H-O Racing 1974 Trans Am SD-455 NHRA SS/KA

Buying the new 1974 Trans Am SD-455 4-speed

One of only 212 produced. [example shown below]

In mid-1974, "word got out" that there would be a short production run of Trans Am and Formula Firebirds equipped with the SD-455 engine. Craig Hendrickson decided to buy one, if at all possible. Working through a cooperative Pontiac dealership in Fullerton, CA (H-O Racing never any direct relationship with Pontiac Motor Division), Craig put in an order for a "Buccaneer Red" Trans Am with white seats and Borg-Warner Super T-10 4-speed manual transmission with 3.42:1 posi-traction rear end. The only hitch was that the SD-455 & 4-speed combination was NOT available for delivery in CA! Craig had H-O Racing's Trans Am "courtesy delivered" to another cooperative Pontiac dealership in Dallas, TX. Where there's a will, there's a way.

Once notification was made to Craig that H-O Racing's Trans Am was manufactured and being delivered to the Pontiac dealership in Dallas, TX, Craig bought airline tickets for Bruce Brayton and his wife Carol to fly to Dallas. Using written instructions (directions, contact, etc.), Bruce & Carol picked up the Trans Am and immediately drove it back to Lawndale, CA without incident.

Registering the Trans Am in CA was legal and not a problem. The Trans Am was considered "used" by the CA DMV and could be registered in CA as a "49-state vehicle". A CA "Smog Test" was not required at the time. One's got to know the details of the law.

Craig drove it locally on the street for several months. After putting headers and slicks on the Trans Am, it was run as a NHRA G/S car at the (February) 1975 NHRA Winternationals at Pomona, CA with some success. Later in 1975, Craig decided the SD-455 Trans Am would be more competitive nationally in one of the NHRA Super Stock classes with an automatic transmision rather than the manual one. The SD-455 Trans Am could be configured to run in SS/IA, SS/JA, SS/KA or SS/LA class by just adding weight. Craig chose SS/KA and SS/LA to minimize direct competition with H-O Racing customers who were also racing the SD-455 combination, usually in SS/IA or SS/JA class.