The Grand Prix defined the personal luxury/performance niche for General Motors. It came only as a coupe and is an excellent high-style alternative to a big-buck GTO.
Still priced the same as First- and Second-Gen Firebirds and GTOs were in the early '90s, these G-bodies came with enough standard amenities to coddle the driver with variable-ratio power steering, power disc brakes, and 15-inch wheels (many Rally IIs). Commonly ordered options such as A/C, AM/FM stereo, power seats, power windows, tilt wheel, Rally gauges, and Radial Tuned Suspension (standard '75 forward) add to driving pleasure.
The '73-'74 models were equipped with a 400 4V or optional 455 4V Pontiac engine. In 1975, an optional 400 2V was added. For 1976, the 350 2V Pontiac engine became standard with a 4V version for California. The 400 2V and 4V and the 455 4V remained optional. In 1977, the 301 2V was standard and the 350 or 400 Pontiac was optional. The Olds 350 or 403 4Vs were used in California.
The 455 SJ models are always worth more than the Model J 400s, but the 400 is still a great engine. As we all know, these engines respond to upgrades very well. In 1977, you could even order T-tops.
As for performance and style, the Grand Prix can do most of what a GTO can if properly built, but the Goat will always have a higher resale value and the GP will always be a bit heavier. The Grand Prix was designed when gasoline cost $.60 to $1.00 a gallon. At $2.50 to $3.00 a gallon, it's hard to justify one as a daily driver. A weekend cruiser is an excellent choice, however. And those T-tops had a tendency to leak.
Most suspension and drivetrain components of the '73-'77 Pontiac A-body and G-bodies are interchangeable with each other and with the other '73-'77 A-bodies from GM. Upgrading under the hood and under the rockers is not difficult or costly if donor parts from other cars are used.
Cool Factor: B+
The Grand Prix is the bling of the Pontiac line. If you like standing out in a crowd, you'll love the Grand Prix.
Where to Look
Collector Car Trader Online (www.collectorcartraderonline.com) is a good source for privately owned '70s and '80s Grand Prixs. The site combines every Collector and Sports Car Auto Trader in the United States into one searchable database.
Here are some examples we found:
'75 Grand Prix, 132,000 miles
Seller's Description: "'75 Pontiac Grand Prix, Model J, second owner, grandma owned & driven, original paint & interior, 400ci engine, minor paint chips, original metallic green exterior, smog exempt, $4, 000 or best offer."
'76 Grand Prix, 112,000 miles
Seller's Description: "'76 Pontiac Grand Prix, SJ, 400, V-8, A/T, cold A/C, power steering, power brakes, power windows, power seat, all original, very, very clean, one owner, runs and drives excellent, must see, $3,500."
'78-'80 And '81-'87 Grand...
'78-'80 And '81-'87 Grand Prix
The downsized Grand Prixs of this era shed 500 pounds when compared with their predecessors, and they retained Pontiac style.
They are lightweight, plentiful, and cheap on the used-car circuit. Grand Prixs of this vintage make affordable and unique race cars as well.
For 1978, the 301 2V was standard in the upscale LJ, and a 4V version was optional. California got a 305 Chevy with a 4V. If you keep the 301, you can add the four-barrel intake and carb and upgrade the exhaust, jetting, and ignition to provide spirited, if not dizzying, performance. The 305 Chevy engine is easily and inexpensively upgraded.
In 1979, the 301 four-barrel was offered with a four-speed manual trans-rare to be sure, but a cool find nonetheless.
A Chevy 305 was offered from 1983 to 1987. In 1984, the famed 200-4R overdrive trans was available with eight-cylinder engines.
These cars have great swap potentia. A '70-up 350, 400, or 455 Pontiac will bolt right in with proper mounts and brackets.