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Red Bandit: 1978 Trans Am

78 trans am 1

Who doesn’t want a Pontiac Trans Am? We have all seen Smokey and the Bandit, and there is just no way you couldn’t want this ’78 Trans Am 400 4 speed survivor. It is a one owner car with 26,000 original miles. This Red Bandit is an excellent example and find. It is priced at $29,995. Find it here at Jaber’s Truck and Auto Sales out of Phoenix, Arizona.

78 tran am 4

It is difficult to believe this car is a survivor, it is just so clean. The engine bay is clean and has obviously been very well maintained. The Ram Air scoop is in nice shape, with no apparent discoloration, or even any rub marks from the engine rocking under the hood. This 1978 spec 400 boasts 220 horsepower in the era of economy and emissions. Power is transmitted through a 4 speed transmission, which should be fun to row.

78 trans am 2

The exterior of this Bird presents well. Again, it is almost difficult to believe this is a survivor until closely examining the photos. There are some minor swirl marks in the paint. We would take the car to a professional to see if it could be buffed out enough to remove some of the swirling. The ever so iconic Fire Bird on the hood is present and looks fantastic. The front bumper and rear fenders look blemish free, not showing any major rock chips or damage. Also the seller mentions this car sports a Ws6 handling package.

78 trans am 3

We love the turned aluminum dashes in the Fire Birds. The interior looks nice, the seller mentioned that there is an aftermarket radio installed and it appears there are some aftermarket speakers in the doors. Those speakers do sting a little bit, being installed in such a way in this low mileage Trans Am. Door panels could be sourced for this car to resolve that issue.

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Over all this is a clean and, what appears to be, mostly original Trans Am. Get the paint taken care of by a professional detailer, and come up with some door panels, and you will have a very nice survivor that you will be hard pressed to match. What would you do with this Iconic Trans Am? Who  would be your copilot, other than Sally Fields?


  1. roger

    I would drive it every day.Nice Car

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  2. Kincer Dave

    I absolutely love these T/As and I think 78 is my favorite of the later models, what a great example! These just feel great behind the wheel!

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  3. rmward194 Member

    This car is not far from me. What would concern me is that it’s located in an area full of buy-here pay-here lots. How did this nice looking survivor wind up here?

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  4. Van

    Change out the rocker arms with ram air 4 rockers.
    The difference in pivot point will increase lift.
    Easy to change back, “nothing to see here folks”.

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    • Jeff

      Lift only increases if you put a RA IV cam in it…

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      • Julles

        Are you sure, shift the pivot point, fulcrum, toward the push rod. more force required from the lifter, greater travel at the valve?

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      • Jeff

        Negative. Travel is exactly the same unless a cam with more lobe (i.e. lift) is introduced. The cam makes the “lift”…everything else is along for the ride. And furthermore, just throwing in a bigger cam won’t necessarily make more horsepower. Might sound cooler if you like more lope, but now you should consider heads, valves, spring rates, etc to actually make it perform as it should. This proposal is similar to pulling a 2-barrel manifold off and simply putting a 4-barrel manifold on. Waste of time, effort and money. The rest of the system wasn’t designed for it.

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      • Clint

        Depends on rocker arm ratio. If it has a .444 cam and has 1.5 rocker arms, then the lift of the cam is .296. Add 1.65 rocker arms and it becomes a .488 cam. (net lift x’s rocker ratio)

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  5. Slim Chance

    “Cash Only Special Price*: $29,995”

    What else is there but cash? Used car lot mentality.

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  6. sparkster

    Martinique blue for me please. Best year for a Tran Am. The front bumpers got ugly starting in 79′. And the graphics got way. . . . . . too graphic ?

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  7. DAN

    it’s not black
    so not enough smokey
    not enough bandit
    not for me,lol

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  8. Richard

    My first car was a ’78 – white over red, with the omni-present leaking T-tops. It was never this nice though, but in fairness I think I only paid $2K for it in 1989…

    It also had dents on both rear quarters. I found out why when I realized that it would fishtail back and forth every time you got on the gas even a little bit. Good times.

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  9. 68 custom

    as good as a 78T/A can get with WS6 package which gives you 4 wheel disc brakes, plus no t-tops Pontiac motor and 4 speed. Nice
    did anyone ever see a 403 T/A with a 4 speed?

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    • Jeff

      Nope, not available.

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    • Cattoo Cattoo Member

      “…plus no t-tops Pontiac motor or 4 speed.”
      The lame Olds 403 would tease the suspension and brakes added as an option not to mention frustrate the driver everyday he owned it. I say give it the Pontiac Engine and the four speed and delete the t-tops. I dislike them too. My brother had one of his t-tops come off while driving down the highway and breaking apart as it skittered into over the white line on his right.

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  10. wuzjeepnowsaab

    I dunno…white with blue or black with gold (thanks to Smokey and The Bandit) The car just looks wrong in red to me.

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  11. Pontiactivist

    I’m not a fan of red but I would drive off this. Had several after high school. Lots of memories with these. These and 80’s g-bodies. It’s ironic this popped up today. I just found a 78 sky bird sitting in a warehouse in North Western PA. I will have another second gen f-body some day soon.

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  12. Bobby

    I owned a 76 with a 455 4spd and a tenth anniversary edition 79 with a 400 4 dos. My friend had a 79 with the 403 0lds w/ a 4sod. The motor in his was built to the hilt. His was brown on brown w/ gold honey comb wheels. As far as I know it was the original motor just built.

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  13. Bobby

    That was 4spd not sod or dos. Fat fingers here.

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  14. Steve

    If it’s not black it’s not a bandit. Sorry.

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    • Jeff

      Just because it’s black doesn’t make it a “Bandit”. Plenty of black cars out there, but only black and gold Special Editions are “Bandits”.

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  15. Bill in Canada

    I will be the dissenting voice! I love black cars but this is perfect red. All of the ones you see. are black or white so the red makes this car unique. I also think every car has its color and red makes the Firebird look outstanding.

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  16. SquirrleyGig

    W/in the last week I saw part of one of the many random “car rebuild” programs on the t.v. ( better referred to as the idiot box) in which they bought a supposed true factory “bandit edition” Firebird.
    If I recall correctly they picked it up for something like $6500 (might be wrong, don’t remember for sure?). After “resto” They needed to get @ least $25k to make their money back + additional profit. I was quite surprised when it sold @ auction for something like $45k. It was a “traditional” Bandit black car though.
    I know anyone from the general era refers to just about any Firebird as “bandit”, but is this a “true factory” bandit edition car in red?

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  17. Jeff

    No. All “Bandit” cars are the Y-designated black and gold Special Editions.


    Just because it’s black doesn’t make it a “Bandit” either. The cars that you’re seeing selling for big money are all Y-designated black and gold Special Editions.

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