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Still in the Barn: 1978 Pontiac Trans Am

In 1978, the Pontiac Trans Am was riding a sales crest that started with the mid-1977 movie, Smokey and the Bandit. That black Trans Am driven by Burt Reynolds brought buyers into Pontiac dealers who saw demand grow by nearly 50%. The seller’s Pontiac isn’t black, but it’s still a Trans Am and one that’s been barn-bound for the past 20 years. It’s likely going to need a lot of work, but the seller is throwing in a spare set of honeycomb wheels. From Saranac Lake, New York, this Pontiac is available here on craigslist for $15,000.

Changes were few for the Firebird and its Trans Am derivative for 1978. Besides the grille and a rework of some of the decals, the machine was the same as the 1977 edition. When you ordered T-Tops (like with the seller’s car), they were developed and installed by Fisher Body instead of Hurst-performance as in prior years. There were quite a few adjustments to how the Trans Am was powered by Pontiac in 1978, and the seller doesn’t mention if there’s even an engine in this one. The stance of the front end suggests none is present.

As the story goes, the seller found this Trans Am in Texas two decades ago and brought it home to New York. It was placed in a barn at that time and has stayed there ever since. The odometer reading is 58,000 miles but it’s broken, so who knows what the actual mileage on the automobile may be? We’re told that the car is in “excellent condition” but that seems like a stretch since it hasn’t been moved or washed in ages based on the photos.

The good news is that no apparent rust or dents can be seen in the photos. But how well will be paint and interior clean up? And the car has been in New York for 20 years and the winters there are often not kind. This may have been a heckuva car in its day, but now even the shaker for the Ram Air hood isn’t accounted for.


  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Looks like the transmission (manual?) is also missing, as the shifter is a little low on the boot…
    $15k and the seller cannot even bother to wipe the bird 💩 and dust off of this never-going-to-numbers-match project? Laziness rules this roost.

    Like 11

      Wide brake pedal and lack of clutch pedal confirms auto trans

      Like 0
  2. BlisterEm Member

    It’s dueling write up day! Russ v Adam. Let’s Goooo!

    Like 4
  3. Jay E. Member

    Well, this is a first. Two write ups on the same day of the same car.

    Like 5
  4. Ray

    It appears that there is no engine also. 15k seems like a lot of money for a car with no engine and trans.

    Like 4
  5. Dean Romane

    I don’t think the car is a manual trans, looks like an aftermarket automatic shifter and looks like the larger automatic brake pedal.

    Like 0
  6. H Siegel

    These kind of cars make me happy. Never gonna be numbers matching I say cool now you have a blank slate drop in a 455 or an LS who cares make it your own. Drive it enjoy it who cares that it will never be a mega money valued car. $15. Thou. for what’s there I can see that when rust bucket broncos are bringing that much money. I hope someone buys it gets a motor in it and drives the heck out of it. GLWTS

    Like 2
  7. C Force

    If you take a closer look that is a auto trans brake pedal.the shifter is a B&M star shifter which is a rachet action made for the 70-81 Camaro/Firebird.perfect for a reverse manual valvebody automatic.

    Like 1
  8. ACZ

    I think I’m seeing double.

    Like 0
  9. Warren Elliot

    Not moved or washed in ages? Looks like a couple months worth of barn dust to me.

    Like 0
    • edward kas

      Yeah just blow the dust off the ceiling and floor in a barn and let it settle and you got a barn find.

      Like 1
  10. Lathebiosas

    It’s an automatic, look at the brake pedal.

    Like 0

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