A first year 1969 Pontiac Trans Am is headlining the Cars On Line newsletter this weekend. Cars On Line labels it the “Sleeper Pony Car for 1969” because it appeared without a great deal of fanfare right in the middle of the muscle car era.
Designed by John Delorean and Bill Collins of Pontiac Motor Division, the Pontiac Trans Am first appeared in 1969 as the “Trans Am Performance and Appearance Package, a $725 option on the Firebird, with the WS4 suspension. It was named for the SCCA Trans Am Racing Series even though it never was entered in the series by Pontiac. In fact, the 1969 Pontiac Trans Am was the best kept secret in the new car market that year. There were only two ads ever run in major magazines before it premiered in March of 1969. Most muscle car enthusiasts never knew the Trans Am existed.
Gateway Classic Cars has listed an ad for the first year 1969 Pontiac Trans Am you see pictured here out of their Milwaukee location. (Follow this link to see the Gateway ad with dozens of high resolution photos.) “This is truly a rare opportunity to own a number-matching original restored to show quality,” they say in their description. “There is no mistaking this historic car with its functioning dual hood scoops, air inlets on both front fenders and an aerodynamically tested rear deck spoiler. Power is provided by a completely rebuilt and correctly detailed 400 cid OHV Ram-Air III V8 rated at 366 horsepower.”
Be sure to click the video window below to see a special presentation on this first year Trans Am:
The base Trans-Am package also includes dual exhaust, power front disc brakes variable ratio power steering and “Saf-T-Track” 3.55 differential. Gateway verifies that this car has all this equipment plus the Pontiac Historical Society documents to back up their statements. “This vehicle was ordered with options including a 4-speed manual transmission, push button radio, Rally II wheels, Rally gauge cluster with clock and “Soft Ray” glass windshield. This professional restoration included all OEM panels and components right down to the correct T3 headlights.”
Just as the Chevrolet Camaro and the Pontiac Firebird were cousins, so the 1969 Camaro Z/28 and the 1969 Pontiac Trans Am were the performance versions on the family tree. There were far more 1969 Camaro Z/28s produced however. Only 689 Trans Am hardtops and 8 convertibles were produced at Pontiac that first year. Very few of them have survived for collectors to restore, so they are very valuable now in the collector car market. Pontiac marketing positioned it as a Camaro Z/28 with bigger performance engines. Where Z/28s have actually been going down in value the past four years, Trans Ams are definitely increasing in value. These are great investments for collectors. One sign of collector value is this. You will see far more ’69 Trans Am clones on the market than Camaro Z/28 clones. And the collector value of a ’69 Trans Am clone is measurably higher.
The original ’69 Trans Ams only came in one color combination, Cameo Ivory with blue accent stripes and blue vinyl interior. All first year 1969 Pontiac Trans Am cars came with functional ram air hood, 60” rear air spoiler, and were fitted with non-functional air vent scoops on the front fenders.
Pontiac’s Herb Adams came up with a 1-inch front stabilizer bar and improved steering that was on the virge of genius. If the Z/28 was quicker, the Trans Am handled better, and with more power.