CC Capsule: 1977 Pontiac Trans Am – Bandit to Me

Once there was a time when clapped out second-generation GM F-bodies were a common sight on the road. With over 2 million Camaros and 1 million Firebirds produced between 1970 and 1981, they were plentiful.  This in turn made them affordable: Cheap enough that any Bandit wannabe worth his mullet could afford a worn out second-hand example (and let’s be honest here, it was almost always a him). First generation F-bodies, in contrast, were never very common, at least not in my lifetime.


Unfortunately, over hunting has driven the herd to near extinction. Countless examples sacrificed their lives as shade-tree body and engine projects, which make today’s CC Capsule a dying breed.

Shot through the glass T-Top


1977, in my mind, was when we reached peak Trans Am. That was the model year of the Trans Am driven by Burt Reynolds in Smokey and the Bandit (OK it wasn’t. Little known fact – because the movie was filmed before the 1977 model year, Pontiac supplied 1976 models with prototype 1977 front clips).


Alas, 1977 was also peak malaise. The 400 cid V8 wheezed out a mere 180 HP (200HP in optional form), and struggled to reach 60 mph in less than 10 seconds. A modern Prius would likely give this car a run for its money at a stop light – that’s how slow these were.


Other than the color, this featured example is full-on Bandit: Screaming chicken on the hood, gold snow flake wheels, and glass T-Tops. The only things missing are a CB radio and Sally Field in a wedding dress. [Edit: Thanks to commenter XR7Matt for pointing out that these are likely aftermarket T-Tops].


Even more impressive, this example seems to be largely as it left the factory. There is not a bigfoot accelerator pedal, chain link steering wheel, or pistol grip shifter to be found anywhere. Not even so much as a bandana hanging from the inside mirror. It appears to be all original and complete, save for the missing radio and rhinoplasty on the front end. Externally, there are no signs of pop-riveted scoops or spoilers, or other ill-advised body modifications. Finding an unmolested Trans Am today will be akin finding an unmolested WRX 25 years from now.


Now if you’ll excuse, me I’m going to go find a Cowboy Hat.