Most of my interest in older vehicles has come from media – a television series, a film, a book, or even a song. I remember discovering what would later become my favorite vehicle by reading a book series recommended by a friend. I’ve read about various older models of classic cars in Stephen King short stories. I was introduced to the Pontiac Grand Prix through film and television, primarily the TV shows I watched with my dad – shows like Miami Vice, Hawaii 5-0, and Columbo. I also saw the Grand Prix a few times in the movies, like the 1969 Grand Prix that showed up in Transformers: The Last Knight. Getting to know the Grand Prix this way gave me a sense of what the car was made for, and though I’ve never had the chance to drive or ride in one, I’m on the lookout for someone who will give me a shot at it.
The Pontiac Grand Prix was built as an all-wheel drive personal luxury car. As such, it was able to provide style and comfort to drivers who were going off the beaten path. It was such a hit, in fact, that it hung around for almost fifty years before gracefully retiring as the new Pontiac G series rose to prominence (The Grand Prix replaced the Pontiac Ventura and was, five decades later, replaced by the Pontiac G-8).
First generation Grand Prix models came equipped with the following: bucket seats, tri-power carburation, a V8 engine, and a three-speed manual transmission. Several decades later, the seventh generation Grand Prix was offered with a 3.8L V6 or 5.3L V8 engine, a 4-speed automatic transmission, and several re-designed elements on the exterior, which did create new interest in the car. Unfortunately, just two years after the last Grand Prix was made, Pontiac was shuttered due to GM’s reshuffling after its Title 11 financial troubles.
That being said, the Pontiac Grand Prix has done a good job of retaining its importance as an early personal luxury vehicle in the United States. It continues to appear in television and film, particularly the 1969 model with its classic lines. If you want to see it on screen yourself, you can check out films such as Harold & Maude, Gone In Sixty Seconds, and Knight and Day. You can also see it on the silver screen in such shows as Mission Impossible, Kojak, and The Border, all of which span decades of film and television history, securing the Grand Prix as a staple of Americana.
If you want to read up on the Pontiac Grand Prix and what changed during each generation, you can start at the Pontiac Grand Prix Wikipedia page (check the resources at the end for further reading) or delve into one of the many fan websites created for the car. If you’re lucky, you may see one of these cars still tooling around looking for trouble. If I ever have the chance, you can bet I’ll jump right in and roar off into the sunset with this classic old beauty.