In a fairly recent article
The 69 -70 firebird trans am was named the most powerful firebird ever produced . However the most valuable NON TA was said to be the 73 74 SD. While the SD 455 was one one heck of a car and certainly very rare, The reality is a lesser known RAIV version of the NON trans am firebird was in fact built and is FAR more rare, sought after and valuable .
The RAII, RAIV non trans am firebird (almost a unicorn) was usually pre 1969 trans am in production date . These special cars were built in both convertible and hardtop.
While similar to the trans am they were simpler, lighter and probably most importantly (to thier buyers )
available in any of the firebird Colors. Many were specially prepped dealer owned and/or sponsored race cars !
Stephen Pontiac , Strong Pontiac, Garber, etc
They are considered the most rare and exotic of all the firebird line up by Pontiac owners, yet to be fair to the original articles author, they are also the most forgotten by publications throughout the years which has likely only added to their mystique and rarity.
I think that part of the deal is that these cars are also not Trans Ams. Not that it's a bad thing, but name recognition is a very real thing and while most Pontiac enthusiasts would rather have the more interesting car, the casual enthusiast would rather have the car they know.
Personally, I think the Trans Ams are going to carry more value than the rarer cars because of that name recognition. But since verifiable sales are nonexistent, we'll probably never know what thought process is correct until a sale happens.
I feel much of it is that the advertising push was on the TA not the bird .
Many not in the circle, just didn’t know they existed.
it hasn’t hurt value at all though they’ve (firebirds) rested on thier own merits through the years, We’re talking about cars that command close to half a million dollars today. You’ll rarely ever see one at an auction. Trans ams tend to command a little less money and are seen at auctions fairly often, not because they are a lessor car ( they are very similar) likely it’s the trans ams were able to be noticed as different, therefore saved and expected to be valuable so there’s just more survivors. Original production figures were actually very similar between the two.
The TA is only valuable in some cases. Most hold value of a GTO.
The special dealer cars are like Yenko. The Royal Bobcats are big money today.
then you have the 421 light weight Cats that can bring near or at $1,000,000. Depending on condition and heritage.
Then are the odd balls. The last Fiero built went for nearly $100,000, the #3 Indy CART pace car went for $65,000. The Banshee cars were way up there.
FI 57 Bonnies are six figures.
The TA now is hot as they were cheap for so long and their time just arrived. The big engine cars, the special editions and 4 speeds will see big value but many high mile general models will not see the same top dollars. Condition and miles also will play key in future values.