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My Trans Am Resto


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44043809465_d6a464b207_c.jpg2018-09-27_05-02-21 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

Car on its way to the shop.45297096502_2d93c3e4da_c.jpg2018-10-15_04-45-57 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

Packed with spares!

Car is a 1979 Tenth Anniversay Trans Am. For those that dont know and may be interested, this was a special edition model commemorating the first Trans Am of 1969. It was somewhat of a limited production model, they made 7500 total, 1718 of which were 4 speed models. This one is a 4 speed. 4 speed cars came with a true Pontiac 400 motor, the automatics had the corporate GM olds 403. This was the highest priced trans am when sold, and had zero options. Including for the first time a leather interior.

 

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Car is a two tone silver with a grey accent on top. I have been working on this for about a year now. Everything but the hood is finish painted and buffed out. I am in the process of putting things back together. Car was virtually rust free, with the exception being a small part at the bottom of one of the fenders, which is typical for these cars. I have done some restor to some int. parts as well and will post that up in a bit. I enjoy doing paint and body work, but I have little to no experience with motors. I will most likely farm that part out to someone.

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I use a product from a company called Polyvance. It is called padded dash filler. It looks and works like bondo, but stays flexible. The dash itself is originally a plastic type of material over a thin layer of foam which gives a bit of push. UV rays ( i suppose) deteriorate it over time. I have seen very few of these dashs that are good. Once the filler sets up, several coats later it can be sanded smooth. I use a coat of texture spray from SEM then colour dye from SEM for a finish. I have come up with a few techniques over the few I have done to make things a bit easier. Its really not hard work, just technique. 

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46404833925_c452a01859_c.jpg2019-03-08_12-28-51 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

Temp straps to hold it in shape.

40318401033_995da1669e_c.jpg2019-03-04_05-18-32 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

47267298812_25b4e6e0ca_c.jpg2019-03-08_12-27-23 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr40354638173_de1c6c32dd_c.jpg2019-03-08_12-27-30 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

33446007938_48cb70f81a_c.jpg2019-03-08_05-14-57 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr47269322412_7f5ba7fa1c_c.jpg2019-03-08_05-14-43 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

33443963198_3f0fb2ac45_c.jpg2019-03-08_12-27-37 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

32379945307_7d30f3c5e9_c.jpg2019-03-08_05-13-59 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

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  • 6 months later...

Yes, 4 speed. Total Tenth production was 7500, of those 1718 were 4 speed cars. Ironically the 79 anniversary cars were low on my list. I had an automatic version that I had planned on resto modding, but it was lost in a fire. I found this 4 speed version by accident, being that it WAS a 4 speed I couldnt resist. They have grown on me quite a bit, to the point that I have started a registration!

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Good Question. No idea. I think maybe in '79 other years not so much.

I too like the turbine wheels. They are a love hate thing I have found though. I love the 2 tone silver paint. My biggest dislike on the Tenth Anniv. cars from the first time I saw one when brand new were the silver seats. I am still not crazy about them. I think by todays standards a nice charcoal grey would look very nice. I have an extra set of seats and am considering doing one pair in a custom colour and the other with original style covers for show purpose.

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I remember these cars when they were new in the dealership. I saw them both at the local Pontiac dealer and also at the annual car show. There was a certain cool factor back then. I lived in the LA area then and all the T/A's were automatics. The four speed was not available due to Kali emissions laws. A lot of neat cars and options weren't available because of this.

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50705336238_c1f8afbb0c_k.jpg2020-12-11_08-49-37 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

I sent my wheel out to be restored (not sure if its appropriate to give names but will be glad to upon request). The Tenth Anniv. model was the only Trans Am that actually had a leather wrapped wheel (along with leather seat inserts). There is a person in MI that does the wheels as well as other makes. I had redone the silver spokes last summer so it wasnt too bad to start with, so the turn around time was shortened a bit. I mailed it from MD to MI on a Tuesday, the following week Thursday it was back on my door step finished. She did a phenomenal job with it. I assumed it was the original wheel but after talking to the guy I found it was not. The TATA steering wheel cores were unique in themselves. SO, I have since sourced an original core and will be sending it out for a new cover!! May be a nice grey wheel on ebay?

The price to do the wheel with return shipping was $225. I thought that was pretty good, considering repops go for $200-$300+

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50702448828_241987076f_k.jpg2020-12-10_12-45-11 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

This was the condition of the motor when I bought the car. It was loaded up a couple of weeks ago and sent off to the builder. Last motor he did for me took about a month, so I have my fingers crossed that I will have this back late winter early spring. Block is original, heads original, intake original, 4 speed trans original. Lots of the smalls are missing, brackets, distributor, water pump etc. Carb I got with the car was not original. The Q jet for the 79 4 speed motors are rare as hens teeth, and those that have them usually ask for a first born. After about a 6 month search I found one an hour away and at a reasonable price. 

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Yes, it will be as close to stock as possible. Some internal upgrades to the motor to give it a bit more go, but nothing other than that. This car has the Pontiac 400 as opposed to the olds 403. 

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50829282571_ae309af74c_k.jpg2021-01-12_03-15-31 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

 

I was missing the rear sway bar. A fellow T/A guy was generous to send me a spare he had laying around. The problem was it was 5/8 dia. and mine came with 3/4 dia. I took the smaller gauge bar to an Amish machine shop and they replicated it for me the correct size. Now with some polishing I think it will come up nicely. Slowly getting all of the 'lost' pieces replaced and hopefully will be starting to get started soon putting things back together.

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10 hours ago, AURktman said:

Any idea what type of steel they used to make the sway bar?  That's always a nice option to have tucked away if needed.  

Not a clue. Bar was left bare metal from factory so they all rust up fairly early in life. I wanted mine to have that fresh/new bare steel look. I have cleaned it up to bare and it looks pretty good now. Plan to coat it with shark hide. I do have an original in the correct size but it was  pitted too bad to 'polish' so I painted it instead. I have it as a back up if I should have any problems with the 'custom' piece I had made. 

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

51074531327_5764936449_c.jpg2021-03-26_05-05-39 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

51074530092_3af0022da7_c.jpg2021-03-26_05-04-48 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

 

Had to get the kid off the bus, PTI.  Paint stripper, scotchbrite with paint thinner and a fine grit roloc cleaned all of the old paint off. Prepped to put a fresh coat on (being done so presently).

 

This air cleaner is unique to the 79 Pontiac motor, not quite as hard to find as a part for a pre war car, but hard to find none the less. 

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51094862296_ac5e812181_c.jpg2021-04-04_04-26-03 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

 

Finished my air cleaner, been working on some small parts whilst waiting on the return of my motor.  Cleaned and dressed up the transmission a bit, put new bushings and correct pins in the linkage. Made a huge difference in what was sloppiness in play.

 

Repaired the washer pump on the windshield wiper motor.   About ready to start putting stuff back on the car.

 

51094958567_d2424152e2_c.jpg2021-04-04_04-26-25 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

 

51094956562_36bbd39cb8_c.jpg2021-04-04_04-25-31 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

clapped out, hodge podge hardware 

51094864511_2569f3bdb0_c.jpg2021-04-04_04-27-04 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

51095667970_f9f5f1a7bb_c.jpg2021-04-04_04-27-25 by Kerry Grubb, on Flickr

 

 

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Thats the plan Tom, I am patiently waiting for my motor to come back from the shop.  Doing the little stuff in the meantime keeps me busy, and when its time to put the stuff back together they will be ready to go.  I ordered a new gas tank and fuel lines, will pick them up at Carlisle to save on shipping. Once I get that stuff installed the bottom of the car will be finished and I can sit it back down on the ground. 

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