Modern Muscle Car: 2001 Pontiac Trans Am Convertible

High mileage shouldn’t be too much of a deterrent from buying your chosen hobby car if the maintenance and general cosmetic condition check out. I suppose hardcore “collectors” only consider vehicles with mileage below a certain figure, but that lens into car buying can also cause you to miss out on some pretty good deals. Take this 2001 Pontiac Trans Am convertible: it has 182,230 miles on the clock but still presents shockingly well. The cosmetics look quite clean and the interior is amazing for a vehicle with this many miles on the clock, but the question for me is whether it’s a touch too expensive at the current $10,500 asking price. Check it out here on craigslist in Northern Virginia.

Right off the bat, with that sort of mileage, you might be expecting tired paint and certainly an interior bearing the scars of excessive use. Not so – in fact, it looks pretty darn fresh inside, not easy to do with a light color like beige in car with nearly 200,000 miles. And let’s not forget that GM interiors of this era weren’t exactly high grade. The nicely bolstered bucket seats, light tan carpeting, and matching door panels all look remarkably clean, and speak to an owner that placed an emphasis on gentle use. The Trans Am certainly isn’t the kind of car that invites gentle use, but this owner clearly made it a priority. He’s added the lions’ share of the miles, too, so kudos to him for actually enjoying his collector car. Note the upgraded touchscreen display in the center stack.

The 5.7L V8 is the heart of the beast, and it needs little in the way of an introduction here. Again, I’m blown away by the condition on display here – the engine bay looks way better than you’d expect. In fact, you could even say that under the hood is where you expect the cosmetics to fall down, but not so. The seller does state that he feels his car looks and drives like it has 50,000 instead of 180K, and I’d say there’s no reason to dispute that claim based on what we’re seeing in pictures. While details aren’t offered, the listing mentions that a healthy assortment of receipts will accompany the Pontiac, so hopefully it points to a robust maintenance history.

Oh man – what a face. This is one of the more menacing era of the Trans Am’s design, and melded together the leftover vestiges of 80s automotive fashion with the in-your-face language that Pontiac was splashing over every one of its models at the time. This example also has heated seats, a nice option for when those late-season top down driving days warrant having the wind in your hair but also some additional warmth to take the chill out of the cabin. I can believe this seller used this droptop Trans Am through all four seasons given the mileage, but I’m amazed at how good of a job he did keeping it in such fine shape. Would you pay the asking price for a high-mileage creampuff like this?

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  1. JoeNYWF64

    Either those floor mats were just steam cleaned or they were never used. & I doubt this car was seldom if ever driven in bad weather or even left out in the sun.
    The way those strut towers intrude under the hood, i doubt a big block would fit. Gotta be a better design than that. Many front drivers have more room left over under the hood – even with a v6!
    Why not a 2nd gen front suspension with coil over shocks & tubular control arms?

    • Daniel W Wright

      These had part of the engine under the firewall. So I doubt a big block would fit.

      • Edward Biller

        I have a 1995 Firebird (my first project car!) and these late-model F-bodies are a PITA to work on. As the post states, the interior quality is garbage (ask anyone who tapped the accelerator and had the visor swing back and smack them in the face). Under the hood, I know for the 3800 V6 (an option in 1995, the last year the 3.4 was standard) and believe for the V8 you need a special socket to change out plugs because of how close those towers are to the engine’s flanks. Need to reach the back of the engine? better plan on pulling it – at least partially – or finding a way to reach up between the engine and the firewall from underneath… you have about 2″ of space. That said, these cars are great fun to drive, especially on winding roads, as the mounting of the engine behind the front wheels provides great balance. It’s even tighter if you install lowering springs but, driving predominantly on PA roads, that isn’t an option for this feller

        Like 4
  2. Danny Kelley

    I had one of these a few years back. That 350 in it surprised a few at some stoplights. Lots of fun in the summer. Working on that engine was the only big set back about it. Not cheap to let it be worked on.

    Like 2
  3. Motorcityman Member

    Love the Firebird but with 200,000 miles that gen right now is worth maybe 5K

    Like 5
  4. jwzg

    No need for a big-block with that LS. One can make insane power without breaking the bank with these.

    Like 1
    • JoeNYWF64

      I was just thinking of the WIDTH of the chevy big block & the amt of intrusion of those ridiculous strut towers.
      Putting a boss 429 in a ’69 stang would be a piece of cake compared to trying to fit a big block in this – if the 350 was shot & u had a 454 in the garage.

      Like 1
      • Motorcityman Member

        U know FORD sent those cars out for engine bay modification to fit those 429s in the 69s, wasn’t done at the factory.
        I think Kar Kraft did the mods but I could be wrong on the name of the company.

        Like 2
  5. Racer-X

    I’ve got the equivalent Camaro SS, 6speed with blown 500hp convertible. Best bang for buck ever. Any OEM shortcoming has multiple aftermarket solutions.
    10k for 200k mi example above seems too high to me. Price discovery at work.

    Like 2
  6. Mitchell Gildea Member

    Shame it’s not a stick. Even though the car looks clean the high mileage doesn’t justify the price. I’d say half of the current asking price and even that seems high

    Like 2
  7. Anthony James Poirier

    Years ago looking online for a Camaro SS you would randomly find examples for sale with 300,000 miles.

    If you do proper oil changes and take care of the car it’s no surprise to see even higher mileage and good performance

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