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1979 Bandit Special Edition Trans Am

I have owned this car for over 9 years. The car stayed un-restored for the first 5-6 years that I owned it. I initially purchased this car from a truck driver that was going back home to Ohio. The car had approximately 75,000 original miles, and was basically in good shape. It had not been abused, but it had not been given the attention and TLC that it deserved.

The original paint was fading in spots, but otherwise in good condition. The black cloth interior was almost faded to white in some spots. The engine was all there and in good running condition. The transmission was making some bearing noise but shifted fine, the rear end was starting to whine and showed signs of needing new axle bearings.

I did not really know what I had, at that time I was not throughly familiar with Special Edition (Bandit) Trans Ams. I knew of their existence, but was not much aware of their rarity. Like most Trans Am "guys" I was very familiar with the 10th Anniversary Trans Ams, the HO and SD cars, but not well versed in bandit cars. The car was one of 1,107 S.E. TAs equipped with the 220hp L78/W72 Pontiac 400 (T/A 6.6) and the Borg-Wagner Super T-10 4spd transmission.

I seldom drove the car during the first 5 or 6 years that I owned it, and almost put it out of my mind. One day, while talking with my wife, I made a comment to the effect of "I think I am going to look for a project car". At that time, my very intuitive wife looked at me and casually stated: "you have the Bandit, why don't you restore it?". After letting my brain process that thought for a few seconds, I realized that my wife was right and that I had a project car right under my nose. After parking it in the garage for years, I guess I almost "forgot" about it!

From that point, the project took off and is still on-going. Over the next two years, work was done on the interior, engine compartment, the car was repainted, new decals and S.E. stripes were put on, the transmission was rebuilt, and the rear axles and bearing were replaced. All the weatherstriping was replaced in addition to many other "little" things and details that made the car what it is now. Most of the work was performed by my wife and I, the paint and transmission were farmed out. In the next few pages I will show you pictures of the car from the time before restoration, while in the body shop, and in its current condition.