Rebuilt GTO Motor! 1977 Pontiac Grand LeMans

The fourth generation of the Pontiac LeMans ran from 1973 to 1977, the era of Colonnade styling that was shared by all of General Motors’ intermediate automobiles. The Grand LeMans was the top-of-the-line model, introduced in 1975 as an evolution of the Luxury LeMans. This 1977 edition has a lot of rough edges including rust but it also has a 400 cubic inch GTO engine (1970 vintage) with Ram IV heads. From the bright lights of Las Vegas, Nevada, this Pontiac is available here on eBay for what might be the bargain price of $2,500.

With the downsizing of GM’s mid-size cars on the horizon for 1978, the 1977 models would be little changed. In a strange twist, the company’s full-size automobiles had already been downsized and weighed less than the carryover LeMans and its siblings which also had the same wheelbase as the so-called bigger cars. Fortunately, Colonnade styling was still in favor with buyers, so the 1977 model year for these cars would not be a washout.

The seller’s LeMans will be either a challenging project or a good donor car, if for no other reason than to harvest the engine. We don’t know how the LeMans was powered from the factory, but a performance rebuilt 400 joined the party sometime along the way. It has 455 V8 heads with headers and an automatic transmission that the prior owner says worked well. Though there are some rips in the front seats, the interior appears to be in decent overall condition. On the plus side, it looks as though all the hardware for the factory A/C has survived.

If the buyer wants to restore the car, the body will be the biggest challenge. There is plenty of rust in the driver’s side rear quarter panel and around the opera window in the same area. These problems may very well be replicated elsewhere. The seller has not tried to get the car running, only to crank it to verify that the motor isn’t stuck (the car was in storage for years). From what we can see and the seller’s details, is this a viable restoration or would you use it for parts for another project?

Comments

  1. Nick P

    This seller needs to do a little research if he wants to sell this car as he’s clearly not a Pontiac person. Everything he says about it is “what he was told.” Pontiacs are simple. First, call it a ram air iv, not a ram iv. It hurts my ears. Second, ram air iv is a 400, not a 455, as he claims the heads are. Third, all you need is the casting number on the heads above the manifold to identify them and the suffix code on the passenger side front of the block below the head to identify it. Everything is clearly visible and you can check it on any smartphone in about 30 seconds. Do it all the time whenever checking out a car. Intake manifold definitely doesn’t look like ram air iv in the pics.

    Like 6
  2. Big C

    You can tell it’s a western car, because it’s only half rotted out! These colonnade GM’s started rusting on the truck from the factory.

    Like 2
    • DON

      Not true on the East Coast where rust was invented , the Colonnades rusted far less then their 68-72 sisters. The exception was the 1976 and 1977 2 door Regal and Cutlass bodies, which were more slab sided and rusted horribly. The rear bumpers were always missing from rotted reinforcements , the bottoms of the doors rusted out and the quarters rusted from the top down, I assumed because of poor water drainage. Other than those two, these cars were tough and became the preferred choice of Enduro drivers because of it.

      Like 3
      • Big C

        Here in the midwest? These Pontiacs are as rare as hens teeth. My uncle had a ’75 LeMans. After 4 years, the thing was severely rusted. I haven’t seen one at a car show in ages.

  3. Toypartman

    Ram Air IV heads are worth more than what he asking for the whole car so they aren’t Ram Air heads. They’re probably low compression smogger heads. I agree with Nick, this guy hasn’t got a clue and everything he said can be checked out on a quick Google search if you have the casting numbers. BTW, Ram Air IV heads take a special one off intake and exhaust manifolds that are worth there weight in gold too.

    Like 3
    • Fred

      That intake does fit other heads, but has 1/4″ taller ports to match the ram Air 4 head ports.

      Still considered better than any aftermarket Pontiac intake ever made

      Like 1
  4. James

    One photo in the listing clearly shows the cylinder head code “96,” which identifies them as 1971 300hp 400ci heads. Possibly a GTO engine, but definitely not a ram air.

  5. Fred

    The heads in the EbAy add show casting number 96 , from a 1971 400.

    Big valve low comorwy heads that work great on 455’s

    Like 1
  6. Rob

    The colonnade was always a big zero in my book. After the beautiful styling of the 70-72s, GM embarked on a full scale ugly campaign. The window side glass gave me a lobotomy from the number of times that I got walloped closing the driver door. The STUPID glass angle was the cause of nearly decapitating any sorry soul who wasn’t paying attention while they pulled the door shut.

    Like 3
  7. Conrad A

    I always liked the Grand Lemans. I thought the 2 door looked good with the optional fender skirts, and the 4 door could be a compromise for those people who liked the Grand Prix but needed 4 doors. (Those were the days, when, with the proper choices on the option sheet, you could make a 4 door Grand Lemans into your own version of a 4 door Grand Prix!). It’s too bad that this one has so much body rot, so it’s really not a viable candidate for restoration, unless you don’t mind being quickly underwater financially. Sad, because there aren’t too many of these left…

  8. Alex

    My CanAm was rustproofed by RustyJones, and I swear by the 90s it was a Flintstone mobile.

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