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Rust-Free Survivor: 1978 Pontiac Trans Am WS6

This 1978 Pontiac Trans Am has spent its life in the drier states of Texas and California. Therefore, it should be no surprise to learn that it has managed to avoid the ravages of rust. The paint shows some age, but it represents a restoration project that should be relatively straightforward. It is a classic that has struck a chord with a few people because there have been 26 bids submitted since it was listed for sale here on eBay. The Trans Am is located in Cibolo, Texas, and while the bidding has pushed the price along to $11,600, the reserve remains unmet.

The Trans Am is finished in Platinum, and the owner admits that it has received a repaint in its original color in the past. The finish is beginning to show its age, and as I look into my crystal ball, I see another repaint in its future. There is oxidization appearing across the car, mainly on horizontal surfaces like the deck lid. This is common with metallic paints and is especially true with anything in the silver spectrum. Looking beyond that, the panels look remarkably straight, with no apparent dings or dents. That brings us to the question of rust. The Trans Am could be prone to it, but life in drier climes have brought the buyer benefits in this regard. The panels are spotlessly clean, and the underside of the car is even more impressive. There isn’t a spot of penetrating rust to be found anywhere, and even surface corrosion is in short supply. The T-Top first made an appearance in the 1976 model year, and those fitted until early 1978 were produced by Hurst. Fisher then took on this role, and judging by the dates on the original Dealer Invoice, this must be one of the first cars to have featured the Fisher product. It is in good condition, as are the tinted glass and the Snowflake wheels.

The Trans Am’s interior is tidy and original, but it is showing some wear spots. Both front seats are exhibiting wear on the outer edges, and it will take new covers for them to be returned to their best. A pair of the correct custom covers in Carmine can be found for $690. This isn’t cheap, but it would lift the interior presentation. While we’re looking at replacement items, we have to consider the dash pad. It is cracked in the center, and the buyer will need to weigh the costs and benefits of restoring or replacing this item. It is hard to find a replacement in the correct color, which will probably mean buying a black pad and having it dyed or colored. The sticking point is price because a replacement pad will leave no change from $800. The other alternative would be to repair the crack with a product like Polyvance. This would cost significantly less, and the size of the crack would make it a viable proposition. Also on the shopping list would be a console lid. However, these can be found for around $80, making one a cheap investment. The rest of the interior looks good, and it does come nicely equipped. As well as the T-Top, there is air conditioning, power windows, a tilt wheel, and an AM/FM radio/8-track player. The owner is even throwing in a few tapes, so I’d slot Don McLean’s American Pie into the player and hit the road.

Powering the Pontiac is the Olds 403ci V8, producing 185hp. The V8 is backed by a 3-speed automatic transmission and a Posi rear end. Power steering and power brakes are part of the package, while the original owner boosted the handling by ordering the Trans Am with the WS6 Performance Package. The package brought suspension upgrades and saw the wheel size increased from 15″ x 7″ to 15″ x 8″. Given that this Pontiac rolled off the line in the Malaise Era, it is no surprise to find that it isn’t the fastest car on the planet. A trip down the ¼ would take around 17 seconds, which seems slow now, but was in the ballpark of what buyers had come to expect in an Olds-equipped Trans Am. The owner doesn’t indicate how the Pontiac runs or drives, but the engine bay presents well enough to give us cause to be optimistic. The owner claims that the vehicle has covered a genuine 93,000 miles but doesn’t indicate whether he holds verifying evidence. However, he is including copies of the Window Sticker and Build Sheet, along with a collection of dealer documentation.

This 1978 Pontiac Trans Am isn’t perfect, but one of its greatest attributes is that it is rust-free. Returning it to its former glory would seem to be a straightforward proposition, and the car was originally ordered with a nice collection of optional extras. These factors make it easy to understand why interest has been so high, and it makes me wonder how high the bidding is likely to go. With the work that is required, I would expect it to push up around $20,000. However, given its originality and rust-free status, it could go even higher. If you love your Trans Ams but can’t face the prospect of significant rust repairs, maybe your next classic is waiting for you here.


  1. Avatar photo mgrimes

    Cool!! But like the 77’s better.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Jerry

      Why do u like the 77s better?
      77s and 78s were identical.

      Like 7
  2. Avatar photo timothy herrod

    5 years ago the neighbor kid brought home a 78 formula, i went over to look at it i crawled around it and told him to never let this one go as he will never find a cleaner one. It did have some 80s hot rod stuff done to it like airshocks and traction bars different seats and a SBC in it to but that car was rust free. One day it was gone and a few days later he drove in with a 71 cutlass that was so rotted the back window was laying on the backseat. I was shocked, the whole back end of the car was gone. That night a pick-up was outside loading up the TA hood and shaker that i had given the kid for a christmas present and got to meet the real dad who was responsible for the trading of the cars and thats all it was a trade, no cash just cars. It was not any of my business at all but i asked him why he let this trade happen and He said the olds had a 350 rocket engine in it. There is people out there that are too dumb to talk to and i met another one that night. The POS swapped cars with his own son, kinda understand why the parents were divorced now, just a shame that a father would screw over his 16 year old kid

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo sirlurxalot

      What a POS! I wish I hadn’t read it Now I’m in a bad mood and hating some perfect stranger on New Year’s Day.

      Like 6
  3. Avatar photo Superdessucke

    The drawback to it being an original California car is the Olds 403 engine. If it was a 49 state car it would have either the 180 HP L78 or 220 HP W72 Pontiac 400.

    Like 6
  4. Avatar photo john hugh

    gutless nose heavy junk imo

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Jerry

      Actually the GM “F” body Camaro and Firebirds were some of the best handeling cars of the 70s. I knew a couple guys who used to race them they handled so well.

      Like 1
  5. Avatar photo Blue Oval Guy

    Smokey and The Bandit, anyone?

    Like 0

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