Discovering the All-Original, Unmolested 1981 Pontiac Trans Am Sleeping in the Bushes


While turbochargers are now a fairly common way to squeeze more power from a small engine, this approach was still in its early days in the late ‘70s.

Due to the crisis that wreaked havoc in the automotive industry and forced carmakers to go for more economical engines, the appetite for performance more or less slowed down.

However, a car like the Trans Am made little sense with a small engine, and Pontiac knew this very well. The company dropped the 400 (6.6-liter) V8 in 1979, so something had to be done to provide customers with a healthy dose of adrenaline behind the wheel.

The GM brand needed only a year and a half to come up with a replacement. The 301 (4.9-liter) V8 was upgraded with a Garrett TBO-305 turbocharger that eventually pushed the maximum output to 210 horsepower. More than enough considering the 220-horsepower rating of the big-block it was supposed to replace.

One of the Trans Ams that were born with a turbo engine under the hood is right here looking for a new home. The provided photos clearly show the vehicle doesn’t come in the best shape, and the one responsible for the whole thing is a long tenure under the clear sky.

This 1981 Trans Am has been sleeping outside for approximately 15 years, and professional restorers can already figure out where this is going. A long sleep in direct sunlight and heavy rain, especially when surrounded by vegetation, leads to rust damage.

Rust is car cancer, so make sure you inspect every little inch of metal thoroughly just to make sure it can still be saved.

The owner says you’ll find occasional rust on the body, but few specifics have been shared.

The turbocharged engine is the piece de resistance on this Trans Am. As it turns out, the 4.9-liter still worked properly 15 years ago, but its current condition is unknown. As such, an inspection under the hood is required as well, though chances are a professional mechanic would be able to get it up and running quite fast.

The owner guarantees the Trans Am is entirely original and unmolested, so in theory, all the parts to get the car back on its wheels are still there.

Obviously, it all depends on their condition as well, but otherwise, this Trans Am looks ready for another chance to get back on the road as soon as possible.

Seller grummanironworks listed the car on eBay as part of a no-reserve auction, so the top bidder will take the car home. The number one offer right now is $3,000, and the digital fight for the turbo Trans Am is projected to come to an end in a little over three days.

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