1979 Pontiac Trans Am SE - $44,900
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With just 29,620 original miles, this one is in superb condition in every way and drives like a much younger car.

Black Trans Ams and Burt Reynolds in a black hat are icons for the same reasons, and it’s probably safe to assume that with the passing of Mr. Reynolds, the glorious black T/As in full gold regalia are going to become even more desirable. And when you look at it with today’s sensibilities, you realize that this 1979 Pontiac Trans Am SE is one heck of a good-looking car. And taking one of these for a drive, you also realize that they’re a lot of fun on the road. No, they’re not Corvette slayers, but it’s very easy to understand why this was the hottest car on the road in 1979 and why they remain popular year after year. Fun isn’t just about speed and the Pontiac engineers managed to build a purely American performance car that talks the talk and walks the walk.

This is a real-deal SE WS6, the top-of-the-line in 1979 and iconic from any angle. And we have to admit, the design has aged rather well. The ‘79s were heavily revised and look longer, lower, and sleeker than the earlier cars, mostly thanks to the redesigned nose cone and chin spoiler borrowed from the Corvette. With just 29,620 original miles, this one is in superb condition in every way and drives like a much younger car. It was repainted just last year in its original Starlight Black and obviously all the decals are new, so it looks crisp and sharp—probably better than GM could muster in 1979. There was no rust repair required, so every panel is as straight as it was when it popped out of the press out in Van Nuys, California and delivered to Don Medow Pontiac in South Bend, Indiana. Modern paints give it a fantastic deep gloss, and if not for a few micro-blisters on the hood that can probably be buffed out, it would be almost perfect. Note how well the rear spoiler fits, the way the hood sits flush with the fenders and the laser-straight crease that runs from nose to tail. If these cars were a joke, they aren’t any more and you’ll find that looking this one over fills you with a sense of respect. This car has attitude!

The tan vinyl interior is likewise extremely well preserved with a few restored pieces to really make it look its best. Fresh carpets keep it bright and there’s new foam under the seat covers to make the seats all-day comfortable. Of course, as a top-of-the-line Firebird, this one came with just about every available option, including cold A/C, power windows, a tilt steering wheel, and a rear defroster. Standard equipment included the awesome engine-turned dash and a full complement of gauges, all of which are fully operational. The steering wheel, dash pad, and console are in exemplary condition with no signs of UV damage or cracking that GM plastics often show after four decades. The only non-stock parts are the Pioneer AM/FM/cassette stereo head unit and a Craig mix unit in the console. Headliners are always problematic on GM cars, particularly those with T-tops, but this one is still taut and the weather seals in the T-tops are in good condition so they seal up nicely. The trunk is correctly finished with the original mat and what appears to be the original space-saver spare that has never been used.

This Trans Am comes the way Burt’s did: a 403 cubic inch V8 linked to an automatic transmission (never mind the soundtrack, he wasn’t shifting). The numbers aren’t mind-blowing in today’s world of 800 horsepower Dodges on the showroom floor, but the Olds-built 403 makes great torque and genuinely makes the Trans Am a lot of fun to drive. This is the car’s original, numbers-matching engine and it was pulled, detailed, and reinstalled to make it look its best. Turquoise engine enamel, that big hood scoop on top of the air cleaner, and factory-style fittings throughout making this one look right. The only notable deviation from stock is a set of long-tube headers and a true dual exhaust system which probably add more than a few horsepower (the factory system with catalytic converter was notoriously restrictive). It also starts easily, idles well, and pulls the car around with a nice hit of low-end torque and no real complaints. Drive it gently and it’s quiet and compliant, but hammer it and it’s happy to wind around the tach, which is a big part of why this F-body is so fun to drive.

Underneath it’s 100% original so it isn’t shiny and perfect, but the important stuff is in great shape. The TH350 3-speed automatic transmission shifts crisply and it sports highway-friendly 3.08 gears out back, so it’s comfortable at any speed. The WS6 suspension offers upgraded shocks and springs plus fatter sway bars, and 4-wheel disc brakes were standard equipment. There are newer shocks at all four corners and the exhaust system, while older, still has a nice growl with proper quad tips out back. Floors and rockers are obviously quite solid and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how well this vintage muscle car rides on today’s roads. It doesn’t feel ancient or clumsy in the least. Seriously, I’m not kidding about this being a ton of fun to drive, and I drive a lot of different cars. I also have to say that I think the Pontiac “Snowflake” alloys are some of the most attractive wheels of the era, with these being in excellent shape and wearing recent 225/70/15 BFGoodrich T/A radials all around.

This car includes most of the original build sheet as well as full PHS documentation verifying that it is a real black-on-tan SE WS6.

These cars are already seeing significant gains in the marketplace and that’s sure to continue even without our friend Mr. Reynolds. And the truth is, these cars look better than most of their peers when viewed through today’s sensibilities and the driving manners are extremely good. This one, with its low mileage and great documentation, not to mention all the recent work, is a wonderful opportunity to own a legend at a still reasonable price. And I promise you’ll have more fun in this car than almost anything else from the ‘70s. It’ll make you look and feel like a movie star. Call today!

Vehicle: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am SE
Price: $44,900
Stock Number: 115159
Mileage: 29,620 (authentic)
VIN: 2W87K9L205696
Engine: 403 cubic inch V8
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 3.08
Wheelbase: 108 inches
Wheels: 15-inch "Snowflake" alloys
Tires: 225/70/15 BFGoodrich T/A radial
Exterior Color: Black
Interior Color: Tan leather
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