Toasted Bird: 1978 Pontiac Trans Am

If fixing rust doesn’t scary you, this Trans Am might just be worth a look. We’ve watched values on these Pontiacs climb, to the point that even rusty projects like this are becoming viable options for anyone wanting a T/A but can’t afford big money. This W72 equipped example only saw 70k miles before being parked, but sadly it was left outside in Dewy Rose, Georgia. It’s time left outside hasn’t been kind to it, leaving it with some serious rust issues. That being said, it might go cheap enough to be worth picking up. You can find it here on eBay.

The W72 400 cui V8 was rated at 220 horsepower for ’78, which might not sound as impressive as the Trans Ams of the early ’70s, but for the time this was one hot machine (literally and figuratively). Whoever ordered this car also optioned it with AC, which will help combat some of the heat during the summer months. The sales invoice is a bit difficult to read in the seller’s ad, but it looks like this was a well optioned car and set the original owner back $6,277. Adjusted for inflation, that’s about $24k in today’s money, which is about what it will cost you just to fix the rust and get it running again.

Between use, time and exposure to the elements, the interior is looking so great. The seller notes that the front seats aren’t bolted down which they assume was the result of someone attempting to steal them. Thankfully they didn’t get away with them. It looks like they did get away with the shift knob and stereo though, but those are easy enough to replace. A new hood is included with the car and it looks like there’s a nice interior pilled up against it, so perhaps the seller has other parts for it that they would be willing to let go of?

This is going to be a big project, but if you can fix the rust yourself it could be a fun project. Of course, you will want to weigh whether it will be worth the work. The seller’s opening bid price of $3k seems realistic, but their BIN of $4,500 seems high for the condition. Hopefully they will be willing to accept less, but it will be interesting to see what happens with it!


WANTED 1970-1976 Pontiac Trans Am Must be 4 spd. Like big block. I can fix motor or tranny. Needs to be somewhat sound other than that Contact

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  1. Rock On Member

    I’m thinking that Travis’s one from the other day would take a lot less work and money to get on the road.

    • AF

      Still like this one more.

  2. Pa Tina

    I swear on my Grandfather Luddy’s mullet, when I win the Powerball lottery, I am going to buy every last one of these future beer cans and torch them at Burning Man.I never realized GM made 86 gazillion of these abominations to go along with the 118 gazillion Camaros they unleashed on an unsuspecting public. You will thank me.Full disclosure: I owned a 1975 Trans Am but I have been clean and sober since.

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    I wonder if the writers and producers of Smokey and the Bandit got royalties for all the Trans Am sales that movie generated. Our small town dealership sold more T/A’s in ’77 and ’78 than our entire Firebird sales from ’75-’84. Personally I preferred the Formula because it wasn’t quite as dodded up, and because it wasn’t such a ‘belly button’ as the BLACK Trans Am….

    • Mark Carroll

      I’ve always preferred the Formula too, but I love that black and gold color combo.

  4. T Mel

    HP (amount of “work” done by the engine) doesn’t really matter to me since they had about 330 lbft of torque (amount of force tires apply to the road). Ya I’m one of those that thinks hp really doesn’t matter. The only measures that matter are torque, weight and distribution (center of gravity), tire grip, gear ratios, suspension dynamics, brake force, and aerodynamics. But I think it’s interesting that hp is quoted usually by itself and I really don’t understand it. It has only indirect relevance at best. No more relevance than the dozens of other engine design characteristics. All of which are summed up with the measure of torque alone.

  5. Mark H

    Another one wasting away in Georgia……..

  6. Mark H

    …. the rear picture…..owner says he’s gonna restore it one day……

  7. Sparkster

    Too many zero’s in the asking price

    • Jack b:-)

      Exactly. Zillions of the things made, most still around. Texas is full of them. We had a real nice white/blue cloth t/a 6.6, bought new in ’78, and torque was pretty stout on it.
      For the money required to get this red thing back up to snuff, i’d find a decent roller from the early 70s and spend the money (and TIME) on it. You’d have a much more rare, probably lighter car, with a stronger powertrain. Just blow off the special editions, they’re thick as georgia ticks.

  8. gaspumpchas

    hmmm 3 grand for a project….think this firechicken spent some time under water? Full resto but might be a fun project.good luck to the new owner!!!

  9. Brian Crowe

    I don’t know but for sitting in grass and dirt the underside sure looks pretty good. Man if this was up here in Ontario Canada you couldn’t touch that car under $5000 around here.

  10. Edward Ransom

    I would love to find one or even a Camaro with out a motor or tranny.

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