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In the Garage: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am

Christopher Mollish's 1979 Pontiac Trans Am brings back

Christopher Mollish's 1979 Pontiac Trans Am brings back memories of "Smokey and the Bandit." Photo Credit: David Fluhrer

THE CAR AND ITS OWNER: 1979 Pontiac Trans Am owned by Christopher Mollish

WHAT MAKES IT INTERESTING: “A New Breed of Wow” was the way Pontiac described the ’79 Trans Am in a sales brochure replete with a cover photo of the car’s trademark “screaming eagle” hood decal. With their aggressive styling and vibrant graphics, Trans Ams were designed to attract attention and they did that in spades, both in the showroom and the media. The sports coupe first became famous in 1977 as the automotive star of “Smokey and the Bandit,” the action comedy film featuring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field and Jackie Gleason. (Reynolds’ personal ’78 coupe goes on the auction block next month.) The notoriety almost guaranteed that these top-of-the-line Firebirds would become collectible and stay that way for years to come. “It is a limited production model,” Mollish says. “The cost for this car in 1979 was $7,000. This was the type of car everyone wanted in the late ‘70s because of the ‘Smokey and the Bandit’ movie.”

HOW LONG HE’S OWNED IT: Since May 2012

WHERE HE FOUND IT: He bought it from an owner in Miami, Florida.

CONDITION: “This is a stock model car,” Mollish says. “I purchased this car fully restored. The condition of the vehicle is mint. It was restored about four years ago by one of the previous three owners. It is regularly maintained. Only minor repairs had to be done. Otherwise, this is a show car.”

TIPS FOR OWNERS: “Antique cars must be driven every couple of weeks, and maintained properly and garage kept,” he advises. “Pontiac Trans Ams are only going to go up in value every day, so keep your car in mint condition and you will have a nice investment.”

VALUE: Mollish estimates the value at around $40,000.

THE BOTTOM LINE: “I had a 1980 Trans Am when I was a teenager and, when I got married, I sold it,” he says. “This was a gift to myself for my 50th birthday and my midlife crisis, although the car was delivered from Miami on May 13th, 2012, which was my wife's 50th birthday and Mother's Day. I feel proud when I drive it. There are not too many of these vehicles floating around in this excellent condition. I hope to leave it to my children so they can enjoy it, just as I am now.”

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