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Runs and Drives: 1973 Pontiac Trans Am

The 1973 model year saw Pontiac introduce two new colors to the iconic Trans Am’s palette. One was a shade called Brewster Green, which originally graced the panels of our feature car. It runs and drives but needs a new owner willing to return it to its former glory. If you feel up for the challenge, you will find the Trans Am listed here on eBay in Lincoln, Nebraska. The seller set their BIN at $29,900 but left the option for interested parties to make an offer.

Brown. If ever there was a color that seemed to define the late-1970s and 1980s, that was it. The furniture and the glass crockery were brown, and I bet you can’t guess what color most food seemed to be! It was also a shade that graced the panels of many cars from that era. That wasn’t initially the story with this 1973 Trans Am because its original owner ordered it in a new color for that model year, Brewster Green. It is unclear when the change occurred, but it has done this classic no favors. Returning it to that color will probably form part of the build, but there are other factors for the buyer to consider before they pick up their spray gun. The panels have a selection of minor bumps and bruises, but addressing them shouldn’t represent a challenge. More pressingly, there is rust requiring attention. It has impacted the usual spots like the lower rear quarter panels and lower front fenders. Surprisingly, the floors and rear valance are far better than the exterior condition suggests. Heavy surface corrosion is visible in the excellent selection of supplied photos, but none has managed to penetrate the steel. I wouldn’t stretch the friendship on that, and addressing it before it deteriorates further would be wise. That makes me believe that a nut-and-bolt approach may best ensure the dreaded tin worm is gone for good. The Pontiac rolls on Honeycomb wheels, and the glass looks pretty good.

Someone has had a wonderful time inside this Pontiac because its interior is a shadow of its former self. The Build Sheet indicates it rolled off the line trimmed in Beige cloth, but someone has made plenty of changes. They’ve painted and removed items with the result that the interior needs nothing less than a complete retrim. Perhaps my favorite upgrade (downgrade?) is the white buttoned headliner (check the gallery at the bottom of the article). That’s a touch never misses…much! The supplied photos indicate the console is missing, as are the factory AM radio and 8-track player. Sourcing genuine replacement parts is possible, but buyers must prepare to pay handsomely for the 8-track. A budget of around $400 should secure a working player, but whipping the rest into shape will leave little change from $2,500.

This Trans Am would have rolled off the production line equipped with a 455ci V8, a three-speed automatic transmission, power steering, and power front disc brakes. The L75 version of the 455 pumped out 250hp, allowing the Trans Am to cover the ¼ mile in 15.4 seconds. The tired exterior and the battered interior have been bad news for potential buyers, but the engine bay houses what could be the worst of all. The seller indicates the Trans Am is no longer numbers-matching and that the engine block decodes as a 400ci Service Replacement. There are a couple of options for the buyer to consider that may prove attractive. The new owner may choose to live with what they have, or they could hunt for a correct 455 to slot under the hood. Alternatively, they might elect to throw caution to the wind and pursue a custom build with something more modern or potent. That approach carries the highest risk because while it is easy to place a value on an unmolested classic based on its condition, custom builds are a gray area where a car will be worth whatever someone is willing to pay. The Trans Am runs and yard drives, so returning it to a roadworthy state may not be difficult. That would allow the buyer to ponder their choice while engaging in the classic car ownership experience.

This 1973 Pontiac Trans Am leaves me torn due to the potential obstacles facing the new owner. The level of surface corrosion on this classic’s underside means the buyer needs to prioritize treating it before it can penetrate the steel. The panels have rust issues requiring attention, and the interior is scrap. The harsh reality is that someone will face a nut-and-bolt restoration if this classic’s long-term future is to be assured. The final nail in the coffin could be the motor because losing the legendary 455ci V8 will negatively impact its value. I want this car returned to its magnificent best, based purely on emotion. I have a soft spot for Second Generation Firebirds, and I’m not too fond of thinking that one could end its life like this. Restored to a pristine state, this Trans Am could command a value of $80,000 if it were numbers-matching. Scanning the current market reveals a selection of tidy numbers-matching survivors for around $40,000. That makes the BIN a stretch, and I believe the best hope for this classic is if somebody with the skills to complete the entire restoration happens along and makes a respectable offer. If that occurs, the build could make financial sense. Otherwise, I have my doubts. Do you agree?


  1. Avatar photo Fred

    If it is a true SR 400, it could be one of the RA IV ones sold over the counter back in the day.

    Is there any purple dots on the front or back of the engine? Those were the good ones

    Like 0
  2. Avatar photo Frank Sumatra

    $2900.00 based on what I can see.

    Like 17
  3. Avatar photo S

    He painted it brown so the rust issues wouldn’t be as obvious. It needs to be painted green again. I believe this was a one year only color. Too bad it was only on 73s – a Trans Am looks great in that color.

    Like 2
  4. Avatar photo John W Kriegshauser

    $29,900? Seriously?

    Like 3
  5. Avatar photo Howie

    29,900 dollars?? Seller has close to 500 items listed.

    Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Big Bear 🇺🇸

    What a shame this TA looks like this. Looks like there was no love for this ride. Where did everything go? Did other owners sell the parts right out of it? And that rust underneath Geez!!! Where was that sitting. And the price they want.. sorry somebody is smoking crack.. that’s a $4,500 all day.. 🐻🇺🇸

    Like 4
  7. Avatar photo Martini ST

    This is something a high school kid should be trading his KX125 (dirtbike) straight across for and have his dad be super mad about the deal.

    Like 5

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