Bowling Balls: 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans AM 44K Survivor – SOLD!

by | Aug 2023 | Classifinds, Malaise Monday

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September 3, 2023, Update – We confirmed the seller of this “Classifind” deleted their listing, so we’re now able to call this one “SOLD!” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Most car enthusiasts likely have an “it” car they wished they could buy and drive brand new in high school.  I’d argue that’s especially true for young men entering their senior year of high school. For me, it was the spring of 1981 when Pontiac launched the all-new, third-generation Pontiac Trans Am.  By 1981, Pontiac enthusiasts were moving past the “Screaming Chicken,” label-laced Turbo Trans Ams, and wanted something with a more European flavor.

Pontiac answered the call with a very aerodynamic 1982 Pontiac Trans Am, with a radical-for-the-time 62-degree raked and flush windshield, hidden headlights that tucked into a flush grille, and “Bowling Bowl” wheels, the car achieved a record 0.32 Coefficient of Drag.  Sadly, Pontiac replaced its 301 cubic inch V8 with the Chevrolet “Cross-Fire,” topped 165 horsepower small block V8.  It may have been slower than its big-block-equipped predecessors, but it looked like nothing else on the road at the time.

This red 1982 Pontiac Trans Am for sale, last spotted in August 2023 on Craigslist in Richmond, Virginia, is reported to be a 44K-mile survivor that has been sorted over the past six months in preparation for the sale. This is a well-optioned example that even features the desirable removable T-Tops and factory air conditioning, although the seller notes that the system is currently blowing warm air.

Last offered for $21,000,, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is slightly above this guide’s six-month rolling results trend for similar third-generation Trans Am examples.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls above this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $19,300.

General Motors (“GM”) launched the third generation F-Body twins, better known as the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird, in the spring of 1981 for the 1982 model year. The third-generation F-Bodies received a significant downsize from their predecessors that were closer in size to the original 1967 models.

The new Firebird shrank to a 101-inch wheelbase, lost eight inches in overall length, measured nearly one inch narrower, and weighed nearly five hundred pounds less than than the model it replaced. It also was the most aerodynamic production Firebird to date, with a drag coefficient of 0.33. The new Trans Am took things a bit further, with a coefficient of 0.32, led mostly by the 62-degree windshield angle.

The 1982 Pontiac Trans Am featured a distinctive and sleek design that was in line with the aesthetics of the early 1980s. It had a more angular and aerodynamic body compared to the previous generation, which contributed to improved fuel efficiency and performance. The car’s front end was characterized by its quad rectangular headlights and a prominent grille, giving the Trans Am a distinct and aggressive appearance. The hood was adorned with a large hood scoop that not only added to the car’s aesthetics but also helped improve airflow to the engine.

For the 1982 model year, Pontiac offered the 165 horsepower 5.0L V8.  It was equipped with a throttle-body fuel injection system known as “Crossfire Injection,” which was an early attempt at electronic fuel injection technology.  The 1982 Trans Am was available with both manual and automatic transmission options. The manual transmission was a 4-speed unit, while the automatic transmission was a 3-speed automatic. The V8 engine provided decent acceleration and performance, considering the standards of the time. However, due to increasing emissions regulations and the fuel crisis of the late 1970s, the focus was shifting towards improving fuel efficiency.

The interior of the 1982 Trans Am featured a driver-oriented design with a sporty and functional layout. The dashboard included an optional digital instrument cluster, which was quite innovative for its time. The center console housed various controls, including climate control, audio system, and other convenience features. The seats were designed for both comfort and support during spirited driving, and the car offered enough space for two passengers in the rear seats.

The 1982 Pontiac Trans Am represented the beginning of the third generation of Trans Am models. While it retained the aggressive styling that had become a hallmark of the Trans Am series, it also embraced new design elements to cater to the changing automotive landscape of the early 1980s. The available engine options and features reflected the era’s emphasis on fuel efficiency and technology advancement.

The MotorWeek YouTube Channel provides this 1982 test drive of the then-new 1982 Pontiac Trans Am:

This 1982 Pontiac Trans Am for sale appears to be a nicely sorted example that the next car can either enjoy as is or, as the seller suggests, take to the next level and prepare it for concours or Antique Club of America (“AACA”) judging.

If you are serious about buying this Trans Am for sale, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their vintage Pontiac featured here on Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Lighter, shorter, more aerodynamic, and better handling than its predecessor the third generation Pontiac Firebird signified a decidedly modern update to an iconic vehicle. This new Firebird’s unibody chassis, sharply raked windscreen, flush-mounted windows, and a large all-glass hatchback contributed to its low weight and slippery aerodynamics. Retracting headlamps, a lower profile nose, aero wheel covers and aircraft-inspired interior distinguished the Firebird from its contemporary F-body sister car, the Camaro.

This 1982 Firebird Trans Am is a well-preserved and low-mileage example of the third-generation Firebird’s first model year. Delivered new to Don Miller Pontiac Subaru in Madison, this vehicle remained in Wisconsin for much of its life spending a few years in California before its purchase by the seller in 2018. The car is accompanied by its original owner’s manual, purchase documentation, major service receipts and a clean Virginia title.

The car features an overall exterior in Bright Red with black lower-body paint that, while showing some dings, chips and scratches from its 40 year life, is in remarkable condition. The paint is believed to be largely original, though this has not been verified with paint depth readings. Exterior options include a turbo bulge hood, 15″ turbo cast wheels with aero covers, rear wiper and washer, power antenna, T-tops, and locking gas door. Rust was repaired in the t-top area, but aside from very light chassis corrosion, the car is rust-free.

The charcoal interior presents well with very little wear. Apart from an amateur repair to a crack in the original-style dashboard, the interior is intact, with no missing or broken trim or tears in the optional Viscount “PMD” seats. The headliner has been recently replaced with correct material and fitment due to sagging. Gauges are all operational as are all power features. The radio and power antenna function, however the cassette player is inoperable. The car has A/C, but it does not blow cold. Interior options include power windows, power driver’s seat, power mirrors, AM/FM Stereo cassette, folding rear seat back, carpeted trunk panels, lockable rear storage compartments, retractible hatch cover, and t-top storage bag.

The car is powered by its original Crossfire fuel injected 305 V8 and TH200C transmission with limited slip differential, which were the top of the line performance options for the model year.

Items addressed in the last 6 months include:
Rust repair to t-top area to correct leak
New t-top and window seals
New headliner covering
New soft brake lines front and rear
Brake fluid flush
New valve cover gaskets
New transmission pan gasket with oil replacement
Coolant flush
Oil and filter change
Light paint correction

This is a well-preserved original and well-optioned first-year example of the third generation Trans Am. Many of these cars have been lost to time or converted to Knight Rider replicas due to the rare one or two-year only features. This car represents an ideal opportunity to continue its stewardship while enjoying back road runs or for an easy concours restoration.

Show or Go: What would you do with this 1982 Pontiac Trans Am For Sale? Please comment below and let us know!


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