The Pontiac Firebird debuted five months after the Chevrolet Camaro, bowing in February of 1967. Both the Firebird and Camaro were built in response to the Ford Mustang. In March of 1969, the Trans Am Performance and Appearance package was introduced, named for the Trans Am racing series. Just 689 hardtops and eight convertibles of the 1969 Pontiac Trans Am left the factory.
A decade later, the Pontiac Trans Am had become a legend for the Excitement Division. The Trans Am 455 Super Duty was one of the few shining stars of the 1970s waning-horsepower Malaise Era. Being one of the stars of the Smokey and the Bandit franchise helped Trans Am sales reach new heights. Already enormously popular, the Trans Am sold 68,745 units in 1977, but after the release of the first movie in 1977, sales went through the roof. Pontiac sold 93,351 Trans Ams in 1978 and 117,078 in 1979, when Trans Am sales eclipsed those of the Chevy Camaro for the first time.
Our feature 1979 Pontiac Trans Am is a bit of a unicorn, in that it has only covered 110 miles from new, by a single owner. It is powered by the 400 cubic-inch V8 (the last of the line, the few 1979 400s were holdovers from the previous year) producing 220 horsepower, and backed by a four-speed manual transmission. The 6.6-liter is fed by a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carb, features a special cam, 8.1:1 compression (pretty decent for 1979), and exhales through dual exhaust. Only 1,107 copies of the Trans Am Special Edition were built.
The Pontiac Trans Am retains its glossy factory Starlight Black finish, pinstripes and decals. It has gold-tone “snowflake” wheels shod in the original Uniroyal raised-white-letter Steel Belted Radials. The glass is all quite clear, never having been exposed to anything that would compromise it. The weatherstrip appears to be in exceptional condition. There are no nicks, dings, or garage marks observed.
Inside, the Pontiac Trans Am has a Camel Tan interior. The factory Delco AM/FM stereo is still in the dash. The T/A is well equipped with power windows, power locks, power steering, power-assisted disc brakes at all four corners, tilt steering, and T-tops.
The engine bay on the Pontiac Trans Am is in nearly showroom condition, with little patina or deterioration noted. Finishes and componentry on the 400 cubic-inch V8 all appear to be as they left the factory, as one would expect from a car that had covered so little ground from new.
The sale of this Pontiac Trans Am includes the original purchase documents, Manufacturer Statement of Origin, window sticker, owner’s manual, sunvisor sleeve, dealer brochure, license plate bracket, radio manual, and build sheets.
This extraordinary Pontiac Trans Am will cross the auction block at the Mecum Auctions Glendale, Arizona sale March 16th through 19th.