1973 LeMans

The 1973 LeMans, along with all other GM intermediates, was new from the ground up but retained the same wheelbase lengths of 112 inches for two-door coupes, and 116 inches for four-door sedans and station wagons. All models featured the federally-mandated 5 mile-per-hour front bumpers along with single headlights. Handling capabilities were greatly improved on all models due to new front-suspension components shared with the X-body Pontiac Firebird/Chevrolet Camaro, improved rear coil suspension and bias-belted tires (except Grand Ams, which got radial tires).

Engine offerings were carried over from 1972 with revisions to meet the 1973 emission requirements. Standard on base LeMans sedans and coupes was Chevrolet's 250 cubic-inch inline six-cylinder engine, while the LeMans Sport Coupe, Luxury LeMans sedans and coupes, and all Safari wagons got Pontiac's 350 cubic-inch V8 with two-barrel carburetor rated at 150 horsepower standard (optional on base LeMans models). Optionally available on LeMans, Sport and Luxury LeMans was a 400 cubic-inch V8 with two-barrel carb and 170 horsepower, a 230-horsepower 400 four-barrel (standard with the GTO option) and a 250-horsepower 455 four-barrel was optional on all models. Planned and listed as an option for the 1973 GTO but never materialized was a 455 Super Duty V8 rated at 310 net horsepower for which introduction was delayed by Pontiac management due to emission issues until the spring of 1973 and then only in the smaller Firebird Formula and Trans Am ponycars.

A three-speed manual transmission with column shift was standard on LeMans and Luxury LeMans models while the GTO came with a floor-mounted three-speed with Hurst shifter. Available at extra cost was the three-speed Turbo Hydra-matic with all engines while a four-speed manual with Hurst shifter was available with the 230-horsepower 400

1973 History and Identification

Below is an early conceptual drawing of the Grand Am for 1973

At least some of the Grand Am engine options were said to be derived from the research work that PMD engineers Herb Adams and Jeff Young did on the aborted 1969 Trans Am "303" project. That earlier performance technology had resulted in a powerful V-8 that was quite happy with 91-octane fuel. It was now applied to the 455 cubic inch block to create an engine coded as the LS2 option.

This was really a brand-new Super-Duty Pontiac motor with a massive Quadra-jet carburetor; forged connecting rods; special TRW pistons; low-restriction dual exhausts, and RAM AIR induction. It produced 310 SAE NET Horsepower. (Note: the official rating was 290 horsepower).

This engine came with only two transmissions. The first was the Turbo Hydra-matic and the second a Muncie M-20 wide ration 4 speed manual gearbox. With a car fairly well loaded with passengers, it could do the quarter mile in 15 seconds with a terminal speed of 94 mph. Purportedly there was only one SD-455 powered Grand Am and three SD-455 powered 1973 GTOs (two 4-speeds and one automatic).

Other optional V-8s were a 200 hp 400 cu.in. 2 barrel engine, a 230 hp 400 cu.in. 4 barrel engine, a 215 hp 455 cu.in. 2 barrel engine and finally a 250 hp 455 cu.in. 4 barrel engine.
Riding on a 112 inch wheelbase "Radial-Tuned Suspension" chassis was the Style Number 2AH37 Grand Am 2 door coupe. PMD officially called it a two door Notch Back Hardtop. It had an initial price of $ 4,262 and listed a shipping weight of 3,992 lbs. Production amounted to 34,445 copies and the one shown above has front fender trim indicating that a SD-455 engine was under the hood.

The Grand Am dashboard was pirated from the Grand Prix series and was fully instrumented with Rally guages. Upholstery options included cloth with corduroy insert panels or perforated, leather like Morrokide.

Ten inch diameter power front disc brakes were on the regular equipment sheet. At each corner GR 70-15 radial tires were mounted on 15 x 7 inch wheels. Specific body striping and model identification trim was seen on all Grand Ams. Additional features included variable ratio steering; heavy duty suspension; Pliacell shock absorbers and front/rear stabilizer bars.

1973 Grand Am four door

The Style Number 2AH29 Grand Am four door Notch Back Hardtop (six window) was nothing short of fascinating in it's appearance. PMD publicily stated that it was the first four door car built in Pontiac, Michigan, that ever excited assembly line workers!

The sloping three piece nose section was made of injection molded urethane plastic colour matched to the body. The standard engine was the 400 cu.in. V-8 in either 170 or 185 hp form (depending on whether single or dual exhausts were ordered). Bucket seats with adjustable lumbar supports; 14 inch cushioned steering wheel, and African crossfire mahogany dash paneling were also standard.

Base priced at $ 4,353, it weighed only 4,018 lbs and had production of just 8,691 examples. A 4-speed manual gearbox was a rare option.

Initial advertising for the new Pontiac stressed it's performance capabilities, which were real, by showing the first GTO, the original Firebird and the 1970 1/2 Trans Am (which the ad called a 1970 model). Of course, a Grand Am was also in the picture.

The "Colonnade" treatment on the 4 door shell included the solid door pillar and limousine like windows that cut high into the roofline.

1973 Luxury LeMans 2 door
The Luxury LeMans 2 door Notch Back Hardtop was Style Number 2AG37. It had the same "Colonnade" styling as the Grand Am, but with trim and interior detail changes everywhere.

Horizontal beauty moldings were used along the lower body and between the tailights at the rear. This rear molding carried "Pontiac" lettering. The rear quarter windows did not have the louvered treatment and the front end was similar to other LeMans intermediates, except that a grille insert with vertical division bars was utilized.

Priced at $ 3,274 in the year's beginning, this 3,799 lb beauty had production of 33,916 units. Fender skirts were standard and the upholstery design was patterned upon the Grand Ville theme.
Once considered a compact nameplate, the term "LeMans" now represented Pontiac's mid-sized offering and the Series "G" Luxury LeMans models were the most richly-appointed variants. A signature-type identification badge appeared above the beauty molding at a point behind the front wheel opening.

Full wheel discs were standard equipment as was the 150 horsepower V-8 of 350 cubic-inch displacement. Two-barrel carburetion was featured on this block and on two 400 cubic-inch power options, but the four-barrel 455 cubic-inch motor was avail- able as well.

Prices for the four door six-window Notch Back Hardtop began at $3,344. This 3,867 pound car was coded Style Number 2AG29 and 9,377 units were assembled.

1973 LeMans 2 door

Seeing production of 68,230 copies (third-highest individual model total) was the Style Number 2AD35 LeMans two-door Notch Back Hardtop. It had a base price of $2,920 and a base weight of 3,579 pounds. It was also a basically plain-looking car, but with options available to spruce it up.

Illustrations, for example, show beltline body moldings, whitewall tires and a harmonizing Cordova top. The word "LeMans" was lettered at the side of the front fender. Radial-ply tires were offered at extra cost and could be had on any 1973 Pontiac except the Ventura. Standard-shift was still used on the LeMans lines. A GT option package was a $237 additional cost selection.

Having the same styling as the "Luxury" models, but not quite the same level of appointments, was the LeMans four-door Notch Back six-window Hardtop. Designated Style Number 2AD29, Pontiac said it was worth $2,918 (in standard form) at model introduction time. It had a shipping weight of 3,605 pounds and was shipped from the factory 26,554 times.

DeLuxe or Custom full-wheel discs were optional, as was a vinyl top, white sidewall tires and rubber-faced rear bumper guards. The split-grille for standard LeMans intermediates also had vertical bars, but without the wide-spaced bright-metal accents used on "Luxury" level models. Standard models also lacked beauty moldings.

1973 Pontiac Sports Coupe

In 1972 there had been a LeMans Sport Convertible series and a separate Sport Option for the Hardtop Coupe. In 1973, the name LeMans Sport was reserved for a separate series again, but it was a "Colonnade" Coupe, with louvered rear quarter windows, as the sole model. Bucket seats were used. Style Number 2AF37 was the technical description of this 3,594 pound car, which sold for a base price of $3,008 in September.

Base engine was the 250 cubic-inch Six with a one-lung carburetor. Two-barrel V-8 options were available on the 350 and 400 cubic-inch blocks and there were four-barrel offerings on the 400 and 455 cubic- inch block. It was a relatively popular car and 50,999 examples appeared.

1973 Pontiac Lemans GTO

The G.T.O. was still alive, but not exactly fairing well. It was again an option and was installed on only 4,806 LeMans or LeMans Sport "Colonnade" Coupes. Features included a standard 400 cubic-inch four-barrel engine; blacked-out grille; dual air scoop hood; fat tires; dual exhausts; floor-mounted three-speed manual shift; rear sway bars; "Baby Moon" hub caps, and 15 x 7 inch wheels. There was also, of course, specific body striping and suitable model identification trim.

The price on the package was approximately $368. When added to a LeMans Sport, as seen here, the total would come to $3,376. Naturally, most of the "G.T.O. LeMans Sports" had a few options included as well. Window stickers above $4,000 were the general rule.

Illustrated here is the LeMans Colonnade Coupe with the G.T.O. option and front fender trim that indicates a 400-c.i.d. powerplant is under the hood. The base 400 cubic inch V-8 had 8.0:1 compression and four-barrel carbure- tion. It developed 230 horsepower at 4400 RPM and 325 pounds-feet of torque at 3200 revolutions.

Also available, at extra-cost, were two options on the 455 cubic-inch block. The one on this car had 8.0:1 compression and a four-barrel carburetor and was good for 250 horsepower at 4,000 RPM and 370 pounds-feet of torque at 2800 rpm.

The RAM AIR SD-455 V-8, previously described in the Grand AM caption, went into a few G.T.O.s as well. It must be kept in mind that all of these output ratings are expressed as SAE net horsepower and were not quite as emasculated as they seem.