Cleaned Up Nicely: 1974 Pontiac Trans Am 455


I think one of the most rewarding experiences you can have as a barn hunter is washing a find off and discovering that it’s in amazing condition! Reader Tony M discovered that his neighbor had a Trans Am stashed away in a garage. He helped the neighbor pull it out and after a quick wash, it looks amazing! Seriously, you won’t believe how well this thing cleaned up. His neighbor is the original owner and use to drag race it, with a personal best of 13.5, so it has a few upgrades. Tony was able to buy it and has been daily driving it, but the fuel bill is a bit high and he’s decided to let it go. He’s listed it here on eBay in Anaheim, California with bidding at $7,600 and a BIN of $32k.


All it took to have this Pontiac looking great again was some water! Look at that paint, it looks as good as new. Heck, these photos look like something Pontiac would have used to market the car back when it was new!


In ’74, the Firebird gained quite a few pounds from the new bumpers and other safety items. To make up for the weight, you really needed the big 455 under the hood if you wanted to go fast. This big block doesn’t produce huge amounts of horsepower, either 250 or 290, but it churns out huge amounts of torque. This one is a 250 horsepower unit, the SD455s are extremely rare, although they still only built 4,648 of these lower horsepower cars. To be pulling a 13.5 quarter-mile time, this one has to be producing considerably more power than stock though. The original owner had the heads and cam reworked, so it might be producing even more power than the Super Duty!


This really is a great looking Pontiac. I even like the Recaro seats in it, it has a very sporting look. The headrest mounted speakers are a bit silly, but I guess if you want to be able to hear anything over that V8, they are just about necessary. With so much torque, I imagine it’s a bit of a handful on the street, but that’s what would make it so much fun! This is the kind of find many of us dream of, so congrats to Tony on landing this sweet machine. I think his BIN is a bit high, but these cars are in high demand right now.


  1. Jeff Lavery Staff

    Really neat car. Love the wheels and the seats, headrest speakers are awesome!

  2. redwagon

    what? not an sd? not a stick? not interested.

    seriously, i like the colors, the stance, the last year for the flat rear window, even the speakers in the seats is right out of the late 70s early 80s.

    was hoping it would be an sd with a stick. not so i could bid on it but just to look at one of my all time favs.


  3. JW454

    32K? What happened?… Where have I been? How long have I been asleep?

  4. Rick

    Very cool “find”. I’m digging the low-key panel pinstripes…

  5. Jeffro

    Love it!

  6. Spence

    Thunderchicken! (cue Blue Swede)

    • Don

      Thunderchicken? That does sound a lot cooler then SCREAMING chicken.

      • JW454


        In my corner of the world Thunderchicken was a metaphor for a Thunderbird. The Firebirds were burnt buzzards.

    • Greg NJ 2 SC

      I used to call my v6 87 firebird the firechicken

  7. JW

    Love the stance on this car and the color combo really sets it off. That 455 will get you anywhere in a hurry especially a gas station but who cares when your having a blast from the past.

  8. Luke Fitzgerald

    Be alright if the vendor could write English – take all the crap off and get it looking original – be a starter

  9. Howard Scheetz


  10. Brian

    Wow! That cleaned up too nice. Jealous!

  11. Dan h

    Oooh…a smog exempt 455….gives me ideas that aren’t exactly environmentally freindly……

    • Jeffro

      Heh Dan! You sound like you’re going to contribute to global warming! I like the way you think.

    • Angrymike

      But think of the carbon footprint you’d be making !😂
      That’s the first thing I’d do, research what heads would pop the compression up to about 10.3 to 10.5, my 427 was 10.3 with a fat head gasket, and I had 0 problems with detonation…… 👍😉

  12. HeadMaster1

    Flipping a neighbors car can be tricky………..

  13. ccrvtt

    My first thought was, “For $32k I could buy a sweet C6 Z06…” But this car will never be worth less than $32K or whatever it sells for. Not really enamored of the period decorations on the outside but the seats are nice and overall it’s a pretty cool machine.

  14. Ron G

    I’d get matching headrests for the seats and leave the rest the way it is. I really like the look of this car, wish I could get so lucky to stumble on something like this.

  15. Andrew

    I was 10 y.o. when this TA rolled off the assembly line, but when I look into the mirror, I pretty much look the same as the top picture, having seen better days, and to women, I must be a real barn-find too, dusty, outdated, but still good to go under the right light.

  16. Rolf Poncho

    Nice car a 455 is best for drag no need
    to MOD the motor to match cam and exhaust
    and u Gone for a win

  17. Howard A Member

    These were really nice cars. While I never cared for the T/A graphics, this was probably the sportiest car you could get in ’74. I’m sure it took more than a wash job for a car that’s been sitting for 26 years, and if that’s all it needed, I’m impressed. I wonder what the story was with this car, and why someone didn’t drive it. Seems like an awful waste. Such a shame Pontiac is gone. That should send a clear message as to where we are today in the automotive world. Great find.


    way overpriced. seats are horrible along with the paint and no a/c or 4 speed . also base interior.

    Like 1
  19. Tenspeed

    In 1987 my roommate bought a one owner white 74 Trans Am SD with an auto transmission (the reason I met him was because he already owned a 70 455 HO GTO in triple black that was parked in our apartment parking lot). The SD was such a fun car to drive. It would just squat and go!

    Those dang exhaust bolts on the SD heads were a pain to remove to replace a leaking header gasket though. Pontiac’s exhaust design left something to be desired because they extended up through the flange and would rust, which caused several busted knuckles and one broken socket. It took heat and beeswax to get the most stubborn one out.

    Great memories though!!!

  20. Bob C.

    Last year before catalytic converters OOMPH.

  21. Dominique Legeai

    ….my very first new car in 1974! White w/tan interior, stick. I bought tan leather driving gloves to match…..those were the days my friend…..but got in huge trouble with one speeding ticket after another….the very baaad one: 117mph on my way to Gamena, Il….had to leave the car on the spot….straight to the jail for a few hours, had to hitch hike (no joke!!) back to my TA…..I loved this car!

  22. Don E Member

    Sold for $18k. All the money IMHO.

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