455 And A 4-Speed: 1973 Pontiac Trans Am

This article is a little different than most of the other articles I have written in Barn Finds. One of the reasons I enjoy writing Barn Find articles is that I love to try and locate rare muscle cars. While I like just about any performance vehicle, I have an affinity for 2nd generation Trans Ams. While recently scouring the internet, I recently found a 1973 Trans Am with no motor or transmission that was for sale about an hour from my home. I made arrangements to go visit the seller over the weekend and hoped that the car would be solid and still available. My friend, Steve, and my brother, Brian, joined me on this adventure. What we found was a true Code 48 Brewster Green 1973 Pontiac Trans Am that had some rust but was pretty solid.

While I talked with the seller to fimd out a little bit about the history of the car, Brian checked out the data tag located on the cowl and saw the code 48 indicating the car left the factory painted in Brewster Green. The other codes on the data tag showed the car had a black morrokide interior and the WS4 confirmed it was a Trans Am. Out of the 4,800 Trans Ams produced in 1973, it is estimated that somewhere between 140 to 650 were painted in this unique, one year only color. The other colors available in 1973 for Trans Ams was Buccaneer Red and Cameo White. Steve dove under the car and started checking out the solid frame rails and we found the trunk and floor pans to be intact.

The interior of the car didn’t look much better than the exterior condition of the Trans Am but the seller pointed out that it was a 4 speed car also. As you might know, only 1,400 Trans Ams were equipped with 4 speed transmissions in 1973 with the remaining cars receiving the turbo 400 automatic transmission. This car was getting more special every moment. The VIN code on the car showed that the Trans Am was equipped with the Y Code 455 cubic inch engine which was rated at 250 horsepower in 1973. The Y Code 455 V8 was the standard engine for 1973 and the optional engine was the Super Duty 455 engine that generated 290 horsepower. Only 252 Trans Ams received the Super Duty 455 V8 in 1973 which is identified by an X in the VIN.

So we agreed on a price and towed the car home. To the untrained eye, this car might look like a bucket of bolts with coats of black, red and blue paint covering the original color. The seller also included two replacement doors. The car had been used as a drag car for most of its life and sported a turbocharged Pontiac 400 engine in its glory days. I found a boost gauge mounted in the dash. I have a Y code 455 block to use for its restoration and a number of other parts that I have collected over the years. So let me know below if you like this find and what you think it is worth in its present condition.


  1. poseur Member

    great find a even better write-up.
    thanks for keeping a sweet piece of automotive history out of the scrap pile

    Like 14
  2. v

    look closely at the grille , i can see it yelling HHEELLPP HELP

    Like 1
  3. Doug

    So that’s how it works……
    Find a choice diamond in the rough, score it, THEN post a write up. Leave us the crumbs.

    Just kidding!!!! Post updates on your progress.

    To bad they let it get in that condition!!!!

    Like 12
  4. TimM


    Like 2
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Good on you, Bruce! Well written piece by a guy with an eye for serious potential-and a love for what he does, as with all the editors here on BF. A diverse group with a common theme: enjoy and preserve the past as you have fun with the icons you save.
      I (we) look forward to more like this.

      Like 3
  5. Nick P

    Great find Bruce. As I posted the other day, our stable also has a Brewster green 4 speed. Good luck with it and would love to see periodic updates on the progress. They are pretty cars.

    Like 5
  6. Spanky


  7. Classic Steel

    Rough baby rough but buildable 👍👀

    Like 1
  8. Arthell64 Member

    The rivets holding the data plate doesn’t look right. I would send the vin to Pontiac historical services and find out how the car left the factory. Looks like something I would drag home.

    Like 1
    • Bruce Johnson Bruce Staff

      I just ordered the PHS but everything checks out so far.

  9. Troy s

    For a car that spent most of its life as a drag racer it sure looks beat to death, how long did that life span?
    I like it, make her worthy again Bruce.

    Like 1
  10. Bultaco

    As long as the rear rails and most or all of the floors are solid, it should be structurally intact. The Gen 2 Firebird styling was much more ‘european’ than the Camaro imho. Same goes for the dash and Formula steering wheel. This one would be beautiful with a set of the early silver honeycomb wheels.

    Like 1
    • Bruce Johnson Bruce Staff

      We have the same tastes! I have a set of honeycomb wheels that I’m restoring to put on this car. I’ll keep y’all updating my progress.

      Like 4
      • DR Member

        Great find Bruce. Did the seller have an explanation as to why the trim tag had been removed from the car at one point? Those are NOT factory rivets.

  11. John S.

    This would make a good organ donor!

  12. Mountainwoodie

    You’re a better man than I, Gunga Din aka Bruce.

    What this reminds me most of is many of the ’70’s Firebirds I saw in the eighties. Trashed.

    I hope you can put it back together without going broke :)

    Like 1
  13. Bill Hunter

    Nice find. Keep us posted.

  14. PatrickM

    To me, it looks like a Ward 9 find. If I had been interested (that’s “IF”), they would have had to pay me to take it.

  15. 19sixty5 Member

    Glad you are saving it! I had a 73 Buccaneer red 4 speed A/C car with the rear window defogger, console, AM-FM radio and the honeycomb wheels It had the crazy Unitized Ignition that I swapped for an HEI, I ended up trading it for a 69 Firebird 400 convert after some intermittent electrical issues. I have been a fan of the 70-73 Trans Ams, and still after all these years I still have a Pontiac… 65 GTO convert 4 speed with an added Tri-Power. Keep us updated!

    Like 2
  16. Johnny

    Nice find Bruce.. You,ll find people who thinks everything should be given to them and get jealous .. When you get it done. You,ll know what it feels like and you did it your way. Don,t pay any attention to any of the down talkers. Do what you think and want,. Please yourself and only yourself.

    Like 1
  17. john

    I found a one owner 1973 ta 455 cu in 4 speed car in great condition. It was repainted a very nice red and has dated button tuff interior but runs and drives nice. How can I tell if its a hd car and what approx. value should I pay for it.

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