Mile Deep Finish: 1984 Pontiac Trans Am

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Talk about understated! This third-gen 1984 Pontiac Trans Am threw me at first and I had to do a VIN decode (fifth digit=W) to ascertain that it actually is a Trans Am – it’s a long way from the late ’70s screaming chicken, flared, and spoilered edition! What really caught my attention, however, is that mile-deep, black finish, this one’s a real looker! It’s located in Burbank, California and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $5,100 with the reserve not yet met. There is a $9,500 BIN option too.

GM’s third-generation (’82-’92) F-body (Camaro and Firebird) was a pretty radical, and necessary departure from its second-generation (’70-’81) version. Size matters and one of the attempts here was to get the bloat and functional space under control. I appreciate an understated look and this Trans Am is certainly wearing it. I was expecting lower body side stripes and perhaps this example had them at one time. It is mentioned that parts of this Poncho have been repainted due to some “old dings” but regardless of stripes or not, it presents beautifully in spite of its claimed 99K miles of experience.

By ’84, Pontiac V8s had been absent for a few years, so this Trans Am relies on a Chevrolet 305 CI High Output (H.O) V8. Now, before too much excitement erupts over that, it’s important to remember that H.O. meant only 190 net HP – fair for the time but not exactly the type of excitement that Pontiac claimed to build. The seller tells us, “It runs and drives exceptionally well!“. It has a current California smog inspection certificate and has been treated to a new catalytic converter, oil pan, carburetor, transmission pump (it’s an automatic), and a “whole lot more“. For some, unexplained reason, there’s only an image of the engine’s underside included in the listing. Of note, the transmission inspection plate is missing and the flywheel flexplate is exposed, and that new oil pain is, well, kinda oily looking. The rest of the underside shows as a typical California car – it’s in sound shape.

This vintage F-body often gets dinked for its cheap interior materials, part of the reason being the upholstery et al doesn’t always withstand the test of time. Well, in this case, the gray fabric seats present very well. Yes, there’s a lot of sharp-angled, black plastic but that approach was employed by many manufacturers back in that era, not just GM. The carpet and upholstery are clean, the simple instrument panel gauges are still clear, and the cargo compartment appears to have avoided the degradation that occurs due to both careless loading and harmful UV rays. The seller does mention that there is a malfunctioning driver’s seat safety belt and windshield wipers that march to the beat of a different drummer.

There you have it, on the surface, this Trans Am seems to be all that it purports to be. There’s no sign of reckless abuse or backyard, poorly executed “modifications”. That just leaves the matter of price. If the BIN number is $9,500, the reserve is likely set somewhere near that point. So, what do you think, priced right, or not quite?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Barry Smith

    I’m intrigued with it despite the year model. Exposed flywheel is quite the mystery. Is there a David Hasselhoff signature on the glove box? That should increase the value a little. I would be a buyer at $7,500 at most.

    Like 3
    • David Stephens

      The thin stamped steel torque converter cover is discarded far more often than retained, it serves no good purpose and shortens transmission life due to trapping torque converter heat in. I myself have tossed dozens of them.

      Like 3
      • Jim ODonnellAuthor

        If that were truly the case, then why would manufacturers go to the expense of manufacturing and installing it?


        Like 2
  2. Stan

    190hp in 84 was a screamer.
    Not many had more, did they ?

    Like 6
  3. Michelle RandStaff

    Flywheel or flexplate? It’s an automatic, right? It is recessed in there – kinda out of the way…. Guys on TransAm forums seem to routinely discover their shields are missing, to no ill effect.

    Love the hood graphics.

    Like 2
    • Jim ODonnellAuthor

      Technically, you’re correct, it’s a flexplate.


      Like 2
  4. Ivan

    People really didn’t know in 1969 Pontiac did have a 455 SSD was already under the hoods of the GTO, Judge GTO, Trans-AM Formula The Bonneville, Grand Ville and Parisienne. Optional for the Catalina.

    I was always more lenient towards the Pontiac Firebird, Formula One and Trans-AM than the Camaros. They should’ve stuck with the 455 SSD Power Plant Under the Hood of the 1st Generation of 69 Pontiac Firebird Formula One ☝️ and Trans-AM To the Present 🎁 not only feel but get the experience and the excitement of having the kind of Power a Big
    Block like 👍🏾 a 455 under the hoods of again the Pontiac GTO, Judge, Judge GTO, Firebird Formula One and the Trans-AM.

    For the Luxury line up: Catalina optional, Bonneville, Grand Ville and Parisienne and also Wide Track Grand Prix. Even for the Wide Track Catalina, Bonneville, Grand Ville, Parisienne Grand Prix from 1968 to 1984 Luxury Rides line up to the Firebird Model Line Up.

    Today that feeling excitement and experience has gone away and out that friggin Windows. That goes for all the Big Three Automakers Companies.

    Ford, Chrysler and GM “General Motors”. If only today’s generation had that same feeling!

    Like 1
  5. Dan

    In 84 the Mustang went to 205 hp. Even with HO 305 the TA was very slow. Dodge Charger 2.2 turbo was also faster.
    The 305 always had valve train issues as they aged. TA looked hotter. The second muscle car period came shortly thereafter with 86 Grand National and 87 5.0 Mustang. It became the 5.0. vs. Grand National period. GNX was ultimate 80’s muscle car.

    Like 2
    • Shriker

      The 87 up 350/700r4 combos in the Camaros and Firebirds were at least as quick as the 5.0s. Saw many races. Stang always did best in the lightweight coupe LX guise. In loaded GT form they were heavier and slower. Stangs chassis and brakes were terrible compared to the F bodies very good handling dynamics. By the late 80’s the GM TPI 305 with 5 spd was quite good at 220hp and the 1LE package secretly available as well. Ford really succeeded in making an old platform (Fox) cheap , fast , decently built and easy to hot rod. F body build quality was suspect at times and the 350 really needed a manual trans.

      Like 0
  6. MTBorst

    Had a friend that moved to Norcross, Georgia. He bought a new 84 TA . It was a really nice car ! Maybe not the fastest, but it was better then previous years of any car. Performance was on its way back. His car got stolen right out of the apartment lot he lived in. That car made me decide to order my 87 GTA 350. Nice cars.

    Like 3
  7. Dan

    The one to get was the 89 turbo TA. It was far and away the fastest TA for the time period. However, it was much more expensive. Like the Grand National and Nice 5.0 Mustangs. they are now very expensive when you find a good one.

    Like 5
  8. PRA4SNW

    Another great car on Barn Finds for under 10K – in 2023, that’s not a lot of money for a car with some style and drives, folks.

    Today is a great day here on BF.

    Like 3
  9. Al

    It’s sold.

    Like 2
    • MTBorst

      Must have just sold. It was still 4 sale when I checked on it

      Like 1
  10. Richard

    These were nice driving cars. I drove a few 5.0. HO with the 5 speed. Simple but fun.

    Like 3
  11. Al

    I owned a red. 87 in 87. The best-looking car I ever had. The worst piece of junk I ever had. It was in the shop more than in my driveway.

    Like 0
    • MTBorst

      Al , I owned a new 1987 and besides 1 injector going out at 9000 miles and the mechanic for some reason taking my intake tube off on that side and dropping them on the floor and denting them, mine was the best car I ever owned.

      Like 0
  12. Al

    A few problems I had—
    Alternator replaced. —Tape player played at 3 times reg speed
    Catalytic convertor— Coming home from business meeting tried to pass a Wonder bread truck could not get around it. Convertor plugged.
    Transmission not shifting into high. Technician tested it out. when he came back it knocked and wouldn’t shift into 2nd gear. Torque convertor had to be replaced. Took 3 weeks to get it. I live 2 miles from where they make the convertors.
    Car heated up. Checked the water and was low. Then I checked the oil and it was way past full and it looked like chocolate milk. Bad intake gasket.
    Traded the piece of crap in.

    Like 0
    • MTBorst

      Al, WOW! I’m sorry you had all those problems. Fortunately my roommate was friends with the dealer owner. I also got an incredible price for letting it sit in showroom for a month after they got it.
      I has a lot of trouble with a 96 Ford 7.3 . Biggest trouble was dealers didn’t know how to fix them. Best vehicle I ever bought was a 96 Chevy truck my neighbor owned. 449,000 miles on that 350ci (5.7) plastic intake gasket at about 250,000; alternator and water pump at 440,000, 2 clutches, 1 transfer case.
      I sold my GTA to a friend, he put me rear springs and a starter in it was all.

      Like 0

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