Last updated Nov 14, 2009
This car is one of 34,445 two door Grand Ams made that year
The Grand Am, coined by Pontiac with a name derived from two other cars in its lineup ("Grand" signifying "Grand Prix luxury" and "Am" for "Trans Am performance") was designed as American's answer to European luxury/sport sedans and available as a 4-door Colonnade sedan or a 2 door Colonnade coupe. 43,136 Grand Ams were built during the first year of production (both two door and four door models).
The Grand Am could be had with a standard 400/2bbl engine (170 horsepower), an optional 400/4bbl engine (230 horsepower), or an optional 455/4bbl engine (250 horsepower). Originally planned but never materialized was the availability of 310 horsepower (230 kW) Super Duty 455/4bbl that was originally set to be available on several 1973 Pontiac models including the Grand Am, Grand Prix and GTO along with the Firebird Trans Am and Formula. However, production of the 455 SD was delayed from its planned debut at the start of the model year due to emissions considerations. Production of the 455 SD was delayed until the spring of 1973 and then it was made available only on the two Firebird models. One early '73 Grand Am prototype was reportedly assembled with the 455 SD engine.
The 400/2bbl, 400/4bbl, and 455/4bbl engines were available with a Turbo-hydramatic 400 automatic as standard equipment. A 4-speed manual transmission was available with the 400/4bbl engine in 1973 and 1974. It is unknown how many of the 1973 model year Grand Ams had the four-speed manual transmission, but it is estimated to be in the 600-900 range for 1973 and perhaps half that in 1974. The four speed manual transmission was available only with the 400/4bbl engine. All 400/2bbl and 455/4bbl equipped cars were automatics.
The 1973 Pontiac Grand Am style had a unique flexible urethane front fascia center nose that was squeezable and could return back to its original shape following a minor collison, a total of 6 grille openings with vertical bars, round front turn signals, horizontal rear tail lights, and chrome rear bumper. Additionally, Grand Ams featured a Radial Tuned Suspension (RTS) as standard equipment which included the radial-ply tires, Pliacell shock absorbers and front and rear sway bars for improved ride and handling. This basic suspension tuning also came standard with the Grand Prix SJ option in 1973 and optional on two other Pontiac models that year including the full-sized Bonneville and the sporty Firebird. The Grand Am was one of only three GM cars to come standard with radial tires and appropriate suspension tuning in 1973 with the others being the Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon and Chevrolet Monte Carlo S.
Inside, the Grand Am came standard with Strato bucket seats upholstered in Naugahyde vinyl or corduroy cloth featuring recliners and adjustable lumbar support - both features common on European-style sports/luxury sedans but unusual for American cars of that time. Also included were an instrument panel from the Pontiac Grand Prix featuring a Rally Gauge Cluster with full instrumentation (tachometer optional-on cars so equipped, the clock was moved to a space on the lower instrument panel under the radio), three-spoke steering wheel with large padded hub and Genuine Crossfire Mahogany trim on the dash facing, radio and clock surrounds, as well as the center console between the front seats. Grand Ams also were among the first U.S.-built cars to come with a turn-signal mounted headlight dimmer switch that had been common on imported cars for decades.
Pontiac also produced a single 1973 Grand Am station wagon as a feasibility study. This was a LeMans wagon converted to a Grand Am. A functional ram-air induction system was developed for the Pontiac A-bodies utilizing twin NACA openings in the hood, but the option was dropped due to inability to pass federally mandated drive-by noise standards. A few functional Ram Air systems were sold over the counter, but are extremely rare. The twin-scoop NACA hood was an option for any Pontiac A-body for all three years, but was non-functional.
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