1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SE YouTube: RK Motors
YouTube: RK Motors

Cars are rarely a good investment. If you buy them new, you get hit with massive depreciation. If you start to modify them, well, you’d be better off addicted to drugs from a financial standpoint.

Every so often, a person has the foresight and restraint to buy a cool car and just wait. If stored properly and if it becomes a popular classic, you may just be rewarded with a pretty decent return. This sure beats watching a stock go up and down, but the key here is living past the time it takes to appreciate.

It’s not a venture that always works out, but when it does, it makes for an incredible story. And. speaking of incredible stories, we’ve got a real doozy in this 1979 Pontiac Trans Am.

The Story of This Classic 1979 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SE

Back in 1978, an 18-year-old William Leland III had the inclination that the Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am was going to be worth big money one day. He also knew most would be bought and trashed, so the only way for this to be a sound investment would be to store the new car as if it were the original Mona Lisa. William, otherwise known as Bill Jr., needed a co-signer for the purchase and was able to convince his father to take on the risk. His dad agreed, but only for a maximum purchase amount of $10,000. Bill went straight over to Pell Pontiac in Massachusetts, and ordered the most optioned version of a black Smokey and the Bandit Trans Am that his 10 grand would buy.

Back then, his money went as far as his 1979 Trans Am was almost fully loaded. It came with the 6.6-liter V8 engine, three-speed automatic, starlight black and gold combo, and looked like it came straight off the movie set. Knowing exactly what the plan was for this car, he instructed the dealer not to wash it or drill a front plate bracket, but to basically leave it exactly the way it was delivered.


He drove the 20 miles home, and the car sat unregistered for years. When Leland moved, he drove it another 20 miles, and there it sat for another 17 years, never being taken out or seeing any kind of weather. He would start it up, row through the gears, and change fluids, but that’s about it.

Eventually, Bill Jr. was sadly diagnosed with Melanoma cancer and passed away at the young age of 42. In 2013, Bill’s father sold the car, and, the next year, it won the “Survivor Award” at the Pontiac-Oakland Club International All GM Car Show.


With only 65 miles on it, the car was listed on RK Motors for an asking price of $159,000 and was eventually sold. What a beauty!

This post was originally published on October 10, 2017.

WATCH: Remembering Burt Reynolds’ Classic Performances in ‘Cannonball Run’ and ‘Smokey and the Bandit’

Author placeholder image About the author:

Stories You Might Like