Sunday, December 25, 2011

Cars in Yards: Buccaneer Red 1973 Pontiac Trans Am tops my Christmas wish list

Santa didn't leave a Buccaneer Red 1973 Trans Am under my tree this year. But I did have this 455-powered ’73 T/A project on my wish list this year. This Trans Am, one-of-4,772 built for the 1973 model year, reappeared this summer after being tucked away in an ancient, clapboard garage several years ago northeast of Birmingham, Alabama. The owner didn’t want to talk about his rare bird when I first saw it parked in his driveway in front of his battered, Carousel Red, 1969 Pontiac GTO. I remember the GTO had Judge decals and a black plastic bag covering the passenger's side window. The Trans Am scabbed with severe rust damage in its lower tail panel. Two rare Pontiacs parked in the elements. Oh, the humanity!

Don’t go away mad ...
The owner, possibly a Pontiac fan like myself, had no intentions of selling the Trans Am or GTO to me or anyone else that day or that year, for that matter. With minimal pleasantries exchanged, I gathered that full restorations on both Pontiacs were in his plans. Maximizing his profits when they were sold was the name of the game that day. Be on your way now.

1973 was the last year of the Endura front bumper on the Pontiac Trans Am and the first year of government mandated 5 mph front bumper standards.

’73 Trans Am parked outside again
It must have been late July or early August, two years after I first spotted the T/A in the yard, when I slammed on the brakes. The Buccaneer Red Trans Am briefly reappeared to taunt me on my way to work. Was it a Super Duty? Four-speed? I dreamed of hammering through the gears and listening to the 455-V8 roar. Why was it parked outside? A few days passed and the red, rusty beauty was gone. My questions remain unanswered, for now.

1973 Trans Am facts
The 1973 Trans Am was a year of many firsts. It was the first year Pontiac offered the hand-built, beefed-up, Super Duty 455-V8 engine. Trans Ams needed little help attracting attention on the road but 1973 was the debut of the large, iconic, decal that featured Firebird’s screaming chicken graphic smack dab in the center of the hood. 1973 was also the first year the second generation (1970-1981) Trans Am was offered in colors other than Cameo White or Lucerne Blue. Single, wide stripe T/As were no more. Buccaneer Red, Brewster Green and Cameo White were the only paint options. Lucerne Blue was no longer an exterior color option.

Buccaneer Red 1973 Trans Ams are rare birds and were the epitome of "The Fast and Furious" in the 1970s.

1973 Trans Am production total: 4,772 
BASE 455 T/A total: 4,550
- 4-speed manual: 1,420
- TH400 3-speed automatic: 3,130
455 SUPER DUTY T/A total: 252
- 4-speed manual: 72
- TH400 3-speed automatic: 180

– Jody Potter,

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Gary said...

Any pics of the 69 Judge?

Junkyard Life said...

I may have a shot buried in my computer. I will dig around but I think I took it for granted that the GTO and T/A would be parked there for a while. They weren't. Like everything in life, change is inevitable.