If the 69-71 GTO was “The Judge”, then the ’77 Pontiac Can Am was the “Faithful”. For the single year of 1977, Pontiac created what some consider, the “Last Muscle Car”.
The Pontiac Can Am Is Born
The concept was born out of a combination of different vehicles. Take the 73 Lemans body, strap a 400-cubic-inch V8 engine in the front and give award-winning vehicle designer Jim Wanger full creative control to develop a color scheme that makes the Can-Am a one-of-a-kind sexy muscle machine.
Developed from the GOAT
Pontiac had no issues with utilizing the successful GTO name to market their special edition muscle master. The catchphrase for their advertisements read “Remember the GOAT”. The GTO and the new muscle car were related but were significantly different in most ways.
The car was a variation of the Pontiac LeMans, but powered by the Pontiac 400 rated at 200 hp (149 kW; 203 PS) (the T/A 6.6 “W72” version, not the base 400, which made 180). Cars specifically destined for Californian or high-altitude county dealers featured the Oldsmobile 403 Small Block making 185 hp (138 kW; 188 PS).
Road tests commonly quoted the CA as having a 180 hp (130 kW) 400, along with a 2.41 rear gear ratio. This was a combination never offered to the public. When built with the 400 engine, the CA came with the three-speed automatic TH400 and 3.08 rear gears. When built with the Olds 403 engine, the Can Am came with the three-speed automatic TH350 and 2.41 rear gears. No four-speed manual transmission cars were produced.
Pontiac Can Am Design
The Can Am package was on Le Mans cars painted Cameo White which was then accessorized in orange, red, and yellow graphics, as well as blacked-out lower panels and window trim. The standard road wheel was a color-matched Rally II with chrome trim rings. Many options were available, including the aluminum “snowflake” wheels offered on the Trans Am, and a steel or glass sunroof. Interior trim color options were the same as the base Le Mans and included red, black, white, and tan.