Can You Take It On? 1977 Pontiac Can Am

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This rare Pontiac Can-Am was only produced for a partial year in 1977. They are pretty unusual to find, but we’ve covered one previously here. The modifications were performed for Pontiac by Jim Wanger’s (instrumental in the original GTO) shop to regular LeMans coupes. This particular one is located in Western Georgia and is listed for sale here on craigslist for $2,000. Thanks to Chuck F. for this great find! (and Chuck, if I can’t get up with the TF wheel soon, I’ll have to buy you one!)

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Building off the successful Trans-Am name, the Can-Am was supposed to be evocative of the “unlimited” race series of the 60’s and 70’s. In reality, under the shaker scoop was a pretty run-of-the mill 400 cubic inch V-8 rated at 200 horsepower. All Can-Am’s were painted Cameo White, and featured “tri-tone” light orange/dark orange/red stripes and a fiberglass rear spoiler.

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The seller tells us that vandals broke out the driver’s side window, and although there are no closeups of the interior, one can tell from this picture alone that there’s going to be a lot of work restoring this to original condition. Believe it or not, that seat was white when the car left the factory.

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It’s pretty hard for me to judge the extent of the rust on this car–there’s certainly a lot of surface rust, but exactly how deep does it go? Since there were only 1,377 produced (this number is approximate), you don’t have that many to choose from. Pontiac had originally planned on producing 5,000 Can Am’s, and actually took orders for close to 10,000 from hyped-up dealers. However, the tooling for the rear spoiler broke and there wasn’t a backup; it was going to take 90 days to replace the tooling.

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Unfortunately for Poncho fans, Pontiac killed the program instead. Do you remember the Can-Am when it was new? A big-wig in my hometown bought one, and parked it in front of his business for everyone to ogle. I liked it then and like it now, but I’m not sure this would be the one for me. How about you?

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Comments

  1. Scotty G

    This would be a labor of love for a couple of solid years, or more, for someone; very cool car. I’m not one who automatically dismisses cars (GMs, especially) from this era but I know that the mid-late-70s probably isn’t the most popular era for Pontiac fans.

    • Wayne Thomas

      But then Scotty, aren’t the vast majority of cars here on BF just like you describe? BAT seems to focus more on near pristine expensive cars (making a trailer useless) whereas BF seems to show more father-son projects where you have to get your hands dirty, and you do it for the love of doing rather than flipping it. Too many “car” shows and BJ auctions on television make it look like you can fix a car in 2 weeks and sell it for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

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  2. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Just found this alternative one in Syracuse for almost the same price: http://syracuse.craigslist.org/cto/5324341452.html

    • David Wilk Member

      I am in Syracuse for the holidays. Auburn is a bit of a drive but if anyone wants me to look at it, I will be willing to give this guy a call for you. But it does not have its original engine and the cost of restoration will far exceed potential value. Likely rusty as it’s a lifelong NY state car.

    • Vince Habel

      This one looks better.

    • Carsofchaos

      This one has been for sale on the ‘Cuse CL for about 2 years.

      • Richard Thornton

        Do you know if its still available ?

  3. Blindmarc

    I friend got one as his graduation gift from high school. Wasn’t fast but it did get a lot of attention. This would be a labor of love to restore, or a mechanical parts car as it does look to be original under the hood.

  4. DRV

    The horn sounded “European” for whatever reason.

  5. Jim

    Anything with a factory hole in it’s hood has my attention.

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  6. Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

    Here’s yet another one; this one is in much better shape, though.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Pontiac-Le-Mans-Can-Am-/151923844919

    • Vince Habel

      Out of the 3 this would be the one to get.

  7. David Wilk Member

    @Jamie: thanks for posting this one – much better looking!

  8. Oldcarsarecool

    Love these cars ! A neighbor had one when I was a kid . . .

    • Vince Habel

      I had one to drive when I was selling cars.

  9. DENIS

    I like ’em but not sure if I want to start with one this rough….ugly but different enough to love….

  10. redwagon

    i remember them from new. always thought of them as an appearance package despite the ca 6.6 sticker on the hood scoop. by the late 70s we all realized the ta wasn’t what it had been just 5 years earlier. plus everyone seemed to have a 3rd gen ta and you rarely saw a 2nd gen ta car. the ca was just something pontiac produced to capture the ‘excitement’ of the ta.

    if you like these buy the one on ebay. much better shape, much less work, much more drive time = much more reasonable.

  11. randy

    I remember these, and liked the looks. It would be easy enough to wake up the very capable engine.

  12. Rando

    My former boss owned one. I sent him the link. Those are alright cars for the times. I have an uncle that had the GTO of this body style as well. I like the looks of it. Was it Mickey Thompson that had a funny car with this body style? Okay, the GTO verson with the more interesting grille…

  13. piper62j

    Cool.. Needs tons of work, but can be brought back for the price.. Nice find.

  14. steve

    Looks like a can (am) of worms to me!

  15. Bill

    I am glad it is too far away to mess with. Well, that and my wife would shoot me if I brought home another project. I “almost” had a 76 Black on Black on Black. My Grandad was a retired GM line super in the Atlanta plant. He got every two years (even years after retiring) his choice of what ever came down the production line for cost…plant cost.
    Well, it was April of 75 and it looked like I was going to make the A honor roll graduating from high school. He offered me choice of anything that came down the line so we put in the order for a 76 Grand LeMans “with modifications”. Mine was a COPO for 76 – 455/4 spd out of the Firebird, Grand Prix honeycomb wheels and a few other odds and ends from both cars.
    I ended up with a 89.6 GPA
    I didn’t get the car.
    Got to see it, got to sit in it, and actually up until we walked out of the plant door without it I thought he was still going to give it to me. Someday I am going to build myself that car…

  16. Doug

    I passed one of these driving on Interstate 4 just west of Orlando yesterday on my way to Tampa. Gave the guy a thumbs up as I motored past. Good looking car!

    • randy

      That was me, how’d you get that Rabbit diesel to do over 100 MPH?

      Just funnin’ ya

  17. Jack

    I wonder if the A/C works? The rust hole where the back window trim meets the trunk can’t be good. I wonder how many years of rain have dumped inside of the drivers side window? What a waste…..

  18. Charles

    Always liked the body style, very cool color and interior. I have gone numerous car shows over the years in various states and have probably seen 4 or 5 of these sweet rides. Can’t remember the name of equivalent Chevrolet. Saw several of those also over the years on the road and car shows. Think more Chevrolets were produced than the Pontiacs.

    • randy

      I don’t think Chevy marketed a car in this body style, if they did, it would have been a Chevelle I’d assume.

  19. Bill

    Chevy “kinda” did with the Laguna. The primary platform was shared by Olds for the Cutlass

  20. Tundra/BMW Guy Member

    If anyone would like a set of “eyes” on it, leave your contact info on a reply, and I will touch base with you. It doesn’t say where in “West GA” it is but it shouldn’t be too far from Atlanta. Oh, just in case, worry not, I have no interest in this vehicle whatsoever.

  21. Dave

    I’m thinking if you were to strip this Pontiac down, media blast it, you would be left with nothing but Poncho cheese !!! It’s a shame but not looked after these mid-70’s gm’s were absolute rust buckets, to bad, cool car, but a lottery win would be required to bring it back

  22. erikj

    Ya , much better to go with the ebay one although it appears to need more than meets the eye. Still the featured can-am needs a lot!!
    I like the looks and the fact that not many are around. I seem to notice them at times and they seem to pop-up a lot for such a rare car. I know of one that is really in a barn,very rough and beat-up. Its a long ways from me now because of a recent move,but I would love to put it on this site because its cool looking and that’s what we all like to see. It really is in a barn!!!!

  23. Rod Reiley

    I bought a Can Am off the show room floor in November 1977. Out the door for 6,300 bucks. I loved and wish I still had it.

  24. Bennie Maples

    bought this with the intention of driving it around TN this summer. VIN starts with 2F37. vinwiz decodes it as a Can Am. engine is Y. A 301 V8, which is NOT a Can Am. solid red with louvers on rear windows. ???

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    • Patrick Farmer

      Okay, Last thing first. GM allotted 5000 car become a Can Am. After the spoiler mold broke GM cancelled the project and sold the remaining “as is” with Can Am suspension, posi and TA 6.6 – 400. So, 3623 people bought a great handling, fast for it’s day plain jane sleeper. It is just as rare as the Can Am. I saw one parked at the airport in Houston in 1990. It was white stock body. No stripes, shaker or rear spoiler. The give away was the big rear sway bar, posi tag and te Grand Prix dash.I have owned my Can Am since 1980.

    • Patrick Farmer

      The louvers were alway painted body color. The louvers means that it is top of the line. A feature that appeared in 1973. Please email me I am curious about your car. I wanted to paint my Can Am another color and I would love to see the front end of your car. I can measure my sway bars and you can compare if they are the same. If it is a body in white from the program I going to contact Verne Howard and see if it join the Can Am registry. My email is patrickd.farmer@mail.com

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