Pontiac Grand Prix

Picking up where the Pontiac Ventura model left off, the Grand Prix first appeared in the Pontiac line for 1962. It was essentially a standard Pontiac Catalina coupe with minimal outside chrome trim and a sportier interior (bucket seats and a center console). The performance-minded John De Lorean, head of Advanced Engineering at Pontiac, contributed greatly to the development of both the Grand Prix and the GTO. Early models had full access to the Pontiac performance option list, including the factory-race Super Duty 421 powertrain installed in a handful of 1962 and 1963 cars.

The full-size Catalina-based Grand Prix did very well through the 1960s, and is often credited with the move towards minimal exterior trim seen in the 1960s. Yet its clear resemblance to the other full-size Pontiacs caused some to consider it a lesser model than the other personal luxury cars. At the same time, the Grand Prix had a much stronger performance image than its competitors.

For 1963, the Grand Prix received revised sheetmetal shared with other full-size Pontiacs, but with its own squared-off roofline with a concave rear window that contrasted with the convertible-like roofline of the 1962 Grand Prix and continued on the 1963 to 1964 Catalina and Bonneville. Also new was a Pontiac-trademark split grille with vertical headlights and round parking lights and "hidden" taillights out back. Aside from grillework, taillight covering and bumpers, chrome trim was limited to lower rocker panels, wheel arches and roofline.

Inside, the GP continued with luxurious interiors featuring bucket seats upholstered in Morrokide vinyl and separated by a console that was now built into the instrument panel containing a vacuum gauge (with Hydra-matic) and real walnut trim on the instrument panel and a dash mounted tachometer (manual transmission), along with revised custom pedal trim plates. A wide assortment of options were available including power steering, brakes, windows and driver's seat; air conditioning, 8-lug aluminum wheels with integrated brake drums, Safe-T-Track differential and other items. New options this year included an AM/FM radio, cruise control and a tilt steering wheel that could be adjusted to seven different positions.

Under the hood, the 303 hp (226 kW) 389 four-barrel V8 remained the standard engine. A new lineup of optional engines was introduced this year which included the 330 hp (250 kW) 389 Tri-Power and three versions of the larger 421 cubic inch V8 including a standard four-barrel version rated at 320 hp (240 kW), a 350 hp (260 kW) Tri-Power option, and the 421 HO option with Tri-Power carburetion and 370 hp (280 kW) . The same selection of transmissions continued including the standard three-speed manual, optional four-speed manual or three-speed Roto Hydra-matic.

Source: Wikipedia, 2011

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