Monday, April 3, 2017

Not-so-Grand Prix vs Little Italy

This is the 3rd and final installment of my Grand Prix triptych. We started strong but soon fell off a cliff in condition if not style. Finally the style has devolved too into this forlorn slab. Without further ado I present the following:
Ugh. This is a 1982 Pontiac Grand Prix LJ in two-tone Cameo White over Light Redwood. Some cars just look tired. This one looks to me as if it's lived a full, hard life and is now content to be roosting in a pasture. Nature agrees as you can see the ivy starting to consume it like the further car.
The LJ was the middle trim level between the base model and the overly plush Brougham. In literature it was listed as "the sportiest Grand Prix", mentioning incidentals like the body colored side mirrors as proof. 
Alright I have to give it up for an '80s ride that has T-Tops (called the Hatch Roof in their brochure). In addition this GP has optional bucket seats and full console with floor shifter. Whoever ordered this originally definitely checked a lot of pricey option boxes on the form.
It's slightly unnerving looking this thing in the face with its cataracts and bleak expression. That little chrome stripe down the middle of the hood pinpoints the year for us though. Both the '82 and '83 models are identical except for the fact that this '82 had a hood ornament while the '83 had no hood trim whatsoever. You have to squint but the remnants of the trademark Pontiac split grill is on display here in those double bumper openings.
I have no idea what causes this rust pattern. Perhaps this had an aftermarket bra on the front and wet leaves had gathered on the hood?
Under that hood was the tail end of Malaise-Era drivetrains. 1982 was arguably the low water mark for GM engines. This, the Sporty Grand Prix, wasn't available with a gas powered V8. There were 2 Buick V6 choices and an underpowered and expensive Oldsmobile diesel V8. No matter how many luxury do-dads you add to these rides they are SLOW.
Well we'll leave that slumped disaster as it sinks into the earth. However I couldn't help but notice the frugal little Italian sedan sitting next to it.
This is a Fiat 128 from somewhere between 1975-1980 in either Dark Blue or Black. These were produced without too much change from 1969-1985. Despite being older it looks more eager to drive off the lot than the dormant GP next to it.
This is a front engine front-wheel-drive car meant for the masses. Due to its smart design, reliability, and economy it is considered the grandfather of the modern small car.
*We know it's a North American model due to those massive front bumpers.
This car was so popular that it was licensed for production all over the world. Perhaps the most infamous was that of the Zastava Automobiles company. Zastava made the tiny Koral which was essentially a cheapened Fiat 128. A charlatan named Malcolm Bricklin brought them to the United States, called it the Yugo, and history was made!

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