Solar Gold: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am

The seller is advertising this car as a Gold Bandit. Maybe that is just slang for gold Trans Ams these days but the only true Gold Special Edition cars built by Pontiac were produced in 1978. Their RPO code was Y88 and they were only built for one year. This car is a 1979 Pontiac Trans Am. It is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $15,700 after 20 bids. There is only 1 day and a few hours remaining in the auction. The car is located in New Baltimore, Michigan. At some point, the original engine for this Trans Am was yanked and upgraded to a 400 cubic inch V8. Check out how the hood scoop sits lower than it should compared to the factory height.

Pontiac offered three different engine options in 1979 for the Pontiac Trans Am. The VIN code for each car indicates which engine the car was originally produced with. For this car, the W in the 5th digit indicates that this car came with a 301 cubic inch V8 engine. When this engine was ordered, the buyer received a $50 credit. The Pontiac 301 cubic inch V8 engine generated 155 horsepower from the factory. The base engine for 1979 Trans Ams was the K code L80 403 cubic inch V8 engine. It was rated at 185 horsepower and only available with an automatic transmission. If you wanted the most powerful engine, you could get the Z code W72 400 cubic inch V8 engine rated at 220 horsepower.

This car has the base interior. It appears that the steering wheel, console bezel and dash bezel have been replaced with gold accent pieces that are similar to the 1978 Y88 Trans Am. The car is not highly optioned and the air conditioning has been removed. I own a 1979 Pontiac Formula. Vintage Air makes a nice kit for to add modern air conditioning to 2nd generation Firebirds, Formulas and Trans Ams. The hood scoop sits lower than stock when you look at this car’s profile.

This car is equipped with 15×8 aluminum snowflake wheels. These wheels were available from 1978 to 1981 on WS6 equipped Trans Ams and Formulas. The seller says the car drives great and was originally treated with Ziebart rust protection when new. Pontiac sold an all time high of 117,000 Trans Am in 1979. While this car is not original, it does have great appeal.


  1. AndyinMA

    Nice color, nice wheels.

    Like 1
  2. Johan

    Silly looking shaker decals

    Like 2
  3. mainlymuscle

    I call the Gold cars “reverse bandits”.I either have ,or had both.Love ’em all !

    Like 1
  4. mrshred

    Weird, but those door panels look like the stock Camaro panels – ditto for the seats except for the buttons at the top.

    Like 2
    • Big Schwag

      They are same as the Camaro. These were the standard seats/panels for the Trans Am. An optional premium interior was available at extra cost.

      Like 1
  5. John Oliveri

    No A/C no power windows, No Sale

  6. JCH841

    I did a Rockford turn once in a parking lot during the Saturday night cruises. Went around the block a couple of times and pulled back in to find someone who didn’t look behind their car first. Car (his mother’s) was straddling a parking stop with a smashed oil pan.

    Like 2
  7. DN

    I could live without options, AC (can always retrofit as stated above) etc but T-Tops are mandatory!!!!

    Like 2

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