Revisiting past glories can sometime end up sullying not just the visitor, but the original memory. Today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe 1979 Trans Am attempts to make the car what its predecessors once were, but does its price mean throwing your money down its past-glory hole?
Speaking of which, it turns out that - when it comes to Toyota Supras - while injection may be nice, over 85% of you would rather be blown. Sad day for the seller of that non-turbo '93 but then, lesson learned.
One thing that we all learned from Smokey and the Bandit is that Burt Reynolds was once cooler than a penguin's ass, as was the second gen Pontiac Trans Am. However, following the end of the seventies, Burt was making cinematic turds such as Stroker Ace and Cannonball Run, while the Trans Am was living the life of a gelded pony car, unable to outrun even the most rotund of smokies.
But Burt had his comeback - playing Porn impresario Jack Horner in Boogie Nights - and today, this totally rebuilt 1979 Pontiac ‘Big Cube' bird is attempting the same feat - only without all the STDs.
In the eighties and nineties, the Trans Am eventually did recapture its performance bona fides, but the cars from the dark days of the Carter administration were about as able to run free as were the Iranian Embassy hostages. And while Operation Eagle Claw tragically failed in the attempt to free the 52 Americans held in Tehran, the eagle decal (yes, it's not really a chicken, sorry) on this shaker hood is rightfully screaming for vengeance because beneath it beats a 433-bhp 455.
In ‘79, if you wanted a V8 in your Firebird - and who didn't - you could still choose from 5 different motors, however, all were emissions strangled and put out power that would shame a Civic Si today. The massive 7.5-litre engine was dropped from Pontiac's pony car back in 1974, but here it has been dropped back in under the hood of this ‘79. Rebuilt, hot tanked, and bored .030 over, it now displaces 462 cubic inches and rocks ‘69 heads sucking through an Edelbrock manifold, 4BBL carb, and rear-facing shaker hood scoop, so it most likely breathes like a boss. The seller includes a dyno chart that says the engine is good for the aforementioned 433 horses, and a road wrinkling 530 torques.
You'll be forgiven for giggling manically right now.
Also on the check list of things that are good are the Borg Warner 4-speed stick, factory WS7 suspension, and 3.08 Posi rear end. It's not all That ‘70s Show however, as the seller claims the A/C compressor is a modern, more efficient model, and the stereo has been upgraded so you can listen to Ask Me What I Am on your iPod.
The build of the car is detailed in the eBay ad, and you can see that it was a ground-up effort, which started with the best base possible - the T-top model. Those are smoked glass and approximate a steely pair of aviator sunglasses when in place, making the car just a metaphorical Members Only jacket away from being a total coolgasm. Pop those tops off and enjoy an interior fully restored to its former vinyl glory and the off chance of a runaway bride popping in ensuring hilarity will ensue.
Underhood, and under the car, everything looks as though it hasn't set a tire outside of its hermetically sealed bubble in decades, and while not being a numbers-matching anything, at least the 462 has some provenance in this bodystyle, and looks damn fine sitting there. Of course should you want to register the car in any state that has a VIN-checking emissions test - like California - you may want to give this unrestrained engine a wide berth.
On the outside, every decal, every spat and spoiler looks righteous and factory fresh, right down to the endura bumpers and snowflake alloy wheels, although is it just me, or is that chicken facing the wrong way? Mileage? The ad says 230, and of course that's only since its rebirth as the Super Bandit, prior miles being of little concern considering the comprehensiveness of the rebuild and how eat-off-it clean it looks both top and bottom.
Such perfection obviously comes at a price, and this is a Bandit that is seeking $39,500 of someone's hard-earned cash. Were it a stock ‘79, regardless of condition, it would be hard pressed to be considered worthy of that asking. It's not stock however, what it is is the imagining of what the Trans Am would have been had OPEC and the EPA not awakened us from the American Dream with a splash to the face of cold, hard gas embargos and SMOG abatement. This Trans Am could be considered a continuation car, and of course features modern upgrades that improve the end product while not taking away from the yee-haw experience. Burt Reynolds would likely approve.
But do you? What do you think about that $39,500 price tag for this re-imagined retro-bird? Is that price in line with its performance and pastiche? Or, does it make you scream like a little chicken?
H/T to Rollogrande for the hookup!
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