Daily Potential: 1980 Pontiac Trans Am


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On a recurring basis, I question why I drive an old M3 around the pothole-plagued city I call home. Then, I wonder why I choose to deal with a car that eats steering racks, window motors and seems to always have a squeaky bushing hiding somewhere. The answer? I’d go nuts (as I almost did) owning an econobox just to avoid a few personality quirks that an older car delivers in spades. That’s why I am digging this well-weathered Pontiac Trans Am here on eBay, which wears its years proudly. Plus, the seller seems committed to selling with the first good offer he receives. 


A California car all of its life, this Trans Am retains its original engine with only 110,000 miles. It features a new radiator and the transmission was recently rebuilt. Being a West Coast car that was clearly not parked near the ocean, the Pontiac is rust-free. It was repainted once and your guess is as good as mine as it relates to the quality of that paint job. Any car can eventually lose its battle with the sun, but it could also be evidence of poor paint prep. The Trans Am-specific front splitters, flares, induction system and rear spoiler are all still in place.


The interior is in surprisingly good condition. The dash, gauges, steering wheel and console all look great for their age. The seats are incorrect and the seller says they fit poorly (and it also sounds like they are pretty well shot cosmetically). The fuel gauge isn’t working and one of the window motors needs replacing, but those aren’t terribly big jobs. The original radio remains with the car and the carpets and door cards look super clean as well. Despite its rough-looking exterior, I think it’s safe to say this Trans Am has been loved.


So, back to my original point about driving older cars daily: you do trade some comfort and convenience to daily an old-but-interesting car. Most folks won’t love riding in the car with you, so it’s best to plan for solo trips to grab lunch – not that that’s really a bad thing, if you ask me. And yes, you may have a day or two where it refuses to start and you’ll need to find an alternate travel arrangements, but that’s what spouses and Zip Car are for! Would any of you consider daily-driving this Trans Am? At the very least, I’d leave it stock – what about you?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Rock OnMember

    I have owned four second generation f – bodies. This one doesn’t look too bad. Just don’t expect it to be very fast with the 2.56 or 2.73 rear end gears. Headers are a must. You may also want to forget to reinstall the catalytic converter.

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  2. MH

    This is a perfect daily driver. I would love to have it. Cars like this. An still be had for rather cheap.

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  3. cj32769

    Not a bad car brings back a few blurred memories. I knew two girls Lolita and Tanqueray that loved T/A’s and I too was a fan of TA’s; good times back then. I am surprised to see how well an Earl Scheib paint job has held up after all of these years.It actually looks like clear coat pealing which would have meant the diamond deluxe paint job for $189.00 about $100.00 over the standard “I’ll paint any car any color for $89.99” back then. Some people can’t hide money.

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  4. Vegas Vic

    Great Ponch!
    Snoopy swoopy body style
    Yes, headers are a must
    Buy this toy and enjoy!

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  5. Doug

    Is that a purple paint job with a red interior?

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  6. five5monsters

    JUNK! the heater/a/c control unit is missing in the engine compartment. sorry. love these years of trans am’s, but looks like a lot of hidden repairs/ work. just sayin!

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  7. HoA Howard AMember

    Oh Jeff, how can you feature a car like this, and not mention “Smokey and the Bandit”? ( one of my favorite movies) For shame. Even GM admits, it was that movie that helped sell more Trans Am’s than anything. ( and Kenworth W-900’s) EVERYBODY wanted to be the Bandit. ( I wanted to be the “Snowman”, and I did, for 35 years) These were fun cars, and this one looks a little tired, but they were meant to be run hard, and most did just that. Probably the coolest dash of any modern American car. Probably still some fun left in this.

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    • AMX Brian

      Not the first though to incorporate the turned metal look though

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      • Vince Habel

        Studebaker did it in 55

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      • Murray

        MG was doing before WW2

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  8. DENIS

    I love these cars….I think my mission on this earth is to keep old cars from the crusher(esp F-bodies) but it’s just too damn far away to make it feasible. Somebody please buy this and give it some love.

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  9. Van

    You can add AC.
    If a rider complains tell them to stop crying or get out.

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  10. Ronnie

    Friends We have to be smart , you will see lots of those trans as well as camaros , novas etc … that after a good bucks investment are better cars than the new ones you get at the dealer , I just had a flashback on the front end issue I gave to sprnd $1000.00 in front end for my gmc truck , how much do you have to have that trans am in top shape ??? … is worth it .

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  11. Prowler

    As far as a daily driver…I’m out …this bird was rode hard and put away wet….more than once
    Nice to see some of earls handy work…look what you would save on wax
    But who names thier daughter after a gin bottle
    “Tanqueray “

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  12. james burton

    this is the first t. a. i’ve seen with a 305 chevy eng. i know they put 305s in later firebirds but all the late mod. t. a.s i’ve seen or worked on had the olds. eng. in them .i think they were 301 olds.eng. i know the early t.a.s had the 401 olds. eng. cause my brother had 2 of them. this car as had the whole heater asembly removed. man what a mess. i wouldn’t even go look at this ride let alone think about buying it for $5,000.

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  13. RoughDiamond

    I read, but don’t know if it’s true, that in ’79, Pontiac (GM) ran out of the T/A 400 6.6 liter engines due to demand. So what did they do? Like any ethical American car company they substituted the Olds 401 engine in ’79 T/A s and in buyers cars who special ordered their ’79 T/As with the real Poncho 400 engine. GM was in the clear “legally” because they substituted a 400 cubic inch engine for a 400 cubic inch engine.

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  14. Greg S

    The 301 was a Pontiac engine.

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  15. Tony B.

    I Love the B&M shifter!! I remember these from the ads in Hot Rod magazine and such, back in my high school days…

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  16. Will

    Man, those Trans Ams tried to be tough after the muscle cars were gone. I was always loving their looks but sad they didn’t have much power compared to Firebirds of ten years earlier. Brings back memories of Smokey And The Bandit, for sure! Thanks for sharing.

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  17. Michael Proulx

    I own a 1980 smokey n bandit car 59,000 original miles , has a 1972 455 H.O. with a 4 speed now , a work in progress.

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