Can you even imagine a 1977 Bandit Trans Am without its signature gold snowflake wheels? The gold snowflake wheel looks like it is
genetically inherent to the cars make-up. Gold snowflakes on a black Trans Am are almost a magical coupling like Sonny and Cher,
Simon and Garfunkel, or Lennon and McCartney. Like those legendary duos the magic coupling of the SE and Snowflake wheels could
also be broken up. Research by Trans-zam.com has revealed that the 1977 Black Special edition Trans Am could have been ordered
with gold Rally II wheels instead of the iconic snowflake rims. Don’t believe it? Read on.
On December 2, 1976 Pontiac Management issued a Car Distribution bulletin (77 F-9)
stating that gold Rally II (UPC code N67) are be
available on the special edition Trans Am, effective immediately. All the buyer had to do was specify option N67 on the option form
and gold Rally IIs would be installed by the factory in place of the standard gold snowflake wheels.
It was quite unusual for GM to downgrade one option by selecting another. In other years a standard feature of a model would
usually be removed via a delete option. For instance, in 1979 T-Tops were standard on the Black Special Edition Trans Am but they could
be removed using a T-Top delete option that kicked in a $655 credit.
The Rally II Bandit listed for a list price of $435 for the hardtop or $1,022 for the Hatch Roof version, a savings of only $121
over the snowflake equipped cars. Considering that the SE was not your basic economy car, price wasn’t often the biggest factor
in buying one. Plus, you would lose the advantage of having lighter weight aluminum snowflake wheels versus the heavier steel Rally IIs.
Most performance enthusiasts will opt for lighter weight wheels that contribute less unsprung mass as well as a significant reduction in
rotational mass, two factors that significantly improve vehicle performance. Aluminum or other lightweight alloy wheels increase acceleration, stopping, and cornering performance. With either set-up your Trans Am would still easily knock over country mail boxes while you were running blocker for 400 cases of illegal beer.
If you have never seen one of these cars it is because they are very rare. In searching the internet for over 20 years Tran-zam has
only encountered photos of one of these rare beasts. Any collector of rare cars will tell you that rarity does not necessarily
translate to desirability. The value of a car is determined by both the rarity and desirability factors.
Having a ’77 Bandit that has the additional rarity of these unique wheels might be worth a premium to the right collector.
The sight of a black Trans Am is not very rare at car shows but if you wanted the look of the classic Bandit while standing out in a
crowd of Bandits, then a Rally II SE might be for you.