Rare Field Find: 1977 Pontiac Can Am

Sitting in a field in Madison, North Carolina is this 1977 Pontiac Can Am. This car was found by Ty in Roanoke, Virginia and sent to us to review. Pontiac introduced the new Can-Am in 1977 based on the Pontiac LeMans. The car was conceived and pitched to Pontiac by Jim Wangers, the godfather of the GTO, who had left Pontiac a few years earlier and started his own company.This car is listed here on Craigslist for an asking price of $3,900. The Can Am was basically a LeMans Sport Coupe with louvered side windows, special paint, decals and a high performance W72 400 cubic inch V8 engine. In California, buyers had to settle for the 403 cubic inch V8 Oldsmobile motor to meet emissions standards. Pontiac expected to sell 2,500 cars but got orders for 5,000 Can Ams in 1977.

The original W72 400 cubic inch V8 engine still sits between the fenders of this car. In 1977, the W72 motor was rated at 200 horsepower and 320 lb ft of torque from the factory. All W72 engines had chrome valve covers from the factory. The W72 engine was introduced in 1977 to replace the 455 cubic inch V8 engine and was the optional high performance engine in the 1977-1979 Trans Am. It was also installed in the Pontiac Can Am, except in California. All W72 400 cubic inch engines were backed by a beefy Turbo 400 automatic transmission.

Besides the special paint and motor, Can Ams received the Grand Prix instrument panel and sport steering wheel. This car was also equipped with air conditioning. The party for the Can Am ended when the mold used to make the fiberglass spoiler broke and, instead of fixing it, the car was cancelled. Only 1,377 Can Ams were produced in 1977. The rare rear spoiler is still proudly mounted to the rear deck of this Can Am. As special and rare as the spoilers are, it is remarkable to see the spoiler intact.

The interior like the rest of the car will need restoration but at least most of the parts are still there. The seller discloses that the car has rust and the left front fender is dented as well as the right headlight. Some Pontiac insiders have stated that the Can Am was thought to compete with Trans Am sales so it was cancelled by Pontiac after only one year production. Regardless, this is a cool and rare car that deserves to be restored.

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Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Member

    I vaguely remember these, but don’t think I have ever seen one in the flesh. If restored it for sure would be something different, perhaps even interesting in its 70’s kind of way. The surface rust pattern is odd, why is the paint gone on the hood but not on the roof?

    Like 6
  2. angliagt angliagt Member

    When these were new,I wanted one to pull my
    CanAm TNT250 with.

    – Doug (also in Roanoke)

    Like 8
  3. Steve Clinton

    So the owner is willing to pay someone $3900 to haul this away? Seems fair.

    Like 16
  4. Maestro1 Member

    This is rare and Pontiac in its Bizarre Period and worth saving for that reason. You will not see yourself coming and going in traffic in this one.
    Assuming (always a dangerous thing to do ) that the bones (underneath)
    of the car are intact, you will spend some money on this one but when complete you will have a unique and interesting piece.

    Like 16
  5. geomechs geomechs Member

    This one looks pretty good and is definitely a good candidate for a full restoration. 1977was a good year for Pontiac; it seemed like everything it did was a home run, more than I can say for 1978. The designers of the LeMans and Grand Prix started drinking their own bathwater about then and brought out stuff that looked like they were made out of Lego.

    I had a Grand Am. I’m rather surprised that I didn’t see as many Grand Ams as I did these. Mine was powered by a 301/4bbl and it gave me some really good service. There are times I wish I’d kept it…

    Like 6
  6. Brian

    Saw a highly modified one at a car show 4 inch exhaust huge motor beautiful car

    Like 3
  7. David

    Yikes- run away from this car- It’s nice to see the rear deck spoiler appears to be intact. The AMC Machine would be a better basket case to pursue if you really had to take either one on. In the end it’s the Pontiac GrandAm of same model era that’s really the one to be had or sought after. Hard to decide which one those would be better to own; the 400 4 speed or the 455 automatic.

    Like 2
  8. Jcs

    Never seen one with a black interior before.

    Like 2
  9. Superdessucke

    If you are inclined to buy this I’d probably check the floor pans in person first. Looks like it’s been over that dirt for a very long time, which allows moisture to penetrate the floor plans after awhile.

    Like 3
  10. Thomas

    One (1) of 1377 I’d buy that and restore it ,, very rare and a definite conversation piece .

    Like 6
    • 70kingswood

      Pontiac stopped building these when the tooling for I think the rear spoiler was somehow destroyed. Neat car but this one looks rough. But it does have the 400 under the hood!

      Like 3
  11. Shawn Long

    In 2017 at the Ames TriPower Nationals in Ohio, they celebrated the Can Am’s 40th anniversary. A bunch showed up, maybe 20 of them. There’s a picture of them all lined up in a row.

    Like 4
  12. Ten50boy

    What was a great car…….I wonder, based on the limited info given….. is there motor free? I would bet left there and seized. No mention on transmission. Original rear? This is a low number car…. is it numbers matching? . Maybe the owner is just oblivious and doesn’t know……or is he/she just not saying because he/she doesn’t know? The windows all appear to have substantial rot around them. That’s not only time consuming, but costly if you must do it yourself. Floors? No comment, probably because they are toasted. That dash….ouch. Try finding that or good luck having it wrapped/re-constructed. One time great, but not of late. This would be a hard pass….. except for the rear spoiler……. someone should get that and auction it. I’m sure it’s a part in demand somewhere based on the limited numbers made……

    Like 1
  13. wesley j alker

    Bought one of these last year. A running driver for $6,900. All original, mostly rust free. This is nothing more than a parts car and, very few usable parts. $500, tops.

    Like 7
    • Rosco

      Agree that it’s pretty much just a parts car, but since you own one, you should know there is a lot more than $500 worth of usable parts on it.

      Like 7
  14. George Mattar

    I know of one for sale here in Pennsylvania. I saw it in a garage. Beat up. The guy wants $13,000. Another dreamer. These are never seen anymore. I remember them new.

  15. Tin Indian

    Pontiac didn’t cancel this thing because they were concerned it would cut into Trans Am sales, they did so because they saw it affecting Grand Prix sales, from which they made a tidy profit per copy.

    • Marshall King

      Pontiac stopped producing the Can Am because the dye for the spoiler broke and it was deemed too expensive to repair it for the limited number of cars left on the orders. They just decided it wasn’t worth it for just one part that would not be used on any other model in their lineup.

      Like 4
  16. K. R. V. Member

    Back in 76, I started working for my Dad at his trucking company, there was one of his drivers that bought one of these brand new in October, just as the 77 were released. His was silver, with beautiful red interior, loaded with swivel seats, cassette player with built in CB radio and power everything. Of course I believe 6.6 on the reverse hood scoop sitting over a 4 brl carb, with a nice set of matching silver snowflake wheels. I remember seeing a rear sway bar under the rear axle. That car was his pride an joy! Sounded good, not loud but a deep burble. He owned that car for 5 years, without any trouble, till the teamsters union put Dads company out of business!

    • K. R. V. Member

      Actually after all I remember his wasn’t exactly like the above, while I don’t remember the exact year, I do remember his did have an Endura front bumper, with two round headlights.

    • DJM

      If it was silver it wasn’t a CanAm. Likely a regular LeMans or possibly a Grand Am. All Can Am’s were white. Interior options were black, Firethorn, Buckskin and White. There are some anomalies reported out there with a blue interior or some other colors. Basically Pontiac made a bunch of White LeMans and put in the T/A 6.6 400 motor (Olds 403 for California) and sent them out to Jim Wangers MotorTown to get converted to CanAm’s. Some of those white LeMans Coupes with the 400 are out there somewhere when the mold broke for the rear spoiler, they didn’t complete the rest of the cars that were already pressed. Plan was to make 5000 and they sold them all. Mold broke somewhere around 1300 cars. Can Am experts believe that there may only be about 500 or so of these left because people drove the wheels off them when they bought them. Big car, decent ride, but they also rusted away being from 77. The Olds 403 cars are actually more rare but worth less than the Pontiac 400 cars. Some cars had power sunroofs, which made those more valuable, but they didn’t come with swivel buckets. There’s also a few dealer installed T-Top cars out there too, that are super cool. Good car for future values but likely would be a while before their values would get up to the amount of money needed for a proper restoration. But if you are able to do much of the work yourself, you’ll have a head turner for sure.

      Like 4
      • Dex

        With the common figure of 1377 being built, I have a hard time believing that there are still 500 around. Especially if people as you say “drove the wheels off them when they bought them”.

        Like 1
  17. Leslie Martin

    I know low production numbers usually mean increased value over time. And I love the fact that PMD never gave up on performance long after everyone else threw in the towel. But “rare” doesn’t always mean “good”.

    Take away the spoiler, Endua bumper, and the T/A scoop and what your left with is a ’77 Le Mans. Interesting? Yes. Worth digging out of the mud to do a massive restoration on? I don’t see it.

    • Rosco

      Far from a standard ’77 LeMans with the W72 400, shaker hood and scoop, rear spoiler, Grand Prix dash, and unique paint/stripes. Low production number makes this way more valuable and desirable than the standard LeMans, so yes, rare is good. and also, there is no endura bumper.

      Like 3
      • Leslie Martin

        Yep…I’m a Pontiac fan, not an expert. But looking again, it’s pretty obvious that’s NOT an Endura bumper, so my bad. That said, I still don’t see the rarity being worth the kind of investment it would take to make this one roadworthy. If it were an SD T/A or some other low production high performance model maybe. But if the buyer decides to restore this car, it will be as a labor of love, not as an investment.

        Like 2
  18. Joe Sewell

    Still love these cars-images of this car are so incredibly heartbreaking…..

    Like 3
  19. Bobby

    I am pretty sure you could get them with a 400 4spd like a 77 Trans Am with a W72 400 4spd. I not think they were Turbo 400’s mated to the W72 400.

    • Dex

      All automatics, either on column or floor.

      Like 2
    • W72WW3

      To sell the W72 engine/manual transmission combination would have required an EPA certification for the A-body. Pontiac would not have spent that type of $$$ for a half-model year production.

      Like 3
  20. Timmyt

    Yes some had black interior and a few we’re column shift I have 2 of them one is a t-roof so far only 2 have had t-top and no,none 4 speed equiped another rare option is am/fm/8track/cb I would like to have this but I know where two are much closer to me and both run I would be in at $2,000

    Like 3

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