Rare Muscle: 1972 Pontiac Trans AM 455 HO

We’ve been watching the values of ’70s Trans AMs pretty closely lately and they are clearly on the rise. It’s really not a surprise though, anyone that owned or wanted to own a Trans AM when they were in high school has a reason to want one today. This particular example transcends nostalgia though, as it’s a very special car. You see, it’s one of about 1,300 cars optioned with the high output 455 LS5 and of those is one of the 458 equipped with the M22 4-speed! When it was new, this was one hot machine! Find it here on eBay in Lakewood, California with bidding already over $16k.

This car has, well… an interesting look to it. I’m not sure I would call it patina, as the paint is about gone and there are some nasty dings and dents. At least it is interesting to look at though! Unless you are willing to grow out a mullet and buy a tuxedo t-shirt to wear every time you drive it, you will probably want to media blast it, repair the rust and paint it.

The LS5 455 is a beat of an engine, with a horsepower rating of 335 it will do some serious burnouts. Imagine how cool you would have felt rolling up to high school in this T/A. And if you happened to have been lucky enough to actually get to, I’m only a little bit jealous. I can only imagine how much fun it would be to row through the gears of the Muncie M22 with so much power on tap.

This car is going to need a ton of work, but it would be a worthwhile project that will only go up in value. It will be a great opportunity to relive the glory days, real or imagined! I know I’d love to have one of these, but how about you?

Fast Finds


  1. Keith

    Are those 15s? If so, there are Buick guys out there who’d be dying to trade the new owner for a set of… well, whatever floats your boat. (15″ 5×4.75 Buick sport wheels are hard to come by, at least around here.)

    Like 1
    • Dan

      Well phooey I had a set of 5 of those 15″ Buick wheels and sold them all for $50….with decent tires…..ugh….my luck.

      Like 1
  2. Shaun Dymond

    My dream Trans Am. If only it was here in the U.K.

  3. Mountainwoodie

    So special it was well taken care of!

    • Metoo

      Maybe the owner lost interest in it after the ex-wife or ex-girlfriend took the baseball bat to it.

  4. Todd Fitch Staff

    I’ve never owned a big block stick-shift car, but I intend to. Something like this would be perfect for converting old snow tires into smoke. Fun for the whole family. Great find, Josh!

    • Vince H


      The 455 is not a big block. Same block as a 287. It just has more displacement.

      Like 3
      • Steve hagebusch

        Pontiac never made a “big block” “small block” like chevy ford mopar ect every thing from the 287 in 55 to the 455 in 74 used the same block and head design only thing that changed was bore and stroke…..the difference is the main size on the crank….326 350 389 400 all have 3.00 mains….the 421 428 and 455 have 3.25 mains…..well except for the 301……boat anchor lol have one in my 79 2dr bonnie gutless period……course its the only one of two of my 8 pontiacs that dont have a 389…….the others a 50 silver streak with a flat head straight 8……apples to oranges on that

        Like 1
  5. Steve R

    This the same guy that’s selling the 68 Mustang GT that was listed here the other day. He finds really interesting cars and never has a reserve on his auctions.

    Steve R

  6. Martin Sparkes

    I was offered one of these in trade for my 1972 chev pickup when I was a teen. But I was a farm kid and I thought muscle cars were pointless. It was a beat up white one like this. It was missing the shaker hood scoop and I didn’t like the hole that was left. Made sense to me at the time……

  7. Mark B

    Technically speaking, all V8 Pontiac engines are considered big-blocks, just from the size of the external dimensions. They were never designated as “big-block” or “small-block”. Those terms were originated by the Chevrolet Motor Division of General Motors Corporation, to somewhat simplify and standardize the vehicle platform designs. For instance, if the design team wanted to build a car with either engine designation, the engineering team already had the physical size of the engine. This greatly simplified vehicle design, and shortened the amount of calculations needed for suspension spring rates, frame width, engine bay dimensions, etc. In an effort to keep things even more simple than that, Pontiac designed all their V-8 engines around the same casting.


    We see too many great cars trashed on this site. If everything else is abused you have to wonder about the mechanical end. Oil changes?

  9. jeff6599

    Josh, you are close but wrong. The HP was 300 (335 the year before) and that engine was not an option. It was standard and the only one you could get in a TA that year.
    Todd, we went thru this about two weeks ago. Pontiac never made a big block nor a small block. They made only one block so there was no need to differentiate between bid or small.

  10. Jim

    Its a (max) 1500$ car. Too many parts are missing, or damaged. In today’s dollar, it will take 25-30k to restore it, and you can find perfect examples for that money. Whoever bids 16k on a parts car needs their heads examined.

    Like 2

      There are at least 15 other people who feel differently since they were willing to bid over your $1500 value. According to the seller they only made about 450 of these cars equipped as this one is. How many of them are still in existence? The law of supply and demand is in effect here.

      Like 1
    • Fred

      $1500 for the heads
      $500+ for the carburetor
      $1000 for the M-22

      A few hundred for the shaker….

      Yeah, worth way more than $1500, for a numbers matching car

  11. Allen Wrench

    Pontiac Hobby Service (PHS) has this listed as POS.

  12. Superdessucke

    22k for this?? Wow. I bet there’s at least 40k needed in work.

  13. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    The interior of this car is actually not as bad as I was thinking it would be. I think the writer meant to say “beast” of an engine, but that one is surely “beat.” As far as how unusual the 15″ Buick rally wheels are….come to Tennessee! They are all over the place including on my neighbor’s double axle trailer.

    Like 1
  14. Moparman Member

    It immediately caused me the think about Clint Eastwood & Jeff Bridges in ‘Thunderbolt and Lightfoot! :-)


    Like 1
    • Nostromo

      That’s what started it for me. Clearly recall that movie car. The manager of the jewelry department of a store where I worked during high school had one of these. He made a point of filling me in as the engine was being balanced and blueprinted. That particular model of Trans Am always looked best in white and blue with the honeycomb wheels; in the same way that the ’77 Trans Am looked best in Bandit Black and Gold.

  15. Henry adams

    Good by if you have the cash. I have a 72 455 HO 4 speed AC no console TA built Nov 8 1971 WM motor unitized ignition (the service lost it during one of my moves) deluxe interior. The ones built CALENDAR year 1972 is different so watch it!

  16. Jeff

    Theese cars are F A S T to say the least. I worked in a body shop in high school and after. IN 1979 people were giving theese cars away when gas hit a buck a gallon we had a few that we did some minor body work on and boss needed a VOLUNTEER who could drive a 4 speed to the auction. Being that i at the time was drivin a 70 roadrunner. 440 375hp 4 speed he NOMINATED me kinda. we had to go across the PENNSYLVANIA turnpike to the auction. the 73 S D 455 4 speed car was a real ROCKET. I being 18 kinda really hammerd it. Top end on this car was unbelievable speed limit at time was 55 i hit that about top of second gear. I remember that car being tight and right smooth. Although im a MOPAR guy i respect theese great cars lmmensely. if in retirement one if theese comes my way IT B MINE. Next owner of this unsung hero car PLEEZE RESTORE IT BACK TO STOCK MAYBE A LIL HOTTER CAM. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED. ENJOY

  17. Eric S Cook

    I just hope someone close buys it, because my Tux-Tee has been pressed and ready to go since at least Reagan and my shears are sharpened because I knew learning the Mullet was gonna pay off one day!! Here’s to it allllllll comin’ together!!

    PS – 1500 Dude and N. of 3500 Dude, I sorta see it both ways. 1500 to jerk the motor for some ridiculous little weekend rager that no one would ever stick that motor in like an 85 corolla hatchback or something 500 or less, put grand in it making it all work long enough to brick and broom some silly paint, burn some tires plum off at the track and make a few k off a drifter newbie that just got the deal of the century to him. That body is so horrible though, I’d definitely have to keep it for a crazy art project or something. Chop it and make it look like it was stuck through the wall of a buddies business or something. It’s too ugly not to love. Logical sensible fellas are on point too though. The stuff between the front fenders would easily make quite a few lick their chops and it is a real piece of history, but the 25-30k gentleman, I believe nailed it … at least from my humble perspective. The dough to do REALLY do it well, could get it really well AND buy some neat stuff for the wife so she remains cool about our playtime. Keen Eye award goes to the Buick wheel fella, who I think is dead on there, and you could easily go from the ARE range to the Momo range or wherever ya wanted to. My buddies Dad would have been “borrowing” the wifes wheels if he to do for that deal. Buick wheels? Whodda Thunk It?

    First ever Trans-Amino Rat Rod with open headers spaghetti-ed inches from your face, a flat wind shield, an incredibly uncomfortable forward leaning little seat and an air chiseled back seat/bed. It’d leave ya with what? 2 or 3 lbs over the rear? Smoke ’em if ya got ’em. Just tryin’ to make a Shandy outta lemonade. and pass out a few chuckles and exponentially more head shakes, I’m sure along the road.

    Keep on Truckin’ good buddies!! I’m Eastbound and down!!

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