How To Squint Menacingly: 1977 Pontiac Trans Am W72

By Mitchell Gildea

Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve been a huge fan of two things: Pontiac F-Body cars, and Clint Eastwood movies. In 1974’s Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, those two worlds collide; Eastwood and co-star Jeff Bridges drive a 1973 Trans Am in the first few scenes that Bridges stole from a used-car lot. Though this Trans Am is a 1977 model, its front end squints menacingly like Eastwood in his prime, and is a valuable 400 W72 car. Find it here on eBay in Troy, Michigan, with reserve not met.

After facing near death after its 1972 model year, the Trans Am (and the car it was based off of, the Firebird) soldiered on through the Seventies as the soul survivor of the muscle car era. For 1977, the Trans Am gained a handsome face-lift, giving it a youthful and aggressive look. Overall, 68,744 Trans Ams were built for the 1977 model year, compared to just 1,286 built for the 1972 model year. Purchased by its current owner from a friend back in 1979, this 1977 Trans Am is nicely spec’d with t-tops, snowflake wheels, bright stainless trim, and the Screaming Chicken hood decal. I love the red paint with Screaming Chicken hood decal, which nicely complements the bright stainless trim, and the fact that this car has the split dual exhaust. I would swap the generic black-wall tires for a set of BF Goodrich Radial T/As, and shelve the original snowflake wheels for a reproduction set so the original wheels can be preserved.

Though the 455 was dropped after 1976, the 400 was still available, and this car is optioned with the W72 400. Rated at 200 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque, only the Dodge Little Red Express made more horsepower at 225. Though I would have preferred the T-10 4 speed, this car is optioned with the 3-speed automatic (most likely the TH-350), which is still a nice and durable transmission. The car’s build sheet is included with all of the options selected, and the car is nicely spec’d mechanically. During its 40-year life, the car and its drivetrain has traveled only 29,510 miles; if this car had higher miles I would probably build up the 400 and swap the TH-350 for a 700R4 or a manual transmission, but I think it would be best to leave the car untouched mechanically.

It’s a shame that there isn’t a splash of blue in this interior, because this just might be the most patriotic-colored interior that I’ve ever seen. Inside, this car is nicely optioned with a red interior with white seats (I would have preferred all red personally; it’s probably a pain to not get those seats dirty). The car is nicely optioned with air conditioning, power windows, AM/FM radio, and a slew of other options. I personally would have preferred manual windows with no air conditioning (my dad owns a 1975 Trans Am with the 455, and since it’s optioned with the air conditioning it’s a pain to work on), but that’s just me. Overall, this may be one of the nicest and low-mileage late second-generation Trans Ams available, and when you factor in the options, this car will be a nice car to get (if it can be bought at the right price). What are your thoughts on this clean, mostly original low mile Trans Am W72?

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  1. Vegas vic

    Beautiful Pontiac!
    Agree on swapping wheels n tires and chicken looks great
    Grab Sally Field and GO! Cruising

    • Angrymike

      Lol, old Sally is in her mid 70’s and as most older women has gone full s*itlib, she’d be more worried about gas mileage than going fast, don’t want to leave a carbon footprint, dontyaknow ! 😂🤔😊

  2. glen

    The interior colours are perfect for a Canadian! (notice the u in colours)

  3. Barzini

    To use a line from an older Marty Wilke post, owning this would show the world how serious you are about the 1970s.

  4. Dan

    Nice car but I hate T-tops……sorry…..

  5. King Al

    Ordered one new in 77. W72, 4sp, no t-tops, no bird decal on hood. Was a phenomenal car. Wish I still had it.

    • Angrymike

      I drove a girl’s 75 TA, (auto), while I had a 70 383 Road Runner, I was quite surprised at the power and I loved the cornering.
      All it needs is a set of RamAir 3 heads, and this thing will fly !!!!

  6. Mike

    Had a brown one with gold and chrome Crager SS wheels, and Hurst T-tops. Loved that car. Sold it to buy my first Harley…

  7. Greg

    It’s in fantastic shape. Being from Sacramento CA, and 100+ degree summers, I’d be thankful for that air conditioning. I’d drive and enjoy it!

  8. Tommy D

    This dealer is near my neighborhood, has good and bad cars, all (most) are consignment I believe, I may take a ride over there and check it out tomorrow. It’s Dream Cruise week here in Detroit, so beautiful cars are everywhere, all you can do is drool! About to head up to Woodward now and watch the drag races at M1 Concouse

    Any BF readers in the neighborhood??

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      I’d love to attend the Woodward Cruise. Someday….

      For an original paint car, which is believable, Why the red overspray in the engine compartment?

      • Tommy D

        I looked at the car yesterday…lots of paint/bodywork/condition issues…oh well.

      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        That stinks. And that car looks pretty good in the photos.

        Makes you think what some of these cars look like that have crappy photos.

  9. Rock On

    If you are going to pull the snowflake wheels off to preserve them, then you may as well step up to 17 inch reproduction snowflakes to improve handling.

    • al8apex

      and looks … 😉

  10. 77vette

    Didn’t an L-82 Vette push 210 horsepower o 77?

    • PoPPaPork

      Yes it did! I just looked it up….

  11. scottymac

    Never much of a fan of the Firebird or Trans Am, but loved the boattail Riviera from the movie.

  12. Ck

    I remember reading about a 73 Super Duty T/A that was supposedly owned by Clint Eastwood .I think the car was forest green with honeycomb wheels.Maybe he had to have one after filming Thunderbolt and Lightfoot. I always liked the round headlight Firebirds andT/A’s more than the later square headlight T/A.That being said,this cat is pretty sweet ,love the two tone interior.

    • Angrymike

      I’m still in love with the 71-73 TA that the Duke drive, and was crushed in Q, or Mr Q, well whatever, I fell in love with the 70 Thur 73 TA’s, one of the most muscular smoking hot of any of the ponycars.
      I’d still like to find one in that green color and keep it forever !
      And at the time I was a Road Runner guy, loved those Trans-Ams of that era !

      • Angrymike

        Here’s one with the screaming chicken, I don’t think Mc Q’s had one, but dang, that’s what I’m talking about !!!!

  13. Rolf Poncho 455

    here is mine agene 455 73mod formula

  14. Richard Stanford

    Brings back happy memories – my first car was a 78 with the red interior (all red), white with chicken on the outside. Stupidly heavy, poor handling, no back seat but huge on the outside, and a ton of fun


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