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Garage Find: 1973 Pontiac Grand Am 400

The big news at Pontiac in ’73 was the introduction of the new Grand Am. A mid-sized A-body coupe or sedan it had a lot of internal competition between the LeMans/GTO and the Grand Prix. But the Grand Am’s track was a bit different as its objective was to differentiate itself from its very domesticated stablemates. Pontiac’s sales brochure put forth, “Let’s say you have always driven American cars…always been intrigued with imports. Perhaps you’ve envied European handling. The real wood in the interior. The comfort of bucket seats. Whatever. We think you’ll find our new unique Grand Am a more-than-acceptable alternative to the costly imports“. Did they succeed? Let’s look this example over and see if we can figure that out. This ’73 Pontiac Grand Am is located in Penfield, New York and is available, here on eBay for a BIN price of $9,500.

The initial Grand Am run was three years, ’73-’75, and was offered in both a coupe and four-door sedan. After ’75, it went on a hiatus for a few years, returning in ’78 on the smaller G-platform. Initial sales were over 43K units but fell rapidly to about 17K for ’74 and barely 10K in the third and final year of its initial iteration. So what happened, did American buyers get enough of trying to be “Europed” up? Probably not, the Grand Am had a performance bend to it and its V8 engines ran afoul of the ’73 Arab oil embargo and the resulting recession. That, combined with concerns over escalating fuel prices, probably sealed its fate. And there was also the matter of it standing out between the LeMans and Grand Prix, both well-established models that could be similarly equipped.

Speaking of that performance bend, Pontiac’s 310 net HP Super Duty (SD) 455 CI V8 was on the Grand Am’s checklist, right along with a four-speed manual transmission – hot stuff it would have been if it ever saw the light of day. Unfortunately, that bit of motor marvel never got beyond the prototype stage and the SD series of engines were relegated to the Trans Am and Firebird Formula. Our subject Grand Am is sporting a 230 net HP 400, CI V8, and the seller adds, “I have pulled the motor and all the heads, valves, pushrods, springs, have been done by the machine shop, also new timing chain, water pump, engine gasket set,…” No word if it actually runs. A Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission handles gear changes.

We are told that this Grand Am “is not a rust bucket” and is in sound shape except for the passenger-side fender leg and some other minor spots. The listing is confusing but it sounds as if there are two hoods, including a GTO variety, that are included in the sale. No mention is made of the missing front bumper. This was a vinyl top equipped car and though it has been removed, the seller does have the trim moldings.

The interior looks rough, primarily because of the deplorable condition of the seating upholstery. But, the seller included, “The original interior is not bad, but did manage to find a complete interior, same color with new carpet with extra console and dash“. So that’s helpful and I think that it’s safe to say that the Grand Am’s interior was, in fact, quite nice for a domestic automobile of the era.

OK, so this is a project and there are a few unknowns, mostly with the engine’s operating ability. But any way you cut it, it’s going to be expensive to put this Grand Am back into a presentable condition so the next owner will have to decide if the price of entry is reasonable enough to make it all work. Hopefully, it will be doable for someone, these were notable cars in their day and just aren’t encountered often anymore. Any interest out there?


  1. Stevieg

    I always wanted one of these, but I think I would want a cleaner one to begin with. It does appear to be pretty solid though. Maybe not a bad deal for the right buyer.

    Like 9
  2. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Includes the optional pre-deployed passenger air bag. Which can be reused as an interior disposal collection unit.

    Like 10
  3. Calipag

    Just NOPE!

    Like 2
  4. Tom

    no hood no deal……

    Like 1
    • egads

      Says it comes with two hood’s. Read the whole add Tom.

      Like 8
      • Dion Rau

        Too much money, not enough grand am

        Like 5
  5. PaulG

    Funny it has original AZ license plates that haven’t been used since the early 80’s
    Could be a decent project but the ask is a bit high…

    Like 5
  6. Ike Onick

    $9500.00 USD????? !!!!! I live in the next town over from Penfield. They are having issues with a waste dump. It is pretty obvious their air and water supplies are contaminated.

    Like 6
  7. Phil W

    I purchased a new one in 1974 for my wife’s daily driver. It was chocolate brown with saddle tan interior. I put absolutely every option on that car. This included the largest 455 engine available! Loved that car. Within 90 days a driver not paying attention ran into the back of the car. I promptly sold it and now I look daily trying to find it for repurchase. By the Way at the time I owned and operated an Exxon service station so gas was cheap.

    Like 7
  8. George Mattar

    I am a huge fan of Colannade cars from the General. I have owned 5. Miss them all especially my 1977 Grand Prix with 28 factory options. I am too old for a project, but want a 73 Grand Am 455 4 speed. Tall order I know.

    Like 8
  9. Phil B

    Remember the Pontiac commercial where they would krinkle the nose and it pops back out?

    Like 4
  10. T Craine

    My first car was a 73 four door. That exact color scheme and interior. Had the 400, auto. It was an absolute beast, with the handling to go with it. This would be a dream car for me, but don’t have the resources to make it a reality.

    Like 5
  11. Wayne

    I worked at a Pontiac store when these came out. I was able to drive a 455 GTO (1972) back to back with a 1973 455 4 speed Grand Am. The GTO was faster (More horses) But the GTO was not even in the same class when it came to handling. I really enjoyed driving these. One of the most prevalent warranty items on a Grand Am (and the Grand Prix, same instrument panel) Was that the “real wood” inlay on the instrument panel would come un-gluded and wrinkle up to the point of rubbing your fingers on the steering wheel! Whenever I see a picture of one these days. I’m always amazed that the wood trim is even there, much less not buckled in any way.

    Like 8
    • W72WW3

      A 455 4 speed 73 Grand Am? Really ??that must’ve been a one of none car that Pontiac built at the now demolished Pontiac Michigan assembly plant.

      Like 1
  12. Tim T

    Huge GA guy and have owned, restored and enjoyed these over the years. They are truly fun to drive and getting harder to find parts. (Have a shed full) The current CRAZY classic car market is obviously in this guys head and sadly has taken the joy, fun and affordability away from the average person. Way too much $’s and time to get this one back. 2 years ago i sold a clean redone 73 for $10,500

    Like 3
    • wesley alker

      Lookin’ for Pontiac parts. . . . . What’cha got ? ? ?

      Like 1
  13. Stan

    Nice lines on the Grand Am

    Like 3
  14. PairsNPaint

    Had a 73 GA 400/auto back in ’75. Cruised comfortably on the highway, cornered great. Was on my way from Richmond to D.C on I-95 once when a VA state trooper pulled along side of me. Looked down at the speedo and it said 105! The trooper just motioned me to pull it down a bit and then he took off. Loved that car!

    Like 7
  15. GM

    In the mid 80s, I had a 74 Grand Am w/400 and 2 barrel, automatic, the tamest of the bunch, but it had plenty of go. Handled like a dream. Beautiful car. But it ate tires.

    Like 2
  16. S

    So the Grand Am was available in 73-74-75, then not until 78 on the smaller ->A<- body platform, which was not renamed the G body until the even smaller FWD 1982 A body platform came out. So what was the purpose of the Can Am in 1977 then? Why wasn't it called the Grand Am? It also had the Grand Prix's dash and was on this platform, and it even looked a lot like this. But in 78 they went back to the Grand Am name.

    Like 1
  17. Douglas Threlfall Member

    I had a ‘73 400/4 bbl./4 speed in the same colors. Was loaded from the factory, power windows, power door locks, tilt wheel, power trunk release, six way power driver’s seat. Great driving car if you were a member of OPEC…. See my actual car in the April ‘89 issue of High Performance Pontiac magazine.

    Like 1
  18. Gerard Frederick

    This, initially beautiful car, has been abused from day one. NEVER buy an abused car.

    Like 1
  19. John Oliveri

    I always wanted one of these, my first car was it’s sister,73 Luxury Lemans, loaded w every option, miss it every day, since I sold it, 43 years ago, never been able to find one like it, Grand Am would do fine, but not this one, too much work, a/c parts missing, no sunroof

    Like 1
  20. Frank D Member

    This was one of the many winter drivers when I stored my Pantera. It was a very nice car.

    Like 1
  21. Mike Pesotski Member

    My best friend had one of these in the 80’s and always thought it was a cool car. The front of these had a plastic bumper that was body colored and gave the car a good look. Wonder where you would find one of those these days?

    Like 1
  22. Wayne

    W72WW3, It was the dealer principals car of the largest Pontiac store in the country. So it could have been one of none, BUT my memory is not what it used to be, so it could have been a 1974. I remember driving one of his other cars (a 1971 or 1972 Grand Prix)that also had a 455 that I know had been breathed on because once I got to where I was going I instantly looked at the stamping on the block. And it was NOT a factory engine! But what fun to drive!!!!!

    Like 0

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