Super Duty 455: 1974 Pontiac Trans Am

Only 943 Pontiac Trans Ams were built in 1974 with the Super Duty 455 engine. This Admiralty Blue example is located north of Atlanta, Georgia and features a number of options including a vinyl roof. Many consider this the last muscle car because Pontiac was still offering performance after most other car companies had gutted their cars in favor of fancy decals. This rare car is listed for sale here on Craigslist for a very reasonable $74,900. The seller states that the car has 43,000 original miles.

The interior is in excellent condition and the Trans Am is optioned with an AM/FM stereo and 8 track tape player. The automatic transmission is shifted via a console mounted Pontiac shifter with dual gate capabilities. Of the 943 Super Duty Trans Ams built in 1974, 731 of them were equipped with automatic transmissions. This car was also optioned with power windows, rear console, power locks and the unique rear console.

The Super Duty 455 engine was developed by Herb Adams at Pontiac. In speaking with Herb at a Trans Am Nationals event he told me that he learned how to make a low compression Pontiac engine powerful while racing his Gray Ghost in SCCA events. The SD455 was introduced in late 1973 and installed in only 252 Trans Ams and 43 Formulas in the first year. The car had a factory rating of 290 horsepower which was underrated. In magazines, the car was tested and ran the quarter mile in the high 13 second range. I owned one of these cars and they are docile around town but have gobs of power at the race track.

This car is unique in many ways and, with its low miles, would be great for a collection or museum. The seller states that the engine is numbers matching but does not say whether it has been repainted. The pictures of the car indicate that it is in excellent condition on the outside, inside underneath and under the hood. I know 4 speed SD455 cars bring more but this seems like a reasonable asking price.

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Comments

  1. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Not sure whether I understand or care for the vinyl roof. But I’m sure that of the 252 T/A 455 SD’s, as noted by the seller this will dial down into a “handful of” rarity factor.
    Now if it were an SJ or a Riviera GS with a 455 and vinyl, that I could understand. But here, it’s brougham-baffling.

    Like 21
  2. Jerry Member

    My dream car……the SD 455 was only made 2 years, 73 and 74 right in the middle of the oil crisis!! These sat on new car lots because of it.

    Like 10
    • David Bailey

      Jerry..I had an near exact copy of this car, but blue interior. I bought it sight unseen(a mistake!) about 2004. It started overheating and local mechanic said engine was toast. During DREAM CRUISE, a local radio station would choose an iconic Muscle Car to restore , then raffle for charity. The Stone Soup GTO wass restored by the shop Milt Schornack worked in. I called on a whim, and Milt said he’d personally save and rebuild engine to stock. He did an amazing job–Never an issue even though he resleeved cylinder(s). Great guy, great job. PS I traded it even up for 2007 Plum Crazy, SRT-8 Charger, 1-300. (Reduced from (48,500 to $39,500). Traded THAT For 2007 , SALEEN, S-281-Extyreme, Ultimate Bad Boy–600HP, 6Spd., 1of 7…THAT car was clocked at 203mph, racing a Bugatti Veyron!

      Like 10
      • Jerry Member

        Cool David!

  3. Steve R

    The window sticker indicates the car was exported. However, it’s not touched upon you the seller. That may be the reason the it came with so many options. A friend in Australia said you could tell which cars were imported new versus cars brought over on the secondary market by the number of options. If someone went to the trouble of importing a brand new American car they loaded it up with options, that wasn’t possible when importing a used car.

    This car looks great, it’s rare and the options are much more in tune with what today’s buyers are looking for. If it holds up to an in person inspection the price should be in the ballpark.

    Steve R

    Like 6
  4. Pontiac Rider

    Rare yes but no extra pedal…

    I would use the money to buy a more rarer car in my opinion. A C2 427 vette…

    A cool Cuda
    1970 Plymouth Barracuda https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F224261252099

    Spoiler

    1970 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.com%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F154181954077

    Like 3
  5. LandYacht

    I’m more a mopar guy, and the vinyl roof is a bit distracting, but this is a stunning car. Great color, tons of options, if I had and extra 75K laying around I’d be proud to own this beauty. Nice find.

    Like 8
  6. Mitchell Gildea Member

    Anybody have $74,900 burning a reasonable hole in their pocket? And willing to reasonably loan it to me?

    Like 4
  7. Turbo

    No 4 speed? Count me out! Not really, but wanted to beat all the meatheads to the punch

    Like 6
  8. Dave

    No cowcatcher after 1973?

  9. Troy s

    When I try hard to think of all the Trans Am’s I’ve seen a vinyl top version is null. I’m not complaining as this is a great machine in blue, and the SD 455 engine is one of those….well known despite super rarity. The automatic doesn’t bother either.
    Itll run on unleaded gas too,, another plus. After all this was built to drive not park and sit.

    Like 6
  10. Steve

    First time i have seen a TA with a vinyl top. Hope it is the last. Awesome car otherwise.

    Like 9
  11. Blyndgesser

    That’s not a dual gate shifter.

    Like 7
  12. gbvette62

    If this car didn’t have that vinyl top, I’d be on my way to Georgia in the morning.

    I bought a new Admiralty Blue Trans Am in 74, but with a 400 and 4 speed. At the time, I knew of three SD455’s, here in South Jersey. One was a red 4 speed that belonged to the owner of a Sunoco station, the second one was white with a saddle interior and automatic, and the third was Admiralty Blue automatic with a white interior. The Blue car belonged to the son of a local Pontiac dealer and was pretty much like this car, with air, windows, tilt, Custom Interior, rear defogger, Honeycomb wheels, etc. I was friends with the owner of the white car, and it was fast!

    That’s not a “dual gate” shifter. The Dual Gate was a shifter made by Hurst, that featured two distinct gates. This car has a regular Firebird (and Camaro) automatic shifter, though it could have the slap or bump shift feature. Some second gen F bodies came with a slap shifter, which allowed you to manually shift one gear at a time, by pushing the shifter to the right and forward, though I don’t recall which years. I happen to have a good used F body Hurst Dual Gate, that came out of a 78 TA that a customer was building a restomod from.

    Like 3
    • gbvette62

      Blyndgesser beat me to it on the dual gate!

      Like 2
  13. Gremlin X

    They should have also added opera windows to go with the vinyl roof.

    Like 3
  14. Robbie M.

    Had a 74 Esprit the same color. Had a 350 of course but after a few mods it ran pretty good. Dressed it up with wheels and an after market hood and it looked damn fine. Would love to have this. Gotta go buy a lottery ticket. :P

    Like 1
  15. JMB#7

    Really nice car, but also a terrible reminder of how GM turned me off to everything they made. Vinyl top and automatic transmission, and to top it off, no dual gate. This is what happens when the executives put their fat thumbs on top of their engineers. Otherwise almost a wonderful car.

    Like 3
  16. Ike Onick

    It’s a “Pony Car”, not a “Muscle Car”. Mustang, Firebird, Camaro, Barracuda, Challenger, AMX, Cougar, etc were in that club. Roadrunner, GTO, Chevelle, Cyclone and any other coupe with a Big Block stuffed into it were in the Muscle Car club. Trust me. I was there.

    Like 4
    • Ike Onick

      And I look forward to some spirited BF-style discussion.

      Like 2
    • JMB#7

      OK, you asked for spirited discussion. I agree with your distinction of Muscle vs. Pony. And I believe that most Pony Cars are at their best with manual transmissions, thick sway bars, and free reving small block engines (road race machines). Whereas Muscle cars are at home with high torque big blocks, automatic (fastest for drag racing), and tire arrangements that favor drag racing. Of course there is plenty of cross over between the two, but in a nutshell that is where I am at.

      Like 3
    • Jerry Member

      U dont consider a Challenger with a 426 Hemi a muscle car?? Or a AMX with a 390 4 speed?
      Let me pinch u so u can wake up!!

      Like 2
      • JMB#7

        Driving one of the cars you describe is a much better way to wake up, than having someone pinch you.

        Like 6
      • Ike Onick

        According to Car & Driver Magazine, January, 1990: [91]

        1964-1969 Pontiac GTO
        1966-1971 Plymouth/Dodge A-body 426 models
        1966-1967 Chevy Nova SS 327
        1966-1969 Chevy Chevelle SS 396
        1968-1969 Chevy Nova SS 396
        1969 Ford Torino Cobra 428
        1969 Plymouth Road Runner 440 Six Pack
        1969 Dodge Super Bee 440 Six Pack
        1969 Chevrolet Camaro COPO ZL-1
        1970 Chevy Chevelle SS 454

        Like 1
      • JMB#7

        You arrange it, and I would be happy to drive every one of the cars on your list. It would wake me up so much that I would be ready soon to take a nap.

        Like 1
      • Ike Onick

        The coolest thing about that list is that between 1969 and 1971 you would have found 7 out of those 10 cars in my high school parking lot in Williamsville, New York.

        Like 1
      • Troy s

        To add to that very hot list;
        ’68-69 Hurst/Olds
        ’65-72 Oldsmobile 442 ( extra credit for the W-30)
        W-31 Olds Cutlass
        ’70 Ford Cobra 429 Super Cobra Jet
        ’71 Boss 351 Mustang ( hey, it’s big enough)
        ’70 Buick GS 455 Stage 1…..
        The list is still missing Chargers, COPO427 Chevys, Mercury counterparts to the Fords, ’63-65 Dodge/Plymouth street and max wedge cars. Couldn’t help but add a few more factory high performance cars aka,,, muscle cars.
        Pony cars and compacts are what they are, but once the big cubic inch engines became available it was anything goes from there, short wheel based terrors. But yeah, different markets.

        Like 1
  17. JMB#7

    And vinyl tops belong on land yachts, not sport, pony, or muscle cars.

    Like 3
    • Frank Sumatra

      My 1969 Z-28 was white with black stripes and black vinyl top. That seemed to work OK. Also had a 1975 Trans Am in the same colors pictured. I could not see how a vinyl top would have worked on that car.

  18. Jerry Member

    “Almost” a wonderful car?
    Thats like saying Kate Upton is almost a wonderful roll in the hay!!

    Like 2
    • JMB#7

      Excellent comparison. Nothing is conclusive from only looking at pictures. Someone needs to go and check out this car to make an official analysis.

      Like 1
      • Jerry Member

        Hey ive seen pics of Kate Upton!! LOL
        But I bet shes more expensive to keep happy than that gorgeous T/A!

        Like 2
  19. Jackv

    Not a Hurst dual gate shifter and why a vinyl top. Strange. But a nice car overall. Price seems high though.

    Like 2
  20. David Bailey

    Jerry, THIS IS A BAD JOKE ALERT…Gorgeous T/A or gorgeous T and A? SORRY.. (Saw a lot of her in papers after she married Justin Verlander.).Just a bad joke.

    Like 2
    • SgtTGS

      Nahh…GOOD joke!

    • Jerry Member

      Ive heard WAY worse! LOL

      Like 1
  21. JC

    It must be very rare because I’ve NEVER seen a vinyl top on a Trans Am… EVER! Putting a V-top on a T/A is sacrilegious…lol.

    Like 4
  22. A.J.

    Wow, great car. Surprised that they listed it on CL.

    Like 1
  23. Mark Utterback

    I bought one and took delivery in June of 74 . $5,500 ! Blue on blue and it ran like a blue streak ! Spun a rod bearing at 11,000 and it took Pontiac 3 months to rebuild !

    Like 1
  24. Super Glide

    I had a 68 GTO with the Hurst Dual Gate. It was kind of silly in my opinion, because I got my best times when I just mashed my foot to the floor in Drive.

    Who ever ordered and or put the vinyl top on the car needs to be analyzed and put somewhere safe so as not to harm society again. The vinyl needs to be removed in a sacred automotive procedure, to remove any trace of this.
    Kind of the same thing they did to King Tut’s dad.

    Other than that, I’d own this car in a heartbeat, if I had the chance.

    Like 2
  25. JoeNYWF64

    Looks like every single option was checked off, except cruise control.
    Could be the only SD with a vinyl roof. I would have got NONE of the options except for the SD motor – to maximize performance. Look at all the std features on the left here …
    http://images.craigslist.org/00k0k_eKWfiQsQEXR_0p80t2_1200x900.jpg
    A formula has a lot less std features.
    Why would Pontiac not charge extra for the turbo 400 automatic? Bean counters must have been on extended vacation? Or generous?
    Hood scoop may be sitting too low – perhaps the gasket that the air cleaner sits on is missing? I would also want to take a good look at the air cleaner snorkle hose to make sure it’s got original horsehair bellows, & not repro vinyl bellows.
    This ’74 & probably all automatic 2nd gens have a floor shifter that can be pushed to the right & up to “lock in” 2nd, & 3rd gear.
    I wonder if any automatic SD’s came with column shift & no front console.
    & most strange of all, if ANY 2nd gen firebird came with no optional front console, but had an optional rear console!!
    Vinyl roofs look good on ’68-70 chargers, ’70-74 challys & cudas, & mid ’60s lemans & gtos, but not on 2nd gen f-bodies.

    Like 1
  26. DON

    The vinyl top doesn’t bother me, it was an extremely popular option in the 70s ,from Caddys all the way down to Pintos . The car was ordered with a ton of options, and the top was one of them. Like continental kits in the 50s , it was a period correct thing . To remove it from a car so original and complete because you dont like it would be a sin in my opinion .I’m not crazy about the “screaming chicken” on the hood, but it would stay on the car if it was mine. I’m a Mopar guy , but I would love to have this car in my garage !

    Like 3
  27. Eric S

    All of you anti vinyl top guys are funny… The first hardtop Firebird built in 1967, VIN #002, was a highly optioned car and was/is a vinyl top so it’s a tradition on their top model to have one. The ‘it doesn’t belong on a TA’ statements are missing one point, this isn’t a Trans Am it’s a Super Duty so rein it in.

    • JMB#7

      First generation Firebird rag tops look awesome with their tops down. A+ to Pontiac for that styling work, from grill to top to tail-lights. The next generation was never meant to be a rag top. I have always view vinyl tops as pseudo rag tops and never had much attraction to them. Only my opinion, and I am getting too old to change it much.

      Like 1
    • JoeNYWF64

      This is not a t/a? In ’74 the t/a came with this & the much much much more common “station wagon” 400 or 455. If the car had either of the latter motors, it would still look just as odd with that vinyl roof. The 2nd gen’s roof is just too low & sleek for such a top IMO. Thank goodness Ford did not put one on any of their stang fastbacks!
      The 1st gen firebird looks good with a vinyl top. Same with the camaro, except if the camaro has racing stripes, which IMO would clash with the vinyl roof. One or the other, but not both.
      I also find Cuda clash, for ex., if 1 has a vinyl roof & rear window louvers. Just looks too “busy” with both.
      Unlike the z28, thank goodness the ’68-72 t/a had stripe(s) on the roof, so vinyl was not offered. However, the best looking of the 2nd gens, the ’73 t/a had no stripes & i pray that not ONE was built with a vinyl roof! lol

      • JoeNYWF64

        Oops ’69-72.

      • Jerry Member

        This car IS a T/A.
        The SD 455 was only made in 73 and 74.

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