Most Wanted Classic Cars: Pontiac Grand Prix (Part 1)

Posted by Steve White on Sep 19, 2012

The Pontiac Grand Prix was a full-size automobile that was manufactured by General Motor’s Pontiac division from 1962 to 2008. It was the successor to the Pontiac Ventura and positioned just below the Bonneville in Pontiac’s lineup.

The first generation Grand Prix was similar in many ways to the standard Pontiac Catalina coupe. It had minimal exterior chrome trim, a sporty interior with center console and bucket seats, and distinctive taillights and grille. Its standard engine was Bonneville’s 389 cid V8 and optional engines included the 400 cid V8, 421 cid V8, and 428 cid V8. Initially, the 389 V8 was rated at 303 hp, but it was upgraded to produce 325 hp with automatic transmission and 333 hp with manual in 1965. Transmission options included the standard three-speed manual, three-speed automatic, and four-speed manual.

In 1969, the Grand Prix was downsized to a mid-sized car, and it created a whole new market segment in the US – the intermediate personal luxury car. This new car was smaller and lighter, and it featured the “Coke bottle” body shape, redesigned radiator, some Duesenberg styling cues, and the longest hood ever on a Pontiac at that time. When it was first introduced, it came with four engine options altogether, two versions of 400 cid V8 and two versions of 428 cid V8. The 428 cid V8 was replaced with a 455 cid V8 in 1970. The second generation Pontiac Grand Prix is considered by some experts as the “first successful downsizing of an American car”.

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