Y84 Special Edition: 1980 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am

This 1980 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am is listed for sale here on eBay but you better hurry. There is only one day remaining in the auction. The car is bid to $10,200 but the reserve has not been met.Y84 The car is located in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. According to the seller, this is a true Special Edition (SE) car which means it had the special edition package from the factory. Designated Y84 on the build sheet, the SE cars came with special gold pinstriping on black cars with T-Tops, WS6 Performance Suspension, gold spoke steering wheel, and gold, instead of silver, bezels on the dash and console shifter plate. The SE car was selected for use in the Smokey and the Bandit movies.

The interior looks nice and the carpet and dash look to be in excellent condition. The seats are faded and starting to split at the seams on the front passenger side. The car does not have many options except for air conditioning. Typically, these cars came with tilt steering, power windows and power locks. The seller provides a number of excellent pictures to show the condition of the car. The quarter panels, rockers, trunk and floors are said to be solid and although in harsh climates, these typically suffer rust and rot. The rear valance is rusted through and there is surface rust on the undercarriage of the Trans Am.

This was the first year for Pontiac to offer a turbocharged V8 engine in any of their production cars. The turbocharged V8 was based on their 301 cubic inch motor and was offered in 1980 and 1981. Pontiac rated the turbocharged 301 cubic inch V8 engine at 210 horsepower and 315 lb ft of torque in 1980. Dyno tests by individuals showed that this rating was optimistic and the cars actually generated only about 170 horsepower. Most likely, Pontiac adjusted the boost down on the production cars which were supposed to have 7 psi of boost. There is a company in Kenosha, Wisconsin called TTA Performance that specializes in improving the performance of these special cars. They do engine work on Turbo Trans Ams and sells parts including water injection for these cars so that they can safely build up to 14 psi of boost.

I guess you could call this car a survivor. It has survived and is said to be running after the seller installed a new distributor. Some of the original parts come with the car. The odometer reading indicates just over 70k miles. Overall, it just needs a little rust repair and new paint. Hopefully, this car is rescued from storage and is driven and enjoyed.


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  1. Ed H

    A guy in my auto shop class in high school had a built 1969 Camaro that he destroyed and got one of these in it’s place. He said it was so much better than the Camaro, but deep down I think he knew it was a pile of crap. I embarrassed his Turbo TA with my POS rusted out ’79 Plymouth Horizon TC3 with a 1.7L and a manual transmission, I had 4 car lengths before he drew close enough to probably win if it was a 1/4 mile track. Of course he wasn’t “really trying” and was always too busy for a rematch. I knew I could do even better if I could have kept traction and controlled the torque steer.

    Like 4
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      It’s unfortunate to think that this could happen, but these Trans Ams were slugs.

      That doesn’t mean that someone will buy this and just enjoy the cruise.

    • mjf

      Plenty of Turbo lag…. lol

  2. joenywf64

    A power radio antenna on the DRIVER’S side up front is peculiar.
    Along with the extra std inferior antenna embedded in the windshield.
    Very impressive interior & exterior condition.
    I would guess a turbo would be impossible if they tried to use the huge older style longer harrison a/c compressor – or a/c would not be avail if the smaller compressor was not yet released.
    Ironically, you HAD to get a/c with the turbo.
    Did pontiac go back to a smaller thicker formula steering wheel in ’80? Looks like it here.

    • George Simpson

      I remember an 80 or 81 Z28 when I was a teenager in around 83 that had the power antenna. Must not have been a popular option but obviously if I saw it when it was pretty new it must have been available if someone ponied up.

    • Ted-M

      Had. 79 Formula, ordered it with power antenna! It was on right front fender!

    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      If you got the power antenna option on a Camaro, it was mounted on the driver’s side. If you did not get a power antenna, it was in the windshield. I ordered no radio in my ’81 but still got the windshield antenna.

      Should be the same for the Firebird line, I would guess.

  3. wuzjeepnowsaab

    There aren’t many 80’s cars that get me excited, but I can tell you that none of them came out of the Big 3’s walls. What an embarrassing time for Yankee automotive steel

  4. Roger Winstorff

    Had a Firebird Formula Turbo in the late 80′ in Switzerland (thats in the middle of europe). Was a beautyful car and the Ladies loved it. But this was a SLUG. Old faded smoking Volkswagen GTIs ran circles around it. Plus the engine died here and there while approaching a crosssing. GM dealers couldnt fixit. Got rid of it after a year of shame and a few avoided accidents using the parking brake…If you buy it yank the engine and plunk in a good 400 or 455.

    Like 4
  5. mjf

    Smokie and the Bandit was a real 6.6 ltr , no turbo V8 ..
    They ruined it with that motor as it was lacking performance

    Like 2
  6. David Ulrey

    I came very close to buying one new….until I drove it. Loved the car except the real lack of power. I realized that horsepower numbers were down in virtually all cars then but even by those standards it felt like a slug. Very disappointing because I loved the look and the way it held the road. I had a good job, good credit, and a very decent down payment but even then I would start to hate the payments on something that had very unimpressive power. I bought a clean used 70 El Camino instead. Even with the 2bbl on the 350 in it, it would have walked all over the turbo T/A.

    • Mjf

      Yea, totally the right move

  7. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Reserve Not Met at $11,500.

  8. mjf

    Wonder if the Turbo works?

    Looks like the AC has no belt on it either , can of worms ,rust and all kinds of issues Im sure

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