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Final Year SD: 16k Mile 1974 Pontiac Trans Am!

I’ll venture a guess that I’m not alone in feeling the muscle car era ended in 1972. However, many associations/clubs/people much smarter than I define the era as running from 1961 to 1974. I often need that reminder as there were a few hangers-on like this 1974 Pontiac Trans AM SD found here as part of Broad Arrow Auction’s Amelia Auction. Lot 116 will be auctioned on March 3, 2022, with an estimated hammer price of $140,000-$180,000.

If you’re in the market for a rather special, final-year car from the muscle car era, I’d bet a Trans Am SD is at – or near – the top of your list. There were only 943 Super Duties built in that final year of production. This one is made extra special as being one of just 212 of those 455 cubic-inch equipped SD units that left that factory with a 4-speed manual transmission. Further tipping the scale in favor of it being the ultimate example is it having logged just 15,985 miles since new.

Finished in Admiralty Blue with a light blue and black bird on the hood, this almost 50-year-old Super Duty shows nearly new. It’s an understated look for a car that was quite formidable in a straight line. Body flaws are minor and few and far between. Adding to the favorable side of the ultimate example scale: the steel-belted radial rubber hitting the road is said to be original.

The black vinyl cloth interior is so simple and so well done. High-back buckets are split by a full-length console featuring that 4-speed manual gear rower. The swirl dash is classic. The back seat looks like it’s seen sparing (if any) use. The same goes for the AM radio – and 8-track player! – which in many cars seems to get over abused. Other than pedal wear, it’s difficult to find any flaws inside.

What largely makes this SD an SD lies under that hood. The 455 cubic-inch V8 was conservatively rated at 290HP and 380 lb-ft of torque. Sending that power to the rear wheels is a 4-speed manual transmission. Power brakes and power steering were standard. This one has the added heavy-duty radiator and heavy-duty battery. These are said to run the quarter-mile in the 13s straight from the factory.

There’s no convincing required here. This is a clean, honest, low-mileage example of a car that ended a great era. Calling this the best of the best doesn’t feel the least bit far-fetched. I don’t often say this, but the auction estimate feels light for all this car brings to the table.


  1. Avatar photo Tony Primo

    Very rare car, but for that kind of money I would be looking at a big block C2 Corvette or a Hemi Cuda or Challenger.

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Paul Danks

      Agreed. A C2 coupe fits nicely in my barn. It plays nicely on the road as well.

      Like 0
    • Avatar photo 455RAIV

      Still would rather own that 74 SD-455 T/A over any of those :)

      Like 8
  2. Avatar photo Frank Sumatra

    Firebird belonged in the “Pony car” category and the ” Muscle car” era was over in 1974. Trust me, I witnessed their death.

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Motorcityman

      The SD 455 Trans Am is no “Pony Car”
      And it was THE performance car of 73/74 plenty of hp ( way more than 290) and a torque monster.

      Like 4
  3. Avatar photo Craig Baloga

    9th inning, 2 outs, count is 3 and 2…..yes, the game is very nearly over.


    Like 1
  4. Avatar photo Maggy

    A guy who I knew in grade school wrapped one these around a telephone pole when he was in high school and almost died. It was a 74 red with a 4 speed .

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo Rob

      Mr Hayes?

      Like 0
  5. Avatar photo Tom

    I wrapped a 1978 4 door LTD around a tree in an ice storm. I had to put it in park and shut it off. The damned thing would not die. Started in 40 below weather and it looked like Rodney Dangerfield was at the helm.

    Like 2
  6. Avatar photo GIJOOOE

    Such a sweet, sweet Super Duty! And a 4 speed to boot! I’m willing to bet that the SD 455 made closer to 400hp and more like 500 lbs of torque. The Pontiac 455 has always been known as a torque monster, and there’s reason to believe that the SD 455 was seriously underrated to get past the fed and insurance companies. It was, quite literally, the fastest car for sale in America at the time.

    Would I love to have one? If I were stupendously wealthy, absolutely. But if I could only have one bada** car from the era, I’d much rather spend my hundreds of thousands of dollars on a pristine big block Corvette, LS6 Chevelle or Hemicuda. Or get something more modern like a 2020+ GT500 or C7 ZR1. But that’s just me, and I hope whoever buys this incredible piece of machinery buys it to drive it, instead of treating it like a museum piece and just looking at it.

    Like 5
  7. Avatar photo Motorcityman

    More like over 400 hp!!
    290! 🤣🤣🤣
    Those sly Pontiac boys!!
    The SD 455 was literally a race motor and not the same as a “regular 455”

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo Shawn Turbeville

      For sure! Take this car back to 1970 and it is right there performance wise with the Hemicuda, LS-6 Chevelle and Stage 1 455 Buick. And it will run on regular gas! Forward back to 1974 and nothing else is in its zip code.

      Like 5
  8. Avatar photo Steve H

    I ordered a new 1974 Firebird Formula 400 in October of ’73 with every option as my first car. The window sticker was $5,361. I was all set to order it with the SD 455 engine, but the dealer told me it could be as much as a six month wait, so I decided on the 400 instead. Over nine years, I put over 150,000 miles on it and loved every mile. It looked new when I sold it to a man who let his sixteen year-old daughter drive it . . . she ran a red light and it was “T-Boned” in the passengers door – totaled – another one I should have kept . . .

    Like 6
  9. Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

    Hood scoop still not open after all these years.
    I would say those buckets with cloth inserts are very rare for ’73-76 birds.
    With such low miles, i would have expected original delco spark plug wires & original hoses with GM markings or at least GM hose clamps – especially since the car has orginal tires. (I would like to see if any modern tire could hold air 50 years from now, like these uniroyals with more natural rubber back in the day – & heavier & made in the USA.)
    Why, on this rare valuable car, change the wheel center caps to earlier red ones & retain the not so attractive dull trim rings? – most also changed to earlier chrome trim rings or aftmkt chrome ones.
    Prospective buyers should make sure the factory “horsehair” type air cleaner snorkel connector is present – a plastic repro should raise an eyebrow. 100 pics & none showing the battery, or the underside – especially if the car still has the unique SD exhaust system resonators & muffler.

    Like 5
  10. Avatar photo 455RAIV

    If your a Pontiac Fan – That 74 SD-455 T/A is for me any day over Vette’s Cuda’s etc. :)

    Like 6
  11. Avatar photo Dennis

    Can’t believe I had two of these cars at the same time, would have been a great retirement fund had I only known.

    Like 2
  12. Avatar photo douglas hunt

    oh, to win the lotto before this sells ……one of my favs for sure

    Like 2
  13. Avatar photo Richard

    SOLD for $173,600

    Like 2
  14. Avatar photo Motorcityman

    THE “Holy Grail” of Pontiac (and GM really) since the GTO in 73 and 74 was a shadow of itself.

    Like 0
  15. Avatar photo 455RAIV

    Check out the prices on a Hemi Cuda average price is almost 300,000 $ high price was around 3,000,000 $ -The C2 L88 Vettes are even higher 781,000 $ for one and on the high end also around 3,000,000 $ – so for a rare low mile car that 1974 SD-455 4 spd. is a deal at that price of 140,000 – 180,000 $ :)

    Like 2

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