Classic Car Watch
"Late Model" Muscle Cars

June 1, 2007
By Scott Lewis

Late model cars. What does that mean? Well, when I was in high school in 1980 just getting into cars Trans - Ams and Z-28s were late model cars. Muscle Cars? That's debatable. But for a kid just getting his license they were at least performance cars.

I have tried to do this topic a bunch of time but never really came up with a good selection of cars. It always seemed forced. Sure, you can search for late 70s to early 80s Camaros and Firebirds, but they usually don't inspire.

I came across a 78 Trans Am in my favorite color, and decided I would do the late model thing regardless of how many cars I could display. Let's see what little I did find.

1978 Pontiac Trans Am - $12,800

Description: Number matching 400 V-8 6.6 LITER MOTOR. Options include light blue paint, shaker hood, automatic transmission, T-Tops, bucket seats, console, factory tachometer, power windows, power steering, power brakes, factory space saver spare, AM/FM Cassette and more. The tires are in excellent shape. This is an excellent car to drive and enjoy.

NADA: $17,135 - $34,040

Source: American Classic Autos

Found: 5/1/2007

Comments: This is my favorite color for a "late model" Trans Am. I really like the 79 in this color with the smoother nose and black out taillights. But this car does look more like the original Smokey and the Bandit car (except in my favorite color). Too bad it doesn't have air conditioning, but that's something we could add.

I am assuming this is the 6.6 Litre engine and not the TA 6.6. What's the difference? Glad you asked. The 6.6 Litre engine was an Oldsmobile 403 engine. The TA 6.6 was the Pontiac 400 engine. The Pontiac engine was a better engine, however, I remember reading articles in the day that said you could get decent power out of the Olds.

1978 Camaro Type LT - $7,500

Description: Very Rare, 4SPEED, T-Tops, Stock Spoiler, All original numbers matching, body & interior Exceptional condition and gets a lot of attention, runs great, Adult driven, V8, PS, PB, Tilt wheel, rally rims, rare fan defrost, CB.

NADA: $8,125 - $12,950

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 5/14/2007

Comments: I really like nice, clean cars. The four speed makes it for me. Hey, I knew a guy that had those louvers on his late 70's Camaro. I could do without the red interior. At this price we could make this a project car. He doesn't say what V-8 it is... 350 or 305. Need to check that out.

1976 Chevrolet Corvette - $13,500

Description: 350 4BBL V8, Automatic (Turbo 350), Corvette Independent Rear w/3.50 Posi, Power 4 Wheel Disc Brakes, Power Steering, Power Windows, Factory A.C., AM/FM/Cassette, Tilt/Telescopic Wheel, Rear Defogger, Rally Wheels, T-Tops, Numbers Matching Engine and Transmission, Believed To Be 63,xxx Actual Miles, Factory Corvette Dark Brown Exterior and Interior, Very Original Car! Fantastic Driving Car!

NADA: $11,605 - $20,570

Source: Fastlane Classic Cars

Found: 5/28/2007

Comments: Here we have one of the most overlooked Corvettes. The mid 70's were not good to these cars. The new emissions controls choked all the performance out of them. But that helps make them affordable. The god part is that from a performance standpoint these cars are highly modifiable. Any performance parts from 68-82 will work on this car. This car looks pretty nice. It looks like the paint has a lot of pop in the sun. I would love to see this car in person.

1976 Chevrolet Corvette - $12,995

Description: This is a 1976 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe. Powered by a 350ci 180hp engine, and automatic transmission. Finished in a Dark Brown paint with saddle leather interior. Accessories include power steering, power brakes, power windows, tilt/telescopic steering, factory gauges, factory radio, floor mats, disc brakes, rally wheels, t-tops, and dual exhaust, clean interior and exterior.

NADA: $10,550 - $18,700

Source: Holt Auto Sales

Found: 5/28/2007

Comments: I included this Corvette for two reasons. 1) The ad shows how much performance was sucked out of these cars. 180 hp. My Mini Cooper has just 12 less than that. 2) This site has some nice high resolution images to give us a good idea how good these cars can look.

Unfortunately there is no pop to this car's paint. In fact it looks like it might need some paint.

1981 Pontiac Firebird - $7,499

Description: 27,400 Miles. Everything original, maybe even the tires. My grandmother owned it and it was garage kept. No rust, automatic transmission, red leather interior. Great condition, must sell. I believe the engine is the small V-8 or 4.3 liter.

NADA: $7,225 - $12,450

Source: Collector Car Trader

Found: 5/28/2007

Comments: Here is one of those plain, low miles cars from (almost) an original owner. I love that. I am not a fan of red interiors, but I see potential in this car as a daily driver and project car in one.

1979 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 - $8,950

Description: Continuing to Rise in Popularity and Value, this Real Z/28 Has a Gorgeous Color Combination. The Exterior is Tuxedo Black with Red and Orange Striping and Graphics. The Interior is Blood Red Making for a Striking Color Contrast. Rebuilt, Original 350 Cubic Inch V-8. Turbo 350 Automatic Transmission. Power Disc Brakes. Power Steering. Power Windows. Tilt Steering. Power Locks. Factory Tach and Gauges. Rallye Wheels. Raised White Letter Tires. Very Clean Throughout. Runs, Drives Super.

NADA: $9,250 - $15,125

Source: Gentle Touch Motor Cars

Found: 5/28/2007

Comments: I just plain like these cars. If this was my car I would replace the gill style fender vents with the 80-81 style vents that are smoother looking.