For Pontiac purists, all-original vehicles are an invaluable resource. Each example is a treasure trove of details that provides an exclusive look at how our favorite Pontiacs were produced so many years ago. The information gathered is not only beneficial for future Pontiac restorations, it can also help discern what’s correct from what isn’t when dealing with other Pontiacs heralded as “original” or “correctly restored.”
An important factor we must always consider when documenting original cars is that assembly-line workers used every means at their disposal to finish one vehicle’s build and move on to the next. Fasteners with a different finish or those from another supplier were commonly substituted to keep the line rolling on any given day. And you can rest assured that workers were concerned more with the consequences associated with holding up production that day, than what Pontiac enthusiasts would think of it some 30 to 40 years later!
It’s also not uncommon to find other variances or production changes on Pontiacs built at the same assembly plant around the same time, and that can make determining a vehicle’s originality quite difficult. Just because a particular aspect doesn’t look like what’s generally found on the best-restored examples today doesn’t suggest it’s incorrect. That’s why known-original, and unmodified examples are the best resource for documenting such variances. And in last month’s issue of HPP we began the process of poring over our ’74 Trans Am.
With just 17,000 miles on its odometer, our Trans Am has lived a rather privileged life. It wasn’t exposed to the elements that can negatively affect original finishes or the wrenching associated with general repairs. Despite the fact that it’s equipped with the rare Super-Duty 455 engine, it was produced on the Norwood, Ohio, assembly line in January 1974, and likely contains many of the typical details found on Firebirds not only of that model year, but many others of the era.
Last month we took an up-close look at its exterior and underhood areas. In this, the final installment of our two part series, we explore the interior and suspension. As before, it’s impractical to discuss every minute detail we discovered, so we included those commonly overlooked or questioned during restorations of similar vehicles. You’re sure to find something interesting!