Other striking features on...
Other striking features on the '62 include the roofline, which was first prototyped on a '59 Pontiac in fiberglass and then again on a '60 model. This design, which appears to be a convertible but isn't, was adopted across the line for 1962-in steel, this time. Believe it or not, backup lights used to be an option, and Duane Rowland's GP has them.
White Morrokide everywhere...
White Morrokide everywhere with red accents makes for a classy office.
Very subtle trim, a lowered...
Very subtle trim, a lowered stance, and specific emblems set the GP apart from the chrome-laden land barges of the early '60s. Duane Rowland's GP features red paint and optional 8-Lug wheels shod with modern 205/75R14 tires. He added the rearview mirror, too.
By the late '50s, luxury models were pushing 2 tons at the curb and were laden with giant fins and an abundance of chrome trim. Performance usually came wrapped in the no-frills lesser sedan body styles and may have even been delivered with rubber floor mats instead of carpeting. Blending of power and luxury seemed to occur only at the high side of the price scale, la the Chrysler 300. Sure, Pontiac still had the Bonneville, but it too fell victim to the bigger-is-better Detroit mindset of the era.
Could there be a market for a practically sized model adorned with enough luxury to avoid a snubbing at the country club, yet put down enough power to avoid a stomping on the turnpike? It can be argued that Ford threw down the gauntlet when two more seats appeared in the '58 Thunderbird. Thanks in part to the subsequent success of the four-seat T-bird, automobile manufacturers saw the potential money to be made in the personal luxury/performance car market.
Pontiac was poised to capitalize on the new trend. The division already used the Ventura interior trim option to dress up its models' appearance, and thanks to its mantra of offering a bewildering variety of options for power and comfort, creating a specific model to fill the personal luxury/performance niche could be as simple as packaging the right options and then adding a name and trim. (Sounds kinda like the GTO, doesn't it?) Ventura was already known as a trim option, and though it was used on prototypes, Grand Prix was ultimately chosen.
Pontiac even had a platform ready to go. Catalina rode on a shorter wheelbase than big brother Bonneville. The smaller Cat could trim the fat off the Bonne while retaining the basic style. Install bucket seats, provide a stout standard engine, and offer all the comfort and performance options that Pontiac is famous for, and you had the '62 Grand Prix.
Under the hood came a 303-horse four-barrel 389 standard. For the economy minded, there was a 230-horse, regular-fuel, two-barrel 389. Tri-Power induction and more compression applied to the base 389 resulted in 318 hp. Then there were the 425 Trophy-A powerplants that used HD everything, higher compression, a hotter cam, and better exhaust to produce 333 and 348 hp in four-barrel and Tri-Power form. A four-barrel 421 rated at 320 hp was next on the option ladder and is a rare find today since just 67 GPs were built with it. King of the hill would have to be any of the 16 GPs made with the venerable 421 Super Duty engine pumping out 405 hp with two four-barrel carbs and cutting-edge engineering from Pontiac's race program.
A three-speed manual trans was standard, with an automatic and a four-speed on the option sheet. Myriad rear gear ratio choices could be had, and Safe-T-Track was an option as well.