All Original? 1974 Pontiac 455 Trans Am

By 1974, the muscle car party was petering out. There are those that would say that 1972 was the end of the line. And then others would counter with still available options like the Pontiac SD 455 Trans Am/Formula twins, or Mopar’s still fairly potent 340 CI “LA” wonder, or Ford’s 351 CJ for ’73 but anyway that you look at it, the lights were dimming. And while the aforementioned Pontiac 455 SD was the star of the ’73-’74 show, lesser versions of Pontiac’s venerable 455 engine were still available and that’s what we have for review today, a ’74 Trans Am powered by Poncho’s biggest V8. This ‘Bird is located in Port St. Lucie, Florida and is available, here on eBay for a BIN price of $10,900. There is a make an offer option too. Thanks to Larry D for this tip!

Things were tough in ’74, especially for cars that weren’t moderate in their fuel consumption. The October ’73 oil embargo drove up fuel prices, created long lines at the pump, and brought us such gems as odd and even rationing. The result was a recession that started in ’74 and continued into early ’75 – affecting durable purchases like cars. Nevertheless, Pontiac still managed to kick out slightly north of 14K Trans Ams that year with 4,600 housing the standard 455 CI V8 engine and another 900 or so wearing the ultra collectible “SD” badge which translated into 290 net HP of stump-pulling grunt.

This Trans Am is a runner as the seller claims that it “runs and drives great“. The 250 net HP, 455 CI engine appears to have undergone some mods with an Edelbrock carburetor, aluminum non OEM intake manifold, and an open-element air cleaner. The Accel decal would be indicative of an upgrade too though there appears to be a GM HEI unit providing the spark. This Trans Am was, at one time, A/C equipped but there is no sign of the Frigidaire A-6 A/C compressor, a component that frequently goes missing on muscle cars of this era. GM’s Turbo-Hydramatic 400, three-speed automatic transmission was still in residence in ’74 but it wouldn’t be long before that component would be replaced with a lessor model as engine size and power shrank.

This Trans Am’s exterior is mimicking an earlier version with its single, stem to stern, strip as opposed to the full flight firebird decal, also sarcastically known as the “Screaming Chicken”, emblazoned across the hood. The seller states that this Trans Am was originally white with blue trim, a commonly found combination in ’74 but now it’s wearing primer gray with an off-white stripe. There is no obvious rust-through though there is a rusting crack making itself known under the rear window and the lower edges of the body, as in the quarters, in particular, have a bondoed-up look about them. That may not be the case but it wouldn’t be a surprise if it’s true. The rear bumper cover has seen better days, and so has the front one for that matter. Note the hood scoop, it’s ambidextrous, it can be worn forward or backward…The honeycomb wheels are a nice inclusion and a break from the more typically found Rally II’s that frequently adorn Trans Ams.

Inside we find no carpet, an aftermarket steering wheel, auxiliary gauges, and the usually found “engine-turned” instrument panel. The seller states that the interior is black but there are no included images of the door panels, seats, side panels, headliner, etc. so there’s no telling what their condition may be. The dash pad and the instruments look fine, however.

The VIN checks out, this is a genuine ’74 Trans Am, powered by a 455 CI engine; is it the original engine? It’s not stated but this car is claimed to be “all original” so maybe so and that’s easily verified. The mileage is recorded as 85K, it could or could not be accurate but it probably doesn’t matter because this Pontiac, as the seller suggests, “needs to be restored to its original beauty or make into a restomod…” Actually, one could consider an intermediate path too by cleaning up its exterior appearance, fixing mechanical issues, and then just enjoying it as is without a full, major redo. Second-gen F-Bodies have really come on in popularity and being a 455 powered Trans Am just adds to this example’s current and potential value. If this car were to become yours, what would you do, restore, restomod, or something else?

Fast Finds


  1. sparkster

    Ruff or rough , depending on which state you live in. At least this gem is in Florida . Cheaper to ship (drive?) over to Trans Am world

    Like 3
  2. Jcs

    JO, my guess is that the seller meant all original drivetrain, which imo is still a stretch given the overall condition and obvious modifications.

    Like 5
  3. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    That’s an ambitious price! Who in their right mind takes a Trans Am, sprays it primer gray, then adds a goofy gloss center stripe with red accent down the middle? Totally unbecoming of a Firebird from this era. Honeycomb wheels weren’t an option in this year, IIRC, but even if they were this set does not justify a $10k price as it is currently presented. At least it appears to be a factory AC car.

    Like 2
    • Tom

      The honeycombs were available in 14” and 15” from ‘71 through ‘76 I believe. Great looking wheels but it’s tough to beat the Rally 2’s

      Like 2
    • Ralph

      FLORIDA Man does.
      Makes me proud to live across the state line. The hood scoop says it all. Thanks for the good laugh.
      Bet someone will bite on this one but looks like a huge deal to restore.
      Would not be surprised if it does not end up running on the local circle track though. Seems to be a thing there.
      This is a Loch Ness Trailer Park Monster.

  4. Sd77ww3

    This T/A looks like it is a victim of being in Mom and Uncle Dad land far too long.

    Like 1
  5. Ed saari

    No fender air extractors and no shaker hood opening??? Somethings not quite right here.

    Like 4
  6. JoeNYWF64

    No t/a came with ventless front fenders – either this is a factory mistake(unlikely) or non t/a fenders replace the originals.
    I 1st thought this may have been a super duty formula, but the VIN does not bear that out …

    Like 4
    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      I checked the VIN and it shows up as a for-real 455 powered T/A but there’s no telling what’s been done to it over the years. Clearly, it has been messed with.


  7. MikeB

    Bought a new 75 T/A, white w/ dark red interior, reg. 400 engine,auto, all power, a/c, honey comb wheels. Had dealer remove the bird decal from hood before delivery. It was a very nice driving car. Variable rate PS was great, seats very comfortable, fake engine turned dash really set the interior off nicely. Just an all around great car for that time period. I miss it.

    • JoeNYWF64

      An opened up shaker & “test pipe” back in the day would free up some horses, but i would bet ALL states in ’75 were checking emissions & looking underneath with a mirror on a stick to see if the converter was there on a ’75, tho some emptied out the converter’s pellets & left the hollow shell on.
      Might have been better to buy a used or leftover ’74 with dual exhaust & 40 more hp, tho w/o a converter or air pump(excluding Calif), it was a 50/50 chance you would barely pass ’74 emission stds.
      I would say the most common exterior t/a color in ’74 & ’75 was buckaneer “red” – & i’m guessing black inside, followed by white inside. Most had birds on the hood. I have heard of dealers puttin ON hood birds, but not taking one OFF! Guess you have to do that when the decal is as new as possible. & you bought the car already on the lot which would have been a better deal than ordering a t/a the way you wanted it.

  8. Chris M.


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