A lot of people think the muscle car era ended in 1972. And for the most part, they’re right. But if you knew where to look, you could still get a fire-breathing tire killer in 1973 – and that place was at your local Pontiac dealership.
Pontiac guys will tell you that the Super Duty 455, offered starting in 1973, was one of the best muscle car engines ever built. Don’t confuse the SD-455 with standard 455s – the Super Duty featured a unique strengthened engine block with 4-bolt mains and special reinforced camshaft and lifter webbing for stability, forged rods and pistons, special high-flow heads, special high-performance camshaft (from the 1967 Ram Air GTO), provisions for dry sump oiling, and more. It made the few Trans Ams it powered a force to be reckoned with, pushing them to 14.5-second quarter mile times at nearly 100 mph in bone stock configuration. All while being smog legal in low-compression 1973.
Only 252 Trans Am SD-455s were built in ’73, and the seller says this car is one of just 33 produced with the options specified on its build sheet. It has just 76,000 miles and looks to be in excellent condition inside and out. It’s all stock under the hood, and even rides on era-correct Goodyear Polyglas tires.
Aside from the slightly more scarce Firebird Formula SD-455s, these cars are about as rare as it gets for second-gen GM F-bodies. A total of 437 1973-1974 Pontiac Trans Ams have sold on eBay Motors over the past few years, with prices averaging $42k for the best examples. This one’s special equipment makes it more valuable, but it’ll be interesting to see if it gets as high as the seller’s near-$90k buy-it-now price. See the listing here.