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Thread: Guard your Pontiac, Eric!

  1. #1
    mrblanche
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    Guard your Pontiac, Eric!

    One of our members wanted to build a T bucket with a Pontiac 389. He has been completely unable to find a usable block, and he says the 400 and 440 are going the same way. He has bought 3 389 blocks, and every one of them had potentially terminal damage, such as bores that would have had to be sleeved, etc.

  2. #2
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Guard your Pontiac, Eric!

    Quote Originally Posted by mrblanche
    One of our members wanted to build a T bucket with a Pontiac 389. He has been completely unable to find a usable block, and he says the 400 and 440 are going the same way. He has bought 3 389 blocks, and every one of them had potentially terminal damage, such as bores that would have had to be sleeved, etc.
    Yes, indeed.. I'm not surprised... remember, the 400 was last built in 1978 (a few were used in 1979s, but they were made in '78). The last 455 was made in '76. That is almost 32 years ago. And they were never volume engines in the way a small block Chevy is. The "modern" Pontiac V-8 was only in production for about 20 years before it was retired.

    The good news is that the aftermarket now offers some Pontiac blocks and head castings, in cast iron and aluminum... but they are expensive.

    Before we moved, I sold off three incomplete engines I had laying around, including a very rare 1970 casting RA III 400...




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    Re: Guard your Pontiac, Eric!

    mrblanche,

    You are right the Pontiac 389, 400, 421, 428, and 455 V8 blocks are getting very hard to find. A good core could be purchased not too long ago for $50 - $200. Now a good core is $500 to over $1,000 depending on the year and block numbers. I knew guys who bought old rusted Full Size Pontiac sedans and station wagons for $100 to $300 to get a good Pontiac 389, 400, 421, 428, or 455 core. However even finding these rust buckets is becoming harder and harder to find. It is my guess that the costs of these blocks will get more expensive as their supply gets smaller. The only consolation is that the new Indian Adventures aluminum (Pontiac) block will look more reasonably priced as it becomes harder to find an original block. The new BAN III Burt Reynolds Edition Trans Am made by Year One has a 8.8 liter version of the Indian Adventures aluminum Pontiac block as an option (650 horsepower):

    http://www.yearone.com/yodnn/BanIII/...4/Default.aspx




  4. #4
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Guard your Pontiac, Eric!

    Hi Pete -

    On the Bandit:

    I like some, but not all, aspects of this car. I don't like the modern headlights; they look "sexual chocolate" (for want of a better description and I need some more coffee) even if they do provide much better illumination. The rear LEDs I do like. Maybe because they don't take away from the original look as much as the front lights do.

    I definitely do not like the wheels. Once again, too much deference to modern styling (for me, anyhow). I would have much preferred it had they taken some original 15x8 snowflakes and widened them. It would have fit the lines of the car much better...

    I hate the seats and what they did to the dash. The as-built Trans-Am dashboard is beautiful; they really screwed it up. Much better to have incorporated (discretely) updated gauges (for example, a 200 mph speedo with the same style fonts as the original speedo). Original horsecollar seats may not have offered much support - but they looked great and fit the car.

    I really dislike the Chevy-powered versions. A soul-less shell of a Pontiac, to me.

    I like the big-inch Pontiac, though...

    I also think, finallly, that the price of these cars ($150k for the "base" version, over $250k for a "loaded" version ) is absurd. I could have my '76 Trans-Am rotisserie restored for a third or less the cost - and frankly, I think an original car with a few discrete updates would be a lot more appealing. One could build up a 400-500 horse 455 for a lot less than the amount they're charging for the Bandit egine (nice as it is).

    Alternatively, I could buy a "perfect" ' 69 Trans-Am (or two SD-455 cars) for the same money. Which would you rather have?

    What do you say?














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    Re: Guard your Pontiac, Eric!

    Eric,

    I agree with you. The Year One Burt Reynolds Edition T/As could have been done better. Nevertheless even if I had the money I would not own one. The car is symbolic of the current fad we see on all the cable TV car shows to modernize a classic car. Unfortunately this modernization removes perfectly good cars from the pool of original classic cars.How many good '77 - '79 T/As will be destroyed and made into these Year One T/As? For instance if Year One takes a '78 Atlantis Blue W72 Trans Am which is a rare find these days, and tears it down to make a Burt Reynolds Edition Trans Am, that car is gone for good never to return as the rare Atlantis Blue T/A it once was.

    I remember years ago the craze to rip appart perfectly good Fieros and turn them into Ferrari and Lambourghini clones or other kit cars. The problem was the 4 cylinder Fieros were not touched but the more desireable V6 powered Fieros were the ones that were converted. This is one reason why finding good unmolested V6 powered Fieros is so hard. And if you want a '88 Fiero GT or Formula with the factory Lotus tuned suspension, they're getting near impossible to find and when you do find one expect to pay $$$$.




  6. #6
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Guard your Pontiac, Eric!

    "I agree with you. The Year One Burt Reynolds Edition T/As could have been done better. Nevertheless even if I had the money I would not own one. The car is symbolic of the current fad we see on all the cable TV car shows to modernize a classic car. ...."

    Amen.

    I hate these shows, also.

    Seeing some punk chop up an irreplaceable classic to turn it into some "chocolatized" custom makes me want to wretch. Remember the "custom van" craze of the '70s? Well, these "Foosed-up/pimp-mah-ride" multilated muscle cars will be laughed at just as hard in 10 years. Or just pitied.

    But the unmolested originals that survive will be cool forever....

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    Re: Guard your Pontiac, Eric!

    Eric,

    Well said. I remember those custom Vans and "Corvette Summer" style customs of the 70s and early 80s. Now those cars are laughed at, so I think you hit the nail on the head about these modern multilated muscle cars will suffer the same fate.

    I can't believe this was in at one time :-[ :




    And the interior of these custom vans are even too way over the top for the character from Saturday Night Live (TV show) fame - The Ladies Man:


  8. #8
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: Guard your Pontiac, Eric!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete
    Eric,

    Well said. I remember those custom Vans and "Corvette Summer" style customs of the 70s and early 80s. Now those cars are laughed at, so I think you hit the nail on the head about these modern multilated muscle cars will suffer the same fate.

    I can't believe this was in at one time :-[ :




    And the interior of these custom vans are even too way over the top for the character from Saturday Night Live (TV show) fame - The Ladies Man:

    Gawd!

    But it would be fun to drive around in that thing today... where did you find that great pic?

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    Re: Guard your Pontiac, Eric!

    We all laugh now, but in 20 years they'll be worth $250,000 (and not all because of inflation)

    Chip H.

    Former owner: 2012 Honda Civic LX, 2006 Honda Ridgeline RTL, 2000 Honda CR-V EX, 2003 MINI Cooper S, 1992 Honda Accord LX, 1999 Mercedes ML-320, 1995 VW Jetta GLX, 1991 Mercury Capri XR2, 1981 Mercury Zephyr, 1975 Chevrolet Impala

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    Re: Guard your Pontiac, Eric!

    chiph,

    Anything is possible, especially if the car collectors get involved then prices skyrocket.


    Eric,

    I did a search for custom 1970s vans and came up with a blog that showcased some pictures from the 1977 issue of "Vans and the Truckin' Life", I just linked to two of the pictures (you can read the entire blog here called "Van Diesel", scroll down to the bottom of the page to read):

    http://www.luxlotus.com/lux_lotus/20...k13/index.html


    Also remember the TV shows and magazine writeups with these custom vans, they were always accompanied by the quintessential "hot" California blonde girl. And this 1977 issue was no different ;D :





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