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Worth Fixing? 1973 Pontiac Trans Am 455

This 1973 Pontiac Trans Am is a matching numbers example that has unfortunately been sitting for several years, parked in 1978 under the trees and left to rot. It’s a shame, too, as the car retains many original parts, which suggests it hasn’t ever been modified or otherwise altered from stock. Mileage is low, noted as being just 46,746, and the last inspection sticker from 1978 jives with the seller’s assessment of when it was parked and left to rot. The engine is sadly locked up and there’s lots of rust, but is a numbers matching example worth it? Find it here on eBay with one bid to $6,000 and no reserve.

The seller notes the Trans Am still has the original GM Spiral shocks on all four corners, and that the engine and transmission both match the car. The listing does say that the Pontiac is quite rusty but it doesn’t elaborate where the worst areas are. In fact, the seller claims despite the way it looks from the outside, the rockers, rear frame rails and front subframe all appear solid. The original aero bits, like the spats in front the rear wheel wells and the decklid spoiler, all remain attached, and from this angle, and the wheels appear to remain factory as well. For a model that had a tendency to be modified, this Trans Am is pleasingly stock.

The shame of the rust issues gets even more significant when you see how clean the interior remains after all the years of sitting. The upholstery looks practically usable as-is, and the console and other plastic pieces don’t look bad at all. When you see a vintage car with significant rust issues, you almost hope the interior is a lost cause, as it won’t tempt you any further to attempt its revival. But with an original interior remaining in seemingly complete condition and a numbers matching 455 under the hood, this Trans Am has a few things going for it – but we still don’t have a totally clear picture on the extent of the rust.

The 455 is sadly, and predictably, locked up. But the seller also hasn’t spent any time trying to free it with Marvel Mystery Oil or the like, at least according to the listing description. Continuing the theme of originality is the fact that the only alteration to the engine is the carburetor and the air cleaner base – no signs of modifications here. Now, while we can see the body has plenty of surface rust, it’s more difficult to ascertain just how deep it goes. The seller says “…this is a very rusty car, not for the amateur restorer,” which makes me wonder if the rust has gotten into the floors given the Trans Am sat for many years under the trees. It’s been in North Carolina since new, so it likely doesn’t have the rust of a snowbelt car – but that doesn’t mean it will be any easier to bring this highly original Trans Am back to life. Would you restore it?


  1. Avatar photo Tom c

    I know , it’s worth whatever someone is willing to pay , but six grand 🤣.

    Like 15
    • Avatar photo Gnrdude

      Dude Restored it’d be worth 86$K or more.

      Like 7
  2. Avatar photo Dave

    Nope, I’d have to let this go. There’s a ‘74 below it for $5500, and the only rust on it is the trunk pan… and it runs!!

    Like 9
  3. Avatar photo Tom c

    Not if it’s not a super duty .

    Like 6
  4. Avatar photo Arby

    Is its nickname “Rusty”?

    Like 4
  5. Avatar photo Too late

    Put back next to the Titanic where it was removed from. So sad that some people have such disregard to such a once great car.

    Like 8
  6. Avatar photo Rosco

    Not worth restoring. Salvage the few usable parts and throw the rest away.

    Like 4
  7. Avatar photo John Oliveri

    There’s a law for cruelty to animals, spitting on the sidewalk, shouldn’t this person be charged with a crime for destroying this beautiful car, what a shame

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo 370zpp Member

      Agreed. Putting this one out to pasture like that…. messed up.

      Like 3
  8. Avatar photo Steve Clinton

    $6000.00? Someone has more money than brains!

    Like 5
  9. Avatar photo C5 Corvette

    Parts? but 6K worth….not; or 50k to restore it. Pass.

    Like 2
  10. Avatar photo Jeff

    Alot of time/money here! If your set on a TA there’s plenty out here. If your after a ’73,it needs to be a SD. Not a turnkey car, you’ll never recoup your investment. It took me several years to build my 455 and I dread the day when it will have to go. Great handling,driving,performance car unlike any until you drive a completed TA and they are eye candy.

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Brian K

    I have a soft spot for these ’73’s. I’d offer a bit below the asking price. The fact that it is matching numbers on the motor and tranny means something. If you are a skilled welder and have the time, this would be a great project to take on. If you had to pay somebody to restore this, I’d pass due to the cost. I really hope this car gets saved.

    Like 4
  12. Avatar photo Maverick

    Looks like the firewall is rotten.

    Like 1
  13. Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

    Ironically, the rockers & endura nose are in good shape. Why would anyone stop drivin 1 of these in ’78? Too many tickets? In jail?
    So much for the ability of the GM trunk gasket & body build quality to keep out the water.
    Is the whole section from the firewall forward not level with the rest of the body ? See pic #1 above. & i think i’m seeing Vega steel here too, all over.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Don

      looks like its rotten where the front subframe bolts to the unibody. Gonna be hard to fix that….

      Like 0
  14. Avatar photo Gary J Hays

    That car would be a labor of for the t/a and with matching that is a plus

    Like 1
  15. Avatar photo Doug F.

    Looks like a car that was caught in a flash flood-hurricane, it’s showing all the signs the way it’s bleeding RUST from every crack and crevice.

    Like 1
  16. Avatar photo Mark

    First car I’ve seen that can hug the road on hills.

    Like 0
  17. Avatar photo sir_mike

    Fix what??? The VIN tag???

    Like 1
  18. Avatar photo TProc

    fifth digit is a Y, not X for SD.


    Like 1
  19. Avatar photo JB

    I am almost certain that I had this car before ot was put to pasture. There were some title issues and I grew tired of trying to track it down. The car was rusty then, and I had a chance to trade for a motor for my 68 Charger.

    Like 1
  20. Avatar photo Arthur

    Too bad this car wasn’t sent to Martin Brothers Customs in Texas. They turned a Pontiac Firebird that suffered an engine fire into a pro-touring machine. Who knows what they could have done with this Trans Am.

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo John Oliveri

      The car that Martin bros in Texas did, was a front end fire, floors, trunk and rails were clean, even the doors were good, this thing is really rotted, I’m not saying they couldn’t fix it, but lotsa money,

      Like 1
  21. Avatar photo Duncan

    This is like a badc Monty Python skit…. it’s just a flesh wound…. have at thee coward.

    Like 0
  22. Avatar photo Rick

    If the vin tag isn’t rusted out, it’ll be at Barrett-Jackson someday soon.

    Like 0

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