Gold Edition? 1978 Pontiac Trans Am Y88

This 1978 Pontiac Trans Am has potential.  Most people are familiar with the Y82 “Bandit” black and gold Special Edition Trans Am but did you know that Pontiac produced a Y88 Gold Edition Trans Am that was gold with brown pinstripes in 1978. We are not sure if this Trans Am is a Gold Edition because it has been repainted and does not have the stripes or gold dash bezel but it does have the gold grill inserts and gold steering wheel. The car is available on Facebook Marketplace through a dealer for $14,900 in New Braunfels, Texas.

Most Gold Edition Trans Ams were built in Norwood, Ohio because EPA regulations were stricter at the California Pontiac plant in Van Nuys. Many people believe that the paint from Van Nuys factory has more of a greenish tint as compared to a deeper gold paint used on the Ohio models.  You would probably only notice the difference in the two paints if two original Gold Edition cars were sitting next to each other at a car show.

This car is equipped the Oldsmobile built 403 cubic inch engine (RPO L80) which was one of the three engine options in 1978 for the Trans Am.  A stock 403 cubic inch engine was rated at 185 hp and 320 ft-lbs of torque.  It was only offered with an automatic and it was the only engine offered at California dealerships.  While the engine did not offer much horsepower, it was a very torquey engine that cruised well on the highway and was fun to drive around town.  This car appears to have an aftermarket aluminum manifold but otherwise looks stock.

The new tires are mounted on 15 x 8 stock rims which indicate the car may be optioned with the famed WS6 handling package which came with bigger sway bars, tuned shocks, harder bushings, cross member braces, special springs and a 14:1 steering ratio.  The WS6 handling package vaulted the Trans Am from a good handling car to one of the most delightful and best handling road cars offered by a foreign or domestic manufacturer.

With no T-Tops, the AC blows cold inside and the car is equipped with the deluxe interior which came with improved seats and door panels in 1978.  The car has power windows and tilt steering although the steering column looks incorrect.  The paint looks nice except that the wheel spoilers need to be painted.  The car is adorned with a number of incorrect decals that would need to be replaced to return it to stock.  The hood bird is from the 1979 model year and the other decals appear to be aftermarket.


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  1. Navi318

    I particularly lean towards the famous black and gold T/A package aka the bandit version. My buddy had a silver T/A with the 6.6 liter under the hood and it looked sweet, making it probably my second choice over the gold package. The gold package is just simply too much gold. No contrasting color beside a little bit of black would make me dizzy. Nice T/A but i’ll pass.

  2. UK Paul 🇬🇧

    I like it. Thanks for sharing.

  3. 86_Vette_Convertible

    There’s a little rust but not anything a little work couldn’t take care of. Even though it’s been changed a little, looks pretty good to me.

  4. JWH

    Without doing any research I’m going to guess no on this car being a Y88. In addition to the author’s observations, the black steering column and rock guards strike me as odd if the car was just a repaint of an original Y88.

    I was a kid in the 70’s and must admit the T/As (especially the screaming chicken) have a special place in my heart. However, my head has long moved past the “LOOK AT ME” vibe of these cars.

    Even if I had a moment of weakness, $15k is more than I’d be willing to spend. As has been said many times over, everybody has their own threshold and those with deeper pockets have the advantage over people like me that don’t.

    If I did have deeper pockets and a moment of weakness, it probably wouldn’t be this one.

    Like 4
  5. Vin_in_NJ

    Regarding the color, my brother purchased a new gold 1978 Trans Am in 1978.
    When you stood at the front corner of the car, there was a different shade of gold on the hood, plastic nose, and front fender.

  6. JEFF S.

    I will pass on this one. But, if I had the $15K to spend I would buy this 1979 Corvette. Also, in TX and not a rip off from a dealer/flipper.

  7. Tort Member

    Being a Barn Find member for quite some time I have found that Firebirds are not only popular by many but that Pontiac sales for them had to have been big. I guess I may be the only one or one of the very few that thought back then and now how gaudy the bird on the hood, spoilers, wheels, etc look. Maybe on a moon less night on county road in the middle of the night but even not sure then! If you like them , enjoy!!

  8. Rosco

    Seems a little high for the amount of work needed. Pretty sure you can find better examples in this price range.

    Like 1
  9. Carter

    Its not a true y88 car it has a black steering column. Y88 had the camel colored column.

  10. art

    A repaint? Never saw hood hinges on these GM’s painted in body color.
    Overall, very nice looking, solid car that was clearly not abused. Every time I see a gold-ish Firebird, I can’t help but think of The Rockford Files.

  11. JEFF S.

    At my Dad’s body shop in Huntington Park, CA and Great Falls, MT. We would of not painted the hinges and we would paint the black under the hood the same color as the car. The customers seemed to like the way it looked and so did we.

  12. Dex

    The painted hood hinges and black under the hood are fine, as long as you keep the hood closed. Forever.

    Like 1

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