cart.

      Like 2
  3. Vin_in_NJ

    It’s amazing for as worn as the interior is, the door handle pulls are still intact. The armrest would stay attached, while the handle would rip away from the doorcard.

  4. SaabArcVert

    I don’t remember the lowly 301 being offered with the T/A package? Especially sporting 6.6 badges while the 301 was in actuality a 4.9 liter. So what’s the reason for such a downgrade in the engine swap?

    • T Mel

      The motor is probably original, not the decals. The 301 was offered in the T/A in ’79 (about 5,000 of them had it). The shaker decals, however, are not located in the factory location (they are too far forward), therefore, I’m guessing someone changed out the decals (at least on the shaker), just for posing purposes.

      Like 1
  5. Bob C.

    The 400 or 403 would have been a nice bonus.

    Like 1
    • ccrvtt

      The 455 Super Duty would have been a nice bonus. I know, that’s not period-correct, but you’re going to want another 150hp to make this car go as good as it looks. $14K is a lot of money considering what the interior is going to take to make it habitable.

      A friend had one of these in this color back in the day. He had ASC put in the T-tops which ran all the way across the roof. Actually looked better than the factory units, and didn’t leak. I believe the brightwork surrounding the windows should be painted satin metallic black though I’m sure the stainless was underneath it.

  6. Brent

    It’s not original paint or decals. It would not have had the T/A 6.6 decals with the 301.

    Like 4
  7. John Oliveri

    In 79 the 301 turbo was available if I remember correctly, the 400 was available w a 4 speed, and that Oldsmobile 403 was available w automatic, I could be wrong about this, I’m getting old, but I was 18 and went to Prime Pontiac in NY to look at a Bandit, but I bought a 79 Grand Prix instead, 2 tone blue Vogues and spokes, nothing had any muscle left, at least the GP wasn’t supposed to be fast, it was a 301, but it was a Pontiac

    • Superdessucke

      The 301 turbo was not available until 1980. This’ll be the NA 301 4-barrel which is kind of a slug. Very rare on the 1979s and it was a credit option. But rare doesn’t mean valuable.

      Like 1
      • T Mel

        I’ve had all three motors from ’79 with all trans options. To me, the 301/4 speed felt more spry than the 403 with the auto.

  8. 36 Packard

    I have been to Waukon Iowa. Wonderful place if you like the great county fair there. The pork sandwiches there are superb (as are the hog barns for the FFA and 4H) but the local back roads stink. All gravel. Very few are paved. This is not a good area to drive all those classic cars. Just saying. But in defense of Iowa in general, the girls there are very pretty. I lived in Rochester, Minnesota many years ago and a lot of northern Iowa girls came there for nursing school and to work at the Mayo Clinic, pound for pound, I felt the Iowa farmers daughters were prettier then the local girls, again just my opinion. (though, I am almost always right).

    Like 1
  9. George mattar

    Boat anchor engine. Way over priced. Just because someone has a 70s TA they see $$$$$$$ not worth even half the price.

  10. Karl

    For what your getting it’s overpriced, I am not sure who would want this engine in any car let alone this one. I would wait and find one with a 400 or better yet a 403 then rebuild that into what I want!

  11. TimM

    A $6000 car!!! I’m trying to be generous to the seller!!! Not a $14,000 car in anyone’s world!!!

  12. Mark

    I will keep my Hyundai. More horsepower

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