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Pontiac Parts in Action: 5 Firebird & Trans Am Restoration Projects

Over the course of more than eight decades, Pontiac produced a wide variety of memorable cars, but the Firebird and Trans Am might be the most memorable of all. These sporty two-door vehicles shared lineage with their GM F-body sibling, the Chevrolet Camaro, but exuded a bold style of their own. Today, we'll take a look back at five restoration projects that have made good use of the Pontiac parts found in our Classic Industries Firebird / Trans Am catalog.

1975 Trans Am - A Full-Circle Restoration

It's an unfortunate fact that many of us have owned classic cars we've had to sell for one reason or another. Maybe money got tight, family and work obligations took priority, or we simply ended up with more project cars than we had time for. It's always hard to say goodbye to these vehicles, but on some rare occasions, they'll come full-circle and return to us at a later date. Such was the case with Jim Spears and his 1975 Trans Am, which has a story that's almost as cool as the vehicle itself.

1978 Trans Am - Built for the Open Road

In 1977, the film "Smokey and the Bandit" hit the silver screen and took the automotive world by storm. The black and gold Trans Am Special Edition driven by Burt Reynolds quickly became one of the most iconic movie cars of all time, and inspired countless Americans to head to their local Pontiac dealers. Sales for the Trans Am skyrocketed after the film's debut. Even today, this increased demand has caused true Special Edition cars to maintain higher value. However, the availability of reproduction parts has enabled Firebird and Trans Am owners to create their own more-affordable tribute builds, such as the example seen here.

1978 Trans Am - Customized Convertible

Yes, you're reading that title correctly. Although it may not look like it, this is a 1978 Trans Am. It has been heavily modified with parts from earlier and later model years, as well as a rare convertible top conversion by National Coach Engineering. It also features some custom-molded body panels and black accents on its bright red paint. The result is a truly unique second-gen Pontiac that draws a crowd wherever it goes.

Turning a Barnfind Into a Driver

It’s every car enthusiast’s dream to participate in a barnfind. To discover a car of their childhood, a rare and highly sought after muscle car that had been stowed away in a garage (or front yard) for decades, or just a cool car that seems unloved and underappreciated.

Unfortunately, the reality is that regardless of the kind of car it is, or how rare it is, it’s still an old car. It’s been sitting in the same spot, languishing in someone’s garage or driveway, possibly for decades. So, what if you find one, and it looks good enough to drive? Muscle Car Review published an article outlining this very situation of finding a vehicle that’s been stowed away for decades, and what to do if you want to drive it.

Photo courtesy of carsinbarns.blogspot.com

The article really drives home the need for a plan:
Start your path to revival by asking why the car was parked. Did it stop running or just get sidelined? Anything you can learn will help you fix the original problem. Beyond that, a host of things should be replaced before attempting to drive a barn find. Tires, fuel lines, and brakes need attention to make sure that your barn find doesn’t result in a junkyard donation.”

1979 Pontiac Trans Am - Frame-Off Restored T/A

In 1980, Pontiac made the difficult choice to drop all large-displacement engines from its Firebird and Trans Am lines as a result of increasing emissions restrictions. This made 1979 the "last hurrah" for the 400ci V8 and 403ci V8. The following model year, they were replaced by the 301ci Turbo and 305ci motors.

This 1979 Pontiac Trans Am belongs to Alfredo Chavarin, of Corona, California. Alfredo has owned the car for about six years, after buying it from the previous owner in decent mechanical condition. The California sun had done a number on the Pontiac's paint, so Alfredo proceeded with a full frame-off restoration.

The Trans Am was repainted in its original shade of silver, and new decals from the Classic Industries Firebird & Trans Am catalog were applied. Alfredo says he still needs few minor parts, including replacement grill hardware, but the project is coming along nicely. He also plans to install a set of reproduction 17-inch wheels for a modernized look.

Collector Car Insurance is Here!

Be it your ’57 Bel Air, or Hemi Road Runner, classic vehicles have become more than just mere transportation…they’re investments. While car insurance is protection for your transportation—trying to get a standard run-of-the-mill insurance company to protect your “investment” can be problematic, at best.  As some would say in the medical field: You need a specialist.

Classic Industries Understands Collector Car Enthusiasts

Classic Industries understands the needs of enthusiasts, and are experts in filling the gap when there’s a need for high-quality parts and accessories. So, when it comes to insurance for your classic car, who better to understand the issues associated with classic car insurance, than Classic Industries? Using their vast experience, they have developed the Classic Industries Collector Car Insurance Program.

1978 Pontiac Trans Am - Gold Dust

Like many auto enthusiasts, Leo Logacho's love for classic cars began at a young age. Leo's father owned a Trans Am Special Edition, painted in an eye-catching metallic gold color. He loved everything about his dad's car—the vibrant paint, the hood bird decal, the wide tires, and the deep rumble of the big V8 engine.

1987 Trans Am - First Restoration Project


Unsurprisingly, many members of our staff here at Classic Industries are serious car enthusiasts. By day, we help customers with their project vehicles, and by night, we go home to work on our own. So, when a customer rolls up to our showroom in a nice car, we always try to go check it out. You'll often find our employees peering out the windows to see what just rolled into The Parking Lot.

1986 Pontiac Trans Am - Third Gen Restoration

We're always glad to see the third-gen F-body cars getting the appreciation they deserve. Ten or fifteen years ago, few people would have considered the 1982-92 Firebirds and Trans Ams candidates for restoration, but now that these cars are becoming more collectible, the prices for clean examples are on the rise. This white 1986 Trans Am is one of the cleanest we've seen, and shows how much these cars stand out in 2015.