Motortown Special: 1977 Pontiac Can Am

There was a time when car dealers would create a special performance edition, sometimes with factory support and occasionally without it, to drum up customer interest. The late ’70s wasn’t a great time for these high performance specials, but a few companies tried to keep buyers coming in the door by building them anyway. The 1977 Pontiac Can Am from Motortown was intended to do just that, but after one of the parts molds was damaged, production ended abruptly. This car was stored in a Wisconsin barn until just recently, but is now available here on eBay.

The Can Am is based on the Pontiac LeMans, but came with Pontiac’s 400 W72 V8 instead of the base 400. Motortown then fitted a shaker hood, rear spoiler, and Can Am decals to create a more aggressive looking package. Initial production plans called for five thousand cars, but only 1,133 cars were ever built. Of these, only a small handful are still known to exist. This one was found stashed in the corner of an old barn in Wisconsin

The interior of the Can Am was meant to be sporty, yet luxurious. The shift in demand and government regulations had a profound impact on the styling of cars in the late ’70s, even on the inside. This isn’t the best looking car, but for the era it isn’t bad. The condition of this interior isn’t the best and is going to need work, but thankfully all the parts are straight from the Pontiac parts bin.

To make sure the Can Am could outperform the standard LeMans, the car was fitted with the T/A 6.6 engine, which was rated at 200 hp. Compared to the Muscle cars built a few years earlier, this seems anemic, but this was a decent amount of power for ’77. It isn’t the fastest car of the era, but this engine can easily produce a lot more power.

The Wisconsin humidity has taken its toll on this car and is going to need some extensive work. The body has rust issues, but replacement body panels shouldn’t be hard or expensive to find. This isn’t the most valuable or sought after car out there, but it is an interesting piece of history and it would be sad if it was lost forever.

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Comments

  1. Kraig

    Rough and rusty, with a column shift. Good for a parts car, not much else. Too bad.

    • Greg Rock

      Are you nuts? Ive seen (and done) much worse than this restored to pristine condition. The fact that there are very few of is left makes it valuable and collectible. highly collectible.

      Like 2
  2. scot c

    ~ my neighbor two doors away has, parked under a carport, the Can-Am in which his mother gave him birth, as his father, in panic, navigated, piloted, and mid-wifed, moments too late for the comfort and safety of the delivery suite. love it when a plan comes together despite the obstacle strewn path. parts car, at best, but not for sale.

  3. J. Pickett

    Had a 73 Grand Am, much prettier car and it sold better too. Standard counsel and buckets, Same engine options. prettier interior.

  4. Mark

    The car came with a lawyer as standard equipment? Wow 70s cars must have been bad

  5. Europa TC

    Boy………this perfectly sums up the late seventies when it comes to American cars. Ugly, big, boring, ill handling and no power…………. did I miss anything?………..did I mention ugly…oh ya’…sorry.

  6. paul

    Europa TC summed it up perfectly, I will add one more item to that, the bumpers weighed about 450 lbs each!……. Let it go….

  7. Larry

    Sorry, but all I see is maybe a parts car at best. Way to much RUST!! So sad.
    I would have liked to have seen the chevelle ss he also picked up. He shows a picture of it covered up, whats with that???

  8. Chris

    Not all that ugly, but you would never get your money out of this even if you bought it as scrap. The rust you see is nothing compared to what is hiding behind the outer sheet metal. But I like it as an brave attempt to rebuild Pontiac’s performance image. The seats are shot, but I’m surprised the dash and rest of the instrument panel look as good as they do. I’m wondering if the build sheet for these shows any really good heavy duty parts or are these just a trim package.

    In a perverse way I think it should be saved. Years from now some kid culd look at this in a car show and ask his dad “Were Pontiacs any good”? Well son, it’s a long story and this car is near the end. Let me tell you about GTO’s.

  9. Dolphin Member

    Can’t fault the dealers who tried to move cars by dressing them up like this Can Am.They had to sell cars or close up shop and find another line of work. Problem was the men in charge of the company, who too often were the proverbial bean counters who insisted on annual model changes and big cars because big cars came with bigger price tags.

    The 4th gen. GTO that was imported at the urging of Bob Lutz from the Holden line for Pontiac to sell was a great car but unfortunately couldn’t save Pontiac. By then there were lots of smaller cars available that performed well, and the Pontiac name had lost the lustre that it had during the days of the original GTO and the Can Am. The many GM divisions were competing against themselves as well as against other carmakers, and not all of them could survive the downsizing of GM.

    I’m with Chris….I hope someone steps up to save it. It’s too big and the front is too blunt for my taste, but the right rear 3/4 shot above shows that the design is not without style.

  10. racer193

    There is a much nicer one of these over on the hemmings blog for sale for $17700. Its the one I would want if i actually wanted one. TIts probably not possible to restore one of these for that price.

  11. Will

    The day I got my drivers license I cruised the dealers lots and decided that the can am was what I would buy if I had any money. I was driving my dads Granada. I drooled all over this car almost daily. I took my friends by it to look at it. I would love to have this car. I don’t want to be the one working on it. I hate to see it less than perfect. I would love to find one of these perfectly restored or a survivor. This was my dream car when I was 16. Muscle cars where old heaps in my opinion at that time. I haven’t thought about that car in years. thanks for the memory reminder. If I do see a restored one for sale I will likely try to buy it if I can. Any ideas what it would be worth restored?

  12. Gnrdude

    I think this Would be Worth it if you knew How to DO Metal Work cause there are so FEW of those around. Only a Handful Have Survived into the 21’st Century.

  13. Europa TC

    Will, I doubt anyone would take the time to restore something like this. “Fools errand” comes to mind. Volo museum has/had one for sale. The ask was $31 and some change…..good luck with that ask.

    It’s over………………

  14. Ed Rekawik

    Rusty
    Rusty
    Rusty
    No Can Am ever came with a column shift
    But, it would be nice to see this car come to life again…

    • Can Am Owner

      Yes there were Can Ams with column shifts and also some with bench sets. Not many but there were some built.

      Like 1
    • timmyt

      yes there was 16 built with column shift and bench seats

      Like 1
      • Misty

        Yes there were built with column shift and bench seats. I have one.

        Like 1
  15. FastrPastr

    I was the 2nd owner of a 1977 Pont LeMans GT…the Can-Am spin-off with no power. Had a 301 2bbl. no shaker and no tail fin, but rare…only about 1100 of those made too.

  16. rob

    these cars are great ,, i had a 73, 75 , and than a 76 SPORTCOUPE , dark forest green with white stripe, white buckets with floor shift/console , now i cant find even a picture of one like it ,, has anyone seen one like this ?? anyone have pics or know of one ? all the ones i had were the toughest , most reliable good working cars i ever had !!!! and i have had hundreds !!

  17. Johnny De

    Boring and ugly…..are you kidding? My buddy has a mint condition one and it gets thumbs up and lots of attention whenever it is out of the garage. This is a poor example, too rusty. Really nice ones can be had in the mid-high teens and will only go up in value.

  18. JagManBill

    I have the honor of creating the car. I graduated from high school in 75. My Grandad told me if I made the A honor roll he’d give me anything that came off the line there in Atlanta (he was a retired GM manager). Well, as of mid April it looked like I was going to make it so he put in the COPO for “my” car. A 76 Grand LeMans with a few special touches…like Grand Prix honeycomb wheels, 455/4spd from the TransAm, shaker hood, GP console and a few other odds and ends. Oh…and totally blacked out. I graduated…but with a 89.87 average…not an A. So, he said no car.
    That September as I was heading to college I went to vist them for a few weeks. While there, he said he “wanted to take me for a ride”. An hour later we pull into the parking lot at the GM plant. I’m starting to get giddy that I might get the car anyway. We walk in the front door (not the usual side door we always went in) and there in the middle of the entry is “my” car. Grandad let me look it over and I really at that point thought it was mine till he said that the car was sold. Since the order was made and filled it was delivered so it had to be sold. Heck, had I known that I would have bought the dang thing because I could have bought it at his cost (and you don’t want to know how much that would have been). Anyway…it sucked.

    I like to think that my COPO greated a model (Can AM). Might have, might not have, but the similarity to the 77 release is a bit uncanny. I keep promising myself that someday I’m going to build that car myself. Right after I finish the restoration of the E Type I got instead of that LmGT, two Spitfires, a Vee Sports Racer, 2 two FV”s, an H Mod, 2 VW bugs, a…..

    Like 1
    • Jason

      Your Grandad sounds like a jackazz.

      Like 3
  19. timmy

    hard sell with no a/c, by the way the museum car has a documented 451 miles and is sold on mso it was never tagged so who ever buys it will be original owner

  20. scott

    GOT A clone for sale for parts…no engine no trans but all the badges, rear spoiler and window vents ugly red interior and center shifter if anyone looking for a parts car..can send pics im in ohio near columbus

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