The 1970s was a tough decade for musclecar enthusiasts. Having spent the prior decade getting used to the big three putting out high-powered big blocks and potent small blocks, the mid -1970s brought us gas wars, emission standards, and the demise of the musclecar era. There had been a few names in the prior years that caught everyone’s attention: Cobra Jet, Hemi, and the Super Duty 455 were among some of those engines.
Cars like this original, numbers matching 1974 Pontiac Trans Am Super Duty 455 with its big-block V8, sporty styling, and rock star attitude were a middle finger to the luxury and forthcoming economy cars. This Trans Am sits with only 9,500 miles on the clock, and the car has gone through three owners and a recent restoration to bring it back to its heyday.
The Super Duty cars were identified by the SD-455 decal on the shaker hood, as well as the ‘X’ in the VIN denoting the big 455 mill. The original Muncie 4-speed tranny is still there, as is the original sheet metal which has received a new coat of the factory Mayan red. It also has power steering, power brakes, power windows, AM/FM radio, and the original upholstery. This TA still possesses that classic 1970s musclecar appeal – even some 40 years later.
The Trans Am received a few different powerplants during this generation, but the SD-455 was one that lasted only two years – 1973 and 1974 – and found its way into this red beast, making it highly collectible. Even more rare was the SD-455 Formula, of which only 101 were made during this span.An interesting and little known fact is that the 455 Super Duty engines were actually hand-built race engines done as an off-assembly operation. They were then detuned to meet EPA standards, but still had a rating of 310 and 290 horsepower for 1973 and 1974, respectively, however, some sources claim those numbers to be quite a bit on the low side.
It will be interesting to see what this car fetches at the upcoming Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas auction. The car has no reserve and Super Duty Trans Ams and Formula Firebirds currently sell in the $80,000 range. A mint, low mileage example like this should fetch a pretty penny, we’ll just have to wait and see. Where do you think the price will fall on this one?