By the 60s, Pontiac has already made a name for itself as one of the best makers of performance cars. The company wanted to push it further by adding special and luxurious touches to a powerful base to make it a
complete car. The Pontiac Grand Prix’s history of almost 5 decades has certainly been that of trying to integrate all those special qualities into one model. Rarely has it left its clients shortchanged and begging for more. Even until its end, each release of a Pontiac Grand Prix always left a good mark on people.
1962-1972: Inspiration and the early years
Pontiac created different models before the Grand Prix that perfected the art giving cars a powerful engine or gorgeous looks. However, it was rare that a single car had both qualities. Pontiac models like the Ventura, Catalina, and Bonneville boasted only either power or style. It’s safe to say that early Grand Prix’s design was a mash-up of all these great cars. The main platform looked like that of the Catalina’s and Ventura’s on an extended-Bonneville body. Panels were lined with enough chrome trims, iconic grilles that gave the car good looks without overpowering it with shine. The engine wasn’t held back as buyers had the option of a 303 horsepower V8 or a 318 horsepower-carburetor engine. Later years offered stronger engines and sports-ready transmission systems. The Grand Prix was so good and revolutionary that it changed the way American cars were designed.
1973-1987: Restrictions are not a problem
Most cars sold for the 70s had the technical problem of creating a good car within the federally imposed restrictions on safety and emissions controls. Limited but still-powerful V6 and V8 engines were a standard on all trims of the Grand Prix. As far as safety was concerned, this was seen by Pontiac as an opportunity to totally overhaul the exterior. In came a bigger body, modernized grilles, modified lights, striking bumpers through the years. The interior got a splash of real-wood panels, more-comfortable seats, cloth trims, and many more. Sales weren’t a problem either as it continued to sell more—reaching figures of up to 150,000 units.
1988-2008: Refinement ‘till the end
The last three generations of the Pontiac Grand Prix coincided with the turn of the century. What’s notable with these models is the downsizing and refinement of the chassis. Bold lines, sharp edges, and rough corners were replaced with smooth lines and sleek surfaces. V8 options were scrapped and replaced with either a V6 or inline-four. Turbo options were still available for those wanting extra power. Electronic-driving assists were also optional features. There were minor issues with failed-ride and interior improvements expected. But as a whole, performance, handling and mileage were praised. Production stopped as Pontiac was dissolved as part of GM’s reorganization happened.