Few muscle cars survived the political games and corporate greed that forever killed cubic inches, high compression and loud option packages. In fact, Pontiac was the only beacon of Detroit’s storied past that continued to offer big power, big attitude and ostentatious looks. Today, that dedication translates to a group of late second generation F-Bodies which dominate a niche all their own; and, subsequently, a large group of emerging collectors who will continue to drive their prices on an increasingly upward trajectory. This awesome 1977 Trans Am is the exact car we get calls about on a regular basis. Not only does it have an outstanding presence, it also features an aesthetically correct appearance and sells at a level that’s perfect for the first time buyer. Looking for a fun classic that allows you to wade into collecting as opposed to diving off the deep end? This is the sound of opportunity knocking!
Purchased from Jim Grady Pontiac in Newark, Ohio, this refreshing red coupe sported $360 in factory installed options. Thanks to a lifetime of limited use and meticulous care, the car remains rock-solid and completely true to form. Its universal appeal starts with a sleek and correct combination of Buccaneer Red paint and familiar Pontiac curves. That bright pigment is set off by bold “TRANS AM” call-outs and a fresh Screamin’ Chicken hood decal. And that egocentric branding is accented by prerequisite Pontiac scripts and traditional ‘red bird’ pillar emblems.
Fresh out of a significant cosmetic update that was performed at the beginning of the 1977 model year, the late F2 Trans Am heralded minor visual tweaks and major mechanical upgrades. At the front of the car, a glossy ‘batmobile’ nose hangs black honeycomb grilles behind a traditional red arrowhead and multiple halogen lights that create the brand’s familiar dual-grille, quad-eye face. Behind those grilles, a great looking “T/A 6.6” branded shaker rides in front of like-new glass that’s seated between bright stainless trim and correct sport mirrors. At the sides of that shaker, black-detailed fender vents front small door handles and correct wheel spoilers. And at the back of the car, an option D80 decklid frames a Buccaneer Red valence, clear tail lights and polished side-splitter exhaust tips.
Pop this Trans Am’s long hood and you’ll find a 400 cubic inch, VIN-stamped V8 that tops out at roughly 200 horsepower. That’s an impressive number given the high restrictions and low technology of this car’s era. Thanks to government mandated emissions standards, performance had essentially been legislated out of existence; and that left the Trans Am suffering a bit of an identity crisis. This bird’s “WA” branded L78 combined the largest muscle car engine you could buy with newfound handling prowess to create one of the fastest pony cars on the market. At the top of the smooth mill, a big, 4-barrel carburetor rides under a familiar shaker hood scoop. Below that carburetor, glossy GM Corporate Blue paint skins the entire block while correct exhaust manifolds funnel spent gases into high performance pipes. All the motor’s hard parts, from its 6X heads and chrome valve covers to its modern brake booster and belt-driven accessories, appear to be factory correct. The car’s authentic engine bay is covered in a clean coat of GM Satin Black paint. There’s an HEI distributor that feeds reliable AC Delco Premium Silicone wires. And, as expected, pliable belts, clean hoses and a strong battery set the stage for miles of carefree cruising.
Under this vintage tin indian you’ll find an amalgamation of super solid hardware that’ll take to the street despite Mother Nature’s worst temper tantrums. In the middle of the car’s solid floors, a VIN-stamped Borg Warner T10 4-speed twists power to a familiar GM 10-bolt that’s fitted with boulevard-busting gears. Below that stellar drivetrain, a correct WS4 Trans Am suspension, which includes factory power steering, thicker sway bars, better shocks and stiffer springs, combines with standard issue power front disc and rear drum brakes to provide quick stops and great handling. At the center of that suspension, the aforementioned exhaust system barks a deep, vintage roar through a transversely mounted muffler. At the corners of that exhaust, restored ‘snow flake’ wheels spin classic gold paint between ‘red bird’ center caps and modern 225/70 BF Goodrich Radial T/As. And all the car''s hardware, from its leak-free fuel tank to its correctly fitted brake cable, appears to be fully sorted and ready to roll.
Open this bird’s massive doors and you’ll find a correct White interior that feels like the perfect place to see miles of country blacktop. The car’s cushy seats are comfortably firm, and have definitely been re-covered at some point. Below those seats, Jet Black carpet displays no tears or unraveling. On top of that carpet, a minimalist console props a large storage bin behind a familiar Hurst shifter. At the sides of that console, scuff-free door panels feature pristine stainless trim and bright chrome handles. Above those panels, a stain-free headliner is stretched tight from pillar to pillar. In front of the driver, a stylish Formula steering wheel spins a ‘red bird’ horn button around an engine turned dash, clear Rally gauges and a clean radio delete. And behind the passengers, a factory fresh trunk sandwiches a correct spare tire between a thick mat and old school decklid decal.
The sale of this cool old cruiser includes a replica window sticker and paperwork from Pontiac Historic Services.
1977-81 Trans Ams are on a rocket ride of value, and the race is on for correct, documented, low mileage cars. With this Buccaneer Red example, you can have your cake and eat it too. Take it to shows or drive it to work. Either way, you’ll get to watch its value climb!