Dealer in Drag: 1980 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am – NOW $39,998

by | Apr 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Topless Thursday

April 6, 2022 Update – After a two-month hiatus, the Space Coast, Florida-based dealer posing as a private seller on Craigslist just posted a fresh listing for this rare 1980 Pontiac Trans Am conversion.  While the pictures and description pretty much remain the same, the new asking price dropped from the original ask of $47,488 to $39,998.  Worth noting is that the original ad, with no phone number provided, has us fooled into thinking this was a private sale.  The latest listing made it clear it’s posing as a private seller.

February 16, 2022 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” until we come across a new ad.

Pontiac never offered a factory-produced, second-generation Firebird. With new American-produced convertibles extinct after 1976, a cottage industry of custom coachbuilders emerged that were willing to convert certain new cars for well-heeled clients.  Although built in limited quantities, one of the more popular cars to have converted were second-generation F-bodies such as this 1980 Pontiac Trans Am originally listed in January 2022 and relisted here on Craigslist in Space Coast, Florida (Orlando). Reported to be one of only 141 conversions, this one-owner example only has 50,000 miles.

Currently offered for $39,998 (the original ask was $47,488), comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the private seller has their Pontiac Trans Am convertible priced between this guide’s #2 “Excellent” estimate of $31,700 and its #1 “Concours” appraisal of $50,400.  More realistically, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool provides a much different assessment as in this case the asking price is nearly double this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of only $25,000.

Entering its tenth year of production, the 1980 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am had the hard task of trying to maintain the popular performance image it enjoyed while making do without 400 cubic inch big block power as ever-increasing emissions restrictions led Pontiac to drop all of its large-displacement engines.  1980, therefore, saw the biggest engine changes for the Trans Am. The 301, offered in 1979 as a credit option, was now the standard engine. No manual transmission was available for the Formula or Trans Am in 1980, all received the 3-speed automatic Turbo Hydramatic 350. Engine options included a turbocharged 301 or the Chevrolet 305 small block. The turbocharged 301 used a Garrett TB305 turbo attached to a single Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor and featured a hood-mounted “boost” gauge that would light up as the TB305 accumulated boost. The hood of the 301 T-equipped Firebirds had a large offset bulge to accommodate for the mounting position of the carburetor on the engine as the turbocharger exhaust occupied a large amount of space in the engine bay. The 301 T-equipped T/A’s were restricted to an automatic transmission and a 3.08 rear differential ratio.

This walk-around video of a similar 1980 Pontiac Trans convertible posted on YouTube provides a sense of what these convertible conversions look like:

Candidly, the 1980-1981 Turbo Trams Am is not much of a performance car. The nearly fifty large required to buy this example can be used to buy much better performing and likely better built later model Trans Am convertibles.  However, if you prefer the cachet that comes with the rarity of a car, then this 1980 Pontiac Trans Am may be the convertible for you.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1980 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Convertible 2D
Listed 8 weeks ago in Melbourne, FL

Automatic transmission
Exterior color: Burgundy · Interior color: Red
Fuel type: Gasoline
Clean title
This vehicle has no significant damage or problems.

1980 Pontiac turbo Trans Am convertible. 50,000 miles. one owner baby miles burgundy with cherry red interior. car is all original inside. Is one of 141 made over four years time. very rare car would be great for anybody’s collection first $47,488 takes it. Located in suntree. Serious buyers only. Thanks for looking
Melbourne, FL

Show or go: what would you do with this custom Trans Am Convertible?  Comment below and let us know!


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