Live Auctions

Driving Project: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am

There are plenty of options available when considering how you might choose to fill your time during the winter months. One possible alternative would be to buy a classic like this 1979 Trans Am and perform the cosmetic restoration that would return the vehicle to its former glory. It is something to consider because this is a car with virtually no rust issues to address. Located in Rives Junction, Michigan, you will find the Pontiac listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has made it to $5,100, and the reserve has been met.

I will happily admit that the Cameo White Trans Am is not the prettiest car on the block in its current form, but that tired paint hides some good news. It is quite common to find Pontiacs of this vintage with rust problems, but this vehicle is an exception to that rule. There is surface corrosion in a few spots around the place, and there might be a small area of rust developing in the lower front fender on the passenger side, but that seems to be it. The owner says that the floors and trunk pan are clean, so rust repairs would appear to be minimal. The panels wear a few minor dings and dents, but these all appear to be repairable. The tinted glass looks to be in good condition, while the same seems true of the T-Top. The interior photos show no signs of water damage, suggesting that the seals are in good order. The Trans Am rolls on honeycomb wheels, and I can’t spot any problems with those.

The “tired but serviceable” theme continues when we take a look inside the Pontiac. The front seats have been replaced at some point, and the upholstery doesn’t match the rest of the interior. The covers are looking tired anyway, so replacing them will be a matter of course. The reality is that an interior trim kit is probably going to be required, as the rear seat upholstery and door trims are also showing their age. These are not cheap, but replacing the interior is something that the average owner would only ever have to do once. A trim kit will cost around $1,500, but some additional components will be required. A set of kick panels will add $190, rear armrest trims sell for $260 per pair, and a replacement dash pad assembly will add a further $800 to the total. That’s a lot of money, but the final product will be an interior that should look factory fresh. The original radio is missing, so the buyer will face a choice in that department. On the plus side, the Pontiac does come equipped with air conditioning, power windows, and a tilt wheel.

The engine bay of this Trans Am isn’t pretty, but once again, this is a deceptive area. The 403ci V8 that rests here is in good health and might go close to producing somewhere around its original 185hp. This is backed by a 3-speed automatic transmission, while the vehicle also brings power steering and power brakes to the table. This car was produced at the height of The Malaise Era, and emission laws were heavily impacting the great American V8. However, Pontiac was the shining beacon in the GM stable, and the Trans Am produced performance figures that were reasonable in a 1979 context. The ¼ mile could be covered in this Pontiac in around 16.6 seconds. That doesn’t sound that great today, but you’d better believe that it was a figure that stood up well at that time. This Trans Am is said to be in mechanically good health, and the buyer could drive and enjoy the vehicle while tackling the restoration work at their leisure.

Here at Barn Finds, we have become used to seeing Trans Ams of this vintage that broadly fall into two categories. We see a few spotless survivors that need nothing, while the majority of the remaining vehicles are project cars that have rust issues to be addressed. This car is like a breath of fresh air, and restoring it would appear to be a straightforward proposition. With the reserve in the auction now met, there is a real possibility that someone might manage to score themselves an affordable project car. If they do, I can think of worse ways to spend the colder months than inside a workshop transforming this Pontiac into something special. It’s certainly something to think about.



    Not honeycomb wheels, snow flake wheels.

    Like 2
  2. John Oliveri

    It’s really not a bad car, gotta throw that 403 Oldsmobile motor away, source a nice built 400 or 455 Pontiac, the rest is pretty straight forward, for 5100.00 you can’t loose

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