We found this all original, numbers matching 1978 Trans Am survivor currently for sale by the private seller in March of 2019 on Craigslist in Lacey, New Jersey for the asking price of $20,000. While the seller markets his car as a “Pontiac 400 T/A 6.6” we need to clarify what that means. Luckily, the seller provides a clear copy of the original build sheet. Look carefully and the build sheet indicates this example came equipped with the standard 185 horsepower, L78 400 cubic inch (6.6. liter) Pontiac V8 connected to the GM8 2.56:1 rear axle ratio. In 1978, Trans Ams came equipped with one of three engines: The standard L78 mentioned here, the more desirable 225 horsepower, W72 400 cubic inch optional Pontiac engine, or the California-only 185 horsepower, Oldsmobile 403 cubic inch V8. Consequently, you’re looking here at a standard Trans Am with no T-Tops and an automatic transmission.
That said, this example appears to be a nicely preserved survivor with a straight body and some paint imperfections, most notably the driver’s side front bumper. Given the poor quality of the pictures provided and the white exterior, we recommend an in-person inspection unless the seller can provide high-resolution photos in better lighting.
The standard black vinyl interior appears to be in very good condition with no signs of dash cracking. The radio shown in the pictures appears to be an older after-market cassette unit; you’ll need to confirm with the seller whether the original unit comes with the sale.
The aforementioned L78 engine appears to be in original condition with no signs of any modifications.
The seller provides two undercarriage photos that provide evidence this is a solid survivor.
The seller states emphatically, “NO RUST”, however the image of the passenger side lower rear quarter panel clearly shows signs of surface rust. Again, the picture does not provide enough detail but we recommend carefully looking at this section as well as inside the trunk to confirm the car has no serious issues or worse, may have been incorrectly repaired in the past. If that is the case: run, don’t walk away.
If the rear quarter panel issue above confirms to be a minor, easily fixed, surface rust flaw, then you have a nice base survivor Trans Am you can relive your youth in. Using the Hagerty Online Valuation Tool as a guide, the $20,000 asking price is a bit optimistic for what is a solid #3 example, so hopefully, the seller is willing to negotiate a bit. Good luck with the sale!