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The 1969 Pontiac Trans Am the DMV Disassembled

With only 697 Pontiac Trans Am cars made in 1969, there’s not doubt that the model is incredibly rare, but what happened to this particular one makes it even more of a rarity. Like its 1969 sibling models, this Trans Am features the United States racing colors of blue stripes over white paint, and this was purposely done to show the car was designed specifically to race.

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Most of the 1969 Trans Ams featured the 335 hp Ram Air III engine, but this particular one was one of just 55 cars that was fitted with the more powerful Ram Air IV. This already rare car was likely driven by a company executive, based on its record of being put into service on June 23, 1969 in the Pontiac home office. In 1970, this Trans Am was shipped to Michael Pontiac in Oakmont, Pennsylvania, where it remained until the 1990s.

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At that time, the Trans Am was restored to like-new condition and sold to a California man. He didn’t realize, however, just how rare his purchase was. This 1969 Pontiac Trans Am was only one of two cars with the Ram Air IV engine and a column-shifted TH400 transmission. This configuration made the console appear far from standard, so – when the car’s newest owner put it on the auction block – it drew attention.

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The Trans Am’s unique configuration made prospective buyers skeptical about the car’s authenticity, so its owner turned to the California Department of Motor Vehicles for verification. To his surprise, however, the DMV impounded the car due to a part of the firewall that had been replaced with a bit from a donor car. You see, the DMV wasn’t concerned with the odd-looking console but with the presence of two VINs.

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The DMV actually had this Trans Am disassembled before finally issuing a new VIN plate (after several months). Unfortunately, the burden of putting it back together fell on the car’s owner. It wasn’t until 2006 that this Trans Am was sold to its current owner in Colorado, where it will hopefully remain intact for some time.

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Categories: Gear Grinding, Production Cars

Chris Riley

About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. GearHeads.org gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.