No Reserve: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am

This 1979 Pontiac Trans Am is a one-owner vehicle that comes with a collection of documentation that should keep the most discerning of enthusiasts happy. The car has seen little use during the past 2-years due to the owner experiencing some significant health issues. With no sign of the situation improving at any point in the future, he has now decided to part with his beloved Trans Am and has enlisted the help of a friend to sell the car. It is located in Kissimmee, Florida, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has now reached $11,000 in what is a No Reserve auction.

Finished in Solar Gold, the Trans Am generally presents quite nicely. The most obvious flaw is damage to the grilles that are mounted in the front bumper. One has sustained some form of damage, while the one on the passenger side of the vehicle appears to be missing completely. The body panels look to be nice and straight, while all of the stripes and decals are in good condition. One thing that does impress me about this Trans Am is how well that Gold paint has held up over the past 40-years. Solar Gold is a color that can be prone to quite marked deterioration, with the paint pigment known to do some pretty odd things. The paint has held up well on this car, which suggests that it has been kept undercover and out of the reach of harmful UV rays when not in use. The seller states that the Trans Am is a very clean car, with no rust present anywhere. The panels certainly appear to be free of any such issues, while the original snowflake wheels are also in good condition.

The presentation and condition of the interior of the Trans Am is probably on a par with the exterior. Generally, it is above average for a Trans Am of this age, with a couple of flaws to note. The first is what appears to be either a tear or a seam separation on the driver’s seat, but it is really hard to tell which. If it is a seam separation, then this might be able to be repaired without the need to replace the cover. The carpet has also come loose from under the kick panel on the driver’s side, but this should be dead easy to fix. The seller does make one error in the description of the interior because he does refer to the seats as being leather. Unless they have been changed at some point, what we have here is Camel Tan vinyl upholstery. Otherwise, the interior looks really good, and there have been no changes or aftermarket additions made. The Trans Am comes equipped with air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a tilt wheel, and an AM/FM radio.

Hope springs eternal because what resides under the hood is the Oldsmobile 403ci V8. I mention hope, or it could be optimism, because the seller states that this engine should be pushing out 300hp. The reality with these engines at this point in time was that they were producing 185hp. A Trans Am hadn’t rolled off the line with 300hp at its disposal since 1973, and enthusiasts would have a long wait until the WS6 package of 1996 to see outputs reach that figure once again. Behind the 403 we find the obligatory 3-speed TH350 automatic transmission, along with a Posi rear end, power steering, and power front disc brakes. The car has recently been fitted with a new set of tires and runs and drives well. There is a video clip at the bottom of this article showing the car running and driving, and it sounds perfect. Also included with the Pontiac is the original Build Sheet, Window Sticker, Owner’s Manual, various other handbooks, and what appears to be a set of fairly comprehensive service records. It looks like there is other documentation included, but it is hard to establish just what it is from the photos.

This 1979 Pontiac Trans Am isn’t perfect, but it is an original survivor that appears to be in good condition. Its listing has sparked its fair share of interest because along with having received 31 bids on the car to date, there are also currently 115 people who are watching the auction. I know that this is not a red-blooded muscle car, but do we have any readers who would be interested in bidding on this original survivor?


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  1. Classic Steel

    This golden beauty looks like a very good car at a reasonable price at moment.

    I always feel bad when i read the health of a person whom one can tell took very good care of a car forces sell. I hope he will be remembered as the new owner keeps it garaged and does minor tweaking such as seat cover repair / replacement as well as dash crack.

    The 401 is a good engine even though smogged down as all vehicles were damaged in the era
    A four speed would’ve been my favorite but a lil shift kit and better performance torque converter could help me forget my left foot muscle memory desire.

    This good be a great Christmas 🎄 present to a barn find reader for sure.
    Cheers and merry Christmas to all 😎

    Like 3
  2. ccrvtt

    ’79-’81 Trans Ams are a bucket list car for me. The bad rap on them has always been the relative lack of power, especially the Olds 403s. My question to fellow BarnFinders is this: Are there tweaks for this engine to wake up significant power gains?

    Research shows that the 403 is a modified Olds small block with a bigger bore than their 455. A small block Olds, while not nearly as worshipped as a SBC, was not a bad motor in its day.

    Covert modifications to the suspension (coil-overs in the rear) and more power would be ideal on a solid car like this.

    Like 1
    • David Ulrey

      Olds and Pontiac and Buick (I believe it’s the same with Buick) technically didn’t have big blocks or small blocks. Different bores and strokes though is what accounted for cubic inch displacement. Yes the 403 Olds can be woke up a fair amount from stock ratings.

  3. Rosco

    The 403 is always trashed and referred to as a boat anchor in comparison to the 400, but can be worked into a very decent performer. Car overall looks pretty decent. Clearly not all original, but still will be a nice car as long as the price stays reasonable.

    Like 1
  4. Rattlehead

    403 olds is alright in a mild street build but if you want real power forget about it. the main saddles are windowed to lighten up the casting and won’t stand up to major power gains unless you throw tons of money at it JUST TO STRENTHEN THE BLOCK AT THE WINDOWED MAINS. then you can start throwing power at it.

    Like 1

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