Pontiac stuffed its standard...
Pontiac stuffed its standard GP two-bolt main 389 with 10.25:1 compression, a 272/282-degree cam, iron heads with 1.50 rockers bumping 1.88/1.60 valves, and an iron dual-plane intake with a Carter AFB up top. Ignition was handled by a Delco points distributor, and exhaust was evacuated via log type standard manifolds and a full dual system.
A standard rear seat speaker...
A standard rear seat speaker can be seen here. The '62 was available only in a two-door hardtop. Executives didn't want the body style watered down by available alternatives, according to contributor Don Keefe.
This GP features an AM radio...
This GP features an AM radio in the dash and the optional vacuum gauge on the console.
Pontiac's new flagship could seemingly be in direct competition with every other similar-sized vehicle on the road. If the potential buyer desired, he could order a factory-built race car or step down to a grocery getter. Pontiac was going for the throat. Buick would introduce the Riviera in 1963, and Pontiac knew it since the division had tried to get it after Cadillac decided not to produce the model as the LaSalle II. Getting a jump on the interdivisional competition was paramount.
Upon its debut, the Pontiac Grand Prix appeared as more of a customized project car than a factory-born model. Absent were acres of chrome and other "high fashion" styling cues found on other cars of the day. And the stance was lowered with special springs for an even meaner look. The new GP went against the grain of automotive fashion and the buying public loved the result to the tune of 30,195 units produced in its inaugural year. A perfect example of forecasting the desires of a generation to come was born, and one such example is still on the road thanks to Duane Rowland.
Based in Staten Island, New York, this retiree was originally looking for a something to keep him busy with his new-found free time. Having bought a '78 Corvette Stingray in 1996 for this exact reason, Duane proceeded with the project but soon found he had more than he had bargained for to tear down and restore, hiding under all that fiberglass. With interest lost, he started hunting the car shows for a Goat. Since most of his friends were GTO owners, he figured he couldn't go wrong. But, even as perfect as a GTO is, Duane wasn't quite sold. "I've always had a thing for full-sized get up and go," he says, and that's exactly what a Grand Prix is.
Discovered by a friend, Joe Portagallo, who went looking without telling Duane after he was tipped off by Duane's other friend "Burnzie," this '62 GP was uncovered in Bonner Springs, Kansas. Duane bought it in November 2004 for $29,000 and had it delivered a few weeks later.
Fortified by the standard 303-horse 389 engine, Duane's GP features the optional four-speed transmission, 3.42 Safe-T-Track differential, power steering, power brakes, window washer, heavy-duty air cleaner, and back-up lamps. Though they don't seem like many options today, that was pretty stacked for an early GP!
Inside you will find white Morrokide covered bucket seats and a Hurst shifter, an item Duane hopes to soon have traded out for the factory model once it's rebuilt. He has also replaced the clutch with a Centerforce unit and the carb with an Edelbrock, all in an effort to improve driveability. Even though the Pontiac arrived completed, negating the need for a restoration project, Duane doesn't mind a bit, simply stating, "With friends like mine and a Pontiac like this, it doesn't get any better!"