One Owner for 40 Years: 1977 Pontiac Trans Am

I have a confession to make. It is a secret shame that I have carried with me for 40 years. I am the only male in the Western World who hasn’t seen Smokey and The Bandit! There, I’ve said it and I feel so much better now. I am aware that this isn’t identical to The Bandit’s Trans Am, but I just thought that it was a good lead-in to a story about a black Trans Am that was built at around the time the movie was made. Pat L has come through for us again, and sent us a lead on this Trans Am that looks quite interesting. Located in Wakefield, Massachusetts, this ‘ 77 Trans Am can be found here on Craigslist. With a clean title and an asking price of $39,900, this one will bare some examining.

As an Australian my early impressions of all things Firebird related came from The Rockford Files. For some reason I have always liked the looks of the Trans Am. I know that a lot of people don’t rate them because they’re not as ” hard core”  as a Z28. I’ve always looked at the Trans Am as less of a true muscle car and more of a true Grand Touring (GT) car. This one looks to be in really great condition. The ad states that the last owner had it for 40 years , so I am assuming that the seller has only owned it for a short time.

When it comes to interior trim colors, it seems that today we get a choice of grey, grey and ….grey. Seeing an interior like this is enough to gladden the heart of we more mature individuals. I love the red, and the interior trim looks immaculate. That machine-turned instrument panel is just superb. It’s also rather nice to see a stick poking out of the console. All of the original paperwork is with the car, and I can confirm that the transmission is an M21 close ratio. Among the other options ordered were power windows and AC which indicates that the original owner really wanted all of the creature comforts.

The underside of the Trans Am looks nice and clean. This really does look like a car that can honestly say that it has traveled a genuine 11,750 miles. The car has obviously seen some use, but the condition of the underside doesn’t indicate that the car has ever been thrashed or abused, and there is no hint of corrosion. The seller states in the ad that the exhaust is the original exhaust from new.

A nice inclusion is all of the original paperwork for the Trans Am. I love seeing things like this, especially in the condition that these papers are in. This indicates that whoever has owned this car has cared enough to preserve its history. What is interesting as you read through the options is the fact that the original owner ordered a second set of wheels with the car. This was quite a canny move. Apparently they had these extras fitted up with tires and ran those on the car. That means that the original wheels come with the car, fitted with the original tires.

Let’s pop the hood and take a peak. That’s a W72-spec 400ci sitting there. I’ll be honest with you: I actually find the engine bay to be a little disappointing. Given the state of the rest of the car I don’t think that this cuts the mustard (or am I expecting too much?). If I’m wrong I am willing to put my hand up and admit it. With a reputed mileage of less than 12,00 miles I just expected to see a near perfect engine bay given the condition of the rest of the car.

At $39,900 this Trans Am is not cheap. However, Hagerty value a #1 condition car at $47,700 and a #2 at $35,800. My feeling is that if I ignore the photo of the engine bay then it falls somewhere in between those two, especially given the fact that the original owner has retained the paperwork and the original wheels and tires for more than 40 years. The shot of the engine bay just really leaves me torn. Is this one that the Trans Am fans out there would like to park in their driveway?


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  1. 2cool2say

    It seems to me that Pontiac did an outstanding job on the styling of the interior, a pretty good job styling the body (for its time) and then ignored styling under the hood. The factory engine compartment lacks the “cool factor”. Does it even have chrome/finned valve covers? I can’t even tell! This is a car you take to a car show, but leave the hood closed.

    • Tim A Householder

      A couple rags, 2-3 hours, cleaning solution, then top it off with some armor all” type spray and that engine bay would look like the rest.of the car! Anyone who has ever detailed a car knows that. If this car wasn’t detailed on a timely basis ,it would also look like the engine bay!

  2. Steve R

    I’d be hard pressed to pay anything close to asking price, there are too many other cars I’d rather have for that kind of money. That being said, it’s probably one turn (flip) past a reasonable price.

    Steve R

  3. Ben Member

    Already deleted. As a 10 year old during the Rockford Files days, I always thought that it was funny that Jim drove a gold firebird from different years( ie 76, and 77 I think.) One had circular headlights, and the other were double square. Maybe he was on a one year lease.😜

    • crazyhawk

      How about when he enters a curve in one year firebird then exits the corner in a different year bird. True!

    • Dennis George

      jim drove 74′ to 78′ esprit looking, but formula everything else. always circular headlights. as the story goes, he did not like the next gen in 79′ , so he chose not to upgrade that year, with 80′ being his last.

      • Miguel

        No he didn’t always have the circular lights.

        He used the ’77-’78 model most in the series, but you are right he never switched to the ’79-’80 model.

  4. Oily Dick

    I had a ’78 W72 (220 HP) in the late ’80s all original. Valve covers should be chrome and there’s no way that it left the factory with that snakes nest of wires. Although mine didn’t have AC so maybe the messy wiring was a part of the AC Package!

    Not long after I got the ’78, I found a mildly built ’68 YS Goat engine and swapped out — what a monster it became, especially on the highway as I left the 2:56 rear. Still good for high 13s in the quarter but absolutely looney on the freeway!

  5. Bongo

    Hagerty is for insurance purposes. No way would I pay what they’re pricing cars at. I know where a few of these birds are and under their hoods would put this one to shame. 25k-28k would be more in line with worth of car.

  6. JC

    Well, the ad has already been deleted… from the looks of the engine compartment, I’d say this car has well over the stated mileage…

  7. Balstic

    If you want to experience a Trans Am with teeth, get ahold of a 73 or 74 Super Duty Trans AM. Those are monsters, I am a 1969 Z28 Camaro bigot but I would sell my youngest for an SD.. Not really, but they are amazing right off the showroom floor.

    • Jim

      I had a SD-455 T/A Auto. Just like the Boss 429, it was a homologation edition car, and was kind if a snooze (both cars) until you “unpopped the cork”. EVERYTHING was plugged, restricted, dialed back. Until I had the legendary Herb Adam’s have a go. When it returned, my car was a lowered, lopey, gear chirping monster that could do 151 mph straights at Road Atlanta, yet, go to Six Flags on weekends. SD’s had potential, but you had to “open the box” first. stock, they were duds. My 71 and 72 HO 455 T/A’s (I’ve had 6 so far) were initially before the Adam’s once over were far more capable. This old 77 above had only like 175 hp…only chicks drove those models back in the day…a hairdressers car!

  8. Martin

    The firewall is unpainted and dirty, and there is either red overspray on the cowl or it is only partially painted. Is that the way they came?

  9. Junior

    Ain’t seen Smokey and the Bandit!…I oughta bar-b-que your azz!

    • Adam Clarke Adam Clarke Staff

      I know. Sad, isn’t it? Am I allowed to blame my parents for such a short-coming in my upbringing?

      • ccrvtt

        Not really. You didn’t miss much.

      • Miguel

        No Adam, you should blame yourself for not ordering a DVD on Ebay.

        It is a movie you need to see.

      • half cab

        if n you do watch it be sure to look for the bronco towards the end. Top off with roll bar.Green iirc.

  10. stillrunners stillrunners Member

    nice…..and no T tops…nice…..

  11. Classic Steel

    Over priced for the flipper 😮

    PS clean the engine up a smidge
    (Take a paint 🎨 brush and just lightly touch up the manifold area and do not spray it…..let dry then clean area a lil moving of the older grime around a lil….)

    Also clean up the firewall with some elbow grease and soap and be done on the 114 mile car 👍✅

    PS ..for goodness sake rent a barn inthd future like most 🙃

  12. rudy brixx

    “the only male in the Western World who hasn’t seen Smokey and The Bandit!”

    Australian upbringing? I had a Canadian upbringing and haven’t seen it either, maybe it’s a Colonial thing. Besides, why bother when you’re from the land of Mad Max?

    • Poncho

      Mad Max…Smokey and the Bandit… Bullitt…Gone in 60 Seconds…2 Lane Blacktop…American Graffiti…etc…seen and enjoyed them all. These movies make for great inspiration when done working on your own ride all day (or up north where maybe its too cold to work in the shop) and now its time to sit down relax with your woman for some quality time. Solution is simple…catch the movies on Netflix or search for it on your DVR…My brother still has his 78 Special Edition TA that I borrowed for my high school prom. Hasn’t been on the road in years. I wish I had a shop big enough to add that one to all my toys.

  13. Mark Carroll

    That engine bay looks like it comes from a 200K mile, shade tree mechanics car, and not an 12K miler. Everything else, besides asking price, looks great.

    P.S. go rent Smokey and the Bandit.

  14. Robert Sabatini

    Slap some 72cc heads on there, a pair of Ram Air IV exhaust manifolds, a ’74 cast iron intake manifold, a 9794041 cam, re-curve the distributor and a re-worked Quadrajet along with a 373:1 gears and this car will run like a dream. Oh yeah, open-up that shaker scoop!

    • TMD

      72cc and she won’t like pump gas, 74 intake is egr…better choices out there…

  15. Don Holt

    Iv never seen star wars ,I am 47.

    • ccrvtt

      Now that, on the other hand, is a travesty.

  16. Robert Sabatini

    McQ and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot are two movies I remember with early TA’s. McQ starring John Wayne and a Brewster Green ’73 Super Duty and Clint Eastwood and Jeff Bridges in a ’71 or ’72 T/A.

    Did y’all know the front nose on a ’73 TA is longer than any previous year model!?

  17. Miguel

    I have been talking to the owner of this Firebird. I like the Formula hood but alas it is only an Esprit.

  18. Miguel

    This is the interesting part, though.

  19. George

    Is there a 12 Step Program for that? Hi Adam…

    If it’s confession time, I’ve lived in the South for 10 years and I still don’t own a Trans Am, Firebird, or Camaro. Not even a second generation Charger.

    (I’m one of those people who also love the first generation Charger and hate every other model after 1970.)

    • micky

      so you dont like the 68-70(second gen) chargers? i prefer the 1st gen (66-67) myself.

      • George

        I like the First and Second Gen Chargers. None past 70 though when they got hit by the ugly stick.

  20. Dennis

    Get the facts straight writer… No such animal from GM factory in these years as M21 They are all Borg Warner T-10….. Same as my 1976 455 numbers matching T/A… As far as I remember 1974 was the last year for anything true Muncie..

  21. Jack M.

    Why don’t you go to and order yourself an octacore Kodi box. Your days of renting DVDs will be over. All of the rental stores in Toronto closed down.

    • Miguel

      There are still a few Blockbusters in Alaska. I think they are the last.

  22. Maynard Reed Jr

    Its a nice car but if has a muncie four speed its not original to the car as they stopped manufacturing them in 1974. Kind of cuts the value down a fair bit if you ask me.

  23. Doug Sox

    I know this car, it’s 100% the correct mileage, all original paint (looks better in pics), glass, tires (then) and exhaust. The car was bought new in Ohio and driven year round for the 1st couple of years. It spent the later part of its life in Florida in a plane hanger with his other cars. The long time owner recently passed away and the car was sold to the current owner who was his friend. He’s also a collector. I saw this car a few weeks back, he’s driving it and said that he may want to keep it – that’s probably why the ad got pulled.

  24. Jim Biasella

    This was my first car.identical wheels stickers no bird on the hood,but black interior auto 350 and a 400 2 barrel 87cc heads with headers rated at 285 in Chiltons.posi rear and yes a CB radio.plenty of tire smoking power for a 16 year old.and with a 2.41 gear it just kept going on the highway.this was no chic car.

  25. space Gregory Pollack

    Rockford firebird was an HD without the badging

    • Miguel

      All the websites I have see say the car was a Formula modified to look like a base model.

      They needed the upgraded suspension to do the stunts he did on the show.

  26. Randy

    Red paint on top of fire wall. Why?

  27. Dodge guy

    Remember 1979 the worst year of the american production car. They were trying to produce a proformance car with the ever tightening emissions standards while meeting milage targets it resulted in that clutered engine compartment. Whats worse Look under the hood of a 79 buick turbo sport coupe looks like a snake pit and it makes this look simple.
    Dont forget the declining quality of workmanship of the us autoworker that helped lead to highways full of Asian cars.
    I have two SD cars if you drive them like they did in the movies you run out of fuel in 30 minutes! Thats not an exaggeration.


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