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‘Birds in Flight

by Mark E. Neumann

Editor’s Note: this is the tenth in a series of columns about interesting stories connected with Firebirds and Trans Ams.

First-Gen Firebirds and George Barris: A dynamic duo

We all know the custom car builder George Barris for his crazy movie and TV show cars – the Munster Coach, the Batmobile, the Green Hornet, and lots of other eye-opening projects.

But Barris, who passed away in November 2015, also had a penchant for Pontiac power. He designed a motorized stagecoach for the rock band Paul Revere and the Raiders, known for their hit songs “Cherokee Nation” and “Kicks.” Called the Raiders Coach, the two 428 ci Pontiac V8s delivered 800 horsepower to the car. The band, which also did commercials for Pontiac when the GTO Judge debuted in 1969, took the Coach with them while touring (see pictures at the Raiders Coach Facebook page).

Barris also did custom paint work and body mods on several first-generation Firebirds for TV shows in the 1960s and 1970s, including “Groovy,” a teenager situation TV series.. He customized a ’67 Firebird and made a guess appearance on one of the episodes. He also produced a customized ‘Bird for “A Boy, A Girl” – a movie starring Dino Martin (son of Dean). The convertible was basically stock except for a wild, flamed paint job.

Another Barris-customized Firebird crossed over the auction block recently at Mecum’s Chattanooga, Tennessee auction. It was a 1968 Firebird convertible customized by Barris for the “Sounds of ‘68” variety show on ABC-TV. Barris built three copies of the car as giveaways at the end of the show’s season to the best “Super Teen” musical talent.

The one that went on the auction block is believed to be the last remaining example; it was authenticated by George Barris and Barris Kustom Industries in 2006.

The styling cues that Barris developed for the car may have inspired some of the design work by Pontiac for the 1969 Firebird Trans Am, according to the car’s information sheet.

The car has a matching number 400 c.i. motor and factory teal interior. PHS Services documentation and a build sheet indicate the car was assembled at a GM plant in Los Angeles and originally sold by a Sherman Oaks, California Pontiac dealership. It has an automatic transmission with Posi traction, air conditioning, tilt wheel, and it was priced at $5,072.16.

Barris’s custom additions include simulated side air scoops, adjustable trunk mounted spoiler, unique hood, sequential taillights and unique bumpers front and rear, along with a side pipe exhaust.

In an interview with High Performance Pontiac in March 2008, Barris said he picked the Firebird for the “Sounds of ‘68” show because the car was “very youth oriented. I thought that car was the cat’s meow for that show, and I could make the car even more appealing to the 15-35 age group through design and styling upgrades,” he told HPP writer Christopher Phillip.” I loved the car. It was really great.”

Bidders took the car to $60,000 once it hit the auction block at Mecum, but it did not hit the reserve..

Clearly not a Raider’s Coach, but a nice one-of-kind collector car with the George Barris touch.

Barris Customized Firebird
Barris Customized Firebird
Barris Customized Firebird
Barris Customized Firebird


Barris G. and Featherston D. “Barris TV and Movie Cars.” MBI Publishing, 1996.

'74 buccaneer red Trans Am of Mark Neumann Mark enjoys taking rides in his 1974 Buccaneer Red Trans Am and serves on the copyediting team for The Eagle. He lives in Chandler, Arizona and belongs to the Valley of the Sun Pontiac Club. ( ).

‘Birds in Flight

by Mark E. Neumann

Editor’s Note: this is the ninth in a series of columns about interesting stories connected with Firebirds and Trans Ams.

If you had $440,000 in the bank right now, you could build that six-car garage you always wanted to store your Pontiac collection – and have enough left over to pay for a nice ’69 Firebird. Convertible, even.

Or, you could have been sitting in the bidder’s box at Mecum’s Harrisburg, Pennsylvania classic car auction in July and bought a nicely equipped 1977 Trans-Am. For $440,000.

Right, those zeros are correct.

At the auction, held July 27-30, Lot #S132.1, a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am SE with the 6.6L/Y82 option and the black and gold “Bandit” edition – and only 14 miles on the odometer – was the third highest price car sold. It was beaten out by a 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Black Series with 46 miles (1 of 1,700 produced) and a 1985 Lamborghini Countach LP5000S that sold for $467,500. Two exotic, rare, high-performance cars – and a 1977 Pontiac Trans Am.

The Trans Am had the automatic transmission, T-tops, factory Uniroyal tires, air conditioning, rear defroster, cruise control, AM/FM (but no 8-track). And do not forget that 14 miles on the odometer.

Trans Ams Bring Big Bucks

Is the Trans Am sold at Mecum’s Harrisburg auction the most expensive ever sold? If you do not include the influence of stardom, the answer is probably yes.

A list of the 10 most expensive Pontiacs sold at auction, published by Hagerty in 2018 ( , shows that a 1977 Firebird Trans Am used as a promotional vehicle during the filming of “Smokey and the Bandit” sold at the 2016 Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale auction for $550,000 (this car was originally a ’76 T/A that had been modified to look like a ’77 model).

As Hagerty wrote at the time, “The premium for a Bandit car actually associated with the movie amounted to roughly 14 times what an ordinary Trans Am in this condition would expect to bring.”

Back in 1977, you could have ordered a new Trans Am from your Pontiac dealership and paid about $8,500 for the car, according to PHS Automotive Services Inc. ( who can get you detailed information on your favorite vintage Pontiac.

That is quite far from $440,000. Like from Texarkana to Atlanta.

Strong Sellers

You read in my August “Birds of Flight” column that prices were climbing for low-mileage Trans Ams at auctions, particularly the special edition Trans Ams.

A 1979 Pontiac Trans Am, 10th Anniversary edition, unrestored with 38 miles, sold for $118,250.

We also highlighted a second, low-mileage 1979 Trans Am going up on the block at Mecum’s Glendale, Arizona auction on March 18. This car had 145 miles and the desirable 400 ci, four speed combination.

The price? The bidding started at $50,000 and went up quickly, eventually settling at $145,000.

PHS Automotive Services said 12,489 Trans Am with the Pontiac 400 block and the Y82 edition with T-tops were built in 1977. Pontiac sold another 1,217 Trans Ams with the 403 Olds engine.

But the $440,000 price for that Trans Am may not be the ceiling, according to John Kraman. He knows a few things about classic cars: he is part of the broadcast team for television coverage of the Mecum auctions held around the country. He is also a Pontiac fan, owning a ’64 GTO that he bought when he was 19.

“This (Trans Am) is likely one of the most valuable ones,” said Kraman, who was in the broadcast booth when the car went up for bid. “We have seen some nice ones that are restored, and we have seen some original cars, but this one was unique.”

Kraman said portions of the car, including the chassis and the engine compartment, were freshened up. The car had several previous owners, he said.

Despite that high end price for the Trans Am, “I don’t think they have topped out yet,” Kraman said. “When we look at cars from the 1970s, this is the car. This is the signature car. It’s very similar to the (Buick) GNXs of the 1980s.

“As time marches on…I think the price will continue to go up and up. As expensive as that car was, I think that was a decent buy,” Kraman said. 1977 Pontiac Trans Am SE which sold for $440K
at the Mecum Auctions in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania John Kraman at the Mecum Auctions Photos Courtesy of Mecum Auctions, Inc.

1977 Pontiac Trans Am SE which sold for $440K  at the Mecum Auctions in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Photos Courtesy of Mecum Auctions, Inc.

About the author: Mark is the second owner of a Buccaneer Red 1974 Pontiac Trans-Am and serves on the copyediting team for the Eagle. Mark also owns a 1970 Pontiac GTO convertible and a 1973 Grand Am.

‘Birds in Flight – Auctions

by Mark E. Neumann Editor’s Note: this is the seventh in a series of columns about interesting stories connected with Firebirds and Trans Ams.

Most of you who read this column bought your Firebird or Trans Am to drive and enjoy. We’re not big fans of trailer queens. These pony cars were known for their good looks and great handling and beg for a twisty road. So, we oblige.

Nonetheless, we also like to know how the value of our cars are holding up in the classic car market. We all have heard the saying that “once you drive your (new) car off the dealership lot, it starts losing money.” There are exceptions, of course, and that’s what this month’s column is about. With the stock market showing a lot of volatility lately, more people are investing in vintage sheet metal.

So I thought I would look at sales from car auctions on how our Firebirds and Trans Ams have fared since the start of the new year. Of course, there other ways to track car value, such as going on websites like eBay, Bring A Trailer,, Hemmings, etc. But auction sales have some advantages.

1. You can see and touch the car, look under the hood, start it up
2. You can find out after the auction take place what the car sold for
3. You usually get a good rundown of the car’s features and accessories

Certainly, there are challenges to BUYING a car at auction, but that’s material for another column.

Good pricing so far

The year always starts with the country’s two largest auctions: Mecum’s 10-day, 1,500+ vehicle auction in Kissimmee, Florida, and the Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction in Scottsdale, Arizona. In my home state, in fact, Barrett headlined four classic car auctions that took place in January, all during the week.

Here are some sample sale prices from both auctions: Mecum (Kissimmee, Fla.)

Car     Details     Price

1973 Firebird Formula, 400 ci, 4-speed, $66,000

1968 Firebird Convertible, 400 ci, auto, $60,500

1976 Firebird Formula, 400 ci, 4-speed, $25,300

1969 Firebird Convertible, 461 ci, auto, $62,700

1987 Pontiac Firebird 2.8L, 5-speed, $11,550

1979 Trans Am 10th Ann., 400 ci, 4-speed, $62,700

2002 Trans Am Convertible 5.7L, 6-Speed, $36,300

1981 Turbo Trans Am SE 4.9L, auto (only 3,830 miles), $104,500

1979 Pontiac Trans Am, Unrestored with 38 miles, $118,250

Those last two Trans Ams, of course, got high dollars based on very low mileage (more on that later). Barrett-Jackson (Scottsdale, AZ)

1976 Trans Am, 400 (stroked) auto, $42,900

1967 Firebird Convt., 326 ci, 4 speed ,$47,300

1977 Trans Am, 6.6L auto, T-tops, $110,000

1989 Trans Am 20th Anniv. Pace Car, 3.8l turbo, auto., $82,500

1969 Firebird, Ram Air III, $71,500

1977 Firebird Trans Am SE, (owned by Burt Reynolds), $495,000

Of course, celebrity status can increase the price quickly, as the ’77 Trans Am from the Bandit demonstrated (the car was only a show vehicle, and not used in the movie).

But ultimately, low mileage is a major price mover. Here is one that went on sale at Mecum’s auction in Glendale, Arizona on March 18. We’ll share the final price in our next ‘Birds of Flight column, but here are the details:

1979 Trans Am, 110 miles, 400 ci, 4 spd., We’ll see!

Mecum says “this exquisite example must rank as one of the lowest-mileage and most original of the 1,107 units produced” in 1979.

“Finished in its factory-applied Starlight Black with a Camel Tan Custom interior, this particular Y84 Trans Am SE came with the 400 T/A 6.6 V-8 and floor-shifted, close-ratio 4-speed, as well as power steering and power 4-wheel disc brakes, a tilt steering column, AM/FM stereo with dual rear speakers, power windows and door locks, Special Performance Package and a limited-slip differential.”

And there are more auctions to come in 2022.

FL22_Mecum Kissimmee 2022_1973 Pontiac Firebird Formula_K89
FL22- Mecum Kissimmee 2022: 1973 Pontiac Firebird Formula – K89

AZ22_Mecum Glendale 2022_1979 Pontiac Trans Am_S188
AZ22-Mecum Glendale 2022: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am – S188 Photos Courtesy of Mecum Auctions, Inc.

About the author: Mark is the second owner of a Buccaneer Red 1974 Pontiac Trans-Am and serves on the copyediting team for the Eagle.

‘Birds in Flight

by Mark E. Neumann

Editor’s Note: this is the sixth in a series of columns about interesting stories connected with Firebirds and Trans Ams.

Winter Greetings from the American Southwest, where the timing of our car show events runs counter to our East Coast and Mid-Western ‘Bird fans. Whether it’s my home state of Arizona, or California or Nevada, the Sun Belt offers fabulous winter weather – great for beautiful sunsets and weekly car shows, cruising-in’s, classic car auctions, vintage car rallies, or just riding down the road in your Firebird or Trans-Am.

It’s always interesting to follow Facebook pages this time of year as Ponti-ackers get their cars ready for winter storage and we start enjoying our 70-degree days following a furnace-like summer. While the hardy ones with good A/C and cooling systems can head north to Flagstaff during the hot months, most of us wait it out until the fall.

Nothing like a Sunday drive during Thanksgiving weekend in you T/A after a hearty slice of pumpkin pie! Photo courtesy of Paul Albinger
Nothing like a Sunday drive during Thanksgiving weekend in your
T/A after a hearty slice of pumpkin pie! Photo courtesy of Paul Albinger.

With three main Pontiac clubs in Arizona – two chapters of Pontiac Oakland Club International and a chapter of the GTO Association of America – along with a separately-organized club for the last-gen GTOs and a Firebird/Trans Am group – we like to keep our ‘Birds at the front of the pack.

Some examples:

• In late October, Trans Ams, Firebirds, GTOs, and G8s took off for a three-day trip to San Diego from the Phoenix area and Tucson. The weather was perfect. We joined over 200 other Pontiacs along the bay front for a beautiful show.

Activities director Paul Albinger, his wife Barbara and their ’79 Trans Am in San Diego. Paul is coordinating our New Year’s Day cruise.  Photo courtesy of Paul Albinger.
Activities director Paul Albinger, his wife Barbara and their
’79 Trans Am in San Diego. Paul is coordinating our
New Year’s Day cruise. Photo courtesy of Paul Albinger.

• On November 18, we had a Pontiac club meeting in Mesa, AZ – outside on the patio. Great attendance as we planned activities for the winter months. Such as …

• For Dec. 4 and 5, we have had two car shows – including a Toyz for Totz run to Wickenburg, Arizona. A club after-Christmas party is in the planning stages for late January – also outside.

And just for kicks, activities director Paul Albinger, owner of a 1979 10h Anniversary Trans-Am, which he drives to car shows and took part in that 600-mile round-trip to San Diego, is organizing our first annual New Year’s Day Cruise.

Other plans call for working as drivers for the MAG auction in Scottsdale in March and our annual Buick-Olds-Pontiac-Cadillac Show in March.

When you put the parka hoods up, we’ll be putting the tops down. Stay warm!

To learn more about car shows in Arizona, check out CruisinArizona ( Roddin’ and Racin (; and Arizona Car Shows (

About the author: Mark is the second owner of a Buccaneer Red 1974 Pontiac Trans-Am and serves on the copyediting team for the Eagle.

‘Birds in Flight – Trans Am Worldwide

by Mark E. Neumann

Editor’s Note: this is the fifth in a series of columns about interesting stories connected with Firebirds and Trans Ams. See previous issues of the printed Eagle for the other columns.

When he was a teen, Tod Warmack and his brother Scott watched their dad pull up to the house one day in Tallahassee, Florida with a just-bought 1978 Gold Edition Pontiac Trans Am. “Of course, we knew we had to have one, too.” Warmack recalled in an interview with The Eagle.

Tod had seen a 1978 Martinque Blue edition pull into his high school parking lot one day and knew that was the one he wanted. He found one with T-tops and a four speed, and the W72/WS-6 handling package. Scott also found a Trans Am for himself. It was Trans Am fever, family style.

“My dad had Corvettes, Chevelles, Impalas, and then we got into GTOs,” Warmack said. “We were always around muscle cars.”

The last Trans Am was built in 2002, and Pontiac disappeared eight years later. But that love for the pony car never left the family.

Today, the brothers are owners of Trans Am Worldwide, which builds Trans Am conversions using the Chevy Camaro as the base model, and Trans Am Depot, which does restorations work on vintage Firebirds and other muscle cars.

“We started Trans Am Depot first as just a place to restore our own cars. But them we started getting customers and the business grew,” Warmack said. Later, after seeing renderings from designer Kevin Morgan in Hot Rod magazine showing how a Trans Am would look as a conversion at the debut of the fifth generation Camaro, Womack developed the idea of building a new Trans Am using the Camaro as a donor car. The look of the ’77-’78 Trans Am models were considered a base for the redesign.

“We get the CAD data of the Camaro from GM, and then we design the new body panels for the Trans Am from there,” Warmack said. Most of the body panels are carbon fiber now, and the company builds them in-house, along with most of the motor work.

The company’s 20 employees have churned out close to 200 of the Trans Am conversions, including the Super Duty, which offers up to 1,100 horsepower and a 9.3 second ET on the drag strip. The 50th Anniversary model and the Outlaw edition are also available.

One of the company’s signature cars was the Bandit edition – a tribute to the “Smokey and the Bandit” movie with a limited run of 77 cars to honor the year the movie came out. Burt Reynolds, who starred in the movie, was involved in promoting the car.

Where it started

Trans Am Worldwide debuted in 2010 with a car at the Trans Am Nationals. “It was a crude prototype,” Warmack recalls.

Pricing for the cars vary by customer-requested options. “When we first started the company, our entry level was $70,000” which included the donor car, Warmack said. “But we didn’t sell any of those. Most people ask for fully optioned cars, and that brings prices up to around $140,000.” That include added performance, paint, and custom interiors. “Prices of materials have gone up, as well as the cost for the donor cars, “Warmack said.

The customer base is generally older, but also is made up of folks who are big Pontiac fans. And the cars are appreciating in value. “We have seen Bandit edition models that sold for $130,000 to $165,000 now selling for $230,000 on some occasions in the secondary markets; Super Duty’s are selling in the mid-$200,000,” Warmack said.

One of the special cars that Tod and Scott worked on together was a gold Trans Am conversion in memory of their dad. Ted, who passed away in 2018. Tod’s son also helped with the development of the car. Then Tod had an Indian motorcycle customized with Trans Am paint and logos to match the car. “It’s a special car,” Warmack said. A YouTube video called “Gold Rush” details the building of the special gold Trans Am and the motorcycle. It includes Warmack talking about the founding of Trans Am Worldwide and the cars they have built. See it on the company’s website at About the author: Mark is the second owner of a Buccaneer Red 1974 Trans Am and serves on the copyediting team for the Eagle.

The Definitive Firebird & Trans Am Guide: 1970 1/2 – 1981

Definitive Firebird and Trans Am Guide

Pontiac expert and historian Rocky Rotella examines each production year of the second generation of Firebirds. Complementing the data and year-by-year analysis is a combination of archival photography from the development of these cars as well as beautiful color photos of original and restored examples today.

After the extremely successful debut of the first-generation Firebirds and Camaros, General Motors had a tall task ahead: create an equally popular yet radically different version of the ground breaking pony car it was replacing. Enthusiasts picked up on the radically different part as soon as they saw these cars. Over time, we have come to appreciate how successful these second-generation cars were. They include the early models that had an emphasis on performance along with the continued development of the Trans Am, the 455 Super Duty cars of 1973 and 1974, and the lightning-in-a-bottle popularity of the Smokey and the Bandit editions. During their production run, these Firebirds and Trans Ams were truly the only real performance cars out of Detroit, and for many of the model years, they eclipsed even the mighty Corvette.

This book tells the entire story of these immensely popular cars, whether you are into the second generation of F-Body regular models, Formula 400 performance models, the Super Duty Trans Ams, or the cars of Smokey and the Bandit fame. It is an excellent addition to any pony car, muscle car, or any enthusiast’s library.

Available on

Final Rick McLaughlin Update

This is the final Rick McLaughlin update. On a publicly broadcast court hearing, Rick McLaughlin was remanded to federal prison in handcuffs for the next 7.3 years. No probation no exceptions! He was sentenced for scamming $1.2 million over the past 3 years.
Bringing this criminal to justice was only made possible through the efforts and contributions of the online Trans Am community. Due to your efforts, enough people where able to come together and as a group make their concerns known to law enforcement.
The effort is not over, we will now refocus our efforts to bring his conspirators to justice and to try to recoup some of the money for the victims ….. but for now the Mission is complete.
Ben Kenion

Rick McLauglin Update

Rick McLaughlin / McLaughlin Trans Am Museum / McLaughlin Motor Cars Update

Yes we all thought it was over but not yet. There are still a few details that have come to light and we need some assistance in putting Rick and his band of merry accomplices behind bars.

Updates to the story. Rick was charged and found guilty of wire fraud in January. His sentencing will be in the last week of April. Charges carry up to 20 years. Part of the agreement was that Rick would try to make restitution until he reports to jail through liquidation of assets and any “legal” work

Well as it turns out good old Rick has not been living up to the agreement. Rick was just ordered by the Federal court to turn over a beautiful chocolate brown Trans Am that he had stolen 3 years ago! It is now safely back in the hands of Mike Fresca in Georgia!

Today there are still 4 high end older Trans Ams in the chop shop that have not found their owners. Please if you know anyone who has been taken advantage of by Rick McLaughlin, even if years ago contact Detective James Hart at 304- 580-1078 and/or Michele Wentz, West Virginia prosecutor at 304-347-3319. Also, if you have ever been told that your case is a civil case, contact them as well.

In other news, Rick has changed his business model and now goes by McLaughlin Museum where he is specializing in older trucks. Yes that is right older trucks please see the info below. I ask everyone to share this with any classic truck site or friends.

Finally … Rick has been selling “authentic” Burt Reynolds autographs! However, these have been only signed by Rick’s partner in crime, his ex-wife! If you have any of these let me know the Burt Reynolds foundation would like to know.

Recap for those joining the conversation late: 1 year ago, I purchased a 1989 Trans Am Turbo from Rick McLaughlin, after a lengthy battle my car arrived minus ownership papers and keys. I waited and begged Rick McLaughlin for the items and finally an envelop arrived with a forged MSO and other documents… During that time the West Virginia police and owner had contacted me, informing me Rick McLaughlin had stolen the car and my 50K dollars! Since then thanks to the online community we have located many other victims of Ricks scams including suspected insurance fraud, title fraud and grand theft auto and a host of other federal crimes.

3 other people have been able to retrieve their cars from his chop shop in West Virginia. Jeff, Dennis and Jay are now reunited with their cars and one long term lawsuit was finally settled retuning a restored truck to Mark in Canada!

The federal case against Rick McLaughlin is coming to a close and with a plea bargain and or jail time likely. Hopefully all of the victims (including myself) will eventually be paid or Mr. McLaughlin will have a new address, some new friends and time to reflect on his crimes. We are still searching for some Trans Ams that Rick has sold illegally which are listed below.

If you know anyone who has been taken advantage of or owed money by Rick McLaughlin, please reach out and I will put you in touch with the authorities.

As always thanks and message me if you have any info. Without Facebook, Rick would be still on the street taking advantage of people!

Ben Kenion Editor’s Note: Ben Kenion can be contacted on our Facebook group ( by searching for his posts.

Bandits Rumbled through Camdenton

by Mitch Prentice from the Lake Sun

If you had been looking for your fix of classic cars, The Bandits brought it straight to you on June 28, 2019. Camdenton, Missouri was the host to a parade of Pontiac Trans Ams as they rumbled through town. The parade was in honor of Smokey and the Bandit.

The event began in Texas and went all the way to Kansas City, Missouri. With over 110 cars in attendance, it was hard to miss. John Kelsey, owner of Kelsey Tires in Camdenton, is one of the main reasons the group decided to make a stop in town. Kelsey’s museum is home to a number of rare and vintage automobiles.

The event is not only in honor of Smokey and the Bandit, but also to Burt Reynolds himself. Kelsey Tires supplied the tires on one of the vehicles Reynolds drove in the movie, and is one of the many claims to fame Kelsey enjoys.

The Bandits enjoyed this while in town, with buses shuttling drivers to and from Kelsey’s location on US-54. The drivers made their way to Camdenton Middle School and park at the building. Lunch was held for the group inside the building, with Kelsey and his wife hosting a number of memorabilia pieces inside the cafeteria. The public was welcomed to take pictures and see the cars as they came through, but it was not considered a public event.

Kelsey says that this group is important as they recognize a significant era in this vehicles history. He says that the era of Reynolds and Smokey and the Bandit was important to tire salesman and classic car lovers. Being a salesman at the time of its release, he says it’s a tribute to an era that is loved by many.

“For those of us who were active in that era and in the tire business, it set the tone for that car and was very important,” Kelsey said.

Kelsey Tires in Camdenton, Missouri and Smokey and the Bandit
Kelsey Tires in Camdenton, Missouri and Smokey and the Bandit

The Real Story Behind Pontiac’s Black and Gold Trans Am


This instantly recognizable package is more than just a movie car.

The 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit may have immortalized the black-and-gold Pontiac Trans Am, but this special edition model was actually created by GM design boss Bill Mitchell to celebrate Pontiac’s 50-year anniversary in 1976. These cars were designated with the Y82 RPO code, and they featured the iconic black paint job with gold accents including gold pin striping, gold grille, gold wheels and, of course, the gold Screaming Chicken decal on the hood. The Y82 Trans Ams were built in low volume from 1976 through 1978, but this “Bandit” paint job carried on (under various other RPO codes) through the second-gen Firebird’s final year in 1981.

In 1977, the Y82 code represented only the examples with t-tops, while the hardtops showed Y81 on the build sheet. Compared to the more than 15,000 Y82/Y81 Trans Ams built in ‘77, the 1978 model year saw this number drop down to just 3,643, and t-tops were also added as standard equipment with this package. With the Firebird’s 1979 redesign, the RPO code was changed to Y84 for the car’s final three years of production.

Here are two excellent examples of the Y82 Trans Am, and both are available through Carolina Muscle Cars for $75,000 each. 1976 Pontiac Trans Am Y82 Limited Edition

Only 2,590 examples of the 1976 Pontiac Trans Am Y82 50th Anniversary Limited Edition were ever built, and only 319 were built with the 455 H.O. engine and without the available Hurst t-tops. The 1976 model year was the last year for the 455 CID V8, and it was paired to a four-speed manual. This particular ‘76 Y82 is a numbers-matching car with a factory-original interior and a restored exterior including new paint and graphics. This Y82 Limited Edition is spotless and ready to show, and it comes with documentation from Pontiac Historical Services, original build sheet, ownership history and more. 1977 Pontiac Trans Am Y82 Special Edition

The popularity of Smokey and the Bandit led Pontiac to increase production of the Trans Am Special Edition to more than 15,000 units offered with a 400 CID or Oldsmobile 403 CID V8, and this Y82 is just one of 3,760 equipped with the W72 high-performance 400 CID V8 engine and an automatic transmission. This, too, is a numbers-matching Trans Am that was fully restored including all-new body panels and an all-new interior, and it also comes with the factory build sheets.

Black and gold Trans Ams are everywhere these days, but if you want a true Y82 Trans Am, contact Carolina Muscle Cars for more information on either of these rare and immaculate Pontiacs.