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Old 05-12-2022, 04:28 PM
70ram4 70ram4 is offline
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Default 1977 trans am with a factory 455

HI I was talking to a friend of mine the other day. He is in his 70's and the original owner of a 70 gto. He has been a gear head his entire life with extensive knowledge of the musclecars in their day. He was saying he was friend s with a Pontiac dealerships owner son back in the 70's

Anyway, he told me he saw in person in the back storage area of the dealership a brand new original 1977 trans am in black. it had a 455 4 speed in it. As far As i know the 455 ended in 1976. The story he got from the dealers son , is once in a while the high volume dealers got a chance to buy one off cars such as this 77 ta w a 455 in it.

The car was not for sale at the time and was part of a one off collection that the owner of the dealership would buy and put away. I have no reason to doubt him .

I don't doubt Pontiac would hang an interesting car such as this as a carrot in front of a dealers nose to perform.

For the hell of it, have any of you guys heard of something like this or has a 77 ta surfaced with a factory 455 in it. what would such a car sell for today? Thanks. the dealership was Carr Pontiac , South Orange NJ

I hope i explained this right.

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Old 05-12-2022, 05:25 PM
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I wonít say itís impossible, but I highly doubt it. The main reason being the extra cost for emissions certification.

Looking at the definitive Firebird & Trans Am guide written by Rocky Rotella. He mentions 7,528 455ís with four speeds for 1976, no 455ís for 1977.

I purchased a 1976 Grand Prix SJ new in August of 1976. It was a model SJ, had a 455 that was a $63.00 option. I knew the salesman well and he told me no more 455s after 1976.

If you find some documented proof that a 1977 Pontiac anything had a 455 it would be very interesting.

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Old 05-12-2022, 05:37 PM
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I have been in this hobby 35 years and I only know what I read, which states no 455 in 77. I have heard the factory did some off the wall stuff, so I never say never. who knows. It would be curious to hear from some dealers from that era. What makes this convincing to me , is he has an impeccable memory, and even when he saw the car, he knew it wasn.t available with that motor in 77. He told me that even back then that he knew it was something that shouldn't exist when it was shown to him as, "hey you really want to see something special, look at this" in the back room of the dealership. At the time he was great friends with the dealers owners son who showed him the car. Cool story even better if it can be confirmed.

He said the whole thing started bc he was considering trading in his 70 gto 455 for a 76 ta w the 455 in it, and it progressed from there. He said that 77 wasnt for sale when he saw it. It was purchased to be put away.


Last edited by 70ram4; 05-12-2022 at 05:50 PM.
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Old 05-12-2022, 07:14 PM
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Stuart Stuart is offline
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I was just talking to my brother a few minutes ago. I recently sold him a motorcycle that was only available in the US in 2000 and 2001. He brought the bike to the dealer for some service, and one of the mechanics there was telling him how he had one of those bikes in the 1990s, which would have been impossible.

The point of this story is there are self-appointed experts everywhere...it's usually best to just give them a smile and a nod, and then change the subject. They may be remembering things incorrectly or they may just be spinning a yarn, but either way it's not worth trying to convince them they are wrong.

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Old 05-12-2022, 07:31 PM
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IF it left the factory with the 455 there would have been tracking.If dealer installed doubt there would be.JMO,Tom

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Old 05-12-2022, 08:23 PM
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Fake news. Lol

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Old 05-12-2022, 10:35 PM
Trevor78 Trevor78 is offline
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My 403 is not just solid main webs but factory Nascar specs as test engine. I'd prove it, but I don't want to drop the pan, ruin that factory gasket and its value.

Yeah, it's crap. Sometimes you can politely say, no, that is completely incorrect. Other times, let them go and move on. They feed off the fact you show interest, even to argue it.

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Old 05-13-2022, 07:03 AM
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I'd ask him if you could see it.
Is the dealer or car still around?

I'd say the 455 was added after it arrived at the dealer.
(like tripower in 67 cars?)

A PHS on it would be interesting probably.


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Old 05-13-2022, 07:50 AM
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Dealer went out of business when the old man died, kids ram it into the ground. AS a kid with my 71 gto I was constantly in there at parts counter, one of the sons had a burgundy original paint 69 judge in there that was his before he snorted it up his nose. Probably the ta was a case of mistaken identity, I want to let this thread run for a min or two in the off chance a pontiac dealer can confirm special edition cars avail to dealers only. what the harm, we may learn something or not? Either way I have no dog or car in the fight.

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Old 05-13-2022, 08:01 AM
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One more oddity, when he bought his 70 gto 455 in early 69, it had confirmed by pics taken when he bought the car new off the lot with 455 ho stickers on the hood scoops. It was on the lot that way. I understand the dealer my have put them on? but whats curious is those stickers shouldnt have existed until 1971. Even though the 70 455 was known as a 455 ho with d port heads , they were never stickered that way. nor should have those decals existed until next the model year. I have the cars PHS thinking maybe engineering messed w it prior to cutting it loose because that car was built to go, 455 ho 4 speed m21, 12 bolt 3:31 posi. I dont know the dealer or factory codes designating this car as possibly having pontiac engineering ****ing w it , putting it through its paces and dressing the car up prior to releasing it for sale. In fact he had the motor rebuilt in the late 70's the mechanic opened it up and said there are forged rods in here. As far as I know there were no forged rods until 1973 SD motor or early 421 SD motors, Maybe ram ii? That also led me to believe that car was pulled aside and "fixed up" prior to sale at pontiac. I will move this over to 1970 gto thread but some weird stuff happened back then.
This was my neighbor and I met him and the car in 1980 , original paint original everything garaged car, still in his garage. His wife is on the title bc he was listed as possibly getting drafted in vietnam at the time and he couldnt get a loan in his name. So this is truly a one owner old lady drove it to church car on sundays.


Last edited by 70ram4; 05-13-2022 at 08:08 AM.
  #11  
Old 05-13-2022, 08:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuart View Post
I was just talking to my brother a few minutes ago. I recently sold him a motorcycle that was only available in the US in 2000 and 2001. He brought the bike to the dealer for some service, and one of the mechanics there was telling him how he had one of those bikes in the 1990s, which would have been impossible.

The point of this story is there are self-appointed experts everywhere...it's usually best to just give them a smile and a nod, and then change the subject. They may be remembering things incorrectly or they may just be spinning a yarn, but either way it's not worth trying to convince them they are wrong.
This. Dealer may have put one in, but I highly doubt it was factory. I could write a book on the stories I have heard from 'people that owned trans ams back in the day'!

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Old 05-13-2022, 09:34 AM
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As for the decals mentioned not existing you never know what people do or who they know to get it done. When I was younger I rolled a Jeep Wrangler I had. Just on to the drivers side. My dads friend did paint and body on the side and worked at Jeep full time as did my dad. The car was a Sahara model and needed new decals indicating such after paint. My dads friend got me a set of decals, I assume borrowed from the factory, but they were a different design than what my car had. They were a new style that would be available on the following model year but not at the time they were on my car so for a year I had decals on my car that shouldn’t have existed yet and weren’t available to purchase anywhere.

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  #13  
Old 05-13-2022, 12:08 PM
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I knew a guy in the 1980s that had a 1966 GTO with a 400HO and a tripower. He was the original owner and claimed the factory built it that way. Eventually he slipped up and said he paid the dealership to install the tripower. It was disproved totally by accident because he accidentally let me see the original intake & carb. At one time he also owned a 64 Pontiac with a 421 tripower. He wrecked the car, but saved the engine. He was showing me the 421 when I saw the 67 intake and carb sitting on a nearby shelf.

There are some oddities. I parted out a 1969 GTO that the PHS shows it was sold to Pontiac engineering. It had a 428 with a 455 crank with the p/n stamped in. The head part numbers were also stamped in, and the block was a 428 4-bolt with no SR or any VIN numbers, and the carb had no stamped numbers. I suspect it was built as a test mule for the 1970 455. It also has a 12-bolt rear end.

I parted out a one owner 1971 Trans Am automatic with a/c that was a very early build. It has a 3.07 12-bolt posi. I suspect the 12-bolt was more of a case where Pontiac was trying to use up excess 1970 parts.

I had a 1972 Trans Am 4-spd with a SD short block assembly. The owner claims he blew up two engines under warranty and forced the dealer to put the SD short block in after the second engine blew. The block had no VIN or SR number at all, and was a January 1973 casting and used the SD distributor. Who knows whether he paid extra or actually forced the dealership to eat the cost, it really didn't matter.

The VIN number would tell you if the original engine was a 400 or 455.

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Old 05-13-2022, 01:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poncho-mike View Post
There are some oddities. I parted out a 1969 GTO that the PHS shows it was sold to Pontiac engineering. It had a 428 with a 455 crank with the p/n stamped in. The head part numbers were also stamped in, and the block was a 428 4-bolt with no SR or any VIN numbers, and the carb had no stamped numbers. I suspect it was built as a test mule for the 1970 455. It also has a 12-bolt rear end.
Used to see a lot of that stuff working at the GM Proving Grounds. 6.5l diesels in 1998 prototyping the power the duramax was going to make when it came out in 2001. They used a fabricated intake, larger turbo, different injectors, exhaust, etc. Had one of those ever made it out on the street, somebody would swear they had the only "factory built 6.5 HO" diesel.

We bought a replacement 3.8l for an '88 Bonneville SSE one time and it had hand-engraved part numbers on every visible part. Ended up losing several cam lobes on that engine, even though it was a roller engine. Since it was sourced from Flint, MI (where they were built), I'd suspect it was an engineering build that either had prototype parts that didn't make it to production, or it had run some hard durability on a test stand before it snuck out the back door of the plant.

There are always interesting stories out there, but when somebody tells me they had a '65 Camaro that the factory built early "because my dad knew the plant manager," I have to just smile and tell them how cool that must have been.

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Old 05-13-2022, 06:05 PM
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What would the PHS say?

That it never was built with a 455 from the factory would be my guess.......

OR.....That it was an extra 76 455 car converted to a 77 for the movie, SATB???
Supposedly none of those cars survived is the long standing story though.

Sending a 76 engine out to the public in a 77 body would leave Pontiac open to the EPA. I doubt they would expose the company to a fine and penalties just to make some dealers kid a special car. Especially when they would have to stamp the 77 VIN on a 76 engine to make it all legit.

Usually when someone starts telling me one of these tall tales, I just smile, and nod, then walk away.......

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Old 05-13-2022, 10:22 PM
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HI for the heck of it can we talk about the epa thing. Does a special car nto intended for the public fall under the same rules , ex such as a 76 455 in a 77? Its a learning curve for me also.

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Old 05-13-2022, 11:09 PM
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If it has a serial number it has to be legal to drive on the road. Mule cars normally didn't have serial numbers, or titled, and were destroyed by the manufacturers upon the end of their usefulness, and test use. They were never meant to be sold to the public, used for engineering exercises.

Between 1976 and 1977 the PMD engines were saddled with much more smog equipment because of the change in the clean air act. You can't just stick smog equipment on any engine, they all have to be certified requiring dyno time, and road/track testing to be certified by the EPA for on road use. Certification is expensive too.

In 1973 Pontiac tried to slip a ringer camshaft in the super duty 455, they got caught by the EPA and were required to switch to a milder, more efficient cam midway through the 73 model run. Two ratings for the SD 455 in 1973, 310 HP with the illegal cam, and 290 HP with the EPA cam. I believe that was rather costly for Pontiac when they got caught. The SD cars were a very limited production car in 73, only 252 cars were made, and they still got caught.

When there were no/little smog rules (60s) it would be much easier to slip a different drive train departing from factory OEM than after the EPA came into the mix. If Pontiac got busted for deviating from EPA regulations, it would be both expensive, and damaging to the division. Some heads would roll if the EPA got wind of a car like described. The juice wouldn't be worth the squeeze.

If you think the EPA doesn't have teeth, and influence, just reflect upon what happened to VW diesels when they cheated on their software on their engine management system, it was very damaging, and costly for VW.

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Old 05-14-2022, 12:33 PM
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Its incredible how much the smog emissions killed the motors.. I was looking at wallace racing the other day. listing the motors and horsepower through the years. if it wasnt for the sd in 1974, it started a downhill slide of 1-200 hp in engines all across the board. Ashame . The cars started to look like WTF also, and so ended one of the greatest eras since the late 50's in US Automotive history. Cars had class and the HP to back in up.

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Old 05-15-2022, 05:50 AM
Trevor78 Trevor78 is offline
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Along with changes in how the engines were rated, ratings were automatically less even if they put out my power than before. That wasn't emissions.

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Old 05-15-2022, 04:41 PM
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The PHS document would answer it all....

There's some things to think about concerning this probable car.
The Smokey and the Bandit cars were 76's with 77 sheet metal. THere's a VERY good thread, not too long ago here, I believe in the lobby.LOT'S of stuff happened to those movie cars.

76 455 TA's were only available with 4 speeds, there was a space problem with the TH400 and the catalytic converter under the car. So that be possible.

I don't know if the question was ever answered, concerning 455's the the movie cars...

I graduated High School in spring of 1977, bought my car the same month. Started going to night school at local Junior College. THere were several TA's in parking lot (Sounds crazy if it happened now...) One was a 76 black TA, 455 4 speed, had Hooker headers with the Hooker side pipes. I got to know him. We talked several times. Us TA nerds tried to park together if possible.

One evening after school, I am putz'n down the 4 lane by the college, ans Joe pulls up beside me giving me the forward finger, to race. I stomped on my 400 for all it had, expecting to get smoked........didn't happen. It was a dead heat, he couldn't pull away from me. His fuzzbuster went off, at about 100 MPH, we both shut down, nothing happened. A ticket in my new TA was NOT something I needed.

I will try to find that thread and bring it to the top, maybe someone can post a link, sorry I can't, yet...

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