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worth restoring?

Started by franco, September 25, 2006, 07:36:02 PM

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i recently joined the club and do not know a bunch about trans ams. my wife and i went to the national meet and had a question is i recently came acrross a 79 301 4 speed trans am for sale that needs a lot of work is this car worth restoring?


The only one who can answer that question is You.  You have to ask yourself if the car is worth restoring to YOU.  Values on these cars are all over the place.  If you are restoring the car to make money, then just about no car is worth it, but if you are restoring the car to drive and have fun, then does a price matter?  Especially if you are restoring the car yourself.  Half the fun of owning these olders cars is working on them.  It is kinda like an escape to go out to your garage for a while and loose yourself in a restoration project.  Alot of times, that is how we keep our sanity.  Anyway, if you look at the car as weather or not you want to restore it, I can tell you this.... in 1979, there were only 1,590 Trans Ams made with the 301 and a 4 speed, and 1,530 made with that combo and t-tops.  So, if you look at the total production of over 117,000 Trans Ams made in 1979, you have about a 1.5% of the 1979 Trans Ams have your engine and transmission combination... which is a low number.  Mainly low numbers in the classic car game means higher value because fewer of them were made.  So, if you look at whether it is worth it or not to restore it.... well, you have a very low produced Trans Am for 1979.  But again, the only one who can answer if the car is worth it or not is YOU.  Don't let other people make up minds for you... it is YOUR car with YOUR money being spent on it.
Brett Campbell
1978 Trans Am, 1989 Trans Am, 1998 Trans Am


Exactly! Hitman said it best. Best advice that could be given. For instance. I have a 1984 Firebird S/E. Not exactly a low production number car at about 10,000 made that year. Although you don't seem many of them left around. Is it collectable or valuable? Not really. It's color is different (beige) and was only offered for two years in that  color. It is nowhere near as valuable as many others (such as hitmans' great ride), but I like it, bought it and gave it a good home. I've spent over 4 years slowly restoring it and it's not done yet. After 4 years, a new engine, rebuilt trans., rear end, paint, complete interior and lots of underhood work... was it worth it? To me... absolutely. I will never sell it and I intend to drive it and have fun with it. Even with all the new parts, it didn't score well at the TA Nationals this year... why... I can't figure out, but it doesn't matter to me as it's what I wanted and what I like. You can't put a price tag on that and all the work and sweat (and all that still lies ahead on this continual project) is more than worth it to me. As a side-note, I originally bought it when my oldest son was deployed to Iraq and spent over a year and a half getting shot at. The car provided a way to work off some of that "worried parent" nervous energy. That same son is home now and helped me take it to the TA Nationals this year. While it didn't garner any awards, the memories of the work and the time with my son (who along with my youngest son and one of their friends helped me put the new engine in) makes this one very valuable piece of automotive history to me.

If you like it, want to work on it and make it your own instead of hiring most or all of it out to a shop, and will enjoy driving it... I say go for it. After you put your heart into a car, it can give back more than you ever put into it and more than you will ever get out of it if you were to sell it. Just don't forget to put effort into your other relationships (family, etc.) so that you don't loose them in the middle of the car project and end up with a great car, but no one to enjoy it with. Good luck and keep us posted!

1984 Firebird S/E

Todd Stahr

As far as collector value, the 301 cars will be near the lower valued area. It seems the more Performance oriented engine options bring more money. Simply having low production does not always warrant a high price later. Desireability is what drives the price on these old Pontiacs, the WS6, W72, HO, SD, RA IV, will all bring a premium over the base models due to having the top dog engine option.

hitman and 84SE touched on a very important part. Its your money, your time, and your car. What you want to do with it is your descision. We can only give our ideas and opinions. In the end its still your car.

That being said, I think every 2nd gen that isnt rusted beyond recognition, crushed, or hacked to pieces is worth restoring. They arent making these cars anymore, and to scrap one is a waste of all effort that went into it to build it. Not only that but even with a 6 cylinder or 301 car, you can still have an awesome ride that looks great. The 301 is easily swapped for a Pontiac 350/400/455 using the same engine mounts and transmission. The only things needed to swap a larger engine in is the accessory brackets from the 350/400/455 and the exhuast manifolds. FYI the power steering pump bracket is the same.

Add an overdrive, such as a 2004R or a 5 speed trans, and you can even get good mileage from a 2nd gen TA. Plus the handling on a stock but rebuilt suspension is quite good. My WS6 equiped 10th Anniversary TA rides pretty harsh even with 70 series tires, but the WS6 301 4 speed Formula was much more compliant over bumps and tar strips. It doesnt take much to make a 2nd gen drive well. So eitehr restore or modify, its up to you. Either way it should be an enjoyable project, not something that causes stress and grief.. well, :)  beyond what we normally have workin with old cars..

If you dont plan to do anything with it, I know where you could sell it.. if you are Close to Michigan I wouldnt mind taking it off your hands.. :) An even 10 of them would be nice..
Performance and general repair tech. Traditional Pontiac V8 is my specialty, as well as automatic transmission repair/diagonossis. 2nd gen speciality, and with the addition of the 98 Formula 4th gen LS1 I am getting to know them real well. Holley and Qjet advice as well.

Chalk mark restoration and date codes arent my thing. W.O.T. is my thing..

Is it strange to have 9 firebirds?


WELL put!!  If can usually tell as soon as you see a car if its something that you have to have or can live without.
'00 Pewter TA WS6 11.78@115.34 1.63 60'
PERFORMANCE: LS6 intake, BG Ram Air, Lid, K&N, MSD 8.5 wires, NGK's, 160*, LS6 heads, Comps 918's/pushrods/ 224/230 .581/.588 114, ported LS6 pump, Rollmaster chain, Dynatech LT's
DRIVETRAIN: rebuilt 4L60E, Yank PT4200, Hayden Trans Cooler, 3.73's, TA girdle
** 455 HP **
Still needs a tune

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