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Need help - 81 TA Values

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#1 Dylanrocks1989


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  • First Name:Dylan
  • City:Palmerston
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  • Year: 1981
  • Make: Pontiac
  • Model: Transam
  • Engine: 350
  • Transmission: Automatic

Posted 19 April 2017 - 10:35 AM

1981 trans am
I have a 1981 trans am that has alot of body work that needs done. Im wondering how much a 1981 trans am body would be worth? It has minor body work that needs done, the guys asking 1400. I need help to figure out if its worth it.

#2 ponyakr


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  • Model: firebird
  • Engine: 400,455
  • Transmission: th400, 4-spd muncie

Posted 19 April 2017 - 06:13 PM

Welcome to FBN !   :welcome500:




I reckin it all depends on how badly you want an '81, exactly what all will need repair during the resto, what else is available in your area, and how much of the work you can do yourself. 


I personally don't like the nose & tail of the '79-'81 models. But, I think there were more '79's sold than any other year. The '79 was the last year that had a 400 engine. The '80 & '81 models had a Pontiac 301, including some turbo models. But, I think that only the 305 sbc engine came with a 4-speed. 


It's pretty easy to swap a 400 or 455 into a 301 car. If it's a 305, that makes any size sbc engine an easy swap. That means a new 350 crate engine replacement is less than $2000. So, if you're a Chevy engine guy, a nicely restored '81 T/A, with a good 350 or 383 sbc & 4-speed. might be a desirable Bird. 


Sometimes guys buy a cheap project car & end up spending more for the resto than the price of a ready-to-drive Bird. 


If your budget allows, I'd look up as many possibilities as I could find, so that I could compare taking on a full blown project, vs buying a driver, that didn't need near as much work done. 

Edited by ponyakr, 19 April 2017 - 06:16 PM.

#3 taman76


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  • Year: 1976
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  • Model: Trans Am
  • Engine: 400
  • Transmission: Auto

Posted 20 April 2017 - 03:44 AM

Without actually seeing the car, it is tough to say.  What you see on the body that needs done is only a small part of the story.  The best way to figure out what it is worth is to look over the car top to bottom very close and then try and find others like it online and see what they are asking.  

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#4 raguza123


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  • Year: 1981
  • Make: Pontiac
  • Model: Trans Am
  • Engine: 305
  • Transmission: 4 spd manual

Posted 20 April 2017 - 05:24 AM

You are right Don, the 81 305 came standard with the 4 spd, you could order the 4 spd with the 301 and turbo,

the engines in them were the 301 with an auto trans, and the 301 turbo with a auto trans. and the 305 with a BW T10 4 spd,

not all models came standard like the years before with the posi rear,

81 was mostly a 4 wheel disc model year and the exhaust was a new design, most TA's came without the transverse muffler, they had 2 mufflers in place of the resonators and they had chrome tips out the rear like the Camaro.

I have a 81 and it is still original.

the color codes were changed too.

Now $1400 tells me there is a lot of work with this car you are looking at, but it is up too you and how much you want to get into her, it maybe worth it, but it looks like the original drivetrain is not in place and a 81 can fetch about 10,000 to 15,000 with the original drivetrain, I have seen them as high as 25k, the 81 is not worth as much as a 70-78 TA or even a 79TA.

Again it is up to you and how much do you want to get involved in the resto of it.

#5 billymagg



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  • Year: 1981
  • Make: Pontiac
  • Model: Firebird Esprit
  • Engine: 400???
  • Transmission: 200 metric

Posted 22 April 2017 - 07:44 AM

1981 trans am
I have a 1981 trans am that has alot of body work that needs done. Im wondering how much a 1981 trans am body would be worth? It has minor body work that needs done, the guys asking 1400. I need help to figure out if its worth it.


Well Dylan, an 81 TA that needs a lot of body work is a very expensive proposition, if you've found an 81 Trans Am that needs a little work??? and has a clean title, that's were to focus your efforts... the cleaner car, is always the cheaper car. Sounds like you're just wanting a car to play with, and the better body is always the smart move, if the floorboards, trunk, and rear subframe are all good, you'll save yourself endless time and heartache going that direction, then part out or sell the old one when you have cannibalized all the parts you need....


pictures would help


without being disrespectful, if you decide to go with the other car, offer the guy 800 bucks and see what happens?? you may end up picking it up for a 1,000 or so??

Edited by billymagg, 22 April 2017 - 07:45 AM.

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