Pontiac Trans Am draws in bidders

By Kristina Webb
Copy Editor

Among the hundreds of cars for sale at this year’s Barrett-Jackson Auction, one stood out from the crowd.

“You don’t see a lot of these silver Trans Ams,” said 39-year-old Kenny Clair, a first-time seller from Massachusetts.

Clair sold a 1979 silver 10th Anniversary Edition Pontiac Trans Am.

Kenny Clair talking to his mother, Sue, about his 1979 Pontiac Trans Am. (All photos by Kristina Webb, Copy Editor)

The car went up on the auction block around 1 p.m. Friday, and although there had been many Trans Ams sold throughout the day, Clair was confident he could get a good price for his ’79.

“I’d like to make $35,000 or more, but I know if I get $30,000 for it I’ll break even,” Clair said.

Throughout the day, Clair had many bidders approach him, all interested in the car’s history.

Clair drives his car into line for auction

Clair purchased the car from a man in California, and spent almost $20,000 painting and repairing the vehicle.

When it was time for his car to roll onto the block in front of a crowd that one Barrett-Jackson official called one of the largest since the auction first came to Palm Beach, Clair drove his car for the last time.

The auctioneer listed the highlights of the car: numbers-matching engine; 220 horsepower, “which for 1979 made it one of the most powerful cars of its time,” the auctioneer said; four brand new tires mounted on the original wheels, a plus for any car owner; and the factory stereo, including an eight-track deck.

Clair drives his car for the last time

The bidding started off low, and as the first bid was placed at $5,000, Clair muttered to himself, “Oh geez.”

Soon enough, the price began to rocket higher. It went from $5,000 to $7,000, and from $7,000 to $15,000.

The bidding closed with Clair’s Trans Am selling for $30,000 to a millionaire from Puerto Rico.

Clair's car on the auction block, right before it sold for $30,000

Later, Clair said the experience was nerve-wracking, but he didn’t regret his decision to sell.

“I’m happy with how this went,” Clair said. “I still got to make the trip to Florida. I got a few days off of work. That’s pretty nice.”

With fees deducted from both the buyer and seller, Barrett-Jackson will make about $6,600 on the sale of Clair’s car.

Clair said he’ll receive a check in the next two weeks for about $26,000.

“I broke even, and that’s all I could ask for,” Clair said. “It was worth the trip. I’d definitely do this again.”


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