Rare 4-Speed! 1973 Pontiac GTO

In 1973, just 4,806 GTOs were produced but only 1,113 of them were equipped with four-speed transmissions. This car is for sale here on Cars-On-line for $13,999 and is located in New Jersey. And it just happens to be one of those four-speed equipped cars!

This car is equipped with the 400 cubic inch V8 (L78) engine that produced 230 horsepower. This is the only engine available with the 4-speed transmission in the 1973 Pontiac GTO. A buyer could pay $57 and upgrade to the optional 455 cubic inch V8 (L75) rated at 250 horsepower.

This GTO came from the factory painted in Brewster green with a black deluxe interior. The hood was adorned with NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) ducts, which were designed to be functional, but ended up being closed by the factory. In 1973, a buyer could make them functional with a kit available over the counter by Pontiac. Most experts believe only 10 sets were ever sold.

A close up of side view indicates that front fenders have rot behind the front tires and rear quarters are going to need patches too. Still, this is a PHS numbers matching car that was produced in low numbers. The buyer could choose to drive it as is or conduct a restoration. In either case, this unique machine would probably be the only 1973 GTO to show up at most car shows.

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Comments

  1. Troy

    Sure does look like a 73 Grand Am with a LeMans nose.

  2. Tony Primo

    Or you could make the intakes functional with s Dremel tool like my buddies and myself did numerous times on our Z28’s and Firebird Formulas.

    Like 6
  3. PDXBryan

    Hey Bruce
    I remember when these came out. I thought they were great looking! Unfortunately this ad does not show the best part of the design – the cool tapered tail and integrated bumper/tail lights.
    I wonder if these ’73s really had THAT much less power than a ’71 400 or was Pontiac just really underplaying the hp numbers because of high performance insurance rates etc?

    Like 11
    • Bruce Johnson Bruce Johnson Staff

      I agree with you. It was a beautifully designed tail on the car. I know they changed horsepower ratings in 1972 so I doubt it was that much slower than a 1971 400.

  4. TimM

    One year GTO and a weird one at that!! It’s hard for me to call this a GTO!! All in all it’s a classy looking car that has its place in automotive history and it wouldn’t be a car I wouldn’t want!! Just because it’s a one off year!!!

    Like 1
  5. Jim in FL

    Very cool cars. They look much better in person, they are well proportioned and a nice size. I had a 73 Grand Am, similar, but with the funky endura nose. The GTOs were definitely better looking. I hope someone picks this up and does it right.

    The NACA ducts were available on the grand am as well, but I’m not sure which years. Hard to imagine such low horsepower from so many cubic inches. I did put headers and glass packs on my 73. Probably didn’t add a single horse to the power, but it sounded good.

    Like 11
  6. Michael

    I had one of these in very less then mint shape. Didn’t save it. Mechanically the car was fine, body has way to many issues. A friend of mine that had a 71 GTO said he actually liked the handling of the car. Was a lot better then his 71. I also owned a 73 Grand Am in very good shape. The GTO name should have been put on the Grand Am. I loved the car. Notice you don’t see the 73-74 Grand Ams on the market?

    Like 3
  7. LARRY

    Same body style as my 73 Laguna s3 and I thought they were decent..mine was a 350 with headers a 4 barrel carb edelbrock intake and a decent cam I drove the crap out of it

    Like 3
  8. Troy s

    Actually what they were supposed to look like in ’72 but things don’t always go according to plan. This to me is more ’70’s than the earlier ’70-’72, appearance and performance wise. This one actually looks a bit aggressive as a GTO should, too bad the 455 Super Duty was not re-certified on these bigger cars after getting busted by the EPA. The few GTO’S that would’ve actually been built with that engine just might have given these more street cred. Bummer.

    Like 2
  9. OhU8one2

    Rally II wheel’s,chrome outer door mirrors, etc……..this car wasn’t hitting heavy on options, but to wake up that ol Chief, re-jet the carb, install a advanced curve kit and a set of headers and install test pipe where catalyst usually goes and this thing would have been a different running car. Years ago I had a 76 Formula 400,4spd. Followed DKM mods and then had a much better car. Then I had them install a H/O racing turbo. Same one they put on a few Macho T/A’s. Best money I ever spent.

    Like 4
  10. Nick P

    This car was on ebay a few times a while back. “Testing the waters he said.” I think bidding reached $7000-$8000. All in all I like it. I have multiple GTOS but always loved the 73’s due to their rarity and love em or hate em style. Currently doing a 73 coupe for my son. One of 282 coupes produced, numbers matching. Wish it was a 4 speed.

    Like 5
    • Superdessucke

      That’s more realistic on what it’s worth honestly.

      Like 3
    • Tom

      Nick P.

      Love to hear more about your BBC 73 w62 build. Tom

  11. WH

    So I guess the 74 Ventura GTO was also a one year thing? I believe they had a 350 cu under the hood. I remember seeing the magazine ads back then. One of the many cars that I wanted as a teenager.

    Like 3
    • SteVen

      Correct. Both the ’73 and ’74 GTO were one year designs, at least as GTOs.
      In terms of chassis dynamics and overall refinement, it was a major improvement over the earlier ’68-’72 A-body.
      While the move to the X-body(Nova) platform for ’74 was a step back in virtually all respects, that car also had its charms as it was a much lighter and more back-to-basics approach.

      Like 2
  12. Randall Scott Arnette

    I love and respect all things automotive. However, this car and all of its siblings under different makes/names/ titles/emblems/badges is so damn boring to look at. The Pontiac rally wheel? Holy crap! What didn’t they slap those on? That wheel was on literally every Pontiac without wheel covers.

    • Nick P

      Ok. I don’t disagree, they put them on everything. But that’s because they look good on everything! Or at least make everything look better! Hell, back in the mid 90’s, I had a set on my 86 S10!

      Like 1
  13. George Mattar

    Most unappreciated year of all for Buick Olds and Pontiac. Superior handling and a beautiful car. I would love to own this but $8,000 is my limit. For the record, the 73 has no catalytic converter. These cars had true duals. The after market has completely ignored the gorgeous Colonnade cars. Shame on you.

    Like 5
  14. Stevieg

    I had a couple Lemans coupes like this, a 1974 & a 1975. I always preferred the look of the 1973, but I drove what I found back then lol.
    These cars look like boats, but they sure handle well for being as sea faring as they appear lol. I wish I still had either of them, but the 1975 sport coupe in dark brown with beige vinyl top, slotted rear seat side windows, buckets & floor shift and the rally wheels was my favorite…even with the catalytic converter. She was a looker!
    I really like this car. All of the good stuff from my 1975, add in the 4 speed and no catalytic converter, top it off with that 1973 tail lights & nose, and what a package!

  15. Steve

    Nice car. My brothers sisters uncle had a friend who knew someone who’s aunt owned a 1973 Volkswagen also. Nice catch

  16. Cameron Milne

    A very interesting & unusual car, I hardly remember seeing any even when they were brand new.

    Pontiac was trying to shift buyers upscale into the sophisticated Grand Am, since pure raw performance looked like it was not long for this world. That, plus the GTO name was an assigned risk according to insurance companies. Yet horsepower was down. The switch to net ratings dropped power on paper, but in the mad scramble to meet the increasingly tough emissions standards they had to lean out mixtures, retard timing and dilute the intake charge with exhaust gas (EGR) to reduce combustion temperatures in an effort to reduce oxides of nitrogen & other pollutants. All of this had the effect of lazy throttle response and high fuel consumption. In fact it has been said by engineers that if your 1973 or 74 model can operate across it’s complete operating range without some sort of stumble, hesitation, run-on or backfire then it is not tuned to spec. Without things like a catalytic converter to clean up exhaust downstream, they had to fiddle with it until they were able to certify the cars for sale. This also means that they can easily be re-tuned for more power & better economy. Legal, well technically no…

    Regarding the SD-455, it wasn’t really so much of a certification issue, although they did have time getting certified (they had to make changes that brought power down from 310 to 290 net h.p. & delayed introduction), probably the bigger issue was parts pilferage at the engine plant itself. After casting up all the parts for about 1200 engines they found that they only had enough parts to complete about 600, so the Trans Am (and a few dozen Formula 455s) were the lucky recipients of that high-performance rogue that really shouldn’t have existed during the emission-compliance engineering crisis at that time.

    I would love to see that ’73 brought back but they are not really supported much in the restoration parts business, and the plastic interior bits after so many decades must be about ready to disintegrate. Probably the best way to restore it would be to raid a more pedestrian survivor for sheet metal & interior bits. The colonnade cars just haven’t hit the critical mass of support that would encourage restoration parts manufacturers to invest profitably.

    • Troy s

      Interesting info on the SD455 engine, what little I actually know about it was learned, not first hand knowledge. I was led to believe by that part of the decade each model with a specific engine possibly transmission had to meet emissions certification, as they do today, for years really. After getting “caught” tryin to pass the SD 455 by a little cheating the engine had to go through the process all over again,, very expensive,, in each model, like the midsized GTO here. Instead, it was dumped into Firebirds only, the Tran Am and Formula. Also, the TA that ran in the high thirteens with the Super Duty was a pre-production car rated at 310, so it ran a little stronger. Right or wrong that was a really great engine that came about two or three years too late.

  17. Jack in RI

    I would love to own this!!!! Collanade’s are Awesome!

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