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Bob Prichard's 1971 Pontiac Trans Am - Big Bad 'Bird

By: Miles Cook, David Featherstone, Photography by David Featherstone

Pontiac played real hardball for many years with its high-performance cars. Ab Jenkins set a new 24-hour endurance record at Bonneville in 1956 with an average speed of 118.37 mph, while in 1957 Pontiac was the NASCAR Grand National champion.

The early '60s brought Royal Pontiac to the light as they dominated the Super Stock racing seasons. The winning trend continued in the '60s golden years as Pontiac headed the musclecar pack with the GTO, Firebird, Trans Am, and Judge.

Herb Adams' work at Pontiac played a major role in the development of the best musclecars the GM division ever built. Adams was a key influence for programs like the '69 Trans Am, the Judge evolution, and the 455 HO motor-all knock-down punchy street beasts of the first order.

Bob Prichard's '71 Trans Am is a fine example of the last of the choice crop of PMD musclecars to roll off assembly lines. In 1969, Pontiac had a 400-cube limit on intermediate-size cars, and even though the limit was lifted by 1971, Pontiac was having to slow down street performance just like all the other car makers. Still, Adams and the other resident horsepower freaks at PMD engineering built a motor that had plenty of punch in the form of the 455 HO. Even with 8.4:1 compression, it still cranked out about 335 gross horsepower.

Bob found this TA in San Jose, California, after it had been stolen, stripped, recovered, sold, repaired, and crashed. Surprisingly, the car was still in basically sound condition. Scouring for parts at swap meets, boneyards, Pontiac parts houses, and resto suppliers, the car now looks cool, runs 13-second quarter-mile times, and Bob drives it on weekends, enjoying life with one of the era's great musclecars.

By Miles Cook, David Featherstone
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