By on November 6, 2009

Really Sporty

I was torn about whether to use this Firebird for a Curbside Classic, until I saw a terrific “Screaming Chicken” T/A the other day. Only problem: I didn’t get any shots. But it made me determined to hold out for the real thing. I hear that Trans Ams are in demand now, fetching up to $30k. In the meantime, feast your eye on this delight. Oh, there’s more than one thing wrong with this picture. More detail after the jump:454

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42 Comments on “Curbside Classic Outtake: What’s Wrong With This Picture Edition...”


  • avatar
    Verbal

    If it’s a 454, it ain’t no Poncho motor. There’s nothing like the exhaust sound of a Pontiac 455 at idle.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    Oh, wow, there’s only a list of about a hundred items here. I’m glad it’s “REALLY SPORT” though, those FAKE SPORT ‘Birds blow. I can hand one thing to him for sure; there can’t be too many ’78 Firebirds out there with a 454 under the hood.

  • avatar

    I heard that also. So when I saw a Silver 79 TA at the auction coming through the lanes at 10000. So I offered 6500 and they SOLD it to me. The car was nice, not barrett jackson nice, but a nice 6.6L smokey and the bandit car indeed.

    We put it on the web at 15,000, then 14,000. All the suitors kept offering 8,000 for it. We finally sold it locally for 9,000. Spent 1,500 shop ticket fixing the A/C, plus a detail. Car basically made nothing.

    Point=TA’s aint as HOT as everyone thinks, or at least not Silver ones. I think if the car had been black with T Tops it would have brought in the mid teens.

  • avatar
    Dukeboy01

    Well, the most obvious thing is that it’s a “Really Sport,” not a “Rally Sport.” Which is a Chevrolet trim level anyway.

    Is it a Camaro that somebody tried to swap a few body panels out on to turn into a Trans Am? I’m looking at all the Bondo work around the fender scoop and the ill- fitting nose.

  • avatar
    majo8

    Jeez………….it looks like it has 15″ rims in the front and 12″ rims in the back!

    Oh wait……..it has smaller rims in the back because they’re no doubt shod with drag radials — lighter weight ya know…….

  • avatar
    ajla

    @jwolfe:

    Was it a “VIN K” engine or a “VIN Z” engine? Personally, I wouldn’t be willing to spend much on a Vin K.
    ___________

    If anyone wants to “invest” in Trans Ams, I think the one to go with are the ’89 turbos- not the Batmobiles.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    I’m with Dukeboy01 on this, it looks like it started life as a Camero.

    I never cared much for that vintage T/A but this one is particularly aweful.

  • avatar
    Jimal

    This car needs to be taken from its abusive environment and placed with a foster mechanic who can hopefully restore some of its dignity.

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    H’m. Which would you rather try to sell: that car or this one?

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    ^ I’ll take the really sport over the really racist.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    Daniel: Is that for real?

  • avatar
    UnclePete

    I read the door label as “Really Sorry” instead of “Really Sport” the first time I looked at the picture. That car is really sorry…

  • avatar
    jacksonbart

    Sorry Jimbo, but i don’t think $200 a day plus expenses is gonna fix the shit job that Angel Martin did on that car. Better borrow Rocky’s pickup truck.

  • avatar
    Daniel J. Stern

    As far as I can tell it’s real. I used webcitation.org to archive the page because CraigsList ads are ephemeral, but the original is (for the time being) at http://lasvegas.craigslist.org/cto/1437054237.html .

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    LOL, a better question would be “what’s right with this picture?”

  • avatar
    Russycle

    Is it the angle of the photo or is the rear spoiler broken? It looks like it doesn’t run all the way to the right side of the trunk lid.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Russycle :

    Is it the angle of the photo or is the rear spoiler broken? It looks like it doesn’t run all the way to the right side of the trunk lid.

    Actually, it’s the black stripe that makes it look…wrong. Good noticing.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Ah, I see.  Rather obvious when you point it out.  But I gotta say, when it comes to looking wrong, the stripe is just a drop in the bucket!
      I had a buddy who had a late 70s TA with T-Tops, 400 Pontiac motor, and a 4-speed.  We drove it from California to Missouri one summer, man that thing moved when you put the hammer down!  Thanks for bringing back the memory.
       

  • avatar
    Oregon Sage

    This brings back memories. I bought an almost new 77 bright red Firebird, right here in beautiful Eugene Oregon. It even had the factory spoiler shown here. Mine was an early example of using a corporate GM engine instead of a proper Poncho. The red 77 was a 305 with 4 speed. We dropped in the classic “350 horsepower Corvette cam” and a 4bbl Carter AFB and it was capable of some serious acceleration. It was geared pretty tall and could return 22mpg on a highway cruise. Handling was quite unpredictable and judging a corner is tricky when peering out over that long hood.

    Previous to the 77 I had a lime green 73 with a black vinyl roof. Not pretty much.

    The pictured car looks like someone took my 77 and abused it in every way possible.

  • avatar
    yyzjonesey

    Had a 79 ‘Bird with the hurst t-tops, it’s gotta suck duct taping the drivers side window, cause now the drivers forced to nascar it through the passenger side (sucks having frameless windows)I had to tape the passenger side closed for a Toronto winter.

  • avatar
    Adub

    That link to the craigslist TA is hilarious. For those who didn’t click the link:

    “My uncle was in the Ku Klux Klan and used this car at all the KKK meetings. It has a VERY racist mural on the hood depecting hatred towards blacks and another one on the trunk lid depicting ugliness towards jews. There are also some very ugly and nasty sayings on the fenders and doors. All the murals and sayings were look like they were done by a proffesional. Its pretty gross. Also, the interior is all custom with confederate flags and swastikas stitched into the fabric with alot of racist things paintedon the dash. It runs really well but i cant even take it out for a test drive because its too racist a car. If your interested, email me. you just have to promise me that if u buy it that youll repaint it and replace the interior.”

    Hahahaha!!!

  • avatar
    DearS

    I thought it might be from my neighborhood with the broken window. With racists words like that though, it’d be on fire at least.

    Not that I care either way. I believe in freedom of speech to the fullest.

  • avatar
    jacksonbart

    That car makes me feel like i am 8 years old again, I’d like to drive one, not that one, but the same model.

  • avatar
    jacksonbart

    East bound and down, loaded up and truckin’,
    we’re gonna do what they say can’t be done.
    We’ve got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
    I’m east bound, just watch ol’ “Bandit” run.

  • avatar

    I see it’s not parked in front of a trailer.
    But being parked in front of a run down apartment being used as a crack house works just as well.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Something doesn’t look quite right about the way that the wheels fit with respect to the wheelwells, and the front of the car has an odd angle in relation to the rest of the car (although that could be because the front subframe has been knocked out of place).

    Besides the wrongness of “Really Sport” (misspelling AND a Chevy moniker) and the “454″ on the hood scoop, I wonder if the F-body rear unit and doghouse is sitting on the full frame of another car.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Pretty sure it started life as a Pontiac. It has a separate side marker light in the rear left quarter panel, the Camaro used a wrap around tail light to accomplish that Federally mandated task. I doubt someone would go to the trouble of cutting a hole in a Camaro quarter panel and then wiring it up for a light.

    Who know’s about the engine. The 455 disappeared from the Trans AM in 1976 and this is a later vintage. Chevy 454′s show up everywhere because of their popularity and availability as a crate engine. Owner could just be blowing smoke too.

  • avatar
    NickR

    Daniel J. Stern that is one crazy ad…if it was an LT1 I’d buy and bring it home under a tarp and sandblast the offensive stuff off.

    As for what’s wrong with this car. It may have started life as a Camaro? I’d get the 454 is a ruse. (BTW are 454 cores really that easy to find?). The rear wheel wells were widened at some point and the owner appears to have changed his mind, leading to the odd appearance of those.

    And he should remember to tighten his wheel nuts (that dent behind the front wheel is a classic sign of a wheel falling off in motion).

    If you test the screaming chicken, I am told that you have to liberally splash yourself with Brut 33 first, or it is just not the same.

    If anyone is interested, I know of two screaming chicken TAs sitting beside an old garage waiting to be rescued. I’d have to go for a drive to find them again though…you’d have to pay for my gas. :)

  • avatar
    Bridge2farr

    Looks like a 1977 model. Last big block offered in Trans Am was 1976 and that was 455 cu in Poncho motor. No 454 available. In 1977 the 400 cu in Pontiac motor was powerplant in either auto or manual. That color not avail either. Also, the exhaust pipes should be dual splitter downturns exiting below rear fenders. In chrome of course. Non factory wheels.

  • avatar
    jeremy5000

    Triangular pattern wheels, pretty darned sporty.

  • avatar
    kamikaze2b

    *OT* Paul, do you live in Eugene? I live in Veneta.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    kamikaze2b, yes

  • avatar
    Ingvar

    So, what really was wrong with it, then? Paul? Don’t hold us in the dark, here…

    Was it born a Camaro? Or a different car altogether? What was it?

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    Ingvar :
    So, what really was wrong with it, then? Paul? Don’t hold us in the dark, here…

    Beats me; it’s just an old Firebird that’s been altered a bit oddly. It’s just something I found on the street. I’m sure it didn’t start out as a Camaro though; I don’t know where that idea came from.

  • avatar
    Gary Numan

    Went out for a final fall motorcycle ride today. All the toys were out on the road. Saw perhaps the nicest black on black Trans Am yet. Had the snowflake wheels and the “T/A 6.6″ on the shaker which if correct means the Poncho 400 and a 4-speed manual trans. The Snowflakes with the rim edge extended means WS6 suspension with the 4 wheel disc brakes if this car was all correct. The grill was the original smokey and the bandit ’77 vintage.

    This one really, really stood out among the crowd today and it was all bone stock looking just like from the showroom. When these old beasts are in the right colors, right trim and options and of course in the right condition, they can look nice.

    That all said, there are some serious cheesy ones out there like the one in this article. I’d bet the dude driving it wears a wife-beater and a mullet and thinks having dollar store 454 stickers on the shaker is really cool.

    Sadly, with so many morons having owned (and destroyed them), I sometimes question if the value of these Trans Ams is also reduced cause of the dirt bag factor tied to them. Sad.

    Agree with an earlier post above, the 89 Turbo TA is the one to find and keep.

  • avatar
    NickR

    the 89 Turbo TA is the one to find and keep.

    Well, there are only two left running, so you’d better look hard.

    Remember when the 82 Camaro came with the Iron Duke 4-banger? Should have been called the Bogus Sport.

  • avatar
    Bridge2farr

    The turbo was actually pretty anemic. It was a 301 Pontiac V8 avail in automatic only.

  • avatar
    Gary Numan

    Bridge2farr,

    Yes, the 301 Turbo was anemic. The “turbine” alloy wheels and the offset hood “scoop” were reasonably neat from the couple of years production.

    However……

    I and others here are referring to the 3rd gen body style 1989 Turbo pace car that used the Buick Grand National engine.

  • avatar
    ajla

    The turbo was actually pretty anemic. It was a 301 Pontiac V8 avail in automatic only.

    I’m not talking about the ’80-’81 Trans Ams with the 301 turbos.

    I’m talking about the 1989 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am. They built 1550 of them, they have a version of Grand National’s 3.8L turbo engine (with the GNX’s intercooler), and could run about a 13.9 quarter-mile.

  • avatar
    Accords

    Jeez… that was a big deal?
    REALLY SPORT?
    Ntm the wheels… that cant be factory…
    And it needs a new window along with some body work

  • avatar
    dman900

    Oh, this is sad …. the first new car I ever bought, while I still owned the Fiesta I commented about recently, was a 1981 TransAm. That year, in California, after years of auto trans only,  you could buy the Firebird with a 305 Chevy and 4-speed (the automatics still came with the Pontiac 301).  I think it was rated at 150 hp. Mine was a WS6, with the 4 wheel discs, 8″ rims (and massive-for-the-time 225/70-15 tires!)  no screaming chicken hood decal, polyurethane suspension bushings, quick-ratio steering, “PosiTraction” (GM’s limited slip differential). Years of reading Car & Driver rave about the handling of the FBody, coupled with the styling and a chance to get a V8 4speed, and I was putty in the salesman’s hands. Frankly, other than smooth road cornering, it was a piece of junk, and when gas hit $1.20 a gallon 8 months later,  I traded it in at a huge loss on a new Civic. The TA was the first and only V8 I’ve ever owned. I wish I had it today.

  • avatar
    rustaddscharacter

    Years ago, back in what Hunter S. Thompson called the “white knuckle days”, I knew a couple of hillbilly brothers who had a ’74 T/A. It was an honest-to-god SD455, the last REAL muscle car, from the last year they were built. By the time they acquired it (1988, give or take), it was getting pretty rugged. Dull, faded orange-red paint, the screaming chicken was peeling and torn, trim rings missing from the wheels. Someone had stolen the shaker hood scoop, so there was just a big hole in the middle of the hood. Which turned out to be a blessing, ’cause they carried a quart can of starting fluid in the car at all times, ’cause the thing wouldn’t actually start without a healthy shot of the stuff to the carb. Oh yeah, the carb… 1,000 cfm Carter Thermo-quad, it made this frightening whistling noise as it sucked air even at idle. Hold your hand over the hole in the hood with the air cleaner off and you could FEEL the suction. Black interior, Pioneer tape deck with Jensen 6x9s. These boys would buy used up Goodrich T/As from the gas station where I worked, run ‘em for a week or two, then buy some more. When the ancient cherry bombs rusted out, they just removed the entire exhaust system and ran it open headers… that thing shot flames like the Batmobile, and was SERIOUSLY loud. They called it The Beast. Eventually they blew the 455, replaced it with a 400, blew that, swapped it out for a 350, then a 305, then traded the remnants for a bag of weed…

    Loud, fast, ugly and dangerous. Who could ask for more?


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