If you have a handlebar mustache – original dating back to the seventies, or ironic recent growth – your choice of suitable transport is fairly limited. You can’t really have that kind of bold, in-your-face declaration of style and then drive a ’92 Honda Civic or, say, a ’10 Toyota Sienna – you need something that matches your facial hair. With such a divisive but timeless look, you need a similarly divisive ride that’s grown into timelessness by coming back thanks to a healthy amount of elapsed time as well as a similar dose of irony in current pop culture. So the first car, predictably, is this 1980 Pontiac Trans Am for sale for $3600 somewhere in Clark or Cowlitz counties, WA.
Well, the exterior is certainly showing the signs of a hard-partying lifestyle, with peeling clearcoat and paint, and no sign of the common screaming chicken and other decals. That said, the body looks reasonably straight and shows complete trim, and the snowflake wheels are also present and in decent shape. For a full dose of that period of automotive history, you also get t-top roof panels, patented by Gordon Buehrig in 1951 for use on the Tasco.
It certainly has seen better days, but with the growing interest in these cars, manifesting itself in a growing availability of aftermarket and reproduction parts, it’s definitely worth a look. The mudguards are a curious touch for what was considered a true sports car (as opposed to something with rallying roots) – perhaps GM engineers found the effects Detroit winters on that black paint job could be staved off with these tacked-on details.
The car’s original powertrain was replaced at some point by a 350/350 pairing from a 1976 Camaro, which in stock form was good for 165hp, a substantial drop from the turbo 301’s 210hp and 345 lb.-ft. of torque. If this truly was a turbo car (check for a T in the 5th position of the VIN), it’s worth finding another 301 turbo if you’re concerned about value, though for performance you’re probably best served by upgrading the 350. Fortunately, it sounds like the engine will do the job until you figure out what’s next, as it’s had plenty of recent service including water pump, alternator, master cylinder, battery, headers, ignition parts, oil pressure and temperature sending units, heater core, gauges and brakes. The seller expects to be primering the car soon, though it’s not clear if that will have any impact on price.
The interior is also showing its age, with seat covers hiding the front seats, rear seats looking decent, and missing headliner and interior door panels. Fortunately, the interior plastics and “machine turned” dash facing look in decent condition, though there is at least one visible dash crack and an awful wrap on the steering wheel. The 85mph speedometer (and the tachometer with a 5000rpm redline) seem positively diesel-like, and it sounds like the engine’s performance would have made the driving experience similar to a modern diesel. But if you have a handlebar mustache and need to haul more stuff, what to do? Look no further than this 1964 Chevrolet G10 van for sale for $2250 in Eugene, OR.
Not only can you enhance your haul factor, you can also get a thousand more creep points (or hipster irony points, depending on your neighborhood). Like Trans Ams, these vans have also seen an uptick in collector interest, so finding one in decent shape at a fair price is getting harder. This one’s kustom Boogie Man paint job, complete with bell-bottom-wearing cowboy and “Truck It” motto on the back door, as well as Cragar Super Sport wheels, are pretty emblematic of what was popular in the vanning subculture. With six doors (and windows in the rear passenger side doors), this one’s less lurky than it could be, but still, you’ll want to buy some Clorox stock before you buy your cleaning supplies for the interior. The seller purchased with the intent to restore, but his (family’s?) interest seems to have waned. Which of these American icons would you pick?