Thursday, April 28, 2016

Twofer Thursday (?) comes through with a Grand Prix Fixe

Well it's been a beautiful spring week here in Brooklyn and the cars are starting to roll out of their winter hiding spots, rubbing their eyes and shaking off their hibernation. This first ride arrived on a block near my home recently:
Here we have a 1970 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ in Baja Gold Poly. This is an interesting car, as the Grand Prix was Pontiacs full size luxury coupe throughout the '60s before the name was transferred to this smaller midsize platform in '69. This change, along with the fact that these were still the days of huge free breathing engines, made the GP a luxurious muscle car.
Even though it's midsize this car has the distinction of having Pontiacs longest ever hood.
This thing looks like a bully with the back jacked up and some dents.
This car doesn't give a shit about mouthing off in the bar! No, this thing wakes up with the occasional black eye and just heads right out to work. The bumper guards are doing their best so far but this beast has been around.
As usual the grill is a great reference point when assessing the year of a '60s to '70s GM product. In '69 the grill inserts were horizontal as opposed to these vertical slats. This prominent schnoz was aped on the 1971 Thunderbird.
The standard engine was the very capable 400V8, though a 455 could be ordered for the first time this year. Emissions equipment like catalytic converters and smaller ports within the engine were still years off so this thing could get up and go.
This car dwarfs everything else on the block. The hinges for that hood needed to be extremely robust.
This small series of faux gills replaced the Grand Prix nameplate in '70. The wheels are stock originals, but missing the red center which said PMD for Pontiac Motor Division.
Lots of little rumples all over the body. Scrapes along the side. This thing has been driven and parked on the mean streets of Brooklyn since new.
Curiously enough this was where the faux gills were the year before.
The interior looks pretty good when considering the amount of damage sprinkled about the exterior. That wrap-around cockpit would continue on through the '70s, with a similar steering wheel and gauges as well. Too bad it's not a stick shift!
These door handles are a bit of a novelty; press in on the grooved left side and the handle pops out to the right.
These slotted lights are pure Pontiac. The turn signals on the larger Grand Prix from '67-'68 and the first iteration of the Firebird had a similar treatment.
Gold car = trunk full of gold! At least that's what somebody was thinking when they mercilessly tore the lock off of the trunk.
From what I can gather the taillight on the left with the chrome lines is correct. The right side seems to be a replacement from a '69.
From what I could find Atlantic Pontiac was located where a huge auto parts store now resides between Grand and Classon Streets. Being that that's around 2 miles away it doesn't seem that this car has left the vicinity in 46 years!
Time to move onto the younger sibling of that gold bruiser:
What we have here is a 1972 Grand Prix in Starlight Black. After the '70 model year outlined above the front was changed from quad headlights to a pair. The '71 looked much like this one but didn't have that crosshatched grill pattern.
Something about the single headlight bulging out of the hood on each side gives this car a menacing air. Black is the right choice for this beast. I like how Grand prix is written between the grill and the right light. It's pretty uncommon to see a name placement right on the face.
This was parked a block from my shop at a combination fix-a-flat and rim shop. Occasionally cool old rides will show up.
Very thoughtful to leave the vinyl around the lettering on the roof. Tearing off the material is actually a smart move as any moisture trapped under the vinyl will rot your roof out completely.
*Nice to see an old police sticker on the window. I remember when common belief was that if you had any sort of police sticker on your window your chances of getting a warning rather than a ticket went up dramatically. 
Much of the body is similar or identical to the '70. The trunk now has that V prominence mimicking the hood, but the quarter panels are the same.
Another clue that this is a '72; the triple taillights were added this year after only 2 per side the year before. The lines on the trunk allude to its larger cousin the Buick Riviera Boattail of the same year.
Here is the red centercap missing on the gold car.
Everything is the same inside as the gold car with the exception of this bench seat.
This was the final year before a redesign that added size and weight in concert with lowered horsepower. You can just see the beginnings of the Malaise Era in this ride; personal luxury coupe, vinyl roof. long hood/short deck combo, etc. It didn't really take hold until the following year, which is roundly accepted as the beginning of the end for American automotive design.

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