Introduced in 1962, the original Pontiac Grand Prix was a personal luxury coupe outfitted with a massive V8 engine. Initially, it was related to such models as the Buick Wildcat and Chevrolet Impala. Over the years, a sedan was added and the coupe was dropped. The Gran Prix was finally canceled in 2008, 2 years before General Motors dissolved the Pontiac brand.
Pontiac Grand Prix Overview
The Grand Prix was one of Pontiac’s longest continually made models. Across its 47-year span, it underwent seven generational updates. The sixth-generation Pontiac Grand Prix was built from 1997 to 2003, and the seventh-generation model was manufactured from 2004 to 2008.
Throughout its long history, the Pontiac Grand Prix shared its architecture with other GM models, including the Buick Century and Regal, Chevrolet Monte Carlo, Oldsmobile Intrigue and Buick LaCrosse. In 1988, the Grand Prix switched from rear-wheel to front-wheel drive.
The 1997 to 2003 models offered both coupe and sedan body styles, although the coupe was dropped for the final year of the sixth generation.
Initially, the coupe offered a standard 3.8-liter V6. A supercharged version was also available for additional power. The sedan offered the same engines, but slotted a 3.1-liter V6 into the base model. For all engines, power is sent to the front wheels by means of a four-speed automatic transmission.
Highlights of the sixth-generation Grand Prix included limited series models such as the 2000 Daytona 500 pace-car replica and the 40th-Anniversary model in 2002. For 2001, OnStar services were introduced.
For 2004, the seventh and final generation of the Pontiac Grand Prix was introduced. Now offered as a sedan only, GM dropped the base 3.1-liter V6 engine offered previously and continued with the normally aspirated and supercharged 3.8-liter V6 engines. As before, both engines are paired with a four-speed automatic transmission.
Standard equipment included cloth seats, heated side mirrors, power accessories, cruise control, air conditioning and a six-speaker audio system. Daytime running lights, fog lights and a rear spoiler were included.
The standard V6 makes 200 horsepower, and the supercharged V6 creates 260 horsepower. Available equipment included a sport-tuned suspension, traction control, sport wheels and red brake calipers.
Beginning in 2005, Pontiac rolled out a top-level GXP version, outfitting this model with GM’s small-block 5.3-liter V8 engine. This model makes 303 horsepower. Upgraded audio packages and a DVD-based navigation system were introduced.
For 2006, Pontiac shuffled equipment between trims and introduced a Special Edition package equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, ground effects and bright exhaust tips. Beginning in 2007, a tire-pressure monitoring system was made standard and new wheel designs were introduced.
For 2008, the supercharged V6 engine was dropped. No other changes of note were made for the Grand Prix’s final year of production. This model was replaced by the Pontiac G8, which was introduced in 2008.
Other large models of that era include the Ford Taurus, Toyota Avalon, Dodge Charger, Mercury Sable, Nissan Maxima and Chrysler 300.