Parked Since ’91: 1980 Pontiac Trans Am

This 1980 Pontiac Trans Am is a surprisingly solid example despite residing firmly in the snow country of upstate New York. Even better is that despite being parked since 1991, the seller has actually gotten the forgotten muscle car to fire up and run, meaning there may not be as much work for the next owner as the pictures would otherwise have you believe. The Trans Am has 82,000 miles and left the factory without T-tops and A/C. The car has never been driven in winter, and boy, does it show. Find it here on Facebook Marketplace with an asking price of $7,500.

The 301 V8 obviously isn’t the hot rodder’s choice, as it was introduced at a time when fuel shortages and increasingly stringent EPA regulations were robbing muscle cars of gobs of horsepower. Still, it seems like the naturally aspirated 301 is more popular among Pontiac loyalists than the turbocharged V8 that came later, if only for the lack of complexity by comparison. The engine bay looks dirty but complete, and the seller originally listed it as a non-runner. Since spending some time tinkering, the listing now states that the Trans Am runs and just needs a brake line replaced before hitting the open road.

The interior is in surprisingly nice shape for a car that’s been sitting. Period details remain untouched, like this vintage car stereo and equalizer. The seller notes the headliner fabric has fallen down, but no other major interior flaws are mentioned. The front and rear seats definitely need a thorough cleaning, and possibly some mold remediation. The seating surfaces remain untorn, however, and the rear seats look like they haven’t held an occupant since the Reagan era. The automatic transmission is no big surprise, but the lack of A/C and T-tops is considering how many were spec’d with those options from the factory.

This is the real shock: to see a vintage car from upstate New York with sheetmetal this clean. The seller makes the point in the listing that the Pontiac was never used for winter driving and stored inside starting in 1991, and it shows. There’s really no way to fake a car that retains its original lower sills and quarters, and this Trans Am has obviously never been filled with Bondo or otherwise been repaired due to prolonged road salt exposure. While not the most desirable year for a Trans Am, this looks like a great foundation for a project that just needs an exhaust, brake tubes, and some general cleaning and R&R.

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Comments

  1. Steve R

    Hard pass at this price. It’s a 301 without AC that hasn’t run in nearly 30 years. The seller makes claims it’s never seen the roads during winter, if so, why has it been repainted and need new brake lines? I’ve never needed to replace a brake line on any car I’ve ever owned no matter how old they are.

    If the seller wants their asking price they need to push it outside, wash it and prove their sales pitch with better pictures. They aren’t serious in til they do that, right now they are just wasting potential buyers time.

    Steve R

    Like 18
    • Ted Miller

      I order a 79 Formula it had 301, that’s all I could get because of the oil embargos, it ran pretty good!

      Like 1
  2. Ken Pavlic

    Just sitting on concrete they get rusty underneath, I have a 70 gto that’s always in the garage in ohio and I had to replace brake lines from rust just from moisture coming up through the concrete and there’s no cracks in the floor, now I park it on plastic and I haven’t had any problems since!

    Like 12
  3. Bob C.

    I can see why the naturally aspirated 301 is preferred. From what I heard, the turbo was problematic, and for what, 200 horsepower? A friend of mine had a 1981 turbo , and it was not fast by all means.

    Like 1
  4. IkeyHeyman Member

    Many sellers don’t seem to understand the concept of “presentation.” Besides being arguably the least desirable configuration of this model, the car’s dirty and doesn’t run. I guess the guy thinks it’s going to sell itself.

    Like 9
  5. Jeff D.

    I own a ’80 yellowbird with the 301/305. The valve train suffers greatly, pontiac only made one block. Still being GM, no small block,big block. Really very unique, a 455 can sit with the 301. No matter, the 301 was a poor choice by Pontiac for their T/A packages, although very economical. Second Gen. Firebirds did qualify for a performance catagory with the larger litre engines. Oldsmobile even opted to put one of their engines in a T/A. The subframe cars are not difficult to restore and can be made to handle impressively, wide track pontiac’s!

    Like 1
  6. Stilbo

    In regards to the brake line rusting out….
    DOT 3 brake fluid is “hygroscopic” in that it draws water out of the atmosphere. That’s why an old container of the stuff should never be used and a very good reason to flush brake systems on ALL hydraulic brake systems using any brake fluid other than DOT 5 silicone fluid. And even with DOT 5, it doesn’t hurt to flush those systems as well albeit at a longer interval.
    Read any vehicle owner’s manual and you’ll see that the manufacturer specifies a brake system flush at regular time/mileage intervals.
    I’ve replaced rotten brake lines on 15 year old vehicles and 50 year old vehicles that were from humid “Sunbelt” states.
    Never leave brake fluid in a vehicle system for an indeterminable period of time.

    Like 5
  7. Fran

    Upstate ny? Where is that? Are they the ones that pay for everything while nyc spends it all?

    Like 5
    • JohnSSC

      That was on point. Thank You.

      Like 1

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