My Cars

I spotted my first American car by chance passing by a parking lot. At the time I saw it I even couldn’t imagine I can own it. I stopped and went to see it, because it was a rare sight. 4th generation Trans ams were too new to be popular in Bulgaria back in 2004. A big excise and custom duties made every car imported from the US a pricey one. By that time I knew of only two other 4th generation Trans ams in my country. The rest were 6 cyl Firebirds. Under a closer inspection I was surprised to see the numerous issues such as cracked dashboard, poor body work after a front collision. Both aibags have been were opened. They most likely have broken the windshield, because the car had a new aftermarket one. The upholstery was pretty worn on both front seats. Tires were worn also I fell in love with this car in spite of all its issues. It was 1993 Trans am with a 6 speed manual transmission after all and it reminded me of the 4th gen F-bodies that my friend Ozzie from Missouri owned. I got in touch with the owner and on the next day I met him and inspected the car. I was pleased to see that the engine run fine, but the transmission shifted the gears very difficult. The only safety assist system – the ABS was not working. Luckily the owner was willing to sell the car. The initial price of the vehicle was reasonable and was approximately as much as the excise duty and the delivery of the vehicle from the USA. But it still was way over my budget. We discussed the numerous issues. I felt that the owner wanted to rid of the car. He said he acquired it from a person who owed him money. Additional issue was that this car was written as Grand am in the title. I verified it has Trans am VIN, so we proceeded further. I dared to make a price offer which was little over one third of the owners asking price. He got mad, but seems like I was at the right moment at the right place. He really needed to rid of it, so he accepted my price. I spent all my savings from my summer exchange programs in the USA, but got a heck of a deal and bought my first American car. Right after I bought it I started removing the issues. A big pain was the heater core that was bypassed. There was no place from which I could buy an original one, so I put one from another car. I had to fix it because during the late fall I travelled with friends in a thick fog, so the windshield started to catch ice on the inside from our breath. It was really a dangerous trip with almost no visibility in spite of all the cleaning, so I understood I had to solve this issue. I also figured out that the car has serious suspension damage and was instable at higher speed. I partially fixed this problem with an alignment. All the issues didn’t bother me too much. I really loved that car and was proud of owning it. We even made a photo session of the car with some colleagues for one of the  car magazines for which I was working as freelance editor. Soon the Trans am blew one of the head gaskets. It was running and I drove it 220 kms to my birth town where two good friends of mine did the repair. Very soon it was ready and I started enjoying it again. After a couple of risky situations, because of its power and the head gaskets issue I realized two things – the car was too dangerous for a young driver like me with a heavier right foot and that I can’t maintain it the way I want to, because it was over my budget. Also I have always dreamed of a late second generation Trans am. So I decided to sell it. By coincidence I sold it to young guy who lives in the same town where the car has been imported in Bulgaria, when it was just one year old. He remembered it as a teenager and it was probably the most unique car in his town. The moment when we said goodbye and he got in the car, revved the engine and burned the tires on his way was a bitter moment in my life that I will remember forever. The good news is that more American cars were waiting their time to come to my life.

Less than an year after I sold my first Trans am I came upon an add for a red 1991 Trans am GTA with auto transmission and T Tops. The price was fair and the car was not located too far, so I got a friend of mine and we went to see it. It was in much better shape compared to my first Trans am although it was slightly older. The seller was eager to sell, so I got a pretty good deal (again). There was a small issue, that the car still had the previous owners name on the title and the previous owner had to come to the notary for the contract. Luckily he lived in the same town but we had to wait for him. The wait turned to be unexpectedly long and I started hesitating whether to buy the car at all. At one moment told my friend that I am giving up from the car and that I want we to go. He is a very talkative guy, but his reaction surprised me. In stead of persuading and talking to me, he just sat on the nearest bench and said he is not moving from there until I don’t buy the car. So I just sat next to him and we waited for another hour until the previous owner arrive. We managed to made the notary contract and headed back to Sofia. The car performed very well and arrived with no issues. The first thing I did after I bought it was to repaint all yellow spoilers back to red color, so the whole car will be red again. I was still living in students’ town and was happy to drive the car there. Students town is full of universities and students and is a fun place for young people. While driving the car I spotted an issue. While running it will just die. It will start up again immediately and will not do this again in the same day. I didn’t have the knowledge nor the time to investigate. Very soon a friend of mine introduced me to a man who wanted to buy the Trans am. He offered me a very good price and since I have always dreamed of a second generation Trans am I decided to sell it. The story of this car does not over here. You will see the next part after some time.

Trans am Firebird

Several years passed after I sold my 1991 Trans am GTA. I had several unsuccessful attempts to buy some American cars. Then in the late 2008 the crisis came. In the beginning of 2009 an add for 1979 Trans am appeared online. And this car was in Bulgaria and I have never heard of it before! It was a project partially taken apart, with bodywork and on primer. And the price was so high that you could find the same model in running condition somewhere in Europe or the USA. The add disappeared quickly, but I managed to keep the phone number and to get in touch with lady that was selling the car. As soon as I was able I went to see the car. It appeared to be a real Y84 Black Special Edition. And here is its story, a similar one to stories I have heard over the years, but for the older American cars that has been imported in Bulgaria, while it still was a communist country. So this car was confiscated by the customs, because it was used for drugs transportation. It was auctioned and bought by a person who had currency exchange office and has been very rich by that time. His wife remembers that in 1989 they paid as much money for it as for two apartments in the center of the town they lived. They were known in the whole town as the family renting an apartment to live in, but were owning this Trans am. Remember this was a 10 year car by that time. They drove it for a couple of years and then her husband decided to repaint it. He gave it to a painter, but meanwhile, got sick, broke down, divorced and passed away. So the car spent 10 years in garages partially disassembled. Eventually some parts were lost or stolen. Still it had its complete engine and transmission, the body was looking good. I somehow managed to explain her that the car is not so expensive as she thinks. We managed to reach an agreement on a price that was fair for both sides. I bought what appeared to be my first second generation Trans am. This was my first more serious project, I didn’t have the knowledge and skills, but with friends and all the online help on internet I started working on the car. We started it up very soon and easy. It was noisy, because it had almost no exhaust. But the engine ran well with no smoke. It was the 301 V8 with automatic transmission. It took 11 months it to repainted in the service of the dealership where I worked. So after two years I was ready and went to the first car show with it. I was surprised to see how slow it is with the 301. A week after I started driving it I was unhappy to see that it starts to overheat. A quick check of the old showed that it is mixed with the coolant. So I brought the car to a friend and we removed the heads.

The gaskets and the heads were ok with no cracks. My friend removed the block and after a check it turned out that it is badly cracked. The car had no coolant in it when I bought it, but seems like it has been run with water instead of coolant which caused the crack. This was very discouraging, but since I put so much money in this car I knew that I have to finish it. After a week or so of discussing the different scenarios, I finally decided to find a 400 Pontiac engine for her. I bought one from Ebay and imported it from the US. Much to my regret it turned out that it needed a rebuild too. It had mixed coolant and oil in it, although that seller claimed I can put it and drive it as is. I was lucky to get in touch with another friend of mine, who was experienced and he agreed to rebuild the engine for. We ordered all the necessary parts, as well as a comp cam and he rebuilt the engine. The engine issue was a costly one – I remember I spent as much on the engine and its rebuild as a good third generation Camaro Z28 car that was for sale by that time. But at the end after three and a half years I had a great looking and running second generation Trans am, which was the only of its kind in my country. There was only one more 1978 Trans am. But I had two issues with the car. By that time I put too much money into it and I already hated it, because of all the pain and efforts it needed to be nice. And after all these money, efforts and pain it was not 1978 Trans am.

 I already was checking the car ads in the US regularly. I came upon a gold 1978 Trans am that I really liked. Of course I couldn’t dream of it much, simply because I had the black 1979 and I didn’t believe I will sell it at all. I put an add in and put an attractive price for the western European market. To my surprise I sold it in less than two weeks. The day before the customer to come and inspect it the transmission made problem. The gear lever somehow lost its connection with the transmission. And I knew I have 12 hours to solve the issue. I was lucky. It was just a loose nut, but I had to drain the oil, find the issue and I had to do all this in my tight garage. The sale finished quickly. The new owner a young Belgium guy who is now a friend of mine drove it to Belgium with no issues. More than 2200 kms. It was almost totally restored car – with a rebuild engine and transmission, a new paint on a great body with no rust issues. I was very sad to see the car going, but it brough me too much pain.

So I was actually able to apply for that gold 1978 Trans am that I was thinking will not be able to buy. Car was still available. The seller was very correct and honest person.  

Since I have so many good friends in the USA, have bought, restored and sold cars in Bulgaria and Europe, I decided to create this website where you can find a good selection of classic American cars and projects for sale. You will also see the cars I have delivered over the years by people order.
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