As the domestic high performance car was all but dead on the operating table after a gas crisis and draconian legislation in the early 1970s, one small glimmer of light managed to escape the clutches of the black hole. That glimmer of light was the 1973 and 1974 Trans Am Super Duty. With a bombproof 455 that was factory rated at 290hp and made far more than that, one of the best suspension systems that Detroit produced in the era, and the ability to turn 13-second elapsed times in stock form, these cars were more powerful than the Corvettes of the same years. The 455 in the car was also a lot different than the one in the Catalinas and Bonnevilles that lumbered around with old people at the helm.
Starting with the block, Pontiac used a heavy duty casting that was actually cast with ribs in the upper valley, thicker main webs, and provisions to hook up a dry sump oiling system. The rods were forged steel pieces which were attached to a nodular iron crank that was locked down with four bolt mains. The pistons were forged aluminum and among other specific pieces, the distributor was beefier than that used in a normal 455 requiring a larger shaft as well as the fact that the engine used an oversized distributor gear on the special cam that was ground with more duration than the standard issue 455. The cylinder heads had oval shaped exhaust ports, redesigned intake ports, polished valves, and flowed gasses into a fet of high performance exhaust manifolds. Induction was a big Q-Jet and cast iron intake manifold. One of the coolest parts of these engines was the sticker placed on the valve covers that gives owners the instructions for torquing down the connecting rod nuts by measuring bolt stretch as well as what type of oil to use in the engine. Yep, they were figuring that these cars were heading into the hands of guys who were going to race them, modify them, and race them some more. Imagine something like that today?!
This particular car is beautiful and amazingly it has 72,000 miles on it. The Admiralty blue paint, interior, and underside all look factory fresh. The seller claims that the car has the original, numbers matching engine and it runs well. The only changes from stock? This car was made to be a four speed using factory parts for the conversion. That makes it better in our eyes!
For the asking price of $32,500, this seems like a bitchin’ buy. With low production numbers and killer performance, what is there not to love? Ok, we’ll admit to liking the exterior styling of the 1973s more than the 1974s, but from the inside looking out, you know, where the gas pedal is, it wouldn’t bug us a bit!
Check out the photos and then scroll down to see the eBay ad for this 1974 Pontiac Trans Am Super Duty
eBay Link: 1974 Pontiac 455 Super Duty