Solar Gold Trans Am

Did you ever think your Pontiac was simply a magnet for mechanical mayhem? Despite your finest efforts, does it seem to tempt carnal catastrophes? Jerry Clum had a couple Pontiacs favor that. Strangely enough, he purchased them 23 years apart.

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The initially remained in 1981, once after selling newsrecords at a local racetrack, the 16-year-old Ohioan saved enough money for, and also purchased, the T/A of his dreams--a "78 Solar Gold S/E via a 220-horse W72 400, a Turbo 350, and also a WS6 suspension. As Jerry tells it, "My paleas were incredibly apprehensive about seeing their 16-year-old son in a 400ci monster of a car, however they ignored their feelings because of the fact that they kbrand-new how tough I operated to purchase the vehicle. As it turned out, their parental instincts were correct, as I totaled the S/E simply 6 days after buying it." Sure, Jerry bought it from the insurance firm for $850, rebuilt the T/A for about $2,200, and was ago in organization 6 months later, however gas prices, high insurance premiums and also an Air Force enlistment required the sale of the Pontiac within a year after repairs.


In the years that adhered to, Jerry built a service and also organized title to 26 more cars, some of which would certainly effortlessly eclipse the performance of his beloved "78. But none might fill the emotional void left by that initially one. So, in 2002, the search began for another "78 S/E Trans Am.


After 2 years of chasing dvery own leads, an Web search on a Saturday morning in January 2004 caused locating a W72, four-speed-equipped Y88 time capsule with just 20,620 miles on it. Could Jerry Clum recapture his youth? A one-way aircraft ticket to Chicago and a $25,000 payment to the Volo Auto Museum and Jerry was 16 again. But he would certainly quickly realize that history would repeat itself in even more ways than one.


"The car was as mint as I had actually ever before checked out," he says. "It was actually in much better form and had actually reduced miles than the car I purchased 23 years previously. It had been stored since 1990. Tbelow is no doubt in my mind that it would certainly have actually been a survivor-course display winner. Not a scrape, all numbers corresponding, and also incredibly well recorded via only one genuine owner, if you discount the dealer who flipped it to me rather conveniently. Initial Goodyear Polysteel tires were still on it, and also even the extra collection of secrets were still in the original dealer leather key pouch, having actually never before been offered." Jerry admits the price was high, however he felt he had a genuine find on his hands. Now he had actually to obtain it house.


Over 500 miles separated him and the T/A from his Springfield, Ohio, residence and also those 26-year-old tires were not the best bet for winter traction or high-speed safety. But Jerry was determined to have at least one cathartic time-take a trip endure with his wife--whom he met as soon as he owned the first T/A--prior to hitting the present circuit. It was Sunday morning in Chicago, yet, which restricted tire save selections to one--the local Sears.


The countermale told the Clums the project would certainly take around an hour, so they strolled the mall to pass the moment. In that period, a weather front relocated in to remind them that it was January--in Chicearlier. Six inches of scurrently dropped in the battach of an eye, and the Clum"s T/A had actually yet to enter the bay for the tire swap. "At this allude I chose that, because of the weather, I would certainly take the vehicle ago to the museum and also have actually it shipped house, and my wife and I would fly to Ohio," Jerry states. "On the way out to my vehicle, I experienced somepoint that automatically sent out me right into shock. The company technology had actually backed out my T/A without cleaning the a number of inches of snow off the home windows, and also he and an additional automobile collided. My Pontiac was left via a dent in the driver"s door, specifically 11/2 hrs after I handed over the check!"


Jerry had actually bought 2 Solar Gold S/E T/As 23 years apart, and both were wounded much less than a week after taking ownership. With an additional lesson learned regarding service techs and also Windy City snowstorms, he took on a quest to get his dented door repaired, which when again ended up being a discovering suffer.


"A few days and also 15 shops later, I discovered that very few shops even wanted to touch the auto," he says. "The Solar Gold is virtually impossible to complement, and also the stripes and also decals that would certainly need to be reinserted in the location of the repair were not going to match the various other untouched stripes and also decals bereason the originals had actually somewhat faded over the years. The only way to gain them to match wregarding replace all of them, which may require a total paint job." The problem was that POCI rules would certainly place the T/A in the restored class after the paintwork-related was done and the stripes were replaced. Wbelow it would certainly be a drop-kick winner in the survivor class, it would certainly not do almost too in the recovered class with just brand-new paint and also graphics.

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Reaching this crossroads, Jerry chose to take the plunge. After an exhaustive search for a shop that he felt comfortable with, he entrusted his T/A to Murphy"s Classic Restorations in Dover, Ohio, for a body-off and supplied N.O.S. components wherever feasible in the procedure. Another $48,000 later on and also Jerry has actually a meticulously restored and also slightly modified T/A that will certainly take him down memory lane and will certainly win at the mirrors, as evidenced by a First Place at the T/A Nats in 2004 in the Light Modified course. Would you think, at the T/A Nats a spectator dropped right into the driver"s door of his Golden Magnet and also dented it? Regardmuch less, Jerry made lemons into lemonade (negative cliche, I know) for the second time in his life about a "78 S/E T/A, and also currently he deserve to enjoy the fruits of his and also Murphy"s Classic"s labor (OK, poor pun, too).


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See all 16 photosJust 1,267 W72 400 four-speed Y88 Trans Ams were created in 1978.

ABOUT THE GOLD S/E OPTIONHere is some info acquired from Pontiac paperwork-related offered by contributor Rocky Rotella. Believe it or not, the Gold Special Edition Trans Am was originally cancelled in Car Distribution Bulletin (CDB) 78-F-4 dated July 19, 1977. The Babsence S/E, UCOMPUTER Y82 (via Hurst Hatches) was to continue, and also the Black S/E, UCOMPUTER Y84 (Fisher hatches) could be ordered but was on host. Despite the cancellation of the Gold S/E, the code 50 Solar Gold paint was announced as easily accessible for Trans Ams in the August 1, 1977, CDB 78-F-6. It additionally proclaimed that a brand-new hood bird was designed to be supplied exclusively with the Gold Repaint.


CDB 78-F-8 (October 5, 1977) announced that the Gold S/E (UCOMPUTER Y88) will in truth replace the Black S/E (UPC Y84) in January 1978. Production to begin January 2. Orders for Gold S/Es to be embraced start in November 1977.


Solar Gold exterior with dark gold pinstripingGold grille liners, instrument panel, and also assorted internal and also exterior emblemsBlack taillamp housings and also black windshield and also backlite moldingsInterior trim limited to base or practice Camel Tan vinyl, towel, or leather (leather was later on canceled in CDB 78-F-14 November 30, 1977)Gold glass in Fisher hatches (CC1) via anodized gold moldings (gold moldings were later on cancelled in CDB 78-F-10 October 17, 1977)Formula steering wheel in Camel Tan through gold spokesGold 15x7 cast-aluminum wheels (NOTE: 15x8 gold cast-aluminum wheels once WS6 is ordered)

An October 6, 1977, memo to zone managers says aacquire that the Babsence S/Es will be reinserted with the Gold S/Es and also that dealers must be made aware of the alters. It additionally mentions a contract via Hurst to develop a specific number of cars with its hatches (Y82). Once the contract is fulfilled, Y84 manufacturing will start. Dealers are encouraged to solicit Y82 orders for the following 30 days.


Car Distribution Bulletin 78-F-14 dated November 30, 1977, announced the price for the Y88 package would certainly remajor the exact same as Y82 and also Y84, at $1,259.


IN THE CODES
Item Code/Casting
W72 400 Engine (Man. Trans. )WC
Heads6X
Intake Manifold10003395
Carburetor17058263
Distributor1103315
Cam10003402
Transmission: Super T-10ZT
Rear: Safe-T-Track, 3.42:12PY
Paint: Solar Gold50
Upholstery: Camel Tan Deluxe62B1
15x8 Snowflake Wheels: GoldJF

ABOUT THE RESTORATION"I"m not certain how many type of idiots choose me have ever put $73,000 right into a Trans Am, however it"s a damn fine auto now," owner Jerry Clum told HPP. The complying with photos show some of the restoration procedure on this T/A. For the most component, Murphy"s brought back it to show up as it did once they took it acomponent. Because mileage was low, a lot body, drivetrain, and chassis info might be recorded. A few of what you check out might not agree through the norms of chassis finishes discussed in the hobby. This is partly as a result of the truth that all surencounters that were intended to remain bare steel from the manufacturing facility were painted to preserve the look and also ward off rust. In a few locations, but, the T/A is admittedly overbrought back per the owner"s wishes. These encompass the absence of overspray in the cowl location, body color--keyed floor pans, and also wheels that are even more polimelted than stock. This restoration was completed in just six months because the owner had to it have prepared in time for the T/A Nats. According to Mark Murphy of Murphy"s Standard Restorations, "This Pontiac was simpler to reclaim than one that is entirely rusted out, of course. But you still have to attend to eexceptionally nut and also bolt regardless of the car"s original problem. Combine that through the amount of photo documentation that we did and the tight time framework and also you have actually a challenge. Careful planning was crucial to getting the job completed on time, and I"m very pleased through the outcomes."


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See all 16 photosWith the front clip rerelocated, we view proof that also low-mile Pontiacs that were stored get dirty. You have the right to check out traces of the manufacturing facility primer with gold overspray on the outside edges of the firewall. Also note the flash-chromed valve covers that were part of the W72 package.
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