1974 Pontiac Trans Am SD455: We drive the final muscle automotive


The final of the unique muscle automobile period, anyway: a 1974 Pontiac Trans Am Tremendous Obligation 455

Stick your head inside this 1974 Trans Am and what it smells like? Highschool. Craig Jackson graduated from highschool in 1977. By then, in fact, the muscle-automotive period was useless and buried and we had been all wallowing round in Pintos and Datsun B210s. However the Trans Am we bought to drive, the one you see right here, was nonetheless a muscle automotive, the final muscle automobile. It was just like the final buffalo, solely quicker and with 395 lb-ft of torque.

“The muscle-automotive period stretched as late as 1974 due to one automotive,” wrote Barrett-Jackson’s Steve Statham.

This was that automobile.

“That is the tip of the period,” stated Craig Jackson, mashing the throttle on the Trans Am on an unnamed Southern California freeway, the grand beast rising on its haunches, roaring its horrible roar. “… Till trendy muscle vehicles.”

Trans Am panner

Jackson drives the Tremendous Obligation like Rockford by means of a seashore parking zone.


However reasonably than bid farewell to the period, you possibly can nonetheless root round right here and there — on Craigslist, eBayMotors, AutoTrader and at any of a thousand swap meets everywhere in the world — and discover nice, grizzled, nonetheless-going dinosaurs like this one. And you’ll drive them. That’s what we had been doing, the results of a gathering with Jackson at Pebble Beach, the place we stated we thought it’d be “…an ideal thought to drive one thing enjoyable.” Jackson steered this automobile, in all probability as a result of Jackson loves muscle automobiles greater than nearly the rest on the earth –- and since they’re going to promote it Sept. 26 in Las Vegas, and the extra folks find out about it the extra money everyone’ll make off it.

Jackson acquired a few of his love of muscle vehicles from his dad Russ Jackson, in fact, who was the unique Jackson in Barrett-Jackson Auctions.

“I used to be simply fortunate I grew up round lots of nice muscle automobiles,” stated Jackson, mashing extra throttle and grabbing extra gears, having extra enjoyable than maybe a accountable fifty six-yr-outdated ought to. “I grew up round Tom Barrett, who had all of the world’s nice classics, and my dad with the classics he had, and I discovered restoring vehicles on these. My dad actually preferred Figoni et Falaschi, Delahayes and Talbot Lagos and V16 Cadillacs. He labored at Fisher Physique at General Motors and went to GM Tech. And I used to be born in Pontiac. So I all the time preferred Pontiacs.”

Trans Am chciken


Roooooaaaaarrrr! Blip, blip, squeal! Roar, roar, roar!

Having an older brother helped, too.

“He was 14 years older,” mentioned Jackson. “Babysitting, for my brother, was taking me to Beeline Dragway, the place he gained the Winternationals in ‘sixty five in Tremendous Inventory; he raced SCCA so we used to go to Riverside, Stardust Raceway and watch him race; and cruising Central (Avenue) in Phoenix. So I spent numerous time within the again seat of muscle automobiles as he went and did issues. And I’ve at all times beloved them.”

This one is nearly good, in numerous methods, for Jackson.

If solely it was a ’seventy three it’d be excellent.

“I’m gonna purchase a ’seventy three,” he stated. “I like Tremendous Dutys.”

Certainly, even with its smog gear, the ’seventy four in Tremendous Obligation trim nonetheless has the texture of a real muscle automobile.

“You don’t get the identical horsepower that you just bought in ’seventy three. These had an eight.5:1 compression ratio, so to actually get the horsepower, you gotta rev it extra. When the secondaries on the Quadrajet kick in, you’re feeling it. It’s bought a cast crank, cast pistons, TRW solid pistons in it, so it’s received all the nice internals, it’s simply that it’s a smog motor. It’s the one means they may make any horsepower.”

However they nonetheless made some, 290 internet hp, which was sixty five greater than the usual, non-Tremendous Obligation four hundred-cubic-inch V8 and forty greater than the common, additionally non-Tremendous Obligation 455. There was additionally 395 lb-ft of torque, all of which actually made the automotive rise up and go, as we discovered when it was our flip to drive.

Trans Am engine

The center of the beast – the Screaming Hen coronary heart.


The important thing that begins this huge bruiser simply appears too small to be efficient, but it surely works — flip it and the large block bolts to life. Push the lengthy clutch pedal manner right down to the ground, search round just a little for first gear after which whammo, you’re off. With a lot torque it’s simple to interrupt the rears free, nevertheless it’s not uncontrollable. You’ll be able to squeal the tires loudly or simply make somewhat squeak. We squealed a bit of simply because we may.

“Go forward,” Jackson stated when a protracted, dragstrip-like stretch emptied out and opened up earlier than us — and so we did.

The engine roars, however it’s not an abusive roar; the entrance finish rises and the automobile begins to drift round a bit of. It’s a must to take note of the entire course of. In that regard, it’s most likely safer to drive a automotive like this, which is absolutely partaking, than a extra fashionable automobile that does the whole lot for you. Folks look, they like, they provide the thumbs up. One man asks if “…that’s the Smokey and the Bandit automobile.” Jackson tells him it’s a couple of mannequin years early.

By way of cease-and-go site visitors, the temp gauge stayed at one hundred eighty levels, a temperature Jackson stated he sees in site visitors in Phoenix, too.

A number of extra open stretches, just a few extra good, enjoyable launches. We might take this to Beeline Dragway, we predict, if solely Beeline Dragway nonetheless existed. It doesn’t; neither does Stardust Racewway, however this automobile does. It’s going to go on the block at no reserve. Jackson figures it’ll simply promote for six figures. It’s a clear automobile, every thing is simply as we bear in mind automobiles in that period. And whereas six figures might look like some huge cash, it’s fairly low-cost for a time machine.

Anybody wish to return?


Mark Vaughn 


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