Author Topic: Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am  (Read 2232 times)

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Offline Handycar

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Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am
« on: March 05, 2009, 09:39:16 PM »
I came across a 1978 Firebird Trans Am with a 403 and I would like to know a bit more about the car. Not this car just the car itself in general...

The car itself is goldish color with black leather interior... I have reason to beleive that the car used to be white (title) but I gather it has been touched... but it has been stored for the last 10 years covered up in a shed... besides the normal dust and spider webs it looks to be in great shape. The interior is good and the engine looks great. A/C and No T Tops.. It does not run right now but it did run when the guy parked it there he just put it there to never drive it again due to some personal issues I guess.... It does has four flats so I was unable to see under the car but what I am wondering if this car came standard with dual exhaust, sway bar, and what this car offers such as performance?

Is it a good investment? I am looking to restore it... trick it out... give it to my son one day.

I know you can not tell much without the vin but it seems like a great deal for $1000.00.

Just wondering what I can expect from the car. What are main things to look for to know it is good... certain aspects of a collector.

Offline Rick

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Re: Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2009, 10:07:05 PM »
You're right in that without the VIN you can't tell much beyond what you've described, as far as what the car was originally.  If you get the chance, you can get the cowl tag information (separate from the VIN tag) and that will tell you what the interior and exterior colors were originally.  Once you have the VIN you can contact Pontiac Historical Services (PHS) and they can get you a copy of the car's original dealer invoice, which will tell all there is to know.

All Firebirds made after the 1974 model year were single exhaust.  The pipes from both exhaust manifolds went into a "Y" through a single catalytic converter.  The W72 option cars had pipes that came out of the converter and split through 2 separate resonators, then up over the axle and out the back.  The rest of the cars ran a single pipe out of the converter, up over the axle, and into a transverse mounted muffler, which had 2 pipes that came out for the right and left sides.  There were no true dual exhausts and the cars never had 2 converters -- only 1 converter, and it was a pretty restrictive exhaust system.

All TAs got front and rear sway bars.

You need to understand that during this time, power/performance was actually NOT the top item on the list for the car makers.  For them, meeting the EPA emissions requirements was #1.  If they didn't do that, they couldn't sell ANY cars.  The second consideration was fuel economy, as it was an important factor after the 73-74 gas crisis and the EPA was looking at Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) for the first time.  Power/performance was consideration #3, and customers were willing to take what they got because Pontiac promised more than anybody else did with comparably priced cars at the time.  But all of the engines were rated at less than 220 HP (W72) and the other engines maxed out at around 185-200 HP.  Your average pickup truck has more HP today than the "hot" cars did then.

For $1,000, it doesn't sound bad, though, provided it hasn't been eaten up with rust -- particularly in the rear frame rails.  You really need to take a hard look at those, which means getting under it, because those CAN be a deal-breaker.

Good luck! :) :)

Offline transam dave

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Re: Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2009, 10:22:40 PM »
Yes this is true the frame rails is the big picture.Then the rear valance the rear qtrs the rockers, package,tray ect.

Offline Handycar

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Re: Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2009, 10:57:07 PM »
Thanks for all of your help I will make sure that I look under the car for the rust before I buys this... thanks for all of your imput... if it all is good I will purchase and post some pics.

I actually came across this car 2 years ago and lost the guys number and recently found it and to my uprise he still had it ... he did not have the car for sale... just mentioned it to me in passing and I looked at it and he said he would sell it to me because he seen that I was highly interested in cars of this kind. Hopefully it all works out to my advantage... I am still rather shocked that this car has just been sitting in a shed for years without being touched or looked at it. The owner himself has not seen the car in over 10 years as it is parked in a shed at a property he has not resided in or been to in over 10 years. He just rents the house and keeps the car in the shed in the back of the property.

We will see how this turns out.. thanks again.

Offline Handycar

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Re: Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2009, 01:07:59 PM »
We got the car it was nasty looking all cob webs stunk and everything. We got a wrecker to come and take it home. We pressure washed the car and then cleaned it and waxed it up I can not even tell you how bad it looked. I mean it was covered several inches with dust. We even had a person stop by and say I hope you did not pay any money for that? After a few hours of heavy cleaning it looked excellent a few minor issues with the interior but nothing major. After my hubby changed the fluids and flushed the gas and put in some new gas he turned the key... and VROOM.. It was shock to everyone a lot of smoke from sitting but it runs... we was not exspecting that at all.. I swear someone else drove by and wanted to trade us right there his HARLEY for our car. We are keeping it and going to fix it up more and keep it to take to all the local car shows... We got an excellent deal and hubby is beyond excited. The only thing is the breaks are maybe frozen... hubby is going to check that later..

Offline ta78w72

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Re: Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2009, 01:13:08 PM »
When they sit, the front calipers freeze.  At that point, they need to be replaced.  I had that same thing happen to me.

Good luck with the car!  I hope it gives you many, many years of pleasure!

Offline Handycar

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Re: Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #6 on: March 11, 2009, 02:36:50 PM »
Thanks will look into that... I got the vowl taga nd figured most of that out but mine says st78? why is that?

Offline Handycar

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Re: Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #7 on: March 11, 2009, 06:49:54 PM »
I could not post pics but here is a link to myspace page and there is a picture scrolll on it .... feel free to let me know what you think.

http://www.myspace.com/handymom0327

Offline 72StreetBird

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Re: Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2009, 01:35:17 AM »
Looks like a damn nice car to me. I wish my 78 looked that good.
Harry 72 Firebird, 78 Trans Am W72 WS6
PRO Edelbrock Fastest Street Car Series 15 second index winner 2003, 2004 Cordova, Il

Offline dabatman99

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Re: Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2009, 06:13:55 AM »
Congratualations!  Car looks like it has ALOT of potential!

Offline ta78w72

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Re: Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2009, 02:33:38 PM »
You got a good buy on that car.  Enjoy it.

Offline RRR76TA

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Re: Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2009, 05:29:51 PM »
Looks great nice find

Offline y88rick

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Re: Your Opinion on a 1978 Trans Am
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2009, 05:44:24 PM »
WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Find me a deal like that I paid way more than that for my 77 and it looks not even close holy crap what a nice car for the price. lucky lucky lucky
Too many birds, not enough food.