Amazing Survivor! 1969 Pontiac Trans Am

1969 was arguably the height of the muscle car wars. While factory horsepower ratings peaked with the 1970 LS6 Chevelle, ’69 was full of big horsepower. Pontiac already had the GTO but they wanted another addition for 1969. Instead of creating a whole new car, they outfitted their Firebird with a Trans Am package. This particular car is a PHS documented, un-restored example and can be found for sale here on eBay with a current bid of nearly $130,000!

This car was apparently special ordered by Pontiac head John Delorean for Terry Godsale of TG Racing. According to the ad, “…was owned and museum kept by GM of Canada until it was titled to Bob Vila. He is the only one to have registered the vehicle. We believe the car is one of one for the option combination and a show car/ promotional car for both GM of Canada and the United States.”

The standard engine for the Trans Am was a 335 horsepower 400 cubic-inch V8. Other standard features included a dual-scooped hood, fender vents and a rear spoiler that was partially designed by legend Gene Winfield. Only 697 Trans Ams were produced in the first year, which is a big part of why they are so collectible. This car is all numbers-matching and only has 28,000 original miles on the odometer. There are several photos in the ad documenting the engine stampings.

As expected, the interior is very nice. You can see some discoloration on the steering wheel, but overall, this is a nice example of an un-restored survivor. In this photo, you can see the gauge cluster which features a deep recess for the speedometer and tach.

Henry Ford said something like “You can have any color you want, as long as it is black.” Well, I think Pontiac took the same approach with the Trans Am. It was only available in white with blue stripes. The Trans Am option cost $724.60 and as stated before, they were made in limited quantities for 1969.

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  1. Arthell64 Member

    Never seen a t/a with full hub caps. At least it’s a 4speed. The gauge package is neat. Lot of money but it’s a rare car.

    • Vin_in_NJ

      Very odd to see the hubcaps. I the video on the ad, the car is photographed with Rally II rims

      • Will Fox

        This particular T/A is well documented. It DID leave the factory with full wheel covers, believe it or not. The Rally II’s were a natural to add!

  2. Stangalang

    Always loved Bob vila…hes the Jay Leno of houses

    • Mountainwoodie

      The original This Old House must have paid really well!

  3. Chris M.

    Now this is a “holy grail” car. And I hate that term as it reminds me of that douchebag buddy Dennis from gas monkey. Moving on…. This is the top for a Pontiac. Big money but uber rare!

    • Joe Defelice

      The only things rarer are the 8 -12 (can’t remember the exact number) ’69 TA convertibles Pontiac made only for execs. Half were 4 speed, the other half automatics.

      • JOHN

        Interesting fact is that all 8 of the convertibles are accounted for. 6 were shown together at a show in Chicago some years back, one was under restoration at the time, and the missing was found a few years back. 5 cars were equipped with the blue tops, and 3 were built with white tops.

    • stillrunners stillrunners Member

      Agree………and like !

  4. Dave

    Funny how Pontiac didn’t create a special 5 liter engine for Trans Am racing like Ford and Chevy did. Chrysler went the other way, creating the 340 Six Pack motor but work was underway to create a 5 liter NASCAR version. You basically had a GTO motor in the Trans Am.

    • Retired Stig

      Its probably not a coincidence that attempts by Pontiac and Chrysler to downsize existing passenger car motors were largely failures in T/A racing. AMC had a great deal more success with an engine that was also ill suited to transformation into a road racing power plant, not never could create anything with the combination of power and reliability as Chevy and Ford. The Pontiac 303 engine was such a failure that some teams tried the ruse of putting ’68 Sheetmetal on the cars, and took to using Chevy 302s in them, claiming they were “Canadian” produced and thus legal to race.

    • gbvette62

      Up until 1970, the SCCA Trans-Am rules restricted Trans-Am cars to production 5 liters (305 cu in) engines. Engines could be bored out 30 over, but could not be de-stroked, to meet the 5 liter limit. Chrysler (273), Ford (289 & 302), AMC (290 & 304) and Chevrolet (302) all had engines that met the 305 limit, but Pontiac didn’t, their smallest V8 was a 350.

      People at Pontiac wanted to see the Firebird racing against the other pony cars in the Trans-Am series, but didn’t have a 5 liter engine. Some Pontiac engineers got the bright idea to “create” paperwork that claimed the Firebird was available in Canada with a 302. The SCCA didn’t bother checking, and allowed the 68 Firebird to compete with a Chevy 302. Eventually the SCCA found out what had been done, and wouldn’t allow Pontiac to race 69 Firebirds with Chevy 302’s, but grandfathered the 68’s so they could still race in 69. Pontiac decided to build a 303, so the Firebird could race in 69, with a Pontiac engine and 69 sheet metal, but development problems kept the 303 from ever going into production.

      For 1970, the rules were changed to allow de-stroking, to meet the 5 liter limit. Pontiac dropped the 303 and raced a de-stroked 400 in 70. Dodge and Plymouth were allowed to race de-stroked 340’s, and this is why the Z/28’s 302 was replaced by the 350 LT-1, and Ford’s Boss 302 became the Boss 351.

      When Pontiac needed a name for their Trans-Am entrant, they decided on Trans Am, but had to get permission from the SCCA, who owned the rights to the name. Pontiac agreed to pay the SCCA a $5 royalty for each Trans Am sold. Eventually Pontiac paid something like $3 million to the SCCA in royalties!

      • Troy s

        Excellent comment but Ford was still building the Boss 302 for 1970, the ’71 Boss 351 had no legal racing ties, illegal I’m pretty sure of.

      • Rob

        Pontiac had a smaller V8 than the 350. It was the 326 V8.

    • Jerry A

      Pontiac was working on a 303 cubic inch engine just to meet TransAm specs, but never made it to market. There were a few test mules out back at that time.

      • Troy s

        There were three engines, as I understand it, Pontiac was working on, the 303, a 366 cubic inch for NASCAR, and of course the Ram Air V 400. I’ve heard of a test mule GTO running around on Woodward avenue with the Ram Air V but that’s it. Maybe they would’ve surfaced, maybe not, if certain regulations had stayed quiet a few more years.
        Yeah, 1969 was the peak year for real high winding performance cars. Just my opinion of course.

  5. sparkster

    Wow nice Pontiac 90 bids with the reserve not met yet. $129,000. I’d be afraid to drive it on the street.

    • FordGuy1972

      That’s the problem with big dollar, low mileage cars; they’re too valuable to be driven. No doubt about it, this is a beauty but it’s unlikely to be seen on the road.

      • JoeNYWF64

        i seen only my 2nd ’69 t/a EVER last sept on the boardwalk car show in Wildwood. It was a convertible with nicer carpet than the above car. But it only had a 350 pontiac under the hood & was of course a clone, driven there from & back to PA.
        Ironically, the ’69 base 350 firebird IMO is the least expensive of the 1st gen f-bodies & it would not be all THAT expensive to clone a ’69 t/a from 1 of those.
        Surprised i don’t see more.
        Almost as rare would be a black ’77 t/a special edition with gold ralley II’s!
        scroll down in …

  6. SDJames

    Was that spoiler a one year only? Not a Pontiac guy, but I’ve never seen one like it before. It looks awesome on that car.

    • JOHN

      The spoiler was indeed a 1 year only. The GTO spoiler was a very similar design in 69. The 70 Firebird of course had a completely different body incorporating a 3 piece design. The 70-72 GTO spoiler was a pretty large design

      • Poncho

        To be precise, the pedestal spoiler as seen here was one year only and originally only installed on the 1969 Trans Am’s. The spoiler itself is a wooden core with sheet metal wrapped around it. Aftermarket ones are fiberglass. I own 3 ’69 Firebirds, a 350 coupe I’ve owned since the ’80’s (I’m second owner), a 400 convertible 4sp clone (driver) and a RAIII TA coupe automatic.

  7. Ike Onick

    That is what a Trans Am is supposed to look like

  8. Cattoo Member

    I wouldn’t flip that bird.

  9. 86_Vette_Convertible

    Funny with all the time this one was in a museum and it’s low mileage, there appears to be a wear-thru or tear in the one seat. May be a car with a record to it, but it’s out of most peoples price range.

  10. Michael

    I notice no good mounted tech?

    • JD

      I’ve got a ’69 T/A I acquired in 1985 from a fellow who had bought two– a “his” and “hers.” His (now mine) is a four speed and hers was their automatic. All my readings indicate that NO T/A’s left the factory with a hood tach due to the bulge of those massive scoops.

  11. Kim

    In 1972 I bought that white spoiler with blue stripes from a wrecking yard for $10. I cut it to narrow it 4” so it would fit on my 65 Corvair. The contour fit the curve of the vair tail like it was made for it. I had sooo many compliments on that car. A few years later I read that there were only about 600 ever made. Have to admit I felt a little guilty for cutting that one down, but I guess the value was only with the original car which must have been destroyed.

  12. TimM

    Really nice car but it hurts to say $130,000 wow that’s a brand new corvette with some money to spare!!

  13. RNR

    When I was in high school, a senior I knew traded his almost new ’69 Firebird 400 convert for a new ’69 Trans Am – nice car, rode in it once or twice. Parts were hard to get back then; it sustained light front end damage while still relatively new and it was missing a hood scoop bezel thereafter because they weren’t available through GM.

  14. Johnny

    If I could afford it. I would drive it. It was made to drive and run -not look at. $130,000 . That kind of money could feed alot of hungry kids. The best vehicle I had (have_ was gave to me. The one I paid $17,000 in 2002 was the highest and its was in 2002. Problems and still problems. The more I paid for a vehicle–the more troubles I had. I can imagine what I would have if I bought this one. Probably the biggest lemon of all. You know seals would be bad or going bad. Rubber does go bad. Bob Vila lied about a house he sold one time and got sued over it. Its had to tell the truth about this car. It is a good looking car,that I,d like to drive.

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