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1979 Trans Am

This is a discussion on 1979 Trans Am within the Firebird / WS6 forums, part of the Vehicle Specific category; Originally Posted by IronBird I had a '79 SE T/A with a stock (except for opening up the "shaker") 403 ...

  1. #21
    Senior Member big hammer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronBird View Post
    I had a '79 SE T/A with a stock (except for opening up the "shaker") 403 for 19yrs....and it DEFINITELY didn't "blow"....I beat EVERY stock late 70's 400 motor I ever ran, and it was quite a few (they wouldn't leave me alone) and could even run dead even with late 70's Corvettes. Nothing sounds like a rear facing "shaker" with a 800cfm Quadra-jet at full throttle!!!!
    i guess i'm going off what my uncle and my pops told me. uncle bought a new 79 t\a 403, and my pops still had his 71 gto judge 455 4 speed.

    you can guess how that race went.

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    Senior Member Too Fast's Avatar
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    The 79 TA went to court and got sentenced...badly!
    About the same as if the 79 raced an LS1!

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    Quote Originally Posted by big hammer View Post
    i guess i'm going off what my uncle and my pops told me. uncle bought a new 79 t\a 403, and my pops still had his 71 gto judge 455 4 speed.

    you can guess how that race went.
    Lol...that would have been a little "lop-sided"...that's why I said "stock" 400's of the SAME time period, which was supposed to be the "better" motor. Not the 455.

    The 403 was actually a Oldsmobile motor, and though it only had 185hp, it had like 320ftlbs of torque and would wind up quick. It wasn't bad for the day, considering the alternatives. Check the old Road & Track performance records.

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    member since may 2000 nhraformula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IronBird View Post
    Lol...that would have been a little "lop-sided"...that's why I said "stock" 400's of the SAME time period, which was supposed to be the "better" motor. Not the 455.

    The 403 was actually a Oldsmobile motor, and though it only had 185hp, it had like 320ftlbs of torque and would wind up quick. It wasn't bad for the day, considering the alternatives. Check the old Road & Track performance records.
    back in the late 70s till about 86 muscle cars were pigs, but they were all we could get.
    you are right, for that time period they were not bad.
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    Firebird Encyclopedia 9T8W66's Avatar
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    You guys also have to remember that all these late 2nd Gen T/A's had 2.41 2.56 or 2.73 gear sets. The 4spd equipped cars got 3.23's and even that wasn't optimum.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9T8W66 View Post
    You guys also have to remember that all these late 2nd Gen T/A's had 2.41 2.56 or 2.73 gear sets. The 4spd equipped cars got 3.23's and even that wasn't optimum.
    My '79 SE was auto, and had 3.23's from the factory. Lol...like stated earlier, the 301cu...even with the turbo...I think Road and Track said they had to water down the asphalt to do burn-outs!! Mine would smoke 'em as long as you wanted to....

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9T8W66 View Post
    The Factory 400 4speed (T/A 6.6) for 1979 is a Pontiac engine NOT a SBC
    There were approx 8,000+ cars built with this engine in 1979 out of 117,000 total T/A's so it is pretty rare. W72 is the RPO code for this combo and the WS6 Pkg was required.

    I'm also Partial to the early round headlight cars `70-73's are my favorite but `76 is a close second. I owned a `79 for 7 yrs and it was a great car.

    I owned a red 79 T/A WS6 400 4spd about 20 years ago....like a dummy I sold it so I could get a 87 IROC. I wish I still had that T/A. I also owned a 79 with a 403, what a dog of a motor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IronBird View Post
    My '79 SE was auto, and had 3.23's from the factory. Lol...like stated earlier, the 301cu...even with the turbo...I think Road and Track said they had to water down the asphalt to do burn-outs!! Mine would smoke 'em as long as you wanted to....
    Interesting
    I've never heard of an auto equipped 403 car with 3.23's The standard rear was usually 2.41's and WS6 equipped cars got 2.73's. I'm not calling BS cause I know how things work on production lines. If the regular rear assembly wasn't there they would use what was available. I see Mopars like that all the time, only 4spd 440's or Hemi's got a Dana 60, but I run into plenty of auto equipped cars with Dana's that are original. So basically it's like getting a bonus.
    Those Turbo T/A's were notorious for having a short powerband that was like only 1000 rpm long The Turbo would start spooling up good then the Comp would start retarding the timing and kill off all the power.

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    Yeah, so they were slow. Get over it, guys. So was EVERYTHING else on the road in 1980.

    The 301 Turbo Trans Am represents a period of experimentation, and extravagance. The Trans Am has always had more options than the Z-28, and so we didn't see any turbocharged Camaros for this reason.

    They may not be fast by today's standards, but they look good, and they are pretty cool, IMO. I'd own one if I had the money and the storage space.

    And in retrospect, we owe the creation of the 1989 Turbo Trans Am to the existence of this earlier "turbocharged" Trans Am. The 20th Anniversary Turbo Trans Am (powered by the 3.8 Buick V6) was the fastest car GM produced in the 80's.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 2000LS1Bird View Post
    Yeah, so they were slow. Get over it, guys. So was EVERYTHING else on the road in 1980.

    The 301 Turbo Trans Am represents a period of experimentation, and extravagance. The Trans Am has always had more options than the Z-28, and so we didn't see any turbocharged Camaros for this reason.

    They may not be fast by today's standards, but they look good, and they are pretty cool, IMO. I'd own one if I had the money and the storage space.

    And in retrospect, we owe the creation of the 1989 Turbo Trans Am to the existence of this earlier "turbocharged" Trans Am. The 20th Anniversary Turbo Trans Am (powered by the 3.8 Buick V6) was the fastest car GM produced in the 80's.
    That brings back a memory, about 15 years ago I had to put a new turbo on a 1978(!) (I think) Buick Riviera. You know, one of those giant FWD cars, same body as the Toronado/Eldorado. I didn't even know those cars were offered with a 3.8 turbo. Must've been a one or two year option. It had three lights on the dash for boost, like the '80 turbo TA had on the hood, when I was done with it every once in a while the 3rd light would come on, before that no lights would. It was still a dog!

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    member since may 2000 nhraformula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2000LS1Bird View Post
    The 20th Anniversary Turbo Trans Am (powered by the 3.8 Buick V6) was the fastest car GM produced in the 80's.
    And threwout part of the 90s as well.

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    I still have a `79 Firebird and it originally had the 301. That was one of the worst engines ever made. The cranks were known to snap in half due to hollow cranks (supposedly better oiling). Mine snapped doing 15 mph making a left hand turn. So I now have a 400 built to 400HP ...and it's a 4 speed btw!!

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    Senior Member Too Fast's Avatar
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    I still miss my 1967 400 4-speed, sometimes. Miss the overheating, idle issues, only one stop from the drum brakes, 9/10 MPG. Really, tho, it would be nice to have it in the garage next to the WS6. At least I have a 1968 LeMans ragtop in there.

  15. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Too Fast View Post
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    I still miss my 1967 400 4-speed, sometimes. Miss the overheating, idle issues, only one stop from the drum brakes, 9/10 MPG. Really, tho, it would be nice to have it in the garage next to the WS6. At least I have a 1968 LeMans ragtop in there.
    That 67 is beuatiful

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    Quote Originally Posted by 9T8W66 View Post
    Interesting
    I've never heard of an auto equipped 403 car with 3.23's The standard rear was usually 2.41's and WS6 equipped cars got 2.73's. I'm not calling BS cause I know how things work on production lines. If the regular rear assembly wasn't there they would use what was available. I see Mopars like that all the time, only 4spd 440's or Hemi's got a Dana 60, but I run into plenty of auto equipped cars with Dana's that are original. So basically it's like getting a bonus.
    Those Turbo T/A's were notorious for having a short powerband that was like only 1000 rpm long The Turbo would start spooling up good then the Comp would start retarding the timing and kill off all the power.
    Lol...no BS my friend....code "2PX". I've had the cover off the posi more times than I wanted (broken clutch plates), and unless someone swapped ring gears while I wasn't looking.....! Maybe thats why it could "hang" with the 400's. Dammit...I wish I hadn't sold mine... By the way, you could only get a 400 in '79 with the "Tenth Aniversery" T/A 4spd's. Those things were beautiful....! Auto T/A T/A's got the 403's. 301's in '79 was a "California" emissions motor in the regular Firebird, and didn't come it the T/A untill '80.

    I just got a new Silverado optioned out with stuff that if you use the "regular" build sheet...you're NOT supposed to be able to get what I got with my particular model.

    But anyways...no matter if they had a hamster cage for a motor, pig or no pig...I STILL luv the styling/looks!!

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    Veteran 0rion's Avatar
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    I was lucky enough to own a 79 trans am with the 301. Slow ass car. I bought it for $400 from a friend of mine and kept it for 5-6 years and sold it for $800. Thing was so slow it had dead bugs on the back windshield.
    When my buddy had it I had a 75 cutlass and I would own that thing everytime we ran 'em. The really sad part of the whole deal is that of all the cars I've owned that got the most attention when I was out in it. Everyone loved that car and wanted to take a spin in it. Probably the smokey and the bandit thing.

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