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455/4-Speed: 1976 Pontiac Trans Am

Although tightening emission regulations strangled engines during the 1970s, Pontiac remained the torchbearer for those seeking performance models. The 1976 Trans Am outshone its pony car competition, and buyers had to opt for a Corvette if they sought something faster. This 1976 Trans Am is a tidy classic featuring the company’s most desirable drivetrain. It is rust-free and well preserved, but it needs a new home. The Trans Am is listed here on Craigslist in Paradise, Nevada. You could drive away in this classic by handing the seller $45,000. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L. for spotting this tidy classic.

The first thing most enthusiasts will notice with this Trans Am is its lower stance and larger wheels. The seller is the car’s second owner, and they recently added frame connectors while treating it to a 2″ drop and a new set of 17″ Snowflake wheels. If the new owner seeks originality, reversing the changes is possible. However, they add a sense of purpose to an already impressive classic. The Cameo White paint shines beautifully, with no visible significant problems. The body is straight, but the best news is that this classic appears rust-free. The listing suggests it has called the dry Nevada climate its home for over three decades, which may have helped preserve its steel. The seller doesn’t mention any prior restoration work, but the overall condition and the crispness of the decals suggest it is possible. The original owner specified tinted glass, which looks flawless.

For a car from a warm and dry climate, this Trans Am’s interior is a surprise packet. The original owner ordered it trimmed in White vinyl, and it remains in excellent condition for its age. There are no rips, tears, stains, or yellowing. The carpet and headliner are equally impressive, as are the dash and console. The filler plate on the gauge fascia beside the lighter is damaged, but I had no trouble finding several replacements online for under $50. Given the Pontiac’s present location, its ice-cold air conditioning would be welcome. There aren’t many additional luxury appointments, but the buyer receives an AM radio and a factory 8-track player, and twenty tapes. Hopefully, there’s something in the collection that appeals to your taste.

Trans Am buyers in 1976 could choose from two engine options, but this car’s original owner went to the top of the class by selecting the 455ci V8. They added a four-speed manual transmission, a Posi rear end, and power assistance for the steering and brakes. That V8 pumped out 200hp, allowing this Trans Am to romp through the ¼ mile in 16.4 seconds. That figure is not impressive by modern standards but needs to be placed into context. The Trans Am’s natural competition in 1976 was the Camaro LT and the Mustang II Cobra II. The Ford covered the same distance in 17.4 seconds, while the most potent Camaro took 17.5 seconds. Even the range-topping Corvette struggled against this classic, although it could sneak over the line with a slight lead. The seller recently spent some money on this Pontiac to improve the driving experience. As well as the new wheels and tires, which have 200 miles on them, they added a set of high-performance aluminum shocks, new ball joints, new sway bar bushings, and a new dual exhaust with Flowmasters. They say the vehicle runs and drives exceptionally well, suggesting the buyer could fly in and drive this baby home.

This 1976 Pontiac Trans Am is a tidy classic that needs little to lift its presentation to a higher level. Its drivetrain combination was the best available for that model year, and it could show its opposition a clean pair of heels in a fight. Although the classic market is softening for some vehicles, that isn’t the case with the ’76 Trans Am. Values continue increasing rapidly, with no evidence of slowing. Tidy examples are reaching the point where they will be beyond the reach of the average enthusiast. The asking price on our feature car looks competitive, especially considering its rust-free status and known ownership history. If you have the available funds, it could be worth pursuing this beauty further.


  1. OldSchool Muscle

    I like this .When i was a kid my neighbor had a77 transam 400 4 speed . red on red interior only option was power windows he bought the package with the most hipo that was available.The car was fast i remember speed o used to hit EX:(lets say 120 the top speed) it would keep going past that nice ride I was like 10 but clear as day.. Always loved that car of his…

    Like 5
  2. Stan

    Not much better than this in 76′

    Like 5
  3. JBD

    455 was the top dog in ‘76. Even the Olds 442 455 was as slow.

    Like 1
  4. Mitch

    Neat. The owner seems a smart fox with all these changes to
    the chassis. A few things seem to have been forgotten, but at
    the latest when the – nevertheless antiquated – engine gives
    up the ghost, an efficient Toyota V8 finds its place in the front.

    Btw why are been so many Vettes offered without drivetrain
    but never a T/A appeared here for a restomod?

    Nice toy.

    Like 2
  5. 455RAIV

    Great car to Hot Rod though – it already had the cubic inches – add some better heads etc. and it will fly which people did :)

    Like 4
  6. Michael Freeman Mike Freeman Member

    The only problem with this engine is it’s the same 455 that went into a Catalina station wagon instead of the SD and they sold it because they were just expected to have one. They were just big for the sake of being big unless you built them. Stock the 400 was a better choice.

    Like 2
    • 455RAIV

      Same year 400’s Are good too for a basis point But Actually Motion Performance has built Very Fast T/A’s with these same 455’s without going into the engine internally forged rods etc. ie. Motion built a New 1975 455 T/A For Export back in the day – Stock short Block – stock Milled heads for higher compression – HL Cam- Anti pump up lifters – 850 Holley vacuum secondaries – Torker intake – 3400 stall auto – 4.10 rear gear etc. this T/A Would run in the 12’s back then and it would pull strong past its redline without over reving it – now thats a hot rod without doing a max rebuild :) .

      Like 2
  7. W72WW3

    Positraction rear end was standard on T/A; not as an option.

    Like 2
  8. Issa bendeck

    Nice good old t/A I LOVE THOSE CARS i m sure it will get an new owner in a heart bit

    Like 1
  9. douglas hunt

    VERY NICE !!!! luv the front ends on these, last year of the round headlight I think, and still looks great to me.

    Like 1

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