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Loaded 28k Mile: 1978 Pontiac Trans Am

The Pontiac Trans Am once again set new sales records in 1978 after the release of the movie Smokey and the Bandit in 1977. This platinum silver 1978 Pontiac Trans Am is located in Cincinnati, Ohio and looks to be a very clean, low mileage car. The odometer reads 28,800 miles and the car is currently bid to $10,600 here on eBay. The reserve is not met and the auction ends on Thursday afternoon.

The car is loaded with options and a few aftermarket goodies. As shown below, the engine breathes through headers and true dual exhaust with a cross-over pipe. While the draft shaft and exhaust pipes show surface rust, the rest of the undercarriage looks as if this car has spent its life in California. If you read the description, that is exactly what the seller states. An interesting tidbit is that this car is equipped with the W72 400 cubic inch V8 engine which was the top of the line performance motor for the Trans Am in 1978.

The red velour interior is pretty swanky but in excellent condition. The only options I don’t see are power windows, tilt steering, and power locks. The car has T-tops, aftermarket radio and speakers, air conditioning, automatic transmission, and the factory 15-inch Rally II wheels. If it had the 15″x8″ aluminum wheels, this would indicate that the car is equipped with the optional WS6 suspension package.

The paint looks pretty good but a peak to the rear of the car indicates that the 1978 taillights have been switched out for the blacked-out 1979 tail lights. The Trans Am has been repainted at least one time and appears to have 1979 decals on it. There are a switch and gauge added to the dash bezel on the interior, a toggle switch under the dash, some embroidery on the seats and the steering console is black instead of red. All in all, this is not a show car but looks to be a fun driver.


  1. Avatar photo Mike-e

    Are we sure it’s a ’78? tail light section is wrong from what I see, looks like the nose may have been swapped. Maybe I’m wrong but the 78 has a space for the license plate and the 79 and up have the plate in the bumper cover.

    Like 8
  2. Avatar photo Stephen

    Those aren’t 78 taillights and rear bumper.

    Like 11
  3. Avatar photo Poppy

    Lots of mods for a 28K mile car

    Like 4
  4. Avatar photo BRIAN

    You are correct about the tail lamps, they look like ones from a 80 T/A, maybe it was hit in the rear and they used junk yard parts for the repair ? Also the car looks great, but I have never seen one without power windows !! The car has every option except those ? Very strange, something is strange about this car, but the interior is beautiful for sure. I had a 75 Grand Prix with the same exact interior, the seats are the most comfortable I have ever sat in, including a Caddy !

    Like 4
  5. Avatar photo Robbie R.

    Wow, a hobgoblin of 77,78,79 parts, plus an aftermarket C&C t-top (the worst). Dr Frankenstein, your taxi is here.

    Like 9
  6. Avatar photo Rosco

    Pretty sure switching to the ’79-’81 taillights isn’t as simple as unbolting one and bolting up the other. I’m sure there’s more to the story regarding the mixture of parts.

    Like 5
  7. Avatar photo greg Bismeyer

    Looks like a rebuild to me,rear tail panel change to 79 not a easy job of just changing lamps and bumper, flares look to be off a 79 also.would be good to see pics inside trunk and under hood for interest , but for me I will pass thanks.

    Like 2
  8. Avatar photo Gregg Bell

    also looks like is has the 1977 deluxe interior not the 1978 , the style of the 78 interior was a bomb, uncomfortable and seams went within a year .

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Robbie R.

      Exactly, Greg. I saw that too. 77 interior, 77 or 78 nose, 79-81 rear end. Too many unknowns. No possible way mileage is correct, at least 128K. Nobody would cobble together this many odd parts if it was truly a low-mileage survivor.

      Like 2
  9. Avatar photo Gregg Bell

    its a miss match of 3 years, I actually hated the 79-81 front clip ugly and back i didnt like . mileage i dont believe either. probably a complete write off and rebuilt which wouldnt command this price .

    Like 3
  10. Avatar photo Rosco

    Wheel flares and front and rear spoilers all urethane 1979-’81 items. 1978 should all be fiberglass.

    Like 2
  11. Avatar photo 370zpp Member

    I started out liking this car – until I read everyone’s comments.
    To the average person (like me) this doesn’t look like a parts car.
    Buyer beware.

    Like 4
  12. Avatar photo Showbiz

    Loaded?? no power windows, door locks,tilt ,cruise,lamp package,power trunk? hate to be critical but what happened to the saying loaded had to be with all the factory options not a bunch of parts from the second gen Trans Am,would like to see the RPO plate and inside the trunk (tail section area) and engine compartment, by the Vin its a 1978 please call it like it is and put the horn button on properly will help the sale. lol

    Like 3
  13. Avatar photo Michael

    You couldn’t build this car for 10,000 dollars. Good buy for a driver car you can have some fun with.

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Brian

      24,600 and reserve still not met

      Like 0
  14. Avatar photo wjtinfwb

    Agree this is a parts bin car assembled from a mix of 77-79 parts. 77 Custom velour seats, 78-79 Custom door panels, 79 rear cap on 77-78 body. The black steering column makes me think a theft recovery; piped the column lock, stripped the interior and wrecked the back. Someone put it back together is I g used or recycled parts from a variety of years. And as mentioned the Cars & Concepts aftermarket T-top are a negative as well that were gone by mid 78as the larger and better integrated Fisher Body tops became factory available.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Robbie R.

      Actually, the “factory” t-tops for late 76, all 77 and early 78 were the Hurst (factory authorized outsource). Although there are lots of complaints about leaking, they were original equipment and looked good. There are still parts available to refurbish those. The two true “aftermarket” t-tops were C&C and American. The American t-tops were made just like the Hurst, just slightly larger. The C&C tops were more similar to Corvette design. Parts for C&C and American are virtually non-existent now.

      Like 0
  15. Avatar photo RC

    Did anyone read the listing? It states it’s a 78 with 79 rear end. Just surprised so many comments about this. Not a car I would want.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo RH

      Don’t recall any mention of that in the original Ebay listing. Where exactly does seller provide that information?

      Like 2
  16. Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

    The owner may have disliked the ’79 nose as much as i do &/or had a minor collision up front. I doubt the car is a ’77 or ’78. Those ’79 wheel flares are not cheap, nor is it cheap to swap out to an earlier hood bird.
    Anyone notice the rear console?!
    I would think gold snowflake wheels would look terrible – here.
    I wonder how old those tires are.
    Regarding the black steering column, a theft recovery might be better than if the car had 300,000 miles & worn out column bearings. lol

    Like 0
  17. Avatar photo Showbiz

    Look at the pictures in the Ebay write up ,inside trunk is a 79-81 tail structure panel that looks oem but yet the dash vin says a 1978. z code 400 only with a 4 speed came in 79 so engine 78 or earlier ….no sale at $25100. wow! front ends on the 77 and 78 are awesome though

    Like 1
  18. Avatar photo S

    The other thing I find odd is that they state it has a W72 400 V8 – but they only installed those in 4 speed stick shift cars. The lower compression 7.7:1 400 cu in V8 (180 hp) was installed in cars with automatic transmissions in 78. i.e. the same engine you could get in a Bonneville or Catalina. The W72 had 8.1:1 compression, which gave you 40 more HP (220 hp). I’ve also never seen a velour interior with that style seats in a Trans Am. Maybe they offered it but I’ve never seen it.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

      Since the 220hp motor met emissions, i wonder only now if pontiac lowered the compression & power when you wanted automatic because the turbo 350 auto trans was not very stout, compared to the turbo 400(which would not fit since ’75 because the wide cat conveter got in the way). & of course the turbo 350 was not ever avail behind any other GM division 400 cube motor or bigger, tho oddly in earlier years the powerglide was.

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo RH

      Automatic was available in the ’78 TA 400 – W72 until mid-1978. At that point, automatic transmission was dropped, making the Borg Warner Super T-10 4-speed the only transmission available with the W72 performance package.

      Like 1

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