It’s always refreshing to see a true driver’s car at the head of a parade, like this 1974 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am SD-455. This car shocked and awed enthusiasts as well as automotive publications like Car and Driver when it came out, the final roar of American muscle at the end of the golden age. And with very few made, seeing one in person is just that much more a treat. At least you can see this one in action in the video below.
Once the video launches into the parade and the music cuts, you’re able to hear that 455ci V8 rumbling like an unruly beast. That engine made for the fastest production Firebird to date, at a time when emissions restrictions seemingly killed the fun for American muscle. GM found a loophole in the laws by using a 455, which was grandfathered in after passing the initial emissions tests, blessing enthusiasts with one more hard-hitting car. To make things even sweeter, the car comes with a nice 4-speed manual transmission.
You also get to see the car doing harder acceleration on public roads away from the parade. Unfortunately, some music is overlaid, so you can’t just listen to the sweet song of that engine revving and the exhaust crackling aggressively. Still, it’s loud enough to drown out a fair amount of the music.
If Pontiac was offering such an amazing treat, why were only 212 made? Thanks to a perceived lack of demand, the powers-that-be decided to make the 455 Super Duty engine by hand off the assembly line. That ballooned costs and restricted production numbers, which is why you don’t see these Trans Am SD-455s rolling around everywhere today.
The owner of this car is George Panossian, who also owns All-Brite Custom Auto Body Repair in Monrovia, California.
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