Buried Muscle: 1974 Pontiac Trans Am 455

Update 11/9/19 – After getting bid up to over $15k, this Trans Am didn’t sell for some reason. It has been relisted here on eBay with no reserve. How high will it go?

From 10/24/19 – This 1974 Pontiac Trans Am 455 was a long term stored garage find from Phoenix, Arizona that was purchased by the seller and is now listed here on eBay in Los Angeles, California in a no reserve auction. With over 146 bids and as many watchers, the price is now up to $12,300.00. Lying in the garage squalor since 1998, it had become a repository for old newspapers, gas cans, and blankets.

While the Wal-Mart wheel cover needs to go, the rest of the very red interior is quite nice. The classic engine-turned dash with the big tach and speedo is all staring right at you through that three-spoke, lightening holed wheel. This would be a great place to be parked on a long road trip. The Morokide custom trim is a love it or hate it Pontiac thing, although it has held up quite well. It appears that the dash pad cracks are covered over with some tape and the shifter surround plastic is cracked on a corner.

The optional, base 455 c.i./250hp (the Super Duty was 290hp and $578 dollars more) V8 is backed by a three-speed Turbo 400 automatic transmission only. That’s all connected to a 2.56 rear axle that’s only turning for MPG and not quarter-mile times. Looking fairly clean with minimal corrosion, the big engine sits tightly in the F-body.

While not running since stored in 1998, it does turn over but the starter appears bad. The AC is all present along with the original carb and exhaust system. An underside shot on eBay shows little rust and the true dual exhaust system that was the last of the line, as catalytic converters came into play the following year.

Taking out the trash has revealed this! The original Buccaneer Red paint cleaned up nicely, as well as the hood chicken. The front spoiler, bumper and rear spats could use a freshening up though. Also, some of the rubber weather door trim is crumbling from the unrelenting Arizona sun. Rally II wheels and trim rings are all accounted for and look great.

I like these ’74-76’s as they were the last of the round headlights before the transition to the rectangular ones. The bumpers were nicely integrated too, as the slick front Endura went away and the 5-mile per hour ones were now required. Just look at a ’74 Camaro for comparison. All in all, a really nice survivor showing 29,337 miles. How would you treat this old ‘Bird? Just get her running and drive or do a modest resto and take it to shows?

And be sure to take a look at the Trans Am Super Duty 455 that Reader Brian D spotted hiding behind an abandoned house!

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Comments

  1. Daryl

    Get it running, clean her up real good and new tires. I’d drive that baby as she is for sure. Love it

    15
  2. Rattlehead

    Pontiac had a big block?

    11
    • Mike H. Mike H. Member

      I was going to comment on those lines too. Seems to me they were all one block, similar to AMC.

      12
    • Josh Mortensen Josh Mortensen Staff

      Sorry about that! Technically, Pontiac didn’t have big or small blocks. We meant big block, as in big displacement. The article has since been revised with the correct terminology.

      19
  3. GuernseyPagoda

    I can hear the the conspiracy theorists now,”they staged that garage for the photo shoot”. Save it. Takes me back to high school, and my buddy with his 74 red firebird. Nice find.

    6
    • Jim

      That appears to be the norm these days… damned shame, everybody mistrusting one another. There are plenty of honest sellers out there… that mistrust isn’t limited to autos; I am a career entertainer-guitarist, and people are lying all over the place about authenticity or lack thereof, of so-called “vintage” instruments. Tough market!

      This ol’ Firebird is alright by me… not a perfect find, but a driveable one anyway.

      17
      • Troy s

        Law suit guitars! Even those now have a collector interest.

        2
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        I have 3 Epiphone Strats that play very nicely. Not old enough to be considered “lawsuit”, but a faithful reproduction anyway.

        3
    • Superdessucke

      Not staged for sure. So if you’re willing to pay extra because your car was once covered in trash, you can invest with confidence!

      9
    • That AMC Guy

      Staged? Not necessarily. Stalled project cars tend to get that way over time, especially in a small garage with limited space. I have one myself with far too much debris around and on top of it, but not quite this bad.

  4. Maynard Reed Jr

    Pontiac engines are not big block or small block its what on the inside that’s different. Nice car though.

    7
  5. piper62j

    I’ve purchased two muscle cars in the past 3 years and both were misrepresented by the seller.. Also got a misrepresented inspection report from a company (which will remain unknown).. Seems money and deception are winning out over those of us who love this hobby for what it is..

    17
  6. Scott Marquis

    Rare East German barn find.

    2
  7. local_sheriff

    That’s a lot of trash to store in a garage – how about visiting the recycling center a bit more frequently…?

    13
    • Mike

      If this was a CL ad, all the pictures would of the car still in the garage and the trash still on it.

      2
  8. markp

    I bet this thing would easily hit 140mph with that gearing!

    6
    • Anav8r

      I had a 1970 318 CID (230 gross HP) Charger with a Torqueflite with a 2.71 axle. It would slow down when I manually shifted out of 2nd into drive after winding it up. 93 mph on a cold clear quiet night at about 600′ above MSL.

      3
    • Howard Ford Jr.

      Not in stock form. The smog choked engine doesn’t have enough steam .

      2
  9. Terry R Melvin

    5 MPH bumpers were required in the front, in 1973. Both ends were required in ’74.

    4
    • bry593

      And the 74/75 bird bumper is Beasty compared to aluminum bumper found on the Camaro. Behind that black urethane strip is a full width, triangular plate of 3/16″ steel. These things are HEAVY.

      • JoeNYWF64

        Luckily the monstrous approx 95 lb! ’74-75 bird front bumper & brackets
        http://www.ebay.com/itm/223715669206
        is ez to replace with a 7 lb fiberglass one. My friend’s ’74 now sits 3″ higher with the glass bumper!! & it looks identical to the factory one from the outside.
        I believe the glass bumper is now made white but used to be made black
        http://thumbs.ebaystatic.com/d/l500/pict/132051573077_1.jpg/pict/132051573077_1.jpg
        Best to leave the rear bumper alone – you WANT weight back there.
        Have you actually weighed a ’74-77 camaro front bumper & brackets? Remember, it too has to be able to take a 5 mph hit.

  10. Stevieg Member

    Wasn’t Morrokide Pontiacs name for vinyl? This is not vinyl. It sure looks nice though, & I can’t help but to think it is probably original.
    I’ve always been a fan of 1st & second generation Camaros & Firebirds. Not sure why, my experience with them in the late 1980’s & early 1990’s wasn’t good. They were rusty beaters when I was driving them back then. Now they are very special to me, & hopefully I can get one after my impending move across country.

    4
    • Boatman Member

      ” The GM division used a distinctive vinyl material with the trade name Morrikide, which proved to be not only handsome but incredibly durable. Pontiac stylists employed the premium vinyl in a variety of two-tone and three-tone combinations”

      1
  11. FordGuy1972

    Having been in the antique business for a long time, I’ve seen quite a few cars buried like this one when cleaning out estates. A couple were so bad that I was told “there’s a car under all that, I’m pretty sure” or “my late dad/grandpa had this old car. Could it be in there, somewhere?” Usually, it was. Hoarders are real, believe me; I know. A lot of times though, houses and garages get like that because old people aren’t too worried about stuff piling up, they’re more worried about breathing and waking up the next morning. I loved diggin’ in houses like this, you never know what you might find. Interestingly, in houses like this where the residents have been in it a long time, the deeper you dig, the older the stuff you find is. Loved that business, every day was an adventure!

    26
    • Dave

      Ham and vintage CB radios have the same issues. You go into it expecting the rig not to work and go from there.

      5
    • JP

      I agree in fact American Pickers is one of my favorite shows with all of the antique cars,trucks & motorcycles they find!

      3
  12. Robert White

    Wow…another superchicken yanked out of hibernation into the daylight. It must be nearing Halloween.

    I always despised these cars put out by GM.

    Bob

    1
  13. Troy s

    Out in a pile of leaves or under a nice big pile of junk, as long as they get found…and not recycled. I’ve only paid attention to the Super Duty 455 Firebirds for those two years for what seems forever and I honestly don’t have a clue how quick or not so quick these other two engines were. Sometimes I feel the SD455 recorded performance figures of the time were done with a tweaked car, just what I’d expect from the Pontiac guys. Hopefully I’m wrong on that, but high thirteens seem a bit much for a stocker at the time.

    2
  14. Robbie M.

    I would love to have that! Sadly, I am poor. :(

    7
  15. Brian B

    I graduated H.S. in the spring of 74 and wanted a new car to replace my 71 Mustang. I had been thinking a new Lemans but they all seemed kind of pricey. The Pontiac dealer called me in August to say they had received the last of the 74s and the 75s would have a big price increase. Two cars to choose from, a yellow 6 cylinder with a manual trans and a Rockford files gold (Denver gold) V8 auto with a/c. Only one choice here but sure regret selling it after three years.

    3
  16. George Mattar

    Stevieg is correct. No velour seats available on any TA in 74. Only vinyl. That is hokey pokey. I saw a comment about recycling that crap on the car. Who cares? At least the owner had the brains to keep the car inside. And yes, I recycle almost everything I can. Great car. Great engine. Best car available in a pathetic model year. Even the Corvette’s top performing small block had only 250 hp and the pig block and I mean pig, had 275.

    3
    • brian b

      I guess it’s possible that someone ordered a Esprit interior on a T/A. Don’t know why but it’s possible if you had a dealer with clout. Sitting next to my new FB in 74 was a Buccaneer Red T/A loaded and just $700 more. The insurance would have been more than the payment.

      3
    • v

      the seats were probably reupholstered. did you ever sit on vinyl seats with shorts on in 100 degree weather .

  17. Moparman Member

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Those skinny plastic steering wheels were hard on hands during long drives. If you’ve experienced one, then you know what I’m talking about, LOL! (IMO) a well laced cover such as the one displayed, alleviated the discomfort, and look a whole lot better than those awful slide on ones! I’m suprised that no one has disparaged the body side molding (careless driver dent protection) as well on this car! :-)

    2
  18. JoeNYWF64

    I wonder if that really could be orig body paint with those front flares in such bad shape. I know of a ’74 bird with 250k miles never in bad weather or sitting out in the sun at a car show, orig nice red shiny paint(with a couple spider cracks in the hood front corners), & the flares are in much better shape – paintwise. Unless the car above was waxed, but the flares were not?
    I believe this car did not have the hood bird originally, & this wrong color one was later added. The bird itself is black(correct), but the feathers should be orange & red. Note the
    rear t/a decal is correct, but the front side fenders ones are NOT & match the wrong hood bird feathers. Spock’s eyebrow is raised.
    Lot of classic car S rated raised white letter tires are being replaced with blackwalls, since the RWL’s are insanely expensive! While you can get a blackwall H or T rated for less than $55 on simpletire, walmart or amazon.
    Odd pontiac did not pedal dressup the parking brake pedal with chrome trim, when you requested pedal dressup.
    On these steering wheels, the elastic “collapsible” washable black velour steering wheel cover at some $ trees would look & feel better than the classic vinyl one here.
    Same with this one on ebay which will only fit a steering wheel this small! …
    http://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/2Z4AAOSwp7RbjNDt/s-l1600.jpg

  19. Dave

    You mentioned the low axle ratio, and I wondered if anyone knows if pre-Arab oil embargo cars had a numerically higher ratio in an attempt to wring respectable performance from the smog motor. Those cars would have been made before October 1973.

  20. Djjerme

    Completely off topic, but I really hope your focus isn’t on your own auctions more and more. It’s why I dropped the “other” car sites daily email, it’s just become a huge ad and really rather boring anymore. I want to see unique and hidden treasures that have not been price inflated by flippers.

    Was with my buddy this week talking about your auctions (you tried to buy his site a few years ago, but couldn’t get a deal worked out) and I get you need income, but I’d happily see more ads on a page over auctions…

    3

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