We here at Hemmings Motor News don’t have to tell you that the Pontiac Trans Am is a hot commodity these days. It seems like every week another TA is being rescued from an anonymous, heartbreaking life and being brought back out into the public eye. It makes total sense, for the fact that Pontiac sold a ton of these hot rides back in the ’70s and ’80s. Sales were fueled by the model’s good looks, performance options, and of course its massive media presence.
Those manic, muscle car loving kids of the ’70s are now in their middle age and being drawn back to these Pontiac models, as they were a big part of their impressionable youth. Richard Primavera of Franklinville, New Jersey was one of those kids who fell under the spell of the TA early on in life. “My dad owned a ’71 Trans Am when I was a kid. He passed away but we have kept the car in the family. I’ve always been partial to these cars, as they have been a big part of my life.
”Rich was able to purchase this ’79 Trans Am through a website marketplace. “My buddy Jake Sim of Blackwood, NJ saw the car for sale online and immediately contacted me, knowing my love for these cars. We swooped right in and picked it up. It had led a tough life over the past few years, but I knew it was worth the effort of getting it back to my place. By the way, this is the 43rd Trans Am I’ve owned over the years, “states Rich.
1979 was a good year for the Trans Am. The model was still riding high after some great press, and its starring role in the 1977 blockbuster film Smokey and the Bandit. The ’77 “Bandit” Trans Am was catapulted to top-tier status after the film and became one of the most popular cars of its time. Pontiac sales blew up over the following years, with 1979 seeing the Trans Am selling 117,108 units, its highest total to date.
What Rich knows about the car is it was bought new by a Michael Dwyer at Pinno Pontiac in Oxord, Pennsylvania. He traded a Buccaneer Red ’77 TA to special order this Mayan Red ride, and he certainly stuffed it with some of the best goodies Pontiac laid out on the order form. It was born with a 403ci engine, rowed by an automatic transmission. It has also received the WS6 performance package, a black deluxe interior, tilt, cruise control, am/fm 8-track, and power antennae.
The owner drove the car lightly, accumulating a mere 21k miles on the car over a 26-year period. However, the owner then passed away and the TA was left out in the backyard, where the car was exposed to the elements. Over the years, the car became covered in debris and slowly sank into the earth around it.
Luckily Rich found out about the car and saved it. It’s now in his and Jake’s possession and a game plan has been drawn up to save the car. “It’s all there but it needs some help. Everything on the car needs some TLC. The bad part is that the engine is stuck, but we are working to see if it can be salvaged. Hopefully, we can get it moving again so Trans Am number 43 will continue its life and enjoy more time on the road.”