No Reserve Bandit: 1976 Pontiac Trans-Am 455 V8 SE Y82

The mid-1970s were the zenith of the Malaise Age. Pontiac’s sales fell nearly in half from 1973 to 1975, and they weren’t alone. A recession didn’t help, but regulations and a gas crisis were the real culprits. In an effort to resurrect its fortunes for the 1976 model year and to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary, Pontiac introduced a special edition (SE) version of one of its most popular cars, the Trans Am. Around 2500 of these cars were made with the option code Y82; all were black with gold trim, a motif made even more popular when a SE Trans Am was used in 1977 for the movie Smokey and the Bandit. Here on eBay is a 1976 Pontiac Trans Am SE Y82, bid to $40,500 with no reserve. The car is located in Lincoln, Nebraska with a dealer. The car is well documented, with its original build sheet and factory invoice, owner’s manual, shop manual, and receipts.

While Y82 features were all for show and not go, this car is well equipped in the engine department with a matching numbers 455 cu. in. V8 generating 200 bhp – measly for a big block but all that could be had in the day. The four-speed manual is a plus. The seller calls the car a project. The brakes were rebuilt and the carburetor was serviced, but the car still requires attention to be roadworthy. The undercarriage shows heavy surface rust on the springs and frame and photos provided at the flickr link reveal rust in other areas.

The interior has been restored with new seat covers, headliner, and carpet. The gold machine-turned dash and gold-spoke steering wheel are part of the Y82 package. This car has smoked glass Hurst T-tops; cars with conventional roofs carried the SE code Y81.

While it’s exciting to run across a real “Bandit”, it’s worth remembering that production continued in 1977 when another 15,000 of these hit the roads. This view of the car shows a few of the details – other than SE marked on the cowl tag, the build sheet, or a PHS report – that indicate the car is a real special edition: The letter font is Germanic; body details are outlined in gold, the wheels are gold. These cars – SE or not – have climbed steadily in value over the last few years. Asking prices for excellent restored black Trans Ams that copy the Y82 trim but are not in fact Y82 cars reach into the $50,000 and up range. Any guesses at how high this one will go before it finds a new owner?


  1. CVPanther Member

    What a very special Trans Am and the strong bidding supports that.

    I love this and the big block with the 4 speed is the icing on the cake, though the anemic 200hp is disappointing for a 455 but that was the mid 70’s.
    I’d still welcome it in my driveway and semi-daily it in nice weather.

    Like 5
    • William Chiarizzio

      No such thing as a Pontiac Big Block.
      265ci to 455ci. All same size Block.

  2. Boatman Member

    Not a “Bandit”, Michelle. One year too old.

    Like 14
    • Lando

      Actually – it is. The car used in Smokey and the Bandit was a 1976 Trans Am, however, the nose for the 1977 was put on it to give the square headlights look, as the movie was released in 1977. If you watch the documentaries about the making of the film – that’s actually mentioned.

      Like 9
  3. Chris

    Didn’t they use a ‘76 in Smokey and the Bandit with a ‘77 front end and snowflake wheels?

    Like 12
  4. Tracy

    I’m curious please set me straight. I thought t-tops weren’t introduced until 1977. Are these considered factory tops? ..Thanks

    Like 4
    • Richard

      T tops did make their 1st appearance in1976

      Like 3
  5. Ralph

    I think all of the above comments are valid questions. Wish memory could answer them with certainy. But do not recall Smokey movies ever featuring the round headlight front ends. Someone knows but I’m too tired to google the pics.

    Like 2
    • Jim Colbern

      Round headlights ended production after the ‘1976 model year. Square headlights from 1977 on !
      Rubber Honeycomb wheels featured in 1976 and snowflake in 1977.

      I personally owned a 1975 Herb Adam’s VSE Fire AM in 1977.

      Like 3
  6. Howard A Member

    No “Crustys” for the writer, I enjoy her postings. The 411 on the “Smokey” cars. It may not be 100% accurate, but something like, when the original movie came out, the producers asked for a bunch of cars, but due to the popularity of the car, GM only sent them 4, 1977’s. 3 were destroyed, and the 4th wouldn’t start and had to be pushed during the final scenes. I believe Reynolds was very adamant about the 4 square headlights. Nothing I read says a ’76 was converted to square headlights for the movie.

    Like 2
    • Jack

      Imagine what a cam change and few tweaks could do
      To that 455 ! It would be fun to Beer that 455 to somewhat like a SD.

      Like 2
    • Vince

      If you ever get to see any of tge documentaries they do say that a 1976 was used with the 1977 front end was used on the 1976 Trans Am.

  7. Troy Urich Member
  8. half cab

    Weren’t these also all black magic? I confess I didn’t read all the article for it may have been mentioned?

    Like 2
    • half cab

      Called not all

      Like 2
  9. 455RAIV

    Send the 455 to Butler Pontiac Performance that’ll wake it up :)

    Like 4
    • Rich

      How much hp could be expected? I also would worry about keeping it authentic.

      Like 1
      • John Ouellette

        What difference would it make if
        It was just some internals ?mayne a nice 068 Cam

        Like 1
  10. Tom

    It’s not a big block!

    Like 6
  11. BajaPFE Member

    The true Bandit!

    Like 3
  12. Stan

    Square ⬛️ 🟨 lites on the front-end looked better on these Ponchos.

    Like 2
  13. Jay McCarthy

    It makes me chuckle when an alleged automotive journalist calls the Pontiac 455 a “big block”
    Pontiac only had 1 block from the 321 all the way up to the 455

    Like 2
  14. carson nettles

    is that the Trans-am from “smokey and the bandit” movie and how much do you want for it because I am instanced in that trans-am if it is from smokey and the bandit

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