AJ’s Car of the Day 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix 2-Door Hardtop

AJ’s Car of the Day 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix 2-Door Hardtop

Car: Pontiac Grand Prix 2-door Hardtop

Year: 1962

What makes it special: Grand Prix first appeared in the Pontiac line for the 1962 model year, as a performance oriented replacement for the Ventura, which became a luxury trim level of the full-size Catalina. It was essentially a standard Catalina coupe with minimal outside chrome trim and a sportier interior, featuring bucket seats and a center console. 

What made it famous: The first Grand Prix was a Catalina hardtop coupe trimmed to standards similar to the larger top-line Bonneville, with a distinctive grille and taillights. The bucket seats were upholstered in Morrokide vinyl, while nylon loop-blend carpeting covered the floor and lower door panels. The center console-mounted transmission shifter included a storage compartment and a tachometer. The rear bench seat included a center fold-down armrest and a speaker grille that could be made functional with the extra-cost Bi-Phonic rear speaker. The standard engine was the Bonneville’s 303 hp, 389 cu in V8, which came with a 4-barrel carburetor and dual exhausts. Early models were available with Pontiac performance options, including the factory-race Super Duty 421 powertrain installed in a handful of 1962 and 1963 cars.

Why I would want one: The Grand Prix could best be described as a full-sized early muscle car when equipped with the larger V8 offerings, including the Tri-Power carbureted engines.

Fun fact: The performance-minded John Z. DeLorean, head of Advanced Engineering at Pontiac, contributed to the development of both the Grand Prix and the GTO.

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