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One Year Only: 1977 Pontiac Can Am

Hiding in this garage is one of the rarer muscle cars from the 1970s. It proves that Pontiac continued positioning itself as the home of performance within the General Motors empire. It is a 1977 Can Am, a tidy and solid survivor with no immediate needs. It presents well as-is, but lifting its appearance would require little time or money. The Can Am is listed here on eBay in Valdosta, Georgia. Bidding has raced to $21,700, although that figure falls short of the reserve.

Those enthusiasts who lived through the 1970s can confirm that it was a pretty miserable time automotively. Scanning the options list for many cars proved that outright performance was no longer an option, and even cars like the Mustang and Camaro Z28 were shadows of their former selves. Pontiac tried to carry the torch for those craving excitement, and the 1977 Can Am was a perfect example of that thinking. It was a special edition variant of the company’s LeMans model, providing a V8 under the hood and unique paint and trim options. Circumstances beyond the company’s control saw production end before the planned 5,000 cars were built. The Can Am started life as a LeMans dressed in Cameo White, with Pontiac shipping each car to a company called Motortown for the Can Am treatment. This included cutting the hood to accommodate the ’76 Trans Am scoop, fitting a fiberglass rear spoiler, and applying the distinctive stripes and decals. The rear spoiler proved the Can Am’s downfall. The solitary mold at Motortown’s disposal broke, and with no spare available, Pontiac axed the model with only 1,377 cars produced due to time constraints. This survivor is in excellent condition for its age. The paint shows no problems, and the stripes are crisp and clean. The panels are as straight as an arrow, and with the underside rock-solid, it is a genuinely rust-free vehicle. The seller admits the bumpers could benefit from a trip to the platers, but with sparkling new replacements available for around $250 each, that might be a better approach. All Can Ams featured color-coded Rally II wheels, although some buyers splashed some extra cash on the Trans Am’s Snowflakes for added rarity. This Pontiac has no immediate needs, but replacing the bumpers would undoubtedly lift its appearance.

It is refreshing to find any classic from this era with an unmodified interior, which may be one reason why this Can Am has attracted significant interest. Pontiac didn’t restrict the special treatment to the exterior, with the inside receiving bucket seats, a console, and a Rally gauge cluster from the Grand Prix. Buyers could add further options from the LeMans RPO list, with this car receiving air conditioning and an AM/FM radio. The interior condition is as impressive as the exterior, with no evidence of wear or abuse. The carpet is slightly marked near the driver’s left foot, but the dash is spotless, the pad is crack-free, the faux woodgrain has avoided the typical fading and lifting, and the console is in as-new condition.

Can Am buyers received a choice of two engines to power their new purchase, depending on their geographic location. This car features the more desirable 400ci V8 that produces 200hp and 325 ft/lbs of torque, both considered respectable at the time. It feeds to the rear wheels via a three-speed automatic transmission, with power assistance for the steering and brakes standard equipment. The ¼-mile ET of 16.5 seconds looks relatively feeble by modern standards, but it was what enthusiasts expected during The Malaise Era. This Can Am is mechanically original and is in excellent health. It recently received a new exhaust, carburetor, tires, and a battery. It runs and drives perfectly and should be considered a turnkey proposition.

The relative rarity of the 1977 Pontiac Can Am and the emerging popularity of cars from the 1970s virtually guaranteed the action would be spirited in this auction. The thirty-nine bids submitted confirm that, and there is scope for that total to climb before the hammer falls. We must factor the engine into any calculations because cars featuring the Pontiac powerplant, as is the case here, consistently attract a 10% premium over those featuring the 403ci Oldsmobile V8. A genuine survivor of this caliber should top $25,000, although recent sales results suggest a higher price is achievable. Would you consider pursuing this rare classic further if the price reaches that level?

Comments

  1. Nevada1/2rack Nevada1/2rack Member

    Nor really crazy about 99% of the malaise era sedans. This one for whatever reason is very much kind cool.
    Blame it on the 2nd Ancho Reyes margarita but this would be a keeper for me.
    Unfortunately (or maybe Fortunately) I can’t afford it because the back seat is big enough to sleep in if I pull my knees up and that’s where we’d be once it was where the residential CFO saw it…

    Like 19
    • Stan

      Good one here. Decent torque, and these left the Pontiac factory w 3.23 gears std. Nice highway car.

      Like 15
      • Rico B. Lee

        The Cam Am cars must be heavier than the Trans Ams. I seen in a magazine a new 79 T/A with the 403 Olds motor &, manual transmission run 14.5 -7 in the quarter at 96 miles an hour. I figured the Cam Am would at least Run High 15s with the Pontiac motor and 3.23 performance gears.

        Like 0
  2. Rw

    I also can’t afford but,love this car.

    Like 13
    • Bob Wagner

      I have one (that I found on Barnfinds!). It’s not in as good shape as this one but it’s getting there! I’m glad to see that the Can Am is getting positive attention. We love ours! I bought one new in ‘77 and sold it in ‘85 as I was in grad school and couldn’t afford to keep it. We finally got one last May in Philadephia and I’ve been working on it since.

      Like 34
  3. jwzg

    With a little tuning, true dual exhausts, and some steeper gears, these will get on down the road nicely in style.

    Like 10
    • Rw

      Lowe gears

      Like 2
      • Gk

        What is Lowe gears? Do you understand gear ratios?

        Like 0
  4. Dave D

    A sweet Pontiac. I bought a new GP in 77. Would have been cool to buy one of these instead. Probably would have got myself in more trouble with the 400 vs the 301 dog that was in the GP. If I had the dough and the space, I’d probably go $25,000 for this one.

    Like 6
  5. OIL SLICK

    Listing taken down????

    Like 3
    • Yogibear

      I recall seeing a fixer upper while you drive it GTO in the same body style as this CanAm.
      Same features too.
      Wonder what the difference was between the two

      Like 2
  6. Jon Rukavina

    These are very cool cars. They stood out, though somewhat subtly from others of this period.
    I’ve one of these 2-3 times at the all GM show at the Mn. state fairgrounds. This one, if I recall had power windows and other options. I also think it had the 403.
    Haven’t seen it for a few years so hard to remember much else. I know the owner said he’d seen only one other one.
    Out of my price range, but someone’s getting a nice ride.

    Like 7
  7. Nelson C

    What a grand finale. Unlike the Century the leMans only got better looking as it progressed thru the colonnade styling. Pontiac seemed taken a piece of every car and came up with the Can Am. Grand Am/Prix dash and console in the standard interior looks right. Pretty typically equipped for the era. It’s funny that breaking the mold for the spoiler ended production early after spending the dough tooling up for that shaker hood. Beautiful car.

    Like 10
    • John H.

      I’m still surprised that no enterprising individual ever tried to make a mold out of their own and continue the run. Seems like it would have been a pretty straightforward deal to make the molds, I work in yacht building and we make molds larger than this all the time.

      Like 3
      • D Squared

        As someone who likes to preserve the rarity of something, I’m glad that nobody has taken the time and money to make those molds. It keeps these cars rare and desirable. But as someone who loves the look of these cars and some of the renderings made of this car that features this duck bill type spoiler, I’d love to buy a run of the mill Lemans spot coupe and make my own rendition of a can/am. So henceforth, I’m torn on how I feel about making molds from someone’s existing spoiler. But, in the 70’s… it wasn’t as cost effective just to make a new mold. And for a vehicle whose run was only supposed to be 5000… it just wasn’t useful to make a whole new mold just to be done with it 2400 cars later. I’m assuming it was the trunk section that broke because I’d say that was the most expensive part of the customization. The shaker was a factory part… the hood was just cutting a hole in the right spot… the decals are just print out sheets… so, everything about the car is easy except the bespoke spoiler. Maybe one day some big box restoration company will make them for the gen pub.. but, no such luck so far.

        Like 1
  8. Walter

    I like this car and do want it but don’t want it 25K+. I like colonnade styling. The Monte Carlo is my fave but the GP isn’t far behind. The Can Am variant is cool and rare, just not where I’m prepared to spend my money.

    Like 2
  9. Timmyt

    I have 2 of these I didn’t see the miles on this one,one of mine is a t- roof car which appears to be very rare option as of now only 2 t-top cars have surfaced.i worked in Valdosta in 2021 if it was listed then id have bought it I also found 1 in Iowa im going back for

    Like 9
    • SD77WW3

      T-tops or hatch roofs were NOT available as a factory option (RPO) on any LeMans for the 1977 model year. Those that have them were installed by an outside vendor.

      Like 1
      • Brian Scheel

        You may be somewhat correct, but I believe if you ordered one with T-Tops it was sent to Hurst Hatch before delivery to final Dealer!
        Not sure if it got the RPO CC1?

        Like 0
  10. Greg

    A child hood friend of mine big brother had the same exact car and he was one of the lucky ones. If you’re local Pontiac dealer has one, these cars weren’t easy to get. This is a rare car and you just don’t see them and they are awesome looking. That’s why I believe he’ll get a good price for this car. If l had the money l’d this car in a heartbeat.

    Like 4
  11. Mark

    Seems like yesterday when this came out…always thought it would look awesome with the 73 slant nose front end….

    Like 3
  12. D Squared

    I do love the special edition colonnades. The laguna, the GTO, the Grand Am, the 73′ Monte Carlos with 454s… Can/Ams… the unusual and rare century GS… they were doing the best with the absolute least. The government stepped in and took it all away from the automakers. And the insurance companies weren’t very helpful either. It seemed like the world was against high horsepower and muscular cars. The gas crunch made things even worse. So the fact that any of these cars even exist is a testament to the automakers trying to keep their buyers markets happy. Personally… one of my bucket list cars… this Can/Am would check the box nicely… but, I think I would still feel empty not having one of each of the special edition cars. And if I were to start that collection, I would need to build a pretty large building to amass and protect that venture. There are 4 years of laguna, one year GTO but, three optional versions, 3 years of Hurst/Olds’, 2 years of 442, two years of big block Monte Carlos, one year only chevelle SS but, came in big block and small block versions, one year of century GS, 3 years of Grand Am and of course the aforementioned Can/Am. As you can tell, this seems like a giant task to complete… not to mention any regular ones with special options (t-tops, louvers, colors, spirit of ’76, etc). I’d basically be making the museum of colonnade. Not a bad idea… but, very expensive. Maybe if I won a billion dollar lottery. Lol. But as of now, my bank account says collect johnny lightning cars instead.

    Like 4
    • Nelson C

      In reply to your comment on the spoiler and hood. Any change to the body would have to have certified. This means durability and crash testing. Placing a hole in the hood is going to create a different crumple when barrier tested. As long as it doesn’t sail thru the windshield you’re in pretty good shape.

      Like 2
  13. JoeNYWF64

    Actually isn’t the Can Am an attempt to bring back the ’73 GTO for ’77, but with a cat converter & shaker? – & i bet ONLY because of the sales of the T/A due to you know what movie in ’77?!
    There is at least 1 predecessor of this Can Am with circular headlites & better integrated bumpers:
    The 1974 Pontiac Grand Am All American – later crushed & some1 kept a piece of the smaller 1-off rear spoiler – scroll down in …
    https://forums.maxperformanceinc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=786134
    I am not sure if this other car below also with circular headlites is real, tho …
    https://canadianponcho.activeboard.com/download.spark?ID=399407&forumID=118110

    Like 0
    • JoeNYWF64

      Oops bad last link – just google –> Pontiac LeMans Formula X
      Wonder if THOSE cars still exist – they were aparently real.

      Like 0
  14. Brian Scheel

    Hello; most likely the nicest one around!
    I was just at the MCACN Show last week or two!
    There was one in the Barn Finds area!
    With T-Tops, crusty but a doable rework!
    And it’s funny that Hemmings Motor News, has a article on same style of vehicle!
    I have the 77 Oldsmobile 442’s with the 350, Unfortunately not with the 403, but a nice roller!

    Like 2
    • Dex

      Nice for sure, but definitely not the nicest around. There are some super low mile near mint ones out there.

      Like 1

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