If you want to really excite a Pontiac guy, all you need to do is utter the words “Super Duty”. Damn it, here come the palps...
Back in the Seventies, performance cars had become politically incorrect in America. Due to the oil crisis and stringent emissions regulations, there was a shift from tyre-shredding monsters to more economical offerings — but as fast cars were fast becoming museum pieces, Pontiac surprised the world by opening up a whole new, rip-roaring exhibit; it wasn’t about to clip the Firebirds wings without a fight and while the Mustangs and Camaros continued to lose power, Pontiac defied all the odds with the legendary 1973 Trans Am SD-455. This one was for the serious enthusiasts — and very much a racing car for the road. Just how it managed to make it to production during those power-robbing years is nothing but miraculous. It was Pontiac’s last stand and the last real muscle car.
The SD (Super-Duty) 455 cubic inch (7.5-litre) V8 was based on a racing engine and featured a four-barrel Rochester Quadrajet carb, aluminium pistons, oversized valves, and a specially designed camshaft. It made 310 horsepower and 536Nm of torque but was easy to modify to reach even higher numbers. It was mated to a four-speed manual or three-speed automatic and although it only lived for two short model years, in that time, it gained iconic status. By ‘75, Pontiac had dropped the big-block V8 and detuned all of its motors. Power continued to fall however sales would hit an all-time high in ‘77 thanks to the hit flick Smokey and the Bandit.
Today, prices reflect just how special the 1973 Trans Am SD-455 really is with the average for one of these beasts being Dh350,000.
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