One of the rarest and most significant muscle cars of all time, the Cameo White 1969 Pontiac Trans Am, was produced almost as an after thought. With no fanfare and only two national ads to promote the new Pontiac, the birth of the hybrid Firebird made it the most important performance Pontiac that no one ever heard of. It would not take long, however, for the Trans Am to make its mark on the American muscle car scene.
This week a rare 1969 Pontiac Trans Am has appeared in the for sale listings of the Cars-On-Line.com website. (Follow this link to see dozens of detailed photos.) It was posted for sale by Legendary Motorcar Company, one of the world’s premier collector car sales houses and restoration shops. It is historically significant because is is one of only 14 ’69 Trans Ams that came with the standard Parchment interior. It is also just one of 114 Trans Ams that year with the Tubro 400 automatic transmission.
You see, there were only 689 Trans Am hardtops produced that first year. A mid-year offering, production was limited due to plant strikes that year. Its midyear introduction and a strike at one of its assembly facilities limited Pontiac’s Trans Am production to just 697 units altogether that first year. There were just eight convertibles produced. Because this particular Trans Am came out late it the production run, it came from the factory with a Formula steering wheel.
According to the description from Legendary Motorcar Company, this Cameo White 1969 Pontiac Trans Am was sold at Flat Ryals Pontiac Buick of Kissimmee, Florida on November 19, 1969. Fifty-two years later it is being sold with its original documentation still intact. This car’s documentation includes the window sticker, sales receipt, build sheet, owner’s manual, Protect-O-Plate, owner protection plan, owner history and PHS certification.
Under the hood is a numbers matching Ram Air III 400/335 hp V8 backed by a Turbo 400 automatic transmission. Due to its extreme rarity, a complete rotisserie restoration was completed on this first-year Trans Am. It was not long after that that it won a First-Place award at the Trans Am Nationals.
In that first year of Trans Am production the famous muscle car could only be purchased in one color combination, Cameo White with Tyrol blue racing stripes. It was the traditional look of a road racer, thus the name Trans Am. For $3,556 ’69 Trans Am buyers got the look of a road racer and the power of the Ram Air III 400 ci engine.
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.
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.
The base Trans-Am package also included dual exhaust, power front disc brakes variable ratio power steering and “Saf-T-Track” 3.55 differential.
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.