Live Auctions

455-Equipped: 1974 Pontiac GTO

By 1974, classics like the Pontiac GTO were feeling the pinch of tightening emission regulations. The GTO still offered respectable performance, but it was a shadow of its former muscular self. The owner of this GTO has decided to address that shortcoming. Its engine bay now houses a 455ci “HO” V8 that should offer impressive acceleration. The car presents exceptionally well and is a turnkey proposition for its next owner. If you want to be that person, you will find this Pontiac located in Whitehouse, Texas, and listed for sale here on Craigslist. You can park it in your garage by handing the owner $30,000. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Pat L for spotting this gem for us.

Finished in Starlight Black with red, white, and blue graphics, this GTO has an almost patriotic feel. The paint shines beautifully, with no evidence of flaws or problems. It is unclear whether repainting or restoration work has been performed in the past, but there is nothing evident in any of the supplied photos. The panels are laser straight, with no signs of dents or other issues. The most positive news with this classic is its general lack of rust. A life spent in the drier climes of Texas has paid dividends for the next owner. The panels look particularly clean, and the underside of the vehicle is in as-new condition. The exterior trim is spotlessly clean, while the graphics and stripes show no signs of fading or cracking. The glass looks flawless, while the car rolls on its original and clean Rally II wheels. The overall first impression that this classic conveys is highly positive.

When it rolled off the line, this GTO’s engine bay would have been occupied by a 350ci V8 producing 200hp. The original owner also chose to equip the car with a three-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power front disc brakes. That combination would have been sufficient to fire this Pontiac through the ¼ mile in a relatively respectable, for the period, 16.5 seconds. It appears this car’s current owner felt that this figure wasn’t good enough. Therefore, he gave the 350 the flick, and in its place is a 455ci HO V8. This motor is of 1971-vintage and would have produced around 335hp in its original home. I suspect that the actual figure is probably slightly higher today because the engine wears an aluminum intake and upgraded carburetor, along with a dual exhaust. I can see no reason why this car couldn’t match the performance figures available from a 1971 Trans Am. That means that a sub-15-second ¼-mile ET is well within reach of this classic. This is a turnkey proposition that should offer performance to match its stunning good looks for potential buyers.

If this Pontiac exterior presents well, its interior is more than a match. Upholstered in red vinyl, there’s very little to fault in here. The upholstered surfaces show no evidence of wear or physical damage, while the dash and pad are spotless. There is no fading on the carpet, while the headlining and remaining trim is immaculate. The GTO is also nicely equipped in a 1974 context. The original owner ordered this classic with bucket seats and a console, along with such luxuries as a tilt wheel, ice-cold air conditioning, and an AM/FM radio/8 track player.

There’s no doubt that by 1974, the Pontiac GTO was a shadow of its former muscular self. However, this was a theme that was common across most performance cars from the period. This one presents nicely, and the owner has made a concerted effort to recapture the badge’s glory days. The asking price of $30,000 is right at the top end of what you might expect to pay for a perfect numbers-matching example. When you consider the performance potential locked away in this classic and its overall condition, I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds a buyer pretty quickly. Would you be interested in pursuing this GTO further?

Comments

  1. Stevieg Member

    Carpet does in fact look a bit faded to me, but my eyes aren’t the best.
    Sharp car! I would love to drive this around Milwaukee & then Phoenix in a few years!
    A little expensive, but everything is today. If ya got the cash and want a fun, cool looking cruiser, this would be it!

    Like 11
  2. Ricky

    Nice Pontiac Nova. GTO badging does not make it a GTO. S-10 spare. Beautiful car, but I dont think the juice is worth the squeeze on this.

    Like 6
  3. Felix Gallardo

    VERY tastefully done!!! I like it. I would definitely be replacing that slushbox with an M-22 in very short order though.

    Like 8
  4. Keith

    If this is a real 71 455HO motor it would have round exhaust ports and be a very rare engine.This would be one fast GTO but that 350 trans would not last to long without some mods to strengthen it..Black was not a color available on the 74.

    Like 8
    • Bick Banter

      Black was available….

      http://paintref.com/cgi-bin/colorcodedisplay.cgi?model=GTO&year=1974&con=yo&rows=50

      http://www.74gto.com/resources.htm

      That said, it was not very popular. Ad says it’s 1 of 60 per PHS. Black was not a popular color choice in that era, unlike now where every other car and SUV is black.

      Like 11
      • Keith

        I receive a publication called Smoke Signals and it is strictly Pontiac mag. A article that was written in there talked about how a cousin in the audit dept. was able to push a black 74 GTO thru production that was not a factory available color. I thought that black was not offered at all but maybe it was a color that was added later in the production run.

        Like 1
      • Rick

        At least it’s not baby-sh1t green with wide whitewalls which was common on lots of GM cars back in the day.

        Like 9
      • Bick Banter

        Baby-sh1t green was very popular, as were browns, oranges and golds. Earth tones. Black did not come into vogue as a car color until the 1980s.

        Like 2
    • Steve R

      The engine in this car has D-port heads, so it’s not an HO or even a convincing copy. It’s just an inexpensive set of stickers meant to impress people at car shows or drive the price higher than it otherwise would be.

      Steve R

      Like 1
      • Dave

        So, if we look at it as a tribute car, and not as an investment, it’s still not that bad. Heck, even the original 350 was good enough for Cars and Coffee or taking the grandkids out for ice cream on Sunday.

        Like 1
    • E. Rufle

      I traded in my 90,000 mi 1970 GTO in on a low mile used ‘74 3-on-the-floor GTO in1977. I did so because gas prices were climbing and I had a new family & no money. In the ‘80s I put a wide ratio saginaw 4-speed out of a Vega in it and found parts from 2-197? 455s and put it together with’70 HO heads. Bored.060 over with a mid-range cam it had too much compression & fuel was hard to come by. It pinged & dieseled so I rebuilt a set of small valved 400 heads out of a station wagon that had 8.5:1 (?) compression. The car now had 9:1-9.5:1 compression, perfect. That car woke the fvvv up and didn’t need more than 5000rpm to do it. The first two gears off of the 4 banger made the stock 3:08 rear gear act like a 4:88. Normally you didn’t use 1st gear. The only faster car I ever owned is my 2013 Corvette 427 that has a custom top end designed by MAMO (700 ? hp). The GTO was different because it was a torque monster that lit up the G60-15s out back in all 4 gears without surpassing 5200 rpm. And I did it mostly because I was poor. Sometimes things just work out. After 1 year I was rear-ended by a city bus that totaled it. I sold it to a guy who wanted my HO heads for the price I originally paid for the car. For the next 3 years people would tell me they saw him driving it down the road sideways, sometimes pulling a boat. Bet you didn’t know Vegas came with the same 4-speed as muscle cars. They were just rebranded “Saginaw”. With different ratios of course. If I could get that car for half of what he wants I’d do it all over again.

  5. Mutt

    Never seen such a nice ’74 GOAT before.
    RIP Pontiac

    Like 24
  6. Marko

    Great machine for hunting for Nova SS prey.

    I like it, probably due to being a third generation Pontiac owner.

    Pontiac is in my DNA !

    Like 11
    • Ralph

      To me the GTO was far better looking than the NOVA ever was of this era. This is one of the best I’ve seen and I was old enough to drive back then. GTO = cool. NOVA, not so much.

      Like 3
    • John S Dressler

      This owner just did what any self-respecting Pontiac engineer should have done. Made it a real muscle car!

      Like 10
  7. sign guy

    I respect the modifications and the way the owner kept this car in pristine condition. But that doesn’t change the fact that Pontiac embarrassed itself by putting the GTO name on a car lacking performance AND style.

    Like 5
    • MikeB

      Sign guy —- I agree 100%.

  8. 433jeff

    I think this car is great , especially with the 455, if you want to talk embarrassing, look at 1973? What were they thinking, yes dome of the canams are cool but the 1973 has yet to grow on me.

    Like 2
  9. Shuttle Guy

    In 1974 I laughed when ever I spotted one of these. Today? Well it looks pretty darn good!

    Like 9
  10. Comet

    A nice Pontiac with a laser straight body, no doubt. But please don’t confuse the undersides of cars as “as-new,” “spotless,” or “rust free” when they’ve clearly recently been undercoated, painted, or troweled with roofing tar.

    Like 1
  11. Troy s

    An actual sleeper for not the 455 decal on the shaker scoop. The Chevy Nova could never pull that off…big tires, small tires, bitchin mags or poverty caps, black steelies, everyone thinks even the lowliest looking Nova is hiding high voltage under the hood,
    But not these small GTO’s. No respect back then or now, people laughed at a car like this and still do, so….455 HO from ’71 should provide more than “sub 15” second ET’s. More like close or near high 13 second range,….if we can launch. No ones expecting it either. Nice car.

    Like 3
    • Steve R

      The engine has D-port heads, it’s not even a convincing copy of a real HO 455.

      Steve R

      Like 1
    • Rex B Schaefer

      Should run mid to low 13’s all day long!

      Like 1
  12. Uncle Buck

    I had a 74 Ventura as my first real muscle type car. Had a Pontiac 455 turbo 400. Dual quad with huge carb spacers and side pipes. This was in 1993 I love that thing. Red w black interior bench seat. We kept breaking engine mounts so my brother welded a chain to the frame and bolted it to the head never broke a mount after that. It probly wasn’t as awesome as I think it was but it was fun.

    Like 5
  13. Steve Weiman

    This car is fantastic, the problem is: every GTO before it is so damn great it just erases the 74s………

    Like 1
    • Dave

      When the Arab oil embargo hit at the beginning of the 1974 model year it caught the car industry flatfooted. Suddenly they had to come up with cars that could meet new emissions requirements and squeeze more out of a gallon of gasoline. The few emasculated “performance cars” remaining on dealer’s lots languished and were joined by older muscle cars traded in in favor of more fuel efficient cars. Heck, I used to see abandoned muscle cars littering apartment complex parking lots, cars we’d love to have today.

      Like 2
  14. joenywf64

    Could be an aftermkt shaker – the stock one does not sit up that high from the hood.

  15. joenywf64

    Can ’71 or ’72 ventura bumpers be fitted?
    Would cut maybe 200 or more lbs of weight.
    Unlike on the ’71-74 Nova, looks like the pontiac version front & rear end styling does not seem to have changed as much.

  16. Tom

    You might want to check your facts on that performance data, a ‘71 T/A with 3.08’s and an automatic was a 13:80 car.
    This one looks really well done, and it’s too bad these cars didn’t come equipped like this one from the factory. But give credit where credit is due, these cars were pretty darned good considering the times

    Like 3

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