So I guess this is my Trans Am build thread now...

RecklessWOT

Full Access Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2015
Posts
1,824
Reaction score
2,875
Location
New Hampshire
First Name
Kevin
Truck Year
1987
Truck Model
V10 Suburban Silverado
Engine Size
350 TBI
Ahh, I was pretty certain that if it came with the 301 Turbo it had to be newer than a '79. Regardless of which heads it has, a true 400 Pontiac should be plenty strong. The gold car I posted pics of has the 403 Olds/3 speed auto. That motor didn't have the power of the Pontiac 400 but still moves the old car pretty well. Tire smoking burnouts are effortless.

The rims are personal preference. The rims that came on most of the Turbo Trans Ams were wider than what you have and actually looked really good. They were also used on the Silver Anniversary Trans Ams in 1979. The rims on your car appear to be from the '77 T/A which would be correct for a Bandit replica. Most folks prefer the slightly wider rims on the '79, like the ones in my pic, but it depends on how "correct" you want this car to look.

FWIW, the original Bandit Trans Am had a completely different nose than your car. The Bandit car had the nose of a '77...but in reality was a '76 with the nose caps of the '77. They used pre-production cars for the movie and Pontiac fitted the new nose cap from the '77 to the '76 model cars just for that movie.

I am looking forward to following your progress on this project.
If I get ambitious enough it just may end up with '77-'78 bumpers, nose at least. But for now I'm gonna do it up as a '79, stickers are cheaper than bumpers lol. I'm not worried about being "correct" on anything, I just want to enjoy the car for what it is. It's not a collector car, not numbers matching on any parts whatsoever lol. But only time will tell where I take it. For now honestly I haven't touched it since I got it, I start it up once in a while and that's about it. Real life is a b!tch- too much to do and not enough time for any of it. Hopefully by the spring I will have more time to work on it. Until then it just sits in the garage getting dusty.

That gold '79 is really nice BTW. Is that your car, or is it a buddy's car or something?
 
Last edited:

Redfish

Full Access Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2021
Posts
304
Reaction score
906
Location
Prairieville, LA
First Name
Andrew
Truck Year
1987
Truck Model
V1500
Engine Size
350/5.7
I can fully relate to Real Life getting in the way of Important Stuff.

The gold '79 belongs to my Favorite Ex-Brother-In-Law. He and I are very close friends, he is my son's Godfather. When he was in high school in the mid '80s he had a gold '78 with the Pontiac 400 with an automatic. That car had a few modifications to bump up the power and a shift kit so it was considerably faster than this all stock '79. He bought this car about 3 years ago with just under 12K documented miles. This car is almost perfect and now has about 14K miles.

I always loved the late '70s Trans Am but never had a chance to actually drive one until we got this one. Since I had to drive it to some local car shows and show it, I had to learn more about it. I had to educate myself on this car as well as the years immediately before and after it. It attracts a lot of attention and when folks see the interior and look under the hood they are amazed. This car even has the original uninflated spare tire with the CO2 cartridge.

He also has a superb '68 Camaro SS and his girlfriend has a very nice '73 Bronco. My '87 GMC is nowhere near as nice or as valuable as his stuff but mine is a lot more useful! The old Square Body always has a bed full of stuff for other folks when we go to a show.
 

Attachments

  • Truck and Bronco.jpg
    Truck and Bronco.jpg
    195.8 KB · Views: 43

AuroraGirl

Full Access Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Posts
7,794
Reaction score
4,431
Location
Northern Wisconsin
First Name
Taylor
Truck Year
1978, 1980
Truck Model
K10, K25
Engine Size
400(?), 350
Ahh, I was pretty certain that if it came with the 301 Turbo it had to be newer than a '79. Regardless of which heads it has, a true 400 Pontiac should be plenty strong. The gold car I posted pics of has the 403 Olds/3 speed auto. That motor didn't have the power of the Pontiac 400 but still moves the old car pretty well. Tire smoking burnouts are effortless.

The rims are personal preference. The rims that came on most of the Turbo Trans Ams were wider than what you have and actually looked really good. They were also used on the Silver Anniversary Trans Ams in 1979. The rims on your car appear to be from the '77 T/A which would be correct for a Bandit replica. Most folks prefer the slightly wider rims on the '79, like the ones in my pic, but it depends on how "correct" you want this car to look.

FWIW, the original Bandit Trans Am had a completely different nose than your car. The Bandit car had the nose of a '77...but in reality was a '76 with the nose caps of the '77. They used pre-production cars for the movie and Pontiac fitted the new nose cap from the '77 to the '76 model cars just for that movie.

I am looking forward to following your progress on this project.
there were un-strong 400's. I believe 75 was a cutoff for weak blocks and im unsure which side of that my 400 falls in.
I dont rememebrr if it was just 75 or if it spanned previous or after, but there was a time of bad blocks in 75 is all i rememeber reading
 

AuroraGirl

Full Access Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Posts
7,794
Reaction score
4,431
Location
Northern Wisconsin
First Name
Taylor
Truck Year
1978, 1980
Truck Model
K10, K25
Engine Size
400(?), 350
nvm I just googled and found this:

And contrary to what you might have heard about pontiac blocks, even the lowly 500557 400 block can be built to take around 450-500 hp, although I wouldn't stroke, squeeze, or use a blower on it due to the weaker main saddles.

It was said by someone who seemingly has block casting numbers in memory i will trust their judgement
 

Redfish

Full Access Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2021
Posts
304
Reaction score
906
Location
Prairieville, LA
First Name
Andrew
Truck Year
1987
Truck Model
V1500
Engine Size
350/5.7
I am no expert on Pontiac engines so I cannot say for sure which years are "weak". I can say that all of the 400 Pontiac motors in the '70s era Trans Ams had significantly more horsepower than the 403 Oldsmobile engine that was used in the '79 model. The 403 has enough bottom end torque to be a lot of fun even by today's standards but the 400 had plenty of torque as well.

You must be registered for see images attach
 

RecklessWOT

Full Access Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2015
Posts
1,824
Reaction score
2,875
Location
New Hampshire
First Name
Kevin
Truck Year
1987
Truck Model
V10 Suburban Silverado
Engine Size
350 TBI
there were un-strong 400's. I believe 75 was a cutoff for weak blocks and im unsure which side of that my 400 falls in.
I dont rememebrr if it was just 75 or if it spanned previous or after, but there was a time of bad blocks in 75 is all i rememeber reading
late '75 and up had the weak thin wall blocks with the exceptions being cop cars and some trans ams. The casting number for the strong blocks end in 988 and the weaker ones end in 557

Edit: just saw this:
nvm I just googled and found this:

And contrary to what you might have heard about pontiac blocks, even the lowly 500557 400 block can be built to take around 450-500 hp, although I wouldn't stroke, squeeze, or use a blower on it due to the weaker main saddles.

It was said by someone who seemingly has block casting numbers in memory i will trust their judgement
the 557 blocks weren't AWFUL but certainly couldn't handle the abuse the earlier thicker blocks could take, that's why they used the stronger ones in cop cars and some trans ams after the fact. Guaranteed I drive my wife's little Mazda harder than most cops drive their cruisers...
I remember seeing that post too. Maybe the block can withstand 450-500 if you build it just for the heck of it and open it up once in a while for a little bit (think old man with a brand new corvette). If you plan on beating it the way I plan to beat mine, you'll break the damn thing. They are substantially thinner castings and I even believe they have some voids in them.
 
Last edited:

RecklessWOT

Full Access Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2015
Posts
1,824
Reaction score
2,875
Location
New Hampshire
First Name
Kevin
Truck Year
1987
Truck Model
V10 Suburban Silverado
Engine Size
350 TBI
I am no expert on Pontiac engines so I cannot say for sure which years are "weak". I can say that all of the 400 Pontiac motors in the '70s era Trans Ams had significantly more horsepower than the 403 Oldsmobile engine that was used in the '79 model. The 403 has enough bottom end torque to be a lot of fun even by today's standards but the 400 had plenty of torque as well.

You must be registered for see images attach
the 400 and 403 had very similar torque ratings in those years, we're talking a difference of maybe 10 lb-ft. Horsepower was the difference, the 400 put out somewhat noticeably more horsepower (not blow your doors off more, but enough to count). 400s were mated to manual transmissions and 403s were behind the autos. In an automatic you wouldn't be able to feel much of a difference just by nature, still plenty of grunt. But if you try to build one up for more power, not only are there less options available for the 403, they also had "windowed" (hollow) castings where the main bearings are so they are prone to catastrophic failure if you push it too hard. Stock for stock both are fine, but you can't build a 403 into a fire breathing monster.
 

Redfish

Full Access Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2021
Posts
304
Reaction score
906
Location
Prairieville, LA
First Name
Andrew
Truck Year
1987
Truck Model
V1500
Engine Size
350/5.7
the 400 and 403 had very similar torque ratings in those years, we're talking a difference of maybe 10 lb-ft. Horsepower was the difference, the 400 put out somewhat noticeably more horsepower (not blow your doors off more, but enough to count). 400s were mated to manual transmissions and 403s were behind the autos. In an automatic you wouldn't be able to feel much of a difference just by nature, still plenty of grunt. But if you try to build one up for more power, not only are there less options available for the 403, they also had "windowed" (hollow) castings where the main bearings are so they are prone to catastrophic failure if you push it too hard. Stock for stock both are fine, but you can't build a 403 into a fire breathing monster.
The 403 Olds was the only engine available with the TH350 3 speed automatic for the 1979 Trans Am. They still used the 400 Pontiac engine in front of the 4 speed manual. Pontiac started using the 403 Olds in 1977 to satisfy emissions requirements in high altitude states and California because the 400 Pontiac would not. I know for certain that through the 1978 model Pontiac was still using the 400 Pontiac for both the 4 speed manual and the 3 speed automatic.

1976 was the final year for the 455 and in 1977 Pontiac started using both the Oldsmobile and the Chevrolet 350s for the lower level Firebirds along with the 301 Pontiac.

The decal on the fake hood scoop for 1979 will tell you if it has the 403 Olds. If it says "6.6 Liter" that is the Oldsmobile. If it says "TA/6.6" that is the Pontiac 400.
 

RecklessWOT

Full Access Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2015
Posts
1,824
Reaction score
2,875
Location
New Hampshire
First Name
Kevin
Truck Year
1987
Truck Model
V10 Suburban Silverado
Engine Size
350 TBI
The 403 Olds was the only engine available with the TH350 3 speed automatic for the 1979 Trans Am. They still used the 400 Pontiac engine in front of the 4 speed manual. Pontiac started using the 403 Olds in 1977 to satisfy emissions requirements in high altitude states and California because the 400 Pontiac would not. I know for certain that through the 1978 model Pontiac was still using the 400 Pontiac for both the 4 speed manual and the 3 speed automatic.

1976 was the final year for the 455 and in 1977 Pontiac started using both the Oldsmobile and the Chevrolet 350s for the lower level Firebirds along with the 301 Pontiac.

The decal on the fake hood scoop for 1979 will tell you if it has the 403 Olds. If it says "6.6 Liter" that is the Oldsmobile. If it says "TA/6.6" that is the Pontiac 400.
Yep, pretty much sums it up. Though I wouldn't go by stickers nowadays, it would be so easy for someone to slap the wrong sticker on there when doing a restoration. Though stock for stock you are correct. Take my car for example, shaker hood says obviously not an '81, but hey surprise it's been changed! Not like I tell people it's an '81 in real life lol I'm plenty happy letting them think it's a '79. But yeah when it comes to the decals, I also can put anything I choose on there. The two engines look very different though, just pop the hood and you can easily tell if it's a Pontiac or Olds or hell even a Chevy engine in there.
 

AuroraGirl

Full Access Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Posts
7,794
Reaction score
4,431
Location
Northern Wisconsin
First Name
Taylor
Truck Year
1978, 1980
Truck Model
K10, K25
Engine Size
400(?), 350
the 400 and 403 had very similar torque ratings in those years, we're talking a difference of maybe 10 lb-ft. Horsepower was the difference, the 400 put out somewhat noticeably more horsepower (not blow your doors off more, but enough to count). 400s were mated to manual transmissions and 403s were behind the autos. In an automatic you wouldn't be able to feel much of a difference just by nature, still plenty of grunt. But if you try to build one up for more power, not only are there less options available for the 403, they also had "windowed" (hollow) castings where the main bearings are so they are prone to catastrophic failure if you push it too hard. Stock for stock both are fine, but you can't build a 403 into a fire breathing monster.
my 400 is mated to a th400 and has a 2jet

quite the tire rotator i tell ya(Ive never seen it run either lol so I guess I cant tell ya)
 

Redfish

Full Access Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2021
Posts
304
Reaction score
906
Location
Prairieville, LA
First Name
Andrew
Truck Year
1987
Truck Model
V1500
Engine Size
350/5.7
Most of the mid-'70s Camaros (NOT the Z-28) came with a 305 with a 2 barrel and 150 screaming horsepower. Truly a sad time for automobiles in general.
 

AuroraGirl

Full Access Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2019
Posts
7,794
Reaction score
4,431
Location
Northern Wisconsin
First Name
Taylor
Truck Year
1978, 1980
Truck Model
K10, K25
Engine Size
400(?), 350
Most of the mid-'70s Camaros (NOT the Z-28) came with a 305 with a 2 barrel and 150 screaming horsepower. Truly a sad time for automobiles in general.
They had some of the most beautiful, some of the largest, some of the most Americana boats of all time, but the power was definitely a low time.
 

Redfish

Full Access Member
Joined
Nov 6, 2021
Posts
304
Reaction score
906
Location
Prairieville, LA
First Name
Andrew
Truck Year
1987
Truck Model
V1500
Engine Size
350/5.7
I was helping the favorite ex-brother-in-law with some things this evening and since his Trans Am was parked right there I snapped a few pics of the interior and he sent me a pic of the engine bay from when he bought the car. I cannot explain how much emphasis folks put on the OE stereo with the 8 track player in this car. We learned at the first car show that this was a Big Deal and we make sure we showcase it every time we show this car now.

I hope these pics help @RecklessWOT get back into restoration mode, I am anxious to see how this old Pontiac turns out.

You must be registered for see images attach


You must be registered for see images attach


You must be registered for see images attach
 

RecklessWOT

Full Access Member
Joined
Feb 20, 2015
Posts
1,824
Reaction score
2,875
Location
New Hampshire
First Name
Kevin
Truck Year
1987
Truck Model
V10 Suburban Silverado
Engine Size
350 TBI
I was helping the favorite ex-brother-in-law with some things this evening and since his Trans Am was parked right there I snapped a few pics of the interior and he sent me a pic of the engine bay from when he bought the car. I cannot explain how much emphasis folks put on the OE stereo with the 8 track player in this car. We learned at the first car show that this was a Big Deal and we make sure we showcase it every time we show this car now.

I hope these pics help @RecklessWOT get back into restoration mode, I am anxious to see how this old Pontiac turns out.

You must be registered for see images attach


You must be registered for see images attach


You must be registered for see images attach
Man I wish my car were anywhere near that far put together. One day. It's gonna be really slow progress, but we'll get there...
 

gotyourgoat

Full Access Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
Posts
2,117
Reaction score
3,249
Location
NRV Virginia
First Name
gotyourgoat
Truck Year
1984
Truck Model
c10
Engine Size
smokin' 305
I was helping the favorite ex-brother-in-law with some things this evening and since his Trans Am was parked right there I snapped a few pics of the interior and he sent me a pic of the engine bay from when he bought the car. I cannot explain how much emphasis folks put on the OE stereo with the 8 track player in this car. We learned at the first car show that this was a Big Deal and we make sure we showcase it every time we show this car now.

I hope these pics help @RecklessWOT get back into restoration mode, I am anxious to see how this old Pontiac turns out.

You must be registered for see images attach


You must be registered for see images attach


You must be registered for see images attach
Nice 8-track selection.:cheers:
 

Latest posts

Forum statistics

Threads
36,142
Posts
763,447
Members
25,273
Latest member
juliannv07
Top