Pick of the Day: 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am in rare yellow

The low-mileage coupe is a Bandit model in original well-preserved condition

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This Pontiac Firebird Trans Am is a Bandit of a different color

The Bandit was black with gold trim, as everybody knows, in the adventure comedy Smokey and the Bandit starring Burt Reynolds in the role that cemented celebrity fame for him and the 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.

Seeing a great thing happening, Pontiac was quick to issue a Bandit Edition of its swoopy Trans Am, with as much performance as it could muster in that difficult time. 


The Pick of the Day is a 1978 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Bandit Edition, essentially similar to the movie car except for one obvious difference.  This one is yellow.  Not quite lemon yellow or taxicab yellow, more of a pale primrose. Yet the Trans Am still manages to look mucho macho.

“The Yellow paint color is exceptionally rare and waiting for the right person to appreciate it as it was only produced for 45 days due to its unpopularity as black was in demand,” according to the O’Fallon, Illinois, dealer advertising the Bandit on ClassicCars.com.

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The Trans Am is described as an original matching-numbers car driven just 30,502 miles, with a recently rebuilt automatic transmission.  While the V8 engine measures a brawny 6.6 liters, the output is just under 200 horsepower, although with more than 300 pound-feet of torque emanating from all that rotating mass.

RELATED:  Pick of the Day: 1980 Porsche 924 Turbo, an underrated sports coupe

The Trans Am looks very presentable in the photos with the ad, with the golden screaming eagle emblazoned on its shaker hood and all the spoilers, scoops, emblems and gold snowflake alloy wheels that go with the package.  Nothing subtle here, but highly emblematic of the era. 

trans am

“The exterior is in perfect driver-quality condition for you to go have fun in,” the seller says.

The Trans Am comes fully equipped with air conditioning, power options and an AM/FM audio system, presumably original.  The seller describes the interior as “black vinyl,” but from the photos, it’s clearly tan with velour seat surfaces.  The sport steering wheel is black, though, and looks very cool.

trans am

The asking price of $32,000 seems fair considering the car’s low mileage, originality and condition.  Perhaps not everybody’s vision of a Bandit Trans Am, but different enough to be totally cool on its own merits.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

17 COMMENTS

    • Well, Mr. Different, I agree. I didn’t know about the short run of color, an interesting tidbit probably why I’ve never seen it in the wild.

  1. There is no such thing as a Bandit Edition Trans Am, and the car is the movie was not named Bandit. Bandit was Burt Reynolds’ character’s CB radio handle.

    The car in the movie was a 1977 Trans Am Special Edition.

  2. Well it’s a beautiful car and Pontiac may not have had a bandit edition but society is made it a banded edition when you see these cars you automatically think bandit

  3. interested Pontiac Firebird Trams Am in rare Yellow This Price is immovable because if I like the car but I want someone very professional to paint it black

  4. I owned a 1976 T/A in Yellow/tan. Always liked yellow cars. Don’t see too many anymore. ’78 was an awful year for the T/A. IMO it’s overpriced by 6 or 7 grand. It’s worth 25 if it’s in great running condition.

    • Absolutely overpriced. They are going for around 15k-18k at Mecum. Only ones selling for that kind of money where owned by Reynolds himself. Which you would find at the over priced unrealistic auction prices if Barrett – Jackson. I bought s used one back in the 90’s ..mint black SE with the terrible Hurst leaking T – Tops for $3,500.00…..

  5. I have had a 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am the same yellow color(or very close) for about 35 years. Car and Driver had a yellow car with a red bird(i think) on the front cover one month in late 1978 or 1979. T/A 6.6 Pontiac motors installed in 1979 Trans Ams and Formulas were leftover engines from 1978. All those Pontiac equipped motors only came with borg warner super T-10 4 speeds in 1979. I did see a 1980 Trans Am that had a Pontiac T/A 6.6 installed from the factory. If i hadn’t seen it myself i wouldn’t have believed it.

  6. The Trans Am’s name in the movie was “Trigger.” Also, I read somewhere that the cars were actually 1976 SE Trans Ams with the 1977 nose. According to the source, the 1977 Trans Ams were not ready when the filming started.

  7. As stated there was no “Bandit Edition” only the SE (black only) which all had gold turned dashes and special gold lettering so this yellow TA is nothing special other than a rare color. In 1979 they did offer 2 color schemes of the SE, black/gold and gold/black.

  8. I had a 78 TA with ta6.6 and 4 speed factory rated it at 220hp, wonder why this one is under 200.
    Funny thing about mine no AC, no power dl, pw, and no Tbars, llus no bird on the hood. I did get a custom plate 78TA.

    • I am the owner. The dealer made a mistake. It is 220 hp with the W72 motor. I bel;eive they’ve corrected it in their advertisement.

  9. NO WAY this car is worth that kind of money. By ’78 most cars were slugs, and 40+ years later not very collectable. A Trans-Am under 200hp without the T-Top in a rare but unpopular color for 35 grand? Never.

  10. I have a 1977 trans am with 38000 original milesblackwith factory TTops . Auto/ 400 ..6.6 . Hasn’t run since 1987 been garage kept undercover. Whats it worth.

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