Is this NOS Ram Air V Pontiac engine really worth $150,000?
Some of the greatest innovations in engine building have their roots in racing. By the end of the 1960s, every auto manufacturer had some sort of wild design in the works to one-up the competition. Engines like Buick’s Stage 2 455, Ford’s single-overhead-cam (SOHC) 427, the all-aluminum ZL1 Chevrolet 427, and, of course, the 426 Hemi have become performance icons. If you’re a Pontiac enthusiast, you genuflect at the mere mention of the mighty Ram Air V. With very limited production and biblical performance, you may easily assume that a real Ram Air V will cost you dearly. Just how dearly? If you want this one on eBay, that’ll be $150,000.
What do you get for your money? Although it’s not pictured, the seller says they have an NOS WY-code 400 short-block, which indicates a legitimate Ram Air V engine destined for a ’69 Pontiac and mated to a four-speed transmission. The NOS tunnel-port heads (which are pictured) show just how far Pontiac’s engineering department went to redesign the head for optimal airflow. Of course, the engineers also had to substantially upgrade the intake and install a completely different cam (included but not pictured) to support the relocated intake and exhaust runners. The seller claims everything is there, even the carburetor, and that all the parts are NOS and matching.
This is a truly incredible find at an even more incredible price. Sure, you don’t see a real Ram Air V for sale as often as you see a Chevy ZL1 427 or a Ford SOHC 427—both comparable performance icons, and exceptionally rare—but a ZL1 or a Cammer Ford can usually be had for much less than $150K. It’s fairly common to find either engine in original condition for sale in the $50,000–$75,000 range. Still, even Ram Air V-equipped cars have sold for less than this eBay seller is asking: A 303-based Ram Air V-swapped 1969 Trans Am sold in 2019 for $143,000 and came with the original Ram Air III in the sale.
No matter how you look at it, $150,000 is a big ask for this engine—but where are you going to find another? At the very least, the seller should give us less-fortunate Pontiac fans some more pictures to drool over. That’s about all we can afford.
We’d love to hear what you think about the price in the comments below. Is the price reasonable, or is this a case of rare parts show-and-tell on eBay?