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1980 Trans Am Pace Car Barn Find


dl4839
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Hello Everybody,

This is my first post!! I own a 2002 Firebird. I have a chance to buy a Canadian 1980 Pace Car w/350?? My question...It needs work, has been sitting in a garage for years (approximately 10), but a 350/5.7 engine? (Or so the owner says) Either way, what is a good offer price for this car? There is a little rust on the wheel wells, as well as some of the rocker panels, interior is in bad shape. Other than that, it is a complete car. Owner says it will run & drive, or so it did when he parked it. I'm a little concerned about the "350" engine. It is buried under a pile of old clothes, misc., but I believe I saw what was a "5.7" factory sticker somewhere on the car, either on the hood or front rocker panel? It has both Indy & Daytona Markings as well. Any info would be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks for adding me to the club!

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Yes. I have seen it in person. We haven't started yet because we have to move it from under all the junk on top of it. Also, I want to start it up correctly with it sitting for so long (i.e.,  change out gas, pull plugs & lubricate cylinders, etc.). If it starts & drives, I will know more about it's mechanical condition & then be able to give an honest offer. It is a friend of mine, so want to give him  a fair offer for both of us. I am more worried about the "5.7" markings or "350" engine. I will know the instant I open the hood. Thanks for your input.

P.S. I have $2k in mind if it runs.

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I am concerned about the "350" engine period. If this is a true factory edition 1980 Trans Am Indy Pace car, then it would have come with the 4.9L 301 turbo charged Pontiac V8 (it would be one of 5,700 made). So beware of it being a cloned Pace Car. Look for original documentation. If this was a non-Pace Car edition Trans Am or Firebird, then a Chevy 305 could have been optioned. Regardless, a 350 V8 was never an option in 1980 for the Trans Am or Firebird. The Pontiac 301 naturally aspirated, 301 turbo, and 305 Chevy were it for 1980. So off the bat I think you are dealing with a non-numbers matching car, which should bring the price down. If there is 5.7 or 350 badging, it is non-original. If it is a Chevy small-block under the hood, then verify if it is a 350 vs. 305.

Now I am not putting down the 350. If this was 305 car to begin with, I can see why someone would want to swap it out since it was a rather anemic engine even in it's day. Also if this was a 301 car, same reason, the 301s were not known for making much power nor has the aftermarket ever embraced it - for a lot of good reasons. It's only now that some aftermarket people are making some respectable power with the 301 turbo but they concede it will never rival most other V8 engines on the market.

I advise caution with your wallet. If the car is in good shape as you say, $2K might not be a bad offer - but you may have to look at it as a Trans Am or as a Firebird - made to look like a Pace Car, unless the owner has proof that this car is an original 1 of 5,700 Pace Cars. If the motor isn't original, the price should also go down.

Edited by Frosty
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The way to positively.....ID a 1980 pace car.....The second digit in the VIN....Will be an X....

2W87TAN100001

2= Pontiac

2nd digit=Firebird body series (S= base...T= Esprit.....U= Formula...W= Trans Am....X= Indy Pace car)...

87 = 2 door coupe...

T= engine code...(A=3.8....W= 4.9....Y= 4.9....T= 4.9 turbo....H = 5.0)...

A= model year...1980..

N = Assembly plant...(N= Norwood....L = Van Nuys

100001= sequence number...

The 4.9 turbo charged engine was NOT Available in California.....and used one of the other two 4.9s...( One of the 4.9s and the 4.9 turbo were 49 state engines....and the other one was used in California only.... Not sure which one is which )...It's possible but unlikely that the 5.0 (LG4) could have been used in California pace cars also.....There were no manual transmission.... Firebirds and/ or Trans Ams made in1980....

The pace car decals..... Indy or ( Daytona 1981).....Came separately in the trunk....With the cars and could be dealer installed....If so desired by the owner....

Hope this helps you out.....Welcome to the site...

Edited by TWO LANE BLACK TOP
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12 hours ago, Frosty said:

I am concerned about the "350" engine period. If this is a true factory edition 1980 Trans Am Indy Pace car, then it would have come with the 4.9L 301 turbo charged Pontiac V8 (it would be one of 5,700 made). So beware of it being a cloned Pace Car. Look for original documentation. If this was a non-Pace Car edition Trans Am or Firebird, then a Chevy 305 could have been optioned. Regardless, a 350 V8 was never an option in 1980 for the Trans Am or Firebird. The Pontiac 301 naturally aspirated, 301 turbo, and 305 Chevy were it for 1980. So off the bat I think you are dealing with a non-numbers matching car, which should bring the price down. If there is 5.7 or 350 badging, it is non-original. If it is a Chevy small-block under the hood, then verify if it is a 350 vs. 305.

Now I am not putting down the 350. If this was 305 car to begin with, I can see why someone would want to swap it out since it was a rather anemic engine even in it's day. Also if this was a 301 car, same reason, the 301s were not known for making much power nor has the aftermarket ever embraced it - for a lot of good reasons. It's only now that some aftermarket people are making some respectable power with the 301 turbo but they concede it will never rival most other V8 engines on the market.

I advise caution with your wallet. If the car is in good shape as you say, $2K might not be a bad offer - but you may have to look at it as a Trans Am or as a Firebird - made to look like a Pace Car, unless the owner has proof that this car is an original 1 of 5,700 Pace Cars. If the motor isn't original, the price should also go down.

Thank you for the great advice. My friend is not a "car guy", so I am just hoping he might be mistaken ( along with my old eyes in "seeing" a "5.7" badging.) LOL.  Regardless, I have heard  negative stories about the "weak" 301, but most people don't realize this was the beginning years of the death of the Muscle Car Era due to emission control requirements, etc. Sad that it had to happen. I will keep everyone posted as to the results discovered this coming weekend. Thanks again for the help!!

 

59 minutes ago, TWO LANE BLACK TOP said:

The way to positively.....ID a 1980 pace car.....The second digit in the VIN....Will be an X....

2W87TAN100001

2= Pontiac

2nd digit=Firebird body series (S= base...T= Esprit.....U= Formula...W= Trans Am....X= Indy Pace car)...

87 = 2 door coupe...

T= engine code...(A=3.8....W= 4.9....Y= 4.9....T= 4.9 turbo....H = 5.0)...

A= model year...1980..

N = Assembly plant...(N= Norwood....L = Van Nuys

100001= sequence number...

The 4.9 turbo charged engine was NOT Available in California.....and used one of the other two 4.9s...( One of the 4.9s and the 4.9 turbo were 49 state engines....and the other one was used in California only.... Not sure which one is which )...It's possible but unlikely that the 5.0 (LG4) could have been used in California cars also.....There were no manual transmission.... Firebirds and/ or Trans Ams made in1980....

The pace car decals..... Indy or Daytona (Depending which one was ordered).....Came separately in the trunk....With the cars and could be dealer installed....If so desired by the owner....

Hope this helps you out.....Welcome to the site...

Thank you for the good info. I will definitely have this with me when I look at the car closer this weekend (And look @ the title as well). I appreciate all of your research & sharing it!! I will keep you posted. Thanks again for all of your effort.

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