Ed Higginbotham
Ed Higginbotham Associate Editor
11/30/17 1:23 p.m.
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1974 was the last year that Pontiac was able to unleash real muscle before being choked by emissions laws. This 1974 Trans Am SD is the real deal: 455 cubic-inch V8, custom touches and modifications, and lots of attitude. Leadfoot Muscle Cars is offering it for $34,900.

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Joe Gearin
Joe Gearin Associate Publisher
11/30/17 1:58 p.m.

Even in 1974, Pontiac found a way to make a fun, fast car.  Shame they are gone now.   

 

 

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro PowerDork
11/30/17 11:32 p.m.

I was thinking the price was low for a genuine SD-455 but it's got the wrong engine and a mismatched interior.

The cowl tag and build sheet jive but without seeing a picture of the VIN tag and how it's installed, who knows what it really is.

Price is ok but don't buy it for investment value, it's missing about $10k worth of Super Duty.

codrus
codrus GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
12/1/17 12:09 a.m.

Hm.  I would have thought the WS6 with its LS1 would count as "real muscle", but... :)

TIGMOTORSPORTS
TIGMOTORSPORTS Dork
12/1/17 4:51 a.m.

Nice one

Daylan C
Daylan C SuperDork
12/1/17 6:17 a.m.

In reply to codrus :

You mean it handled better, ran as fast if not faster, was screwed together slightly better and was actually a tolerable thing to live with? Berk all that, wasn't a big block. 

NOT A TA
NOT A TA Dork
12/1/17 8:17 a.m.

455 wasn't a big block, same size block as a 350, 400 etc.   And ya, a 4th gen with LS could out perform in pretty much every category so when I read the title I figured we'd be looking at one of the 4th gens.

SEADave
SEADave HalfDork
12/1/17 11:40 a.m.

I read the ad carefully, sounds like they are saying that the car itself is/was a real SD 455 car, but that it now has a-non original  but period-correct 455 HO casting (485428) engine.   Which makes sense because really nice 74 SD's are now easily six-digit cars.   In any case, looks like a nice driver-quality car that will make someone happy.   

Fun fact - the RPO for that SD 455 engine was LS2, so you could LS swap your LS2 if that's what you want!   

Will
Will UltraDork
12/1/17 5:14 p.m.
Daylan C said:

In reply to codrus :

You mean it handled better, ran as fast if not faster, was screwed together slightly better and was actually a tolerable thing to live with? Berk all that, wasn't a big block. 

Let's not get carried away here.

The 4th-gen F-body is a miserable vehicle wrapped around a great engine/trans and a "well, if you have to have a solid axle, you could do a lot worse" suspension.

Daylan C
Daylan C SuperDork
12/1/17 6:21 p.m.

In reply to Will :

90s GM is definitely an improvement from 70s GM. I'm not saying it's good I'm saying it's better.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
12/1/17 6:42 p.m.
SEADave said:

I read the ad carefully, sounds like they are saying that the car itself is/was a real SD 455 car, but that it now has a-non original engine that was built to 455 SD specs.   Which makes sense because really nice 74 SD's are now easily six-digit cars.   In any case, looks like a nice driver-quality car that will make someone happy.   

Fun fact - the RPO for that SD 455 engine was LS2, so you could LS swap your LS2 if that's what you want!   

That's my read on it as well...they kind of dance around saying the engine is an actual SD, and the price is too low for a real, numbers matching SD.

A friend of mine has a '74 SD455 Trans Am in the same color; he bought it new and today it only has something in the range of 25,000 miles on the odometer.  It's a pretty valuable car.

ncjay
ncjay SuperDork
12/1/17 7:38 p.m.

Last of the muscular Firebirds? What the hell is this?

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro PowerDork
12/1/17 7:40 p.m.

You can't "build an engine to SD specs"

The Super Duty is a different block than a 455 HO. 

The engine in that car is a 455HO.

An SD455 block has a thicker casting, 4-bolt mains and has provisions to add dry-sump oiling.

A 455HO block is just a conventional Pontiac block with 4-bolt mains. 

It's a nice looking car (except for the black steering column) but it stopped being an SD455 some time ago. Finding an SD455 for it might bring it's value back but the only way to make it the real thing is to have the numbers matching block.

 

NOT A TA
NOT A TA Dork
12/1/17 9:21 p.m.

It's got some things that were done that make me go "Hmmmmm?"  Like the inboard mounted non staggered rear shocks and what appears to be some kind of wanna be (but aren't?)  frame connectors.

Patrick
Patrick GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/1/17 9:32 p.m.
NOT A TA said:

It's got some things that were done that make me go "Hmmmmm?"  Like the inboard mounted non staggered rear shocks and what appears to be some kind of wanna be (but aren't?)  frame connectors.

 

with the inboard shocks and remnants of through the floor frame connectors i’d say this was a drag car at some point in time and they hacked off the rear portion of the connectors to replace the floorpans, and left the inboard mount shocks.  That would explain why the original engine is gone too.  

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
12/5/17 9:51 a.m.

Also, the SD455 was rated at 290 hp.  Not very impressive in this day and age (My 4 cyl RS has 350 hp.)

Tony Sestito
Tony Sestito PowerDork
12/5/17 10:29 a.m.

The Super Duty Pontiac engines were the real deal, despite the horsepower figures. They came with round port heads (as opposed to the standard D-port ones), a different intake manifold, and a stronger block and internals than the typical 455. It used a forged crank and stronger rods, and the block had extra reinforcements for strength and durability. For instance, the lifter valley on a regular Pontiac V8 was a weak spot, so the SD455 has a beefier casting for this area.

These engines were a backyard tune away from making a lot more than the advertised HP. They also were intended for racing; they even had provisions for dry sump oiling, right from the factory. Remember, these were offered in 1973 and 1974. There were not many cars that could match this thing off the showroom floor back then. A new V6 Camry will mop the floor with 80% of the muscle car era rides, so you can't really compare what's out there now to one of these. 

Here's the thing: if it IS a documented SD car, I'd say it's worth between $25-30k even with the wrong engine. The problem is, you are going to have to shell out just as much if not more to put a real SD455 under the hood. They are unbelievably expensive and rare. 

If I won the lottery and bought this car, it would get an aftermarket all-aluminum Pontiac-style V8 with all the SD455 trimmings. I'd make it look as stock as possible and drive the wheels off of it! 

Edit: I just noticed that this engine is wearing #16 heads. They made a few different castings with the #16 stamped on the exhaust ports. Pontiac did an annoying thing back then, and they re-used casting codes on a number of different heads. If you are lucky, you got the HO heads that were made in 1968 that had the 2.11/1.77 valves and small combustion chambers for high compression. If you hit the lottery, these are the #16's that actually came on a SD455! They also made small valve, bigger chamber "big car" #16 heads that are much more common. Judging by the pics, these appear to be real Super Duty heads, and that's a good thing. 

Trans_Maro
Trans_Maro PowerDork
12/5/17 11:38 p.m.
jstein77 said:

Also, the SD455 was rated at 290 hp.  Not very impressive in this day and age (My 4 cyl RS has 350 hp.)

-yawn-

Let me know when your RS makes 500 lb/ft.

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