2005: Coming a long long way!
The intention behind keeping this car was to have something to work on that
would take my mind off the stress of work and life in general (besides the fact that I
loved the 1977-1978 style of Trans Ams!). Well, life and work got the best of me in 2003
to the point where I didn't even see the car for a year and a half. One of 2004's
victories was getting the car home in one piece into the new garage built specifically
to house all three Trans Ams. The few miles I put on the car in 2004 (to get rid of the
old old old fuel) were bonus. However, 2005 was a surprise.
Those who have been following along now will note that the above photo is NOT
a photo of my car. It's not even a 1978 model, it's a 1977. So why is that photo here on my
I was actually having second thoughts about keeping my own '78. I knew there were
plenty of things to do on the car, but I just didn't think I'd ever find the time to get
around to doing them. I was afraid the car would fall apart quicker than I could fix it.
And I was looking for a car I could enjoy, right off the bat. This one was priced right,
and the conversation on the phone promised me a car that was in awesome shape and only
Well, conversations on the phone are one thing, reality is another. After careful
examination, this car was really rough. While it was mostly solid (and the rear frame rails
were probably in better shape than my own), the car was SO rough. Rear bumper almost falling
off, rough riding and knocking from all sorts of structural areas over bumps, rough metallic
black paint, carb flame-outs... while it was appealing because of the possibility of being
a fully loaded W72 model, I couldn't see myself putting that much money on this car. After
taking a closer look at my own car once back home, I began to see my car under a totally
different light. Maybe it deserved some infusion of cash for 2005?
Once it was decided that some attention was to be put on the car, the first
thing that happened was that it swapped places with the GTA in the garage. A lot of money
was spent on ordering parts from restoration houses in the USA. A few drives in the car
convinced me it was time to put the vintage aftermarket sound system out of its misery.
A paint job was considered but eventually nixed, due to the uncertainty of the
time frame or final price. Soon, but not this year...
The first order of the day was replacement of the 4 shock absorbers. Examination
of the front end showed a totally worn out sway bar link, no doubt contributing to the
front end noise and instability. Notable here is the original-style exhaust system, with
a straight pipe in place of the long-missing pellet-type catalytic converter. The
muffler was replaced at some time in the car's life with a replacement transverse muffler,
with generic (ie. Camaro-style) tailpipes poking out the back. More on that later!
The underside of the car was no doubt preserved thanks to the many leaks that
coated the surfaces with just about every possible automotive fluid. While it's far from
perfect, it's still tons better than the '77 I described above (which was eventually sold
at far less than the price I was offering - his loss, my major gain).
The brakes were also inspected at the time when the shocks were installed. The hoses
were all in top shape as well. The steering, albeit the base T/A "light" unit, was good as
All this attention in order to allow one very important milestone: the first time
my oldest son rode with me in this car. While it was a short drive around the neighborhood,
it was the culmination of a 4 year long dream to have my child ride with me in this particular
Who would have imagined this back in late 2002?
The first words uttered as we began to move: "WOW! This car is COOL!". But the best
was yet to come.