When most people think of a muscle car, they think of intermediate, mid-size cars from the 1964-1972 time period; a time where cubic inches ruled the street, a dollar bought you four gallons of gas and catalytic converters were never even dreamt of. The cars that came after 1972, with literal few exceptions, are largely disregarded as “Smog Era” machines with little to no real performance.
Those cars were larger, underpowered and typically featured massive chrome bumpers that usually spoiled the overall aesthetic of what could have been a decent-looking car. If the Feds hadn’t mandated 5mph safety bumpers starting in 1973, we would probably see some of these crates in a different light today. One of the few manufacturers, who really figured out a way to make bumper cars “work,” was Pontiac. Look no further than the ’70-81 Trans Am and the ’73-74 Grand Am. Implementing Endurance plastic in the front, they figured out how to streamline the front fascia and still pass the test provided by the Feds.
Now you may see it as love it or hate it styling, and that’s cool. But if you’re trying to get into a rear-wheel drive coupe from the seventies for not a lot of cash, the ’73-77 GM A-body is certainly a contender in that category. You can argue that the drivetrains were underpowered, and they were for the most part. But their engine bays can swallow anything from a turbo V6 to the biggest, baddest big block you can squeeze in between the fenders. Or, you can do what the owner of this ’73 Grand Am did, and slam in a 600hp LS7 from a C6 Corvette Z06.
He also tweaked it with MSD fuel rails and intake manifold, aftermarket headers and backed it with a 6-speed transmission. Beefed up suspension take things to the next level, it’s lowered, and has large-diameter wheels with a set of grippy Wilwood brakes at all four corners. The rear quarters have even been trimmed up a little bit, too, allowing dual-dual outlet exhausts to poke out, and flow with the body.
AutotopiaLA gives us this up close and personal experience with this car, and it definitely doesn’t disappoint.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of AutoCentric Media, the parent company to Timeless Muscle Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the magazine’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next round modifications for his own cars.