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Value of 78 Trans Am, 53K miles.

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Value of 78 Trans Am, 53K miles.

Old 07-26-2020, 03:56 PM
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Default Value of 78 Trans Am, 53K miles.

Checked out a 78 TransAm yesterday. Originally red but was repainted black about 30 years ago. Almost no rust, a little on the bottom of the doors but rockers are solid. Car has been stored inside for the past 30 years and only started occasionally....I don't know what that means. It started up just fine but a pretty good cloud of smoke at first start up, likely that is because of it sitting, or that's what I was thinking. Numbers matching and mileage I know is actual, never been wrecked or any body damage. It has the 400CI not the 403CI engine.

Interior in near perfect condition, no T-Tops which is almost a deal breaker because I really want T-Tops but if I can get this car for a good price I am going to buy it. It's an automatic but I would prefer a 4 speed so it's not exactly what I want. The car was bought new and has only had 1 owner, now it's part of a family estate and owned by family members. The car has never been up for sale and I have tried to buy it for the past 20 years from the old man that owned it but he never wanted to sell it. Now that it's owned by the family they want the full appraised value for it. It needs a new paint job for sure, I'm sure anything rubber will need to be replaced and the engine gone through. I looked on Hagerty and in good condition the car is valued at almost $20K which is more than I want to pay for it. I don't know who is going to appraise the cars value or if they are just going to use an online appraisal value.

My plan is to buy it and have anything replaced that needs replaced, obviously a new paint job. It doesn't need a frame off restoration so I'm thinking about $8K to turn the car to excellent condition. I plan on keeping it for a few years and then flipping it because the value of these cars are going up every year. Looking for any advice or suggestions on what is a good purchase cost for the car.
Old 07-26-2020, 04:15 PM
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"Almost no rust", blowing smoke, automatic, no T tops, I wouldn't go over $10K
Old 07-26-2020, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Barefoot View Post
"Almost no rust", blowing smoke, automatic, no T tops, I wouldn't go over $10K
plus if the OP is going to flip it then to get the best value I feel it needs to be the proper factory color (red) even if black is probably more desirable than red in that model of car because the Bandit car was black.....but factory color will probably win out on top value

depending on how the color change was done in the past that could be very expensive along with rust repair

numbers matching does help some because American collector cars are all worth more with numbers matching while for Euro cars that often matters less and 78 Trans Ams are going to have a lot of blown and replaced motors in their history so numbers matching is much more rare
Old 07-26-2020, 04:31 PM
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No idea on the value but when a engine smokes on startup it's usually a sign that the valve stem seals are going, check all the body panels with a small magnet, I don't know how many times on the car shows on TV I've seen them send out supposedly pristine car body's to be paint stripped come back rust buckets.
Old 07-26-2020, 04:32 PM
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Going to take a lot more than 8k to restore it if you also want to include a quality paint job

Everything from engine mounts to all rubber/weatherstripping as you mentioned - Suspension bushings - Radiator re-coring - all hoses - Gas tank cleaning - All belts - Brake-lines - Brakes all around - I could go on and on but this is not a one and done deal - A lot involved Russ

Plus for you is that the interior is decent - I would proceed with caution & pay to have a mechanic to help you evaluate it

Good luck if you go for it
Old 07-26-2020, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Barefoot View Post
"Almost no rust", blowing smoke, automatic, no T tops, I wouldn't go over $10K
Agreed.

Not sure I would even want it with those negatives, but it's his money.

Good luck, Russ. I hope it works out for you.




Old 07-26-2020, 04:38 PM
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I have no idea on the car, but did have something that I, at least, thought was funny.

I clicked on the post without looking to see who posted it, and started reading. By the time I got to "It's an automatic but I would prefer a 4 speed so it's not exactly what I want.", I said to myself, "I bet this is Russ." Sure as hell. Apparently my brain has learned to identify a Russ post just from reading it; don't know if it's writing style, or content. I think what hit me is that the car has the wrong transmission, and the wrong roof, but you're gonna buy it anyway.

Don't misinterpret me; I do not mean this in any negative way whatsoever, and I have to say I get a lot of enjoyment and entertainment from your eclectic posts. Just thought it funny that apparently an AI could read THT and pick out Russ's posts.

Oh, by the way, we once bought a 1983 25th Anniversary Trans Am with the 305 CI Cross-Fire fuel injection, T-tops, 4-wheel disc brakes (not so common then), cold air intake, factory leather Recaros. Mint condition, 12,000 miles. This was in 1990 or so. Paid $7,000. Old man who collected GM muscle cars died, wife kept the mint 6-pack GTO because it had 4 doors, sold the rest.

That car was fun to drive, but an absolute POS. Some design genius thought aluminum wiring to the rear of the car was a good idea; every so often, the connector from copper to aluminum would corrode enough so that the fuel pump would quit, usually half-way through an intersection. We learned that if you gave a good kick to the trim panel below the dash in front of the driver's door, you could rattle the connector enough to get it going again.

The end of the car was when some d-bag tried to pry up one of the T-tops to steal all the valuable gum wrappers and gas receipts we kept in the thing. No matter the repair, the car was never watertight again.

IMHO, cars from that era were garbage.
Old 07-26-2020, 05:02 PM
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Late 70's, early 80's American cars were a big disappointment IMO.
Old 07-26-2020, 05:26 PM
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If you drop 8k for that rust bucket your 7k to high.

At some point Russ, if your even asking you should run away!!


John
Old 07-26-2020, 05:41 PM
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A good friend and my realtor has this in his garage. He bought it brand new in high school. The car has 10,546 miles on it and has been in a garage the whole time. He has the sticker and the interior looks like it did when he took delivery. We have been negotiating for a while..lol






Old 07-26-2020, 05:49 PM
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At the end of the day it's still just a late 70's TA.
So....not sure how many $ you have in your eyes when it comes to flippin' it...IMO gotta be real careful of you want to even come close to breaking even.

The 400 had 2x flavors in the late 70's. An underwhelming 180hp for the common models, and an option for a...err..."so called" performance version with still a yawn inspiring 220 hp.
74 would be the last year that would catch my eye...if it had the SD455 engine. Nuttin' after that...at all.
Old 07-26-2020, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Vantaredoc View Post
A good friend and my realtor has this in his garage. He bought it brand new in high school. The car has 10,546 miles on it and has been in a garage the whole time. He has the sticker and the interior looks like it did when he took delivery. We have been negotiating for a while..lol






not a great example. It is a 79 and has the olds 403 in it. Judging by rims it is also missing the desired wS06 suspension package. Nice car but not a desired version.
Old 07-26-2020, 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by RussH View Post
Checked out a 78 TransAm yesterday. Originally red but was repainted black about 30 years ago. Almost no rust, a little on the bottom of the doors but rockers are solid. Car has been stored inside for the past 30 years and only started occasionally....I don't know what that means. It started up just fine but a pretty good cloud of smoke at first start up, likely that is because of it sitting, or that's what I was thinking. Numbers matching and mileage I know is actual, never been wrecked or any body damage. It has the 400CI not the 403CI engine.

Interior in near perfect condition, no T-Tops which is almost a deal breaker because I really want T-Tops but if I can get this car for a good price I am going to buy it. It's an automatic but I would prefer a 4 speed so it's not exactly what I want. The car was bought new and has only had 1 owner, now it's part of a family estate and owned by family members. The car has never been up for sale and I have tried to buy it for the past 20 years from the old man that owned it but he never wanted to sell it. Now that it's owned by the family they want the full appraised value for it. It needs a new paint job for sure, I'm sure anything rubber will need to be replaced and the engine gone through. I looked on Hagerty and in good condition the car is valued at almost $20K which is more than I want to pay for it. I don't know who is going to appraise the cars value or if they are just going to use an online appraisal value.

My plan is to buy it and have anything replaced that needs replaced, obviously a new paint job. It doesn't need a frame off restoration so I'm thinking about $8K to turn the car to excellent condition. I plan on keeping it for a few years and then flipping it because the value of these cars are going up every year. Looking for any advice or suggestions on what is a good purchase cost for the car.
Sounds like a solid car but it doesn't sound like a flipper. Mopars and Vettes are hot right now .....more out of pocket but your returns will be better.
Old 07-26-2020, 06:10 PM
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My uncle sold his 79 in 2015, yellow, t-top, 5 speed, Had a little rust, 70k miles, interior was nice. He offered it to me first. It just seemed like it always needed something. He sold it for 6k.
Old 07-26-2020, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by SHAMROCK69 View Post
not a great example. It is a 79 and has the olds 403 in it. Judging by rims it is also missing the desired wS06 suspension package. Nice car but not a desired version.
Why is not a “great example” or a desired version? With the low miles, original owner, garage kept, I will take it.

When I was a junior in high school, my mom screwed up my dream car (at the time). My uncle (her brother) agreed to sell me his 1976 TA black on black with 455/4 speed, 26000 miles! My dad was all in and my mom said no way! I have had many fast cars and trucks. My favorite so far was my 911tt’ that car was an animal! I would take a early 70’s Z28 or Chevelle 396 and that’s about it.
Old 07-26-2020, 06:49 PM
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Around $6000 - $7000
Old 07-26-2020, 07:02 PM
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Like that silver 6.6. Always loved the TA’s. Got an 88 GTA TA when I graduated from HS. Was a very sweet ride for an 18 year old. Had the TPI 5.7 and ran pretty well. Car sounded great. Hard to believe that was over 30 years ago.
Old 07-26-2020, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by haneyrm View Post
Like that silver 6.6. Always loved the TA’s. Got an 88 GTA TA when I graduated from HS. Was a very sweet ride for an 18 year old. Had the TPI 5.7 and ran pretty well. Car sounded great. Hard to believe that was over 30 years ago.
Yep. When I graduated I had a 72 Satellite Sebring Plus that someone put a 440 six pack on and 273 Dana rear! It was too fast for the suspension on the top end. I wound up with a 87 IROC Z with 5.7TPI. I loved that car!
Old 07-26-2020, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Vantaredoc View Post
Why is not a “great example” or a desired version? With the low miles, original owner, garage kept, I will take it.

When I was a junior in high school, my mom screwed up my dream car (at the time). My uncle (her brother) agreed to sell me his 1976 TA black on black with 455/4 speed, 26000 miles! My dad was all in and my mom said no way! I have had many fast cars and trucks. My favorite so far was my 911tt’ that car was an animal! I would take a early 70’s Z28 or Chevelle 396 and that’s about it.

by all means if the price is right go for it. Just be aware when you shop the ones bring top dollar have the Pontiac engine as the olds engine is just less desired. Not sure if it has to do with manual vs auto or what. Additionally the WS06 suspension brings a premium as well. So when buying pay accordingly.

the 76 is a faster car as it was pre emissions and the hood shaker scoop may have been functional that year.
Old 07-26-2020, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by WPBTH View Post
My uncle sold his 79 in 2015, yellow, t-top, 5 speed, Had a little rust, 70k miles, interior was nice. He offered it to me first. It just seemed like it always needed something. He sold it for 6k.

4 speed? No 5 speed in 79

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