From a sales perspective, 1978 was a fantastic year for Trans Am. After starting the decade with fewer than 3,200 units produced by Pontiac, Trans Am gradually improved the figures to become the number one model in the lineup.
The start was rough, there’s no doubt about it. 1971 brought a surprising decline in production numbers, making everybody wonder if Trans Am was indeed worth the resources. The collapse continued the next year, with only a little over 1,000 units seeing daylight in 1973.
Pontiac’s focus on performance upgrades then suddenly turned the Trans Am into a superstar. In 1978, the company produced no more, no less than 93,000 units, followed by another major increase in 1979 to over 117,000 vehicles.
The Trans Am I recently came across on eBay helped this impressive ascension as it rolled off the assembly lines in 1978. It no longer sports the shiny new condition, but there’s a good reason why it looks, well, fairly disappointing today.
The vehicle spent over 30 years on the side of the road, so it’s pretty clear you can’t expect anything other than rust. And boy, there’s plenty of it, as this Trans Am is painfully close to becoming a rust bucket in all regards.
The owner says the unibody is very solid, but the pictures show the rust cancer has already expanded to nearly the entire car. Sure enough, the floors and the trunk are wreaked, but this isn’t necessarily a surprise. The hood, the quarters, and the trunk lid will have to be replaced completely.
Born with a 400 V8 under the hood, this Trans Am still comes with the same engine. And best of all, it’s also complete, so in theory, it should be ready for a refresh. But it isn’t, as the engine is already stuck from sitting and would obviously require plenty of attention, work, and money to bring it back to working condition.
To be honest, a Trans Am like this one makes me sad, especially because it’s the kind of car that really shouldn’t be abandoned on the side of the road. Unfortunately, accidents like this still happen every now and then, so fingers crossed for someone to find this fantastic classic car and give it a second chance.
Unfortunately, it also comes without documents, so the chances of getting a full restoration are pretty slim. Of course, it can also be used as a donor should someone have another Trans Am in the house, and I’m almost certain this is what’s going to happen eventually.