Y88 Special Edition: 1978 Trans Am

In 1978, Pontiac offered two special edition Trans Ams. Most people are familiar with the black and gold Y82 special edition Trans Am. Pontiac also produced 8,666 Solar Gold and black pinned striped Y88 Trans Ams. This spectacular 1978 Y88 Trans Am has only 13,000 original miles. The car can be seen here on eBay and is bid to $35,600 with 2 days left in the auction.

This car is in excellent condition. One way that you can spot a true Y88 Trans Am is that, in addition to the dash bezel, power window block off plates and steering wheel spokes being gold, the Y88 was the only Trans Am in 1978 with a color coded steering column. All other Trans Ams had black steering columns. This car has the standard interior instead of the optional deluxe interior.

The engine compartment is very clean and well maintained. There were three engine options in 1978. About 880 Y88 Trans Ams were built with the 403 cubic inch Oldsmobile V8. The other cars were equipped with the base L78 or W72 400 cubic inch V8 produced by Pontiac. Since this car does not have chrome valve covers or an engine call out on the hood scoop, it is most likely the L78 400 cubic inch V8 engine which delivered 180 horsepower. The top dog W72 400 cubic inch engine was rated at 220 horsepower from the factory. All the engines offered in the Trans Am produced more factory horsepower than the Camaro Z28.

This Trans Am appears to be a unique, unmolested example. The car is fitted with 15×7 snowflake wheels so it was ordered with the base suspension. The famed WS6 suspension came with wider 15×8 snowflake wheels. This car has deservedly received strong bidding. What do you think it will sell for? Who knows the story about why the Y88 was cancelled in 1978?



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  1. JoeMac JoeMac Member

    This car is getting good money for a non-W72, non-WS6, automatic. Congrats to the seller.

    Like 6
    • Turbo

      I would say insane money for what it is. But all you need is two people who really want the same car, I guess.

      Like 6
  2. DG

    The LM1 350 in the Camaro Z28 made 185 hp if I recall correctly.

  3. S

    These cars look fantastic with the solar gold paint!

    The way they did it in 1978 was to offer the L78 (180 hp, 7.7:1 compression ratio) Pontiac 400 engine in automatic transmission equipped cars. The W72 (220 hp) Pontiac 400 engine had slightly higher compression (8.1:1) and was put into 4 speed cars. The Oldsmobile 403 engine was put into cars sold in California to meet California emissions. Since this is an automatic equipped car not sold in California, it would be the L78 engine. The L78 engine equipped cars originally said “6.6 Litre” on the hood scoop, as did Oldsmobile 403 equipped cars. The W72 engine said “T/A 6.6”. You can also tell an Oldsmobile 403 by the prominent oil filler tube – which this car does not appear to have.

    In 1979, this changed to the 403 being offered in all automatic transmission cars sold in all states. Some W72 Pontiac 400 (220 hp) engines were left over from 1978 and again were put into 4 speed cars. The L78 Pontiac 400 engine was no longer produced in 1979.

    Like 1
    • Oily Dick

      The W72 was an option and was available with the automatic as well — look at the pricey T/A a few pages up for an example.

      Like 2
    • Gower Fiander

      I purchased this exact car in 1978 in Nova Scotia Canada for a grand total of $10500. New off the lot. I wish I still had it.

  4. Marauder

    I believe the problem with the paint was that it was an early experiment with water based paint that held up poorly. Lots of owners came back to the dealers demanding an explanation.

  5. George Mattar

    A ton of money for a base engine nom WS6 car. Wish I bought 10 of these and put them away. Funny thing is as I drive my nearly 50 year old Corvette, on a nice sunny day I never see these cars. Back in college, they were all.over the place like Toyotas today. Sad. GM ruined Pontiac and builds total junk today. My dad bought new Pontiacs every two years for 40 years. We just buy Asian crap.

  6. Johnny R.

    Wow I just commented on the 57K car and then see this. This bodes very well for me since I have a Y88 WS6 W72 auto with 24K. I was saying the 57K car is worth maybe half that and I saw a 4 speed Y88 go for 43K late last year. GLWTS.

  7. Mike Brown

    Wasn’t there a red special edition at some point between 1977-79 too? Maybe (most likely) I’m crazy but I seem to remember it.

    • Turbo

      Mike, you may be nuts, but not based on this. Yes, there was a red bird, a blue bird and a yellow bird. I think they were marketed towards women. One was for sale near me a few years ago but it had some poorly done body work and they wanted Silverbird or Burt Reynolds Trans Am clone money. Does anyone else remember Silverbird? Now its my chance to ask if I’m nuts, but it seems that I had a friend with one that had silver paint, silver leather interior and red digital gauges.

      • Mike Brown

        Maybe we’re both nuts? Are you thinking of the 10th anniversary Trans Am when you say Silver Bird?

      • Turbo

        Mike, I think you are right. I googled 10th anniversary TA and that looks like the car.

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