Rose-Colored Bandit: 1980 Pontiac Trans Am

The Pontiac Trans Am is fairly ubiquitous in black with gold trim. However, this example wears a shade of deep burgundy not often seen, and it looks surprisingly good with the gold Turbo-fan style wheels. Condition is said to be excellent with low-ish mileage of 65,661, and the seller is offering free shipping to the lower 48. Find it here on eBay with a Buy-It-Now of $18,500. 

The listing reads as if this is original paint but the seller doesn’t include a photo of the cowl data tag to confirm. VINs on this generation Pontiac don’t help to decode options and colors, so we’ll leave it to our readers to validate the originality of this unusual shade. Hood graphics are sharp and the seller claims the biggest cosmetic flaws come down to road chips on the front end. Gold accent striping works well here, as do the meaty white-letter radials.

The camel interior completes the random assortment of color choices that actually work quite well together. The Trans Am retains its original interior with full power options, and the presence of t-tops hasn’t wrecked any obvious havoc on the dash pad or seat seams. The t-top bags are included, as is the build sheet. The seller encourages potential buyers to view the Trans Am in person and bring their mechanic, which exudes some level of confidence in the vehicle.

The turbocharged 301 generates more criticism than praise, despite the fact it was heavily engineered to push out close to 400 lb.-ft. of torque. Horsepower was ranked significantly lower, and perhaps partly to blame for why this unusual mill saw only two years of production. That said, the inner fenders reveal color consistency, so perhaps this unusual color is indeed as the factory intended. While it’s far from a fitting tribute to the Bandit, its originality is worth preserving.

Fast Finds


  1. Mitchell Gildea Member

    I’m really digging the color…I just wish it was a 1979 with a 400 4 speed. The turbo motor and the color are still cool though.

  2. dirtyharry

    These cars like this are like time travel. You don’t buy them for performance any longer. A new Ford Focus RS with a 4 banger, puts out more than double the power found here. It’s still a lot of fun. MTV debuted about the time this came out, Lennon was murdered and Microsoft was just beginning to change the world. The excitement people had to come up with some. I dig the “far out” colors. Say what you like, it isn’t a boring car. I would be thrilled to drive it anywhere. Great find.

  3. jw454

    Very nice car.

  4. MikeG

    Great car, im down with the Pimp color!

  5. Steve King

    Had one in 1982! Just reenlisted in the Corps, got some bonus money, bought one in Cherry Point, N.C.!
    Ran really good, but I wish I’d have kept the 70 T/A Challenger I traded in on it!
    Loved cruising in the Pontiac, girls liked it, too!!

  6. Sam

    Fantastic color. I have not seen one in this color in ages. When I was in grade school, a really nice teen baseball player guy next door had one in this exact color and, even better, with perfectly matched interior (seriously!) and I thought it was the sharpest looking car anywhere.

  7. Richard Kaltenbach

    The 301 RULES!!!

  8. Car Guy

    My brother had an 80 Turbo Indy Pace Car T/A. While it was not a muscle car, the motor did respond well to an adjustable waste gate and rejetted Quadrajet. Very nice example……..

  9. Tommy D

    Wow, that car has eyeball! Not sure how I feel about the gold wheels though…and I’d love to hear someone talk about that motor…never experienced one.

  10. ccrvtt

    My favorite Trans Am body style, and favorite T/A wheels. I saw this color combination on a 911 a few years ago and it definitely works for me. I’m sure the anemic power output could be remedied easily with headers and a cam and FI and … maybe an LS swap.

    Great find. Beauteous car.

  11. Cardiff Giant

    My older brother had an ’81 with the 305/4-spd in this color with the same vinyl interior. He had a ton of custom pin striping and an airbrushed eagle on the hood. It was a real pimpmobile.

    This is a nice example and I would pay the asking price if I was in the market.

  12. Alford Pouse Member

    Wonder if he gives a discount if you get both the TAs? LOL

  13. Bob C.

    A friend of mine had a 1981 with that 301 turbo. It was ok, but I think it would have been much sweeter with a 400. He was a bit disappointed with the performance.

  14. DonC

    Oh Steve King. You traded in a 70 T/A Challenger for a Trans Am!?!? May the car Gods have mercy upon your soul! (grin). Go find something with Mopar on it, place it on the ground facing the sun and pray to be forgiven for your Auto blasphemy! P.S. thanks for your service!

  15. Martin Sparkes

    Well I was offered a Pontiac SD455 in trade for my c10 pickup with a hot 350. It was a farmer who needed a pickup. I was a farmer’s son who did not need a car. The Pontiac was far nicer than my pickup to boot. Hindsight and all that.

  16. Paul

    One of only a very few cars that I like from the 80’s. I was in high school in the 80’s everybody wanted a Trans am or Z28, it was like no other cars even mattered.

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