Pontiac Trans Am escapes (mostly) unscathed after 30 years in junk jail


A survivor 1978 Trans Am that’s almost completely original was recently pulled from storage and put up for sale on eBay. Despite its long slumber, this proud bird looks to be just a few wrenching sessions from being roadworthy. With five days left in the auction, the price has already exceeded the no. 3 (Good) condition value of the car and has reached nearly $30,000.

1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am barn find

According to the listing, the Trans Am was parked in 1988 with 79,266 miles on the odometer. After being extracted from storage, the Pontiac got a wash and inspection that revealed a surprisingly well-preserved specimen. Aside from missing a strip of the door trim, the exterior is in solid shape. The trunk floor is totally intact and photos of the undercarriage show no significant rust. There’s even the original space-saver spare and can of tire inflator. The dash is in good condition, and the biggest issues in the Carmine vinyl interior are the well-worn passenger seat and the tears in the driver seat. It was also mentioned that the sagging headliner was removed, but otherwise, the car’s interior has survived nicely.

The underhood shots make it hard to see the actual powerplant beneath the plumbing for the shaker scoop and factory air conditioning, but the seller’s notes, the “T/A 6.6” on the shaker, and the VIN tag in the posting all suggest that the car is equipped with an actual Pontiac 400 V-8, as opposed to the less powerful Oldsmobile 403 V-8 that was also offered. Even the oil change tag, still on the car from 1985, points to a Pontiac V-8. Peer closely at the engine shot and you can make out the chrome valve covers that would lend credence to it being an original W72 Pontiac 400.

1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am barn find engine

Besides the tires and the aftermarket head unit, this Trans Am remains remarkably original, down to the gold snowflake wheels. For many collectors, that’s a lot better than even a meticulous frame-off restoration. There are still five days before a sale price is established, but we’ll soon see just how much originality will factor into the price when the auction for this raucous pony car wraps up.

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