The Real Macho Man: 1978 Pontiac Macho T/A

“Macho” brings forth very specific images to many: Perhaps the Marlboro Man, his rough-hewn skin glimmering in the reflective glow of a lighter flame moving to his cigarette. Maybe it evokes a time-capsule memory of another cowboy, a cop, a military man, and a few other Village People belting out their 1978 hit. Chances are, however, it does not bring back the image of one of only 204 hulking Pontiac Macho T/A’s produced by the Mecham brothers starting the year before “Macho Man” ruled the radio playlists.

It was 1977 when Dennis and Kyle Mecham, sons of Arizona Pontiac dealership owner Evan Mecham, decided to modify a 1976 base Trans Am with anything to make a beast of car: a 455 hp four speed, Hooker headers, crossover pipe with twin catalytic converters, and modifications to the carburetor, distributor, hood scoop, and exhaust. The finished muscle machine was such a thrill ride that their father wanted to feature it front and center at his dealership. Searching for a fitting name, the brothers settled on “Macho T/A” only because it was a popular word at the time that meant ‘cool and masculine’ and it seemed to work well with Trans Am. With that, the legend was born. And it sold. Fast.

“The fact that it would sell in a day or two told us that people wanted performance” recall’s Dennis. The brothers hurriedly created a graphics package for their new editions, and began numbering each on the sides and rear. This one (number 104 out of a total of 204) found here on eBay, is a wonderful walk down memory lane into an era of days long long past. The classic T/A stance, with a 1.5-inch lower modified front end, heavy use of cherry red detailing and graphics over black on black body and interior – truly a thing of beauty that will arise admiration from any and all aficionado’s of American muscle machines.

In fact, it’s so sought after that this car will be featured in an upcoming episode of Gas Monkey, whose rowdy front-man, Richard Rawlings, bought this car at the September Mecum auction in Dallas earlier this year. Perhaps Mark of MotoeXotica (the St. Louis, MO dealer selling this collectible, who has featured many Gas Monkey vehicles in the past) said it best when I called for the scoop on this piece of history, “It’s really a treasure. It’s a rare car with a great American story from beginning to end.” You know what Mark? It really is.

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  1. Rob

    Could you use this instead of a pill to fight the dreaded medical condition, low “T”!!

  2. Poptheclutch

    To much red for me…the macho will diffentley get you competition.
    When they see macho there gonna wanna now how macho!
    Me I’d rather have the gold edition with
    The bird on the hood.

  3. Coventrycat

    Macho mullet to the max.

  4. Troy s

    Interesting car, everything looks pretty darn good except for that silly macho decal. Without that Disco boy name on it this would be a cool Trans Am to cruise around in. Still, if I was to have a Trans Am or Formula it would have to be an original Super Duty car, one of the best.

  5. Nrg8

    Dunno, it’s nice, not 56,900 US nice. I’m not sure how the Mecham name or the Gas Monkey name drop equates to a increase on pretty factory car. I see 30k no prob. But you want 57k, don’t undercoat over the rust.

  6. Fiete T.

    I like understated. Right up to the paint/decal wackiness, I like it. After that, not so much…

  7. Guy

    Was it 455 cu in or 455hp?

  8. MrBZ

    Evan Mecham managed to bring speed to the whole country as governor of AZ., when he broke the federal log jam and raised the state-wide speed limit to 65. His political tenure was brief, but his middle finger to the feds was a refreshing sight in the miserable mid-eighties, and other states followed suit.

  9. Jwinters

    Richard Rawlings is about the most annoying person on the planet.i would like to hit him on the head with a frying pan.

    • Jeffro

      Apparently, you haven’t met my sister in-law!

  10. Dick Johnson

    ‘Smashed Monkey Garage.’ Alcohol bidding at it’s best.


    Ugly car that no one ever heard of back in 78. If they did every disco boy would have owned one. The” Red Bird edition” is much better looking and just as rare. Stickers don’t make this a $60,000 car

  12. Madmatt

    I Love the car….,minus the “Macho Man” Decals.
    They could have called it “disco duck” too I guess?
    I can’t believe they removed the bird decal..,
    one of the coolest features on Trans am to me!
    Iam sure that “@** monkey”can screw this car up,
    as he’s done to so many before… put in air bag suspension,
    ruin a nice original interior,and replace a totally usable drivetrain,
    yeah,some of these tv shows really Get ridiculous….!

  13. John D

    I thought I knew this disco ball thing . . .

    So is a car that was nationally advertised before the Mecum auction, bought by one dealer, flipped to another dealer, and then offered on ebay, anywhere near a barn find??? No!!!! I love TAs, but these are stupid, the story about how the cars came to be is not compelling, and this particular car is just plain cheesy.

    How do we forget the NAME of this thing when we pick cars??????

  14. Ikey Heyman

    As Zsa Zsa Gabor once said: “Macho does not prove mucho.”

  15. Tyler

    Jeez, I can’t believe they sold 200 of these things. Between the graphics & the red striping, these have to be one of the ugliest special editions created. No thanks!

  16. T C

    Gawdy, tacky, ridiculous….I want It!

  17. Richard Gaskill

    It sold for $49,000 + buyer’s fees at Mecum Dallas September 8.

  18. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Not the same car, but reminds me of the Disco guys driving a TA in the movie Detroit Rock City

  19. DanH

    Launch the velour seats, shave $25k off the price and I would drive it.

  20. Ed

    I love it had I known about it in 1978 I would bought one Sick of all black and gold clones trying to look like the bandit a nice fresh change

  21. Pete

    I remember when florescent hot pink was soooo popular in the 80’s. I had no idea someone would be cruel enough to apply that to a perfectly nice TA in the 70’s while I was in HS. One guy in my class drove a brand new 76 TA to school everyday. His dad was the GM at the local Pontiac dealer. His was black with a gold bird decal. Beautiful car. This one yeah not so much. If them decals could be removed without to much trouble then maybe it would be close to worth half of the ask.

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