Affordable Classic Cars: The Second Generation Pontiac Grand Prix (1969-1972)
Before John DeLorean (pictured to the right) was inventing the “Back To The Future” car and getting arrested for trafficking cocaine, he designed a number of now iconic sports cars, including the Pontiac GTO, Grand Prix and Firebird, as well as the Chevrolet Vega.
In 1969, DeLorean, who had become the youngest head of a division in GM history just four years earlier, authorized the development of a completely updated Grand Prix model. At this time, the wheelbase (distance between the centers of the front and rear OEM wheels) was shortened several inches. This more compact Grand Prix now had its own unique body and Pontiac’s longest hood to date. Like the first generation Grand Prix (1962-1968) , it was only available in a 2-door hardtop.
The new Grand Prix was definitely built with performance in mind. Manual transmissions were the norm and engines up to 390 hp were offered. There were two engine sizes available, each with two different power options. The first engine was a 6.6L capable of either 265 hp or 350hp. A 7.0L V8 was also available, capable of 370 hp and 390 hp, respectively.
Each subsequent year saw a few updates and improvements.
- Hozorizonal bars were replaced with vertical grille inserts
- The “Grand Prix” nameplates were moved
- The 7.0L engine was replaced with a 370 hp 7.5L
- Automatic transmissions were available at no additional cost.
- Minor revisions to the interior, including a bench seat option instead bucket seats.
- Power front disc brakes were made standard equipment.
- Updated bumper and grille assembly included larger single headlights (replacing the beloved iconic quad lights)
- Compression ratios in both engines offered were lowered substantially
- Triple cluster tailights
- Updated interior trim
- Radial tire option offered increasing the wheel diameter to 15″
- Fasten seat belt light and buzzer added to meet safety regulations
This car has become increasingly popular over the last few years, but can still be found in the $10-20K range depending on the engine, the model, and condition. They are excellent drivers and are relatively plentiful. Many do prefer the look of the 1969 and 1970 models, citing the cool looking quad headlamps that were replaced by in 1971.
The one drawback is that there are not nearly enough restoration parts to meet demand, so tracking down original parts can be expensive and a hassle. For this reason, although we typically recommend looking for the moderate fixer-uppers, it is probably best to look for a low mileage model that doesn’t need a lot of work. You might pay a little more, but you won’t have to deal with the frustrations of trying to track down replacement parts.
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