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Rebuilt 400: 1973 Pontiac Grand Am Colonnade Coupe

For decades, the American automotive industry survived in a virtual vacuum. Companies like Ford and General Motors enjoyed a strong presence on foreign shores, but marques from Europe and Asia failed to impact the North American market. That changed as the 1960s evolved, forcing companies to review their offerings to compete head-to-head with this new competition. One vehicle emerging from this new thinking was the 1973 Pontiac Grand Am. It provided a winning combination of performance and luxury, with makes like BMW and Mercedes-Benz firmly set in its sights. This Grand Am features a freshly rebuilt engine, and it needs a new owner to perform some minor cosmetic work to return it to its stunning best. The seller listed it here on eBay in Mesa, Arizona. Bidding sits at $6,201 but remains short of the reserve. I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Larry D for spotting this wonderful classic.

The Grand Am was a product of its time as Pontiac realized its sporting models generally weren’t luxurious, while its luxury models lacked performance credentials. With European and Japanese manufacturers successfully combining what was generally considered two separate design philosophies, Pontiac joined the fray. The general presentation of this Ascot Silver Pontiac is pretty impressive for a car with nearly five decades behind it. The seller indicates they commenced a restoration on the vehicle in the 1990s, and its paint now shows a few marks and nicks. It still looks okay, although a meticulous new owner may treat it as a cosmetic refresh. Like many examples of the Grand Am, its distinctive Endura nose succumbed to time and UV exposure. The seller followed the familiar path of sourcing and installing a fiberglass replica, but it requires a fresh coat of paint. With that done and the badges reattached, this Grand Am should present nicely. The panels are straight, and the lack of apparent rust is a bonus. The glass looks excellent, and the tidy Rallye II wheels wrapped in new BF Goodrich T/As add a sporting finishing touch to the exterior.

Grand Am buyers in 1973 faced a wide selection of engines, with some providing performance above what many buyers expected during that era from a car of this type. The original owner selected the T-Code 400ci V8, producing 230hp. Pontiac didn’t offer a manual transmission option, with this car featuring the three-speed Turbo 400 transmission, power steering, and power brakes. This combination provided a ¼-mile ET of 16.2 seconds, which was pretty respectable at a time when emission regulations were taking a big bite out of engine power. However, this car may be able to improve on that figure. The engine bay presents nicely because the V8 recently found its way home after a total rebuild. The process included an Edelbrock Performer camshaft, a carburetor rebuild, a Petronix ignition, Hedman headers, and a 2½” Flowmaster exhaust. The engine was not the only component receiving attention, with the Turbo 400 and the 3.00 Posi rear end being rebuilt. To ensure safety and reliability, the seller replaced every fuel, brake, and transmission line, while taking the opportunity to replace the brakes. Although the seller doesn’t provide specific information on how well the car runs or drives, the scope of the performed work suggests the news should be positive.

This Grand Am’s interior isn’t perfect, but its presentation is above average for a vehicle of this age. The seller identifies a small tear on the driver’s seat and one in the headliner. Otherwise, it makes a positive impression. The carpet doesn’t fit properly near the kick panels, but the most pressing problem is a crack in the dash pad. This could prove a drama for a new owner seeking perfection because replacements aren’t thick on the ground. Some alternatives include attempting a restoration, fitting a glue-on cover, or sourcing a secondhand replacement. A cover generally retails for around $150, but I easily found a mint secondhand pad for $300. The air conditioning is another feature requiring attention because although all the parts are included, they require installation. Compared to today’s standards, the interior appointments of bucket seats, a console, a leather-wrapped wheel, and power windows may not seem impressive. Compared to the opposition in 1973, this interior stacked up well.

History shows that the isolation the American car industry experienced until the mid-1960s was both good and bad. Without it, there is some doubt whether domestic manufacturers would have pursued muscle and pony car development so enthusiastically. However, the rise of makes from Europe and Asia proved equally important because it forced those same companies to dramatically improve their build quality and engineering to match the invaders. The Pontiac Grand Am was one of the results, and as such, it is worthy of wearing the classic tag. It won’t take much time or effort to lift this first-year model’s presentation to a higher level, and the bidding history suggests a few people are motivated to try. Could you be one of them?


    • PaulG

      Thanks for sharing the link GT, I remember this auction.
      Here’s the window sticker showing a credit for the 4 speed option.

      Like 3
  1. al8apex

    The bf author is incorrect, these WERE available with a manual transmission. I was a student at General Motors Institute and was sponsored by Pontiac and watched the prototype 1973 Grand Am go down the assembly line. It was a four-door with the dual exhaust and a four-speed transmission

    Like 10
  2. RR

    I agree, a manual transmission was offered….I owned a 1973 Pontiac with a 400 ci ehgine, bench seat, and a muncie 4-speed……….all factory

    Like 0
  3. Tim Sather

    “with makes like BMW and Mercedes-Benz firmly set in its sights” Joke.
    Just like the g6 was going to eat their lunch in ’06.

    Like 1
  4. Stan

    If it must be the GM hydramatic automatic. Well the positrac 3.00 gearing ⚙️ ensure a great hwy car.

    Like 2
  5. Dave

    Any 73 colonnade with a manual transmission is pretty special. Nice car

    Like 4
  6. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Is this the same 400 that came in the T/A?

    Like 1
  7. Wayne

    PRA4SNW , yes. Might not have been the same horse power. But was a “real Pontiac” engine. I worked at a Pontiac store when these were new. I loved driving them!

    Like 0
  8. R.Lee

    Bonneville Salt Flats car.

    Wedge the front face of the car, replace the cylinder heads, 2.56 rear gear and go for the Coupe, Modified Coupe class.

    Like 2

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