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High Output: 1975 Pontiac Trans Am 455 H.O.

1975 Pontiac Trans Am 455

Anytime you see an American car with the big letters HO, it means one thing. High Output! In most cases it also means you’re going to find a big block V8 hiding under the hood. This 1975 Pontiac Trans Am has 455 HO on the hood scoop and that means this car is packing the massive 455 big block V8 and about 500 lbs. of torque. It was pulled from a barn about 10 years ago and has had some work done to it over the years, but was never finished. The seller claims it runs and drives, but has decided it’s time to part ways with it, so they have listed the car here on eBay with a $15,500 BIN.

Pontiac 455 HO V8

The ’70s were an interesting time for the Muscle car. That single decade saw the rise and fall of the high compression big block. Emission regulations and decreasing fuel octane forced a decrease in compression and subsequently a fall in power. In an attempt to offset some of the power decrease, manufacturers began increasing displacement. The 455 Trans Am is often considered to be the last high powered muscle car, but horsepower wasn’t all that impressive by the previous year’s standards. Pontiac rated the HO at 290 horsepower with about 250 of that actually making it to the wheels. While the horsepower numbers might not seem great, the torque figures on the other hand are quite impressive. At around 500 lbs. of torque, this beast was the most powerful American engine on the market in ’75 and made the Firebird one mean machine. Sadly the effects of emission standards and the fuel crisis caused demand for these fuel hungry big block V8s to drop drastically and production of the Trans Am and all other muscle cars followed suite, making these rather rare today.

Pontiac Trans Am Interior

As you can tell this one is going to need work both inside and out. The interior looks complete, with a few splits and tears in the upholstery. Based on the sun fade we are going to guess it has spent most, if not all, of the past 10 years outside. We’ve never been big fans of mid ’70s interiors, but we think we would live with this one. Truth is we wouldn’t give the interior much thought the moment we fired up that V8 and put all that torque to good use!

Pontiac 455 HO

Overall, this car looks to be in solid shape. We see a few areas of rust that make us a bit nervous, but nothing too serious. This is another case of wishing the paint would have been left alone. We appreciate that someone attempted to keep it from rusting, but we wish people would put down the spray can and ask themselves if they really need to spray the entire car or if it just needs paint where the rust is before spraying. With any luck the original paint is underneath it and was protected by the primer. The rust and paint really aren’t massive deterrents, but we do have our concerns about the seller’s valuation of the car. One thing that we often see is people valuing their car off of another car that just sold. While this can be a good way to gauge the market, you always want to make sure you are comparing it to a car in similar condition. Many sellers see what a fully restored car sold for at a top dollar auction and believe their rough project car should be worth a similar amount. This seller is thankfully asking less than what their comparison car sold for, but well above market value for a car in this condition. Frame off restorations tend to be costly and while this one is half what the restored car went for, it could easily cost the next owner more than $15k to get this one to the same level as their example. If the underside turns out to be as rust free as they claim perhaps it could be a good buy, but even then it still isn’t wise to compare it to a fully restored car.

Pontiac Trans Am 455 HO

To be fair, this car did come with some rare options, but we doubt they will make much of a difference in value. Hopefully the seller will be willing to accept a more realistic offer, so that it can go to a good home. In our book, this is the last true muscle car and deserves to be saved. With any luck someone will pick it up and get it back on the road where it belongs. We can just almost hear those tires squealing already! Smokey and the Bandit anyone?


  1. Tom Cotrel

    I would get the price down to $12K, have all rust issues resolved, repaint the car a solid factory color, leave off the screaming chicken, put in new carpets, fix the seats, put in a 2.73 rear axle, make the shaker hood scoop functional and DE-SMOG THE ENGINE.

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  2. Kman44

    Really brings back memories. Had ’75 Formula 400 – arctic blue with white interior. New price was $5300. Put headers and dulls in. De smogged. And set up for leaded gas. Went pretty well and the handling was pretty good for its day.

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  3. Scott Allison

    I agree! Get rid of the smog crap (it did nothing but pump air into the exhaust, and decrease gas mileage), and restore it to original.

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  4. Lee

    The BIN price on eBay has risen to $17,500 and the buyer’s description is illegible. Going to be a tough sell.

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  5. Charlie Huntington

    BIN price is actually $17.5……

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  6. Brian

    A friend and neighbor from down the street in high school (circa 1988) had one of these that will be forever burnt into my mind! His was a ’76 TA, black on black and in deplorable condition, but he loved it and talked about it constantly. It had a black primer paint job over probably the worst bondo jobs I’ve ever seen. One summer, another friend (whose dad was skilled in the art of body work) finally got sick of seeing the cracking and wavey bondo and offered to help him sand it all out and redo it. They found alot of bondo being held in place with sandpaper or newspaper backing. When they finished it and reapplied the black primer, it was alot smoother, but it never got repainted and redecaled, as it’s owner had hoped. It broke down surprisingly little given it’s high mileage and two decades of abuse but it smoked pretty bad when tromped on (it was tromped on alot) and ran so rich that the interior had the perminent aroma of half burnt gasoline and hydrocarbons. A long ride in it resulted in a nice dose of car sickness and riding with the windows up was a big no-no! Even at the fearless age of 16, I limited my rides in this car…and with this driver! Sometime during his college career, the TA was retired to a corner of his parant’s back yard, replaced by a Jeep Cherokee. After 4 or 5 years, the TA disappeared. I never asked about it, I just assumed his parents junked it, along with a ‘56 Chevy 4 door HT that sat along side it (was in even worse shape than the TA). Looking back at it, I think the funniest thing was how much he bragged about how fast it was with its 455. Today, a new V6 Mustang would have no problem stomping it into the ground!

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    • mike

      If the ENGINE is the original ” HAND BUILT 455 HO “.. As Im staring at the shakers height.
      The suspension is WS6, MASSIVE SWAY BARS.
      …$15,000 is the going price for something that can be driven with respects to todays gas price..
      .. This Trans – Am is ” CRIMINAL ” as it was measured with a standard in first gear at idle speed. NOTHING! TOUCHED THIS CAR THROUGH OUT AND UP THROUGH THE 1990s.

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  7. Tom

    I bought a 1976 Limited Edition from Paramus Pontiac after seeing it featured at the New york Auto Show. Now of course I see it as tasteless…but back then, in the era of disco and flares and permed hair, it was right on. The car was terrible in the wet and winter but otherwise handled reasonably well. Loved the interior. The honeycomb wheels were incredibly heavy.
    Ten years on I had it painted and did not replace the decals, much less the screaming chicken. Shortly thereafter it was stolen from my front door, by a nearby thug who was rebuilding his own T/A.

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    • kman

      Actually the snow problem could be fixed. I got the biggest snow tires that would fit and had them studded. I was able to push a car stuck in front of me on a snowy hill from a standing start at a light. The rain was a caution tho. I foun standard Michelins seemed to work best there.

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  8. Rick

    Just another wore out old mid 70s (fill in the blank) Firebird Trans AM, Camaro Z/28. Lots of these are still around, so it’s nothing special, When the ’75 Trans Am hits the streets as a new car, it was so completely detuned and was real performance yawner compared what Pontiac had offered just a few years earlier. I could get excited if t was ’70 Trans Am. Think this one would make a great rat rod, or maybe a figure 8 or bump to pass car, not worth the $$$ to restore, maybe sell the hood to some Pontiac freak first.

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    • Brian

      You could (and maybe you do?) say the same thing about the Fox bodied Mustangs. It really doesn’t matter because people grew up having or desiring these cars and they’ll be popular as long as, or longer, than then generations who grew up with these cars are in the hobby. Having owned multiple examples of the old Foxstangs, I admit they were far from perfect, but they sure made me happy back then and I still have a soft spot for them now!

      Like 1
  9. tom999p

    Hmmm, I’ve seen SD’s go for this price that need a restoration. An SD or an HO for the same price?? That’s a no brainer what I’d pick…

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  10. tom999p

    Remind me never to sell a mostly original time capsule survivor car to all of you who want to yank this, remove that, repaint this, and delete that…. Those are the same people who restomod a 1970 GTO Judge, “drop” a chevy engine into a Lamborghini, or tub out/tube frame and race a Yenko….

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  11. Rick

    Its just an old car, not in that great of shape, and nothing rare or special performance wise, plus they made zillions of them. Time capsule? You gotta be kidding.

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    • Pete

      Rick, they only made a handful of the 455HO’s. Unfortunately, HO was a misnomer unless compared to only other 1975 vehicles. It was surpassed by the ’77-’79 400 t/a 6.6 motors and obviously was nowhere near the SD 455’s from ’73 and ’74. Still, any of these cars with a stick is a rare site, and they only made a handful with the 455’s from those years. The bonus is that those motors are extremely easy to wake up. Cam/intake/exhaust manifolds (or headers) are all you need to get an extra 100hp, no need to even pull the heads off.

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  12. Stephen

    His BIN on eBAY

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  13. ConservativesDefeated

    @Tom: Took the words right out of my judgemental mind.LOL

    These cars scream HILLBILLY REDNECK GREASEBALL DISCO ( if you live in Jersey) mullet headed pleather wearing loser.

    The nadir of late Twentieth century American automotive.

    Junk it

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  14. Dan Lott

    Forget Smokey and the Bandit! How bout Jeff Bridges in Thunderbolt and Lightfoot! When the salesman said ” she’s got a lot of power…..do you think you can handle it”? Bridges says I don’t know I only have one leg! Guy asks are you kidding ? Bridges smiles and leaves him in a cloud of dust!!!! At a drive in theatre in Waterloo Ia. Oh to be 10 again

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    • Brian

      I think the original source of “star power” popularity for these old birds was Jim Rockford!

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  15. Dirty Dingus McGee

    Seller should pull that ad and re-do it. Can’t read anything in the description.

    I would be interested at a price of around $10K.

    @Rick It’s fine if you don’t like the car, but I don’t see the need to insult it. Many a gearhead cut their teeth on cars like this(I’m from an earlier generation so mine was 50’s and 60’s iron) and still like them. Not everybody bows and kisses the ground for European iron.

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  16. Tom Greenacres

    My company car was a Lancia Beta Coupe. My personal car was a 1976 T/A LE. I liked em both for different reasons. The Lancia was better for rallying (the T/A ran out of brakes). The T/A was a good interstate car. I bought another new one in 1987, mainly because I liked the color red. The mid-70s TransAms filled a market niche. They were fine for the day: garish, heavy, but reasonably comfortable, reliable and inexpensive to operate. I put nearly 200,000 miles on mine before it was taken.

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  17. Rancho Bella

    …….they can keep their HO TA and SD…………one can obtain an STD for much less

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  18. jim s

    i like the car a lot but do not see it being a daily driver because of the MPG and the other cost. also too many other cars in the same price range or less that could be a daily driver. nice find

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  19. Paul G

    The ad is fixed (readable) but it appears that the car is SOLD…

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  20. J Marcus

    SOLD he accepted his best offer it, appears as though he is laughing all the way to the bank

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  21. The Chuker

    I had a ’76 Trans Am with a 455 and a 4-speed in high school. By that era, it was mostly show and very little go.

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  22. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Looks like the offer fell through. It has been relisted with bidding starting at $12,500 and a BIN of $14,900.

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  23. Charles

    Second generation Trans AM’s are beginning to gain popularity as collector cars. Nice ones are bringing good money. NIce original drivers can be had for 20 to 30 K depending on options and condition. Granted 73 and 74 Super Duty cars bring the big bucks, but Pontiac only made around 1000 of those.

    This car is rough and is still over priced at BIN of 14,500. For the amount it would take to purchase this car and restore it, you could probably purchase two nice drivers or one show car.

    A 455 HO car is not the top pick. The 400 was a better performer overall. The first thing I would need to know is if it has the original engine or not. Lots of people put HO decals on anything. It might be a 400 with 455HO decals on the shaker scoop.

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    • Marty Parker

      There was no 455HO in ’75. The last 455HO TA was ’72. ’75 was just a standard 455.

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      • SteVen

        Old post I know, but FYI there were 857 455-HO Trans Ams produced for 1975. But they were basically just the full-sie Pontiac 455 motors, nothing close to the 455 HO of 1971-72.

        Like 1
  24. Nickgp

    I’m still trying to figure out the hex head sheet metal screws holding down the data plate.

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  25. pontiactivist

    This T/A actually is quite rare. 1 of 837 if my memory serves me right. They were all 4 speeds. In 76 the HO on the scoop was dropped to just say 455. So I can see it having some kind of value. Not to mention Im a Pontiac freak.
    A friend of mine. God rest his soul. Had a white w/blue int and trimmed 75. Was and still is a fun car to drive. Car hasnt seen daylight in a few years now. His widow still has it and his 77 we restored in storage. Hope they dont become heaps of rust before she parts with them.

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  26. Keith

    The “1975 trans am 455 “was designated ” HO” on feb 4 th 1975 a late year change
    857 BUILT
    So although it wasnt a 1971 HO
    It still would be correct if car was a w coded car

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