THE CAR AND ITS OWNERS: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am 10th Anniversary Edition owned by Ron Higgins, son Steven and daughter, Lauren

WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING: To celebrate the Firebird's sales success and the Trans Am version's debut in 1969, Pontiac fielded a 10th Anniversary Trans Am loaded to the gunnels with special options, features and trim.  Buyers who checked off a special "Y89" option code probably had a hint that they were buying a future collectible. "Total cost exceeded $10,600," says Ron Higgins, "yet it still attracted 7,500 buyers. Pontiac would release an anniversary edition every five years thereafter."

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HOW LONG THEY'VE OWNED IT: Since 2013

WHERE THEY FOUND IT: It was advertised online by a private seller in Boston. 

CONDITION: "This is an unrestored car with 74,000 miles," says Higgins. "It has some scrapes and chips as you would expect, but overall it is in good original condition and runs well. The (Anniversary) package was only available in two-tone silver and dark charcoal, trimmed with red, silver and gray striping. Interiors were finished in silver leather. These cars only came fully loaded with many Anniversary edition- specific parts, including mirrored T-Tops and red-lit dash gauges."  Other features included a choice of two powerful V-8 engines, a special "WS6" handling package and 15-inch "Turbo" wheels.

TIPS FOR OWNERS: "Don't leave your car sitting in a garage all the time," Higgins advises. "Get it out and and enjoy it. Make some memories with it. If a kid shows interest in it, talk to them about it. To keep the hobby going, we need to get the younger generation involved."

VALUE: Higgins estimates the value at $15,000 and says he has seen models in top condition exceed $40,000.

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THE BOTTOM LINE: The '79 Trans Am, says Higgins, "was the last American performance model available with an engine that large until the muscle car revival of recent times. Pontiac and the Trans Am are credited with keeping muscle cars alive through the dark days of the '70s, when a combination of high gas prices and insurance rates almost killed the genre."