Year: 1978 Trans Am
Owner: Richard B.
AllGenTransAms Member: BanditRich
*** April 2010 AllGenTransAms Member Feature! ***
1. What Year and Model is your car? How many miles?
My car is a 1978 Special Edition Trans Am and it currently has 116,000 miles on it.
2. What was it that made you choose that model Pontiac?
My love affair with the Trans Am started in 1975 at the age of 10 the first
time I saw one. The first car I ever bought, at 19 years old, was a TA.
I've owned 4 over the past 25 years. A red 78 with t-roofs, power
everything and velour seats, a red 85 with the tune-port 305 and the Bird
on the hood (it's what hooked me on that one!), a totally original 77 Y82
SE with the W72 400 and the 78 SE I have now.
3. How long have you owned your car?
I've owned this one since 2002, it's the longest I've ever owned one.
4. Where and how did you find your car?
I found this TA for sale in the local newspaper.
5. Is your car stock, restored, modified, or in between? If restored, tell
us about the restoration. If modified, what “mods” have been done?
My TA was restored by the original owner. I bought it from the person he
sold it to - who only had it for about 6 months before I bought it. It is
a 78 but it looked like a 77 SE with the gothic German lettering and 77
style bird on the hood. It had what I thought at the time were custom
gold tinted t-roofs that I thought looked real cool on the black car and
still do (but I prefer driving with them off).
At that time it was missing the front spoiler, the rubber seal for the
hood scoop, it didn't have the stripes on the nose, rear bumper and the
mirrors on the doors, and the gold on the snowflake wheels was peeling. It
also had black grill inserts. But the body and the interior were and still
It said Y88 on the trim tag - the code for a 78 GOLD Special Edition and I
asked the seller but he said the original owner didn't tell him anything
The interior is black and when I bought it the dash and steering wheel
spokes were silver, the shifter and wheel hub birds were gold though. I
bought it irregardless because of how nice condition it was.
The first thing I did when I got it home was look for the build sheet but
it was nowhere to be found. I got the PHS paperwork for it which confirmed
it was indeed a Y88. Why did the original owner redo it to look like a 77
Y82? My best guess is when he went to his local Pontiac dealer in June of
1978 he wanted a black SE but they were only making them gold at the time.
He must have bought one anyway and when the time came to restore it he did
it the way he wanted it in the first place.
When I bought my TA it appeared to have a W72 400 and WS6 suspension with
added sub-frame connectors. It had the original exhaust manifolds but no
catalytic convertor - 2 straight pipes, 2 mufflers and the chrome
splitters. The seller told me it had a shift kit in the transmission. He
also told me the motor was .030 over with the Edelbrock Performer Power
Package consisting of the carb, manifold and cam upgrade. I could see the
carb and manifold under the hood and it had chrome signature valve covers.
The test drive confirmed it definitely was a punched out W72, and I
couldn't believe how tight and rigid it felt thanks to the sub-frame
connectors. It felt even better than the 85 WS6 TA I had.
I got the hood scoop seal, front spoiler, gold grill inserts, the stripes
for the front and rear bumpers, and a gold dash and steering wheel.
The PHS paperwork didn't say my car came with the W72 400 or WS6
suspension. I knew it was a W72 though because it had the 6X #4 heads and
the numbers off of the block (it's a 77 W72). It does have all the WS6
stuff too. I replaced the signature valve covers with plain chrome tall baffled ones. I opened the hood scoop and put in the K&N X-Stream filter setup. I put in an aluminum radiator with 160 degree thermostat and steel braided radiator and fuel hoses with a MR. Gasket temperature reading radiator cap. I removed the original exhaust manifolds and put in ceramic coated headers with a crossover pipe. I also put in a Radio Shack cb to complete the Smokey & The Bandit motif.
6. Do you have any future plans for your car?
I will be replacing the headers with ceramic coated reproduction Ram Air
3 exhaust manifolds from Ram Air Restorations. The headers are great but
my wife doesn't like how low they hang under that car is afraid I will
get them caught on something. I originally wanted to get the Ram Air
manifolds anyway though.I will be retrofitting a flapper setup for the hood scoop at some future
point as well as getting a MSD or Pertronix spark box.
7. Do you attend shows/events/races with your car? Are you a member of any
I regularly attend car shows and cruise nights.I have been a member of the Bandit Trans Am Club since it started in 1992, I am a member of the Charter Oak Birds club of Connecticut, Firebird Nation Of North America and on the board of directors of Mass Firebirds
8. How many miles a year do you put on your car?
I usually put about 1000 miles on my TA every spring summer and fall and
store it winters.
9. Have you won anything with your car you're especially proud of?
My car wins awards at most of the shows I go to. It won 1st in its class at the first show I ever took it to; and it won 1st in the Trans Am - All Years class at a POCI All Pontiac show in 2008. My favorite award my car has won was at a local show - "Most Likely To Get Pulled Over".
10. What's your fondest memory in/with your car?
Nothing beats being on the highway going to and coming back from shows. All the people pulling up alongside my car with their picture phones, thumbs up and yelling "Nice car!" And the truckers get a big kick out of seeing it too.
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