Auction Pick of the Week: 1974 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Super Duty 455

Marketplace/David DeHaan/DMD Photographic

Of the true iconic American muscle cars, the 1974 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Super Duty 455 ranks near the top of the list. One of just 943 Pontiac Firebirds equipped with the Super Duty 455 cubic inch (7.5 liter) V-8 for the 1974 model year, this numbers-matching Trans Am is a true survivor and a stellar representative of the pony car era. It’s offered on Hagerty Marketplace.

Publicized as having 310 horsepower and a whopping 395 lb-ft of torque—big numbers for 1974—the SD 455 was among the last of the true over-the-top muscle cars of the 1970s, an era when political correctness, gas prices, and emissions standards began to trump sheer potency.

1974 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Super Duty 455 hood air intake
Marketplace/David DeHaan/DMD Photographic

Along with the very first Firebird Trans Am model that debuted in 1969, the SD 455 is among the most collectible of its kind. The 1974 Firebird’s visibility also rose thanks to the Rockford Files, whose star Jim Garner drove one in the TV series’ debut season.

1974 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Super Duty 455 engine bay
Marketplace/David DeHaan/DMD Photographic

Borrowing technology from the Pontiac racing engines, the hand-assembled SD 455 V-8 underneath the shaker hood featured heavy-duty connecting rods and an entirely new block with a revised crankshaft and heads. Other improvements include thicker internal-block bracing, four-bolt main bearing caps for greater crankshaft support, and an 80-psi oil pump for better lubrication at higher speeds. The 455 was offered for just two model years, 1973 and ’74, as an option in the Trans Am and Formula models. Rear axle is a 3:08:1 unit.

At a time when many Trans Ams were white, blue or, later on, black, this one is finished in Buccaneer Red over an optional custom interior trimmed in red perforated vinyl with a center console. It even has the factory-correct red oxide underbody coating.

Wheels are the Rally II style with bright trim rings, coupled with BFGoodrich Radial T/A radial tires and a “Radial Tuned” suspension. It comes with a copy of the original window sticker (suggested retail price: $6233.75, with the 455 SD package costing just $522). It has power windows, locks, and trunk, and even air conditioning. 

The transmission is the sturdy three-speed Turbo 400 automatic. The odometer reads just under 54,000 miles, but it is not believed to be accurate. It was treated to what appears to be a high-quality restoration under previous ownership. The seller represents it as being a strong running and driving example with no known mechanical issues.

Many of us who had Trans Ams in the 1970s wish we had never sold them. Count me as one of them, and as someone who seriously covets this red 1974 Trans Am SD 455. Bidding ends Monday, August 21, at 3:50 p.m. ET.




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    I love american cars. And I truly love the Pontiac trans am. Especially the turbo one .it’s one of the most sophisticated models. Remember burt Reynolds. If I had money I would love to own one. I use to see two of these in olifantsfontein ,a red n yellow one.i would watch them n dream the whole time. They are simply the best

    I had 1974 trans am 400 4sod same color black ing wish I had extra money for this one mine cost me new 5000.00 wow

    Had a ’72 455 H.O./400 tranny Trans Am in the early ’80’s. Still one of the fastest cars I have had over the years. Beautiful S.D. advertised here. Tempting.

    College roommate had a ’75 400 that he was the 2nd owner of. It had a dk blue exterior and white vinyl interior. Original owner he bought it from had converted it to a automatic. My roommate changed its color to the blue from the factory green, & added a shift kit and cruise. I told him that if he was to ever sell it to let me know. When he would have it on campus rather than the beige VW rabbit diesel that used to be his mom’s that was indestructible I would get to drive both to my ROTC classes in Greensboro. We had some great experiences in that ’75 T/A.

    I’d like to know the actual hp and torque numbers. I’ve heard high 400 for torque. The 290 hp rating is a joke even if it’s net. Hook up the dry sump oiling it has provisions for and swap out the exhaust manifolds for headers and it would be one of the all time great engines. For those who don’t know the heads on a sd 455 flow more than Hemi heads. These were hand built race engines by A.R.E.

    I have a 90s issue of Musclecar Review or High Performance Pontiac, buried in my collection, which states that Airflow Research did the development work on the SD-455 heads. The same article stated that, according to one of the engineers who worked on that project, the SD heads outflowed the 426 hemi heads.

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