Forty years ago, Pontiac bookended the muscle car market with one car that many consider…
Classic Classified: 1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SD-455
From: Hemmings Motor News, March 1989
Price then: $16,000 ($32,300 adjusted for inflation)
Price now: $97,700 – $175,000
Approximate dollar difference: $142,700 (assuming No. 1 condition)
Annual rate of return: 6.2%
Pontiac: 1973 SD-455 Trans-Am, green with very rare corduroy interior, custom trim, rear console, absolutely the finest SD in the country, with window sticker, cancelled check, dealer’s invoice, all oil change receipts, build sheet, all records from new, too much to list, rare honeycomb wheel option, owned by Army colonel who kept full records from new, asking $16,000.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, the term “Super Duty” wasn’t associated with Ford’s heavy-duty pickup line. It was the absolute last word in Pontiac performance. Super Duty was the name first given to the 389 and 421 Pontiacs prepped for Super Stock drag racing before the 1963 GM racing ban. Stepping ahead to the early 70s, the EPA was tightening down on emissions and the gas crisis was putting an end to the muscle car era. Pontiac apparently didn’t get the memo, and it revived the Super Duty name in 1973.
This high performance 455 V-8 received high strength internals, reinforced block and improved heads with better flow compared to the 455 HO and Ram Air IV. This all equated to a surprising 310 hp, 10 more than the 455 HO from ‘72 (and still EPA compliant!). Rumors persist that these engines were capable of much more power if fuel and emissions restrictions didn’t hinder development. For 1973, only 252 Trans Ams were graced with the 455 SD, making this example an exceptional find. Green cars (especially Brewster Green examples) are some of the most sought after, and the honeycomb wheels are just icing on the cake. To stumble across a car so well kept and documented is a once in a lifetime find and one to act on. While $16,000 was a hefty price in 1989, this car greatly rewarded its new owner, not only as a fun driver but as an investment as well.