How Hard Can It Be? 1981 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SE


Firechicken! Firechicken!

If you were a young man born any time between 1968 and 1973, you were actually a product of the very late 1970s and the 1980s. You see, you may have been born earlier, but you gained consciousness later on. Thusly, you are fully aware of epic television cars like the General Lee and iconic car movies like Smokey and the Bandit.

Check that: the first Smokey movie was awesome, featuring bootlegging (400 cases of Coors beer!), trashily attractive poofy-haired women, and a smoking-hot 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am with a 400 CID V8. When Burt Reynolds rolls out of Jerry Reed’s 18-wheeler trailer and proceeds to melt the rear tires off the car, any young boy worth his Hot Wheels was immediately hooked. The second movie was notable only for another smoking-hot Trans Am, this time a 1981 model with a turbocharged 301 CID V8.

The third movie… let’s not talk about that. Let’s instead talk about this installment of How Hard Can It Be?

Now, I am and have long been a total sucker for these late second-generation ‘Birds, and not just the Trans Am. A clean Nautilus blue Firebird Formula, with its Ram Air hood nostrils and more subtle graphics package, makes me weak. A restored 10th anniversary in Platinum gray makes me pause in awe. Further, I vividly recall my father talking about buying a circa-1980 BMW 528i and me, all of seven or eight years old, earnestly trying to convince him a Bandit-style Trans Am would be a better choice.

According to the seller, this Trans Am SE is one of only 1160 that year to have the coveted t-tops which neither leak not rattle. Trust us. The seller goes on to say the 301 CID non-turbo V8 engine does not run and probably wouldn’t run anyway. He’s including another 301 to replace it, but we’d chuck that lump and slide in something with some real cubic inches.

Firechicken!Nothing substantial is mentioned regarding the interior, or lack thereof, but the seller letting on the car “needs [a] complete restoration inside and out” is a good indicator. And though the hood scoop is missing, the build sheet is included, which probably means you could build a hood scoop.

The SE package is essentially the Bandit package which may have made these tubs handle as well as, say, a Corvette from the same era. The aforementioned 528i would run away from it on either a road course or a twisty backroad, but that’s not why you bought a Firebird, now is it?

We can only close by quoting the immortal words of Kevin Smith as spoken by Jason Lee in Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back: “So are you going to abide by the court’s ruling or you gonna go Bandit, Reynolds-style?”

[ Craigslist ]