Live Auctions

Work-In-Progress: 1974 Pontiac Trans Am

Introduced during the Firebird’s third model year (1969), the performance-oriented Trans Am would go on to become one of Pontiac’s biggest sellers. A huge boost in popularity came in 1977 when the Trans Am was prominently featured in the “good old boys” car chase movie, Smokey and the Bandit. But in 1974 when the seller’s Trans Am was built, the product was still finding its way. This one is a project car that has been under development for some 10 years. The seller no longer has the time to work on it and needs someone else to carry it away and finish the job. Located in North Portland, Oregon, this Pontiac is available here on craigslist for $8,500.

The Trans Am was always about performance, although by the mid-1970s it was hard to find a lot of excitement with the cars coming out of Detroit. Increasing pressure from the insurance industry along with the detuning of motors to produce lower emissions had taken the sail out of the muscle cars that were hot just a few years earlier. But the Trans Am was an exception, and the seller’s car had the Y-code 455 cubic inch V8 when it left the factory in Norwood, Ohio (as decoded from the VIN provided). It was rated at 250 hp SAE net.

However, in several cases, this Firebird is not the same now as it was built. For example, the 455 has been replaced by a 400 from a 1977 model Pontiac. We’re told the engine runs, but it’s never been driven as the project hasn’t gone far enough for that to happen. Also, some of the sheet metal isn’t correct to the car as the front-end clip is from a 1975 model Firebird. The paint may or may not have already been redone, but it looks as though places on the driver’s side door need further work. The seller chronicles the transformation of the Pontiac with an extensive collection of photos.

It’s going to take some work just to get this car out of the garage and on its way to its new home. No wheels and tires are on the auto and of the ones saved, they all don’t hold air. The interior is new, but installation is far from complete and not all of the parts may be there. To help the overall cause, the seller has a spare driveline to throw into the mix. The right buyer for the ’74 Trans Am will need to be someone who doesn’t mind finishing projects that they never started themselves.


  1. gbvette62

    This car brights back memories. I bought an Admiralty Blue 400 4 speed Trans Am new in 74. The color looks a little light on this car, but it could be the lighting.

    The main difference between the 74 and 75 nose was the location of the parking lights. On the 74 they were in the lower valance, below the headlamps. For 75 they were moved to the grill, and fake grills filled in their spots in the valance. It may be a 75 nose, but the grills are 74’s.

    I wouldn’t mind having 74 again, preferably in blue (only two other colors were offered, Cameo White & Buccaneer Red), but this one looks like a lot more work than I’m interested in anymore.

    Like 8
    • Brian

      I was shopping for a new car in the summer of 74 and they had a Buccaneer Red TA on the showroom floor. I was 18 and the insurance would have killed me so I ended up with a nicely equipped Firebird. The other difference between 74 and 75 was the wrap around rear window on the 75.

  2. Dave, Australia

    This car has great look from the back.
    Missing it’s wheels it would be right at home on the NASCAR Cup circuit this year, those cars frequently losing their wheels.
    Thanks for the write up Russ

    Like 1
  3. Walter L Lopez

    Definitely needs more than just afew parts. I owned a 75 Firebird Formula that I bought for a staff Sargent that got orders to transfer to England. He sold it for $5,000 to me. 4 months earlier, he paid $7,200. I loved that car, put 215,000 miles and sold it in 1986. A real roadhugger.

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