This is a 1979 Pontiac Trans Am finished in Heritage Brown with a Camel interior and power provided by the factory-fitted 403 cubic inch (6.6 liter) V8.
As you would expect from any self-respecting Trans Am from this era, the car has the “Screaming Chicken” decal on the hood, color-coded snowflake alloy wheels, and a shaker hood scoop. The car is now being offered for sale out of Carlsbad, California for $29,000 USD.
Fast Facts – The Second-Gen Pontiac Trans Am
- The second generation of the Pontiac Trans Am was introduced in 1970 as a part of the broader Firebird lineup. Designed by General Motors’ stylist Bill Mitchell, this generation marked a significant departure from the first generation’s styling.
- It featured more aerodynamic and modern design cues characterized by its large “shaker” hood scoop and distinctive decals. The “Screaming Chicken” hood decal became a key element of the Trans Am’s look in later models.
- The second generation Trans Am gained significant popularity in popular culture, particularly through its prominent appearance in the “Smokey and the Bandit” film series. This exposure catapulted the Trans Am into a symbol of 1970s American automotive culture, significantly boosting its sales and giving it an iconic status it still enjoys today.
- During its production run, the second-gen Trans Am saw various design improvements. This included upgrades in suspension technology which resulted in the Trans Am becoming one of the better-handling American cars of its time. There were also updates in interior design, with a more driver-focused cockpit and improved ergonomics.
The 1979 Pontiac Trans Am
1979 was an important year for the Pontiac Trans Am, it would be the year the front-end styling made famous by the movie “Smokey and the Bandit” would be replaced with a new nose that featured individual cutouts for each of the four headlights and a more aerodynamic profile.
When ordering your 1979 Trans Am you could opt for either the standard roof or the T-top with removable roof sections over the driver and passenger’s heads. The T-top was one of the most defining features of the model, and it tends to be sought out by collectors today.
The styling of the 1979 Trans Am would be carried over into the 1980 and 1981 model years, with some minor variations, until the second generation Trans Am was replaced in 1982 with the third generation model.
The Last Of The Big V8s
1979 would be the last year that large displacement V8s of over 400 cubic inches would be a factory fitted option in the car. This was due to ever-increasing emissions regulations which had been choking power outputs for much of the 1970s.
From 1980 onwards the turbocharged Trans Ams would begin to appear, for better or worse, meaning that big V8 purists tend to seek out these earlier cars. For 1979 the Trans Am came with the L80 Oldsmobile 403 cubic inch V8 which produced 185 bhp and a healthy 315 lb ft of torque.
Most cars came with the TH350 3-speed automatic transmission, though for sone extra cash you could opt for the W72 package with the high-output Pontiac T/A 6.6 W72 400 engine and the Borg-Warner Super T-10 4-speed manual box.
The updated styling must have been well-received as Pontiac would sell 116,535 Trans Ams in 1979, their highest ever annual sales of the model and the first time that sales would break into the six figures.
The Pontiac Trans Am Shown Here
The car you see here is a 1979 Pontiac Trans Am with an interesting backstory, it was formerly owned by land speed racer and world record holder, Laura Klock (formerly of KlockWerks). In fact Brian Klock had proposed to her with this car on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Later in the car’s life it would pass into the hands of Sarah Lahalih, a well-known figure in the motorcycle world. Sarah is a motorcycle racer, a journalist, trainer, mentor, and an expert witness in motorcycle related matters.
She also works for the US Department of Defense, traveling to military bases all over the United States including Hawaii and bases in Japan to train personnel on the finer points of motorcycle safety.
Over the course of her career, Sarah has been featured multiple times on Fox News, ABC News, NBC News and CBS News, Chicago Tribune, and Chicago Sun Times as a motorcycle educator.
She’s owned this Trans Am for four years after buying it directly from Laura Klock, and she now decided it’s time to let it go to its new owner. The car has the L80 Oldsmobile 403 cubic inch V8 and the TH350 3-speed automatic transmission, and as noted in the introduction it’s finished in Heritage Brown with a Camel interior.
The car now shows 52,000 miles on the odometer and it has power windows and mirrors, a Delco AM/FM/cassette stereo, power steering, snowflake 15″ wheels finished in silver with gold accents with Firebird-logo center caps and 225/70 BF Goodrich Radial T/A white-letter tires.
Air conditioning is installed however in the listing Sarah notes that it doesn’t currently blow cold, so it will need to be repaired before use. The car received a new battery and an oil change in September of 2022, and it’s described as a very clean, well-running survivor, with just the right amount of patina.
If you’d like to read more about the car or register to bid you can visit the listing here on Hemmings. It’s currently being offered out of Carlsbad, California for $29,000 USD.
Images courtesy of Hemmings
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