Friday, March 31, 2017

Sunfire Red beauty in Red Hook

I was strolling aimlessly through Red Hook recently when I stumbled upon this majestic brute:
Yowza! This is a 1964 Pontiac Grand Prix in the outstanding color Sunfire Red. This car represents an extinct category of automobiles; the full size luxury hot rod.
The Grand Prix was introduced in 1962 as an amalgamation of the Catalina and high end Bonneville. The Catalina had a more sparse exterior without too much chrome or flash. The interiors got the Bonneville luxury treatment albeit with bucket seats and a console.
That GP grill emblem was new for '64.
1960s Pontiacs represent my favorite overall decade for a car company. The trademark split grill, stacked headlights, and gun sight turn signals all come together for me in a big way.
This is a big car with nice proportions. All GPs were hardtop coupes until the 1973 model year (the only exception being a 1967-only convertible).
The G R A N D  P R I X font is pretty assertive. This pic is fuzzy but that shape under the words is a stylized GP emblem. Those are the correct and original 39 rib De Luxe hubcaps for '64.
I see an antenna on the rear fender so I'm guessing this has the Super De Luxe transistor radio option. Few things are as colorful as the verbiage in sales brochures. Radio? Pfft. SUPER DE LUXE!
The original owner didn't bother with the optional reverse lights or they would be located in the bumper between the taillights and license plate. The taillights are described as "hidden" because the aren't red until used but they are these vertical delta openings on the sides.
The mid '60s were the high point for putting a faux grill on the rear of a car too as seen here.
The Bonneville was very similar to the Grand Prix with a couple of noticeable exceptions. The slim chrome trim along the rocker panel was a massive striped chrome band on the Bonneville. In addition the rear roof was rounded with a faux convertible look.
This concave rear window is Grand Prix only.
The steering wheel rim is clear around the top and bottom with just the sides matching the interior body color. There is a round gauge where the console meets the dashboard. This is a tachometer in one of the least useful placements ever! Imagine having to look down to the ashtray area to monitor your revs. Perhaps it was an overreaching response that Pontiac came out with the hood mounted tach 3 years later.
The paint loss on the hood makes me believe this could be an original paint car. If so it is in truly phenomenal condition! The fact that it is parked on the street is surprising.
The sky was darkening fast so I'm lucky I came across this ride when I did. Out of all the cars I've longed for and thought about acquiring it was a Grand Prix that I regret letting slip away. When I was about to turn 18 in high school I looked at a red 1967 GP convertible (!) that the guy was asking something like $1,500 for. Keep in mind this is 1992 and huge '60s cars were for the most part undervalued. Still it was the only year for a GP drop top and the seller fired up the mighty V8 for me to hear. I passed and bought a '63 Beetle instead, the engine of which I promptly blew up.
That is the only car I genuinely regret not buying. Sitting here in my 40s I think I know what to do.

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