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      11-27-2009, 11:58 PM   #1
jopa489
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Jopa489 Detailed: 1978 Pontiac Trans-Am Gold Special Edition *100 PICS*

Intro

This is my first full before/during/after detail write-up. Over the past couple of years, I have had the pleasure of reading through a countless number of detailed write-ups by many talented detailers. While I'm not a professional, I am an enthusiast who really enjoys detailing his own (and friends/family) cars. I'm planning to do more of these in the future, so this certainly won't be my last. Also, I'm not a photographer - just shooting with a Sony DSC-W300 here. No tripod, no cool lighting. And in this case, not much sun either.


The Car

The car is a 1978 Pontiac Trans Am Gold Special Edition. It is my father's, and he is the one and only owner of the car. It was purchased new in late-1977 from a local Pontiac dealer, and has since accumulated merely 11,000 miles. The car is now over 31 years old, and is 100% original and 100% stock - down to the spare tire, floor mats, factory grease on the hood latch, and sometimes-shoddy GM craftsmanship. It has never seen rain and never heard of snow. This rare car in such pristine original condition is almost certainly one of a kind.

There were quite a few different Trans Am's produced in and around 1978. From this Gold Special Edition, to the infamous Bandit Edition made famous in the Smokey and the Bandit movies, to the Redbird and Bluebird models, to the 1979 10th Anniversary and the 1980-1981 Turbo Trans Am.

This Trans-Am has the official Y88 Gold Special Edition package, WS6 suspension package, and the desirable Pontiac 400 4-barrel (6.6L V8) engine. Many 1978 T/A's had an Oldsmobile 403 engine - GM ran out of Pontiac 400 units and switched to the less-desirable 403 later in the model year. It has a 3-speed automatic transmission and the larger Fisher gold-tinted T-tops. Due to GM's fantastic record keeping, it is unknown how many of these Y88 cars were produced by GM, or exactly how many still exist in original matching form today. Here is how Road & Track magazine summarized the Trans-Am, from a 1977 road test:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Road & Track
With its beating wings embracing the remembrance of an air scoop, the monstrous flame-breathing black and gold bird on the hood announces your arrival onto the super slab. Seated deep in this street-fighter's cockpit, with luminescent dials giving you a read-out on the beast's pulse, you are indeed 'King of the Road'. The other cars out there are nothing more than transportation devices, a collection of anonymous and dreary shapes lurching homeward with their anonymous and dreary occupants tired after a day at the desk. But yours is not just a transportation device. It is not anonymous and dreary. From the shinny aluminum and gold spinning wheels to the enormous rear spoiler, with the vibrating ghost of an air scoop that actually makes it seem to come alive with each pulsation, and with the shrieking bird on the hood, it is an orgy of image and power. It is a Trans Am.
Before a few weeks ago, the car had been sitting in my father's garage for about four years. Lack of time prevented him from using the car, but we decided it would be good to get it running again before this winter so it would be ready for next summer. The car was dusty, but very clean. Simply rising the dust away revealed the fantastic finish, and it was only amplified by a good wash and wax.


Process

Since winter is fast approaching here in New England, my plan for today was just a simple cleanup. The car won't be driven until Summer at this point, so the real full detail will come then. For now, no polish - just a good cleaning. I did not touch the engine bay, nor the interior (aside from a quick wipe down with 303).

The car itself isn't easy to work on. There are decals everywhere - from the huge eagle on the hood, to smaller decals around the windows and on the roof. Extra care must be taken, especially when waxing. It is also deceptively large - there is a LOT of surface area! The honeycomb wheels have sharp edges (the cut on my hand proves that!) and are also a pain to clean.


Products

Wash:
  • Chemical Guys Citrus Wash & Gloss
  • Lowes Proline Grout Sponge
  • 2-bucket method with Grit Guards
  • Detailed Image Waffle-Weave Microfibers
Wheels/Tires:
  • P21S Total Auto Wash
  • Westley's Bleche-Wite
  • ONR
  • Lowes Proline Grout Sponge
  • Poorboys Wheel Sealant
  • Stoner More Shine
LSP:
  • Meguiars #16
  • Foam Applicator
  • Various Microfibers
Misc:
  • Eagle One Wadding Polish
  • Mothers Chrome Polish
Interior:
  • 303 Aerospace
  • Stoner Invisible Glass
Alright, enough talk. Here come the pictures.


Before

Tons of dust everywhere, and old wax residue in many of the crevasses. Four year old tire dressing turned the white walls brown.













In Progress

First up was a thorough rinse. Just removing all the dust made a huge difference:



Wheels weren't bad, no need for P21S or something similar here. ONR and a grout sponge did the job.



Wheel done, now to tackle those white walls:





Using Westley's Bleche-Wite, great OTC product for this. Simply spray it on, agitate quickly with a brush, and rinse off.





Bleche-Wite doing its thing:



And results:







Wash with CG Wash & Gloss. Two bucket method with grit guards:



Post-wash. No LSP applied here yet. Dried with a couple of waffle weaves from DI.













Time for LSP, Megs #16 for the T/A. M16 was the first wax available for automobiles, launched in 1951. It has since been discontinued. M16 is a hard wax and can be tricky to apply correctly - thin coats are absolutely key.





Wax being worked in, carefully around the numerous decals.















Wax residue from the past in many of the tight spots around the car:













With the LSP applied, I did a quick coat of PB Wheel Sealant on the wheels. These pictures aren't the best, it was dark outside.









And by around 4:30 it was completely dark outside. After shots would have to wait until the following day, so I just aired up the tires and put the T/A back in the garage for the night. One after shot at night, thought this looked cool:




After

I was hoping for more sun, but didn't get it. Here are the overcast shots of the finished product. Hopefully I can get some sun shots in the Spring:



































Interior wasn't touched, just a hit the seats and dash pad with 303 for protection:



















Poor attempt at a few infamous reflection shots:



















Engine bay wasn't touched this time. I did catch the junk on the rubber gasket around the scoop, some 303 cleaned it right up after these shots were taken:









Thanks for reading! Comments and critiques always welcome!

Time: About 5 Hours
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      11-28-2009, 12:14 AM   #2
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NICE.
Ive always liked that body style Trans Am
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      11-28-2009, 01:25 AM   #3
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That is a gorgeous car. I doubt there's another all-original one in that condition.

Nice work!
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      11-28-2009, 01:52 AM   #4
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im so jealous of your hands right now. its funny i wassearching for one of these last week. awesome work though.
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      11-28-2009, 02:22 AM   #5
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Great work!
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      11-28-2009, 09:02 AM   #6
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Nice work and very cool car!!!
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      11-28-2009, 09:24 AM   #7
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The car looks great Jopa!

I remember being a little kid when these cars first came out & knowing that the gold package was THE rarest to see. Old School muscle just before GM went to the hatchback & de-tuned cars. Thanks for including some of the history of the car!

Remind your Dad of who his favorite son is ........... my Dad has a 1968 Corvette (tri-power, 4spd, convertible) AND I remind him constantly.

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      11-28-2009, 12:03 PM   #8
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great work joe!
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      11-28-2009, 12:04 PM   #9
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I think I shall detail my brothers completely restored 1971 SS 454 Chevelle (its an actual 454, not a clone) and post it here. Its sad that he never drives it though.
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      11-28-2009, 12:19 PM   #10
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im coming to texas soon and i will drive it for me.
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      11-28-2009, 02:35 PM   #11
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Nice!
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      11-28-2009, 05:28 PM   #12
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Thank you all for the feedback!
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      11-28-2009, 06:16 PM   #13
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Those wheels look like they'd be a nightmare to clean.
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      11-28-2009, 06:58 PM   #14
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lol reminds me of Old School "not particularly street legal but keep it on the down low". nice work!
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      11-30-2009, 02:33 PM   #15
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nice work..
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      11-30-2009, 03:02 PM   #16
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Nice work. That car looks cool
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      11-30-2009, 03:49 PM   #17
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When you look at the engine bay just makes you think they kinda just threw all the wires in there and slammed the hood shut. Good work jopa!
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      11-30-2009, 05:52 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klipseracer View Post
When you look at the engine bay just makes you think they kinda just threw all the wires in there and slammed the hood shut. Good work jopa!
Haha, no kidding! There are random tie-wraps and wires running diagonally across there. I love the car, but it's really an example of awesome GM quality..
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      12-04-2009, 03:08 AM   #19
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great job sick car...
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      12-18-2009, 12:57 AM   #20
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I just realized this car is in the music video for that annoying "Tik Tok" song. Annoying but curiously catchy.

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      12-18-2009, 07:37 AM   #21
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I'm with PINeely, those wheels look wicked to clean! Car looks awesome though. Nice job. I bet Dad loved it.
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      12-18-2009, 12:07 PM   #22
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What does a car in that condition go for now days?
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