The era of grandiose American luxury coupes is long gone, and those who still jones for a big two-door boat from the past have to put up with their utter lack of modern amenities. That is unless they buy today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe custom '71 Grand Prix, which has been modernized. Its price however, has also been updated.
When, for the 1969 model year, John Z Delorean moved the Grand Prix from the Jupiter-sized B-body to the smaller, Uranus-sized, A-platform derivative B-body, he hit a sweet spot of size and price in the personal coupe space and was rewarded with a supernova explosion in sales. The second generation of Grand Prix was still mammoth in dimensions, riding on a 118-inch wheelbase, and featuring a hood so long that should Tawny Kitaen attempt to writhe upon it, the ensuing music video would turn into a week-long mini-series.
Inspiration for the Grand Prix's styling came from Duesenbergs and even the model nomenclature - J, SJ - recalled the pre-war luxury maker's offerings. New for 1971 - back then automakers tweaked their offerings every single year - was a nose featuring a pair of 7-inch headlamps in place of the previous two years' quad 5s, and a boat-tail boot lid that made the car even more evocative of its Duesy muse.
Today's Grand Prix Model J has been fully re-imagined, maintaining the car's distinctive presence, while updating much of it to modernize the driving experience. The dealer offering the car claims it was created at the behest of an NBA player, who dumped over sixty grand into its creation. What did he get for his money? Well, the car has what is said to be a fully hotchkis'd suspension and there are disc brakes on all four wheels, behind the custom alloy rims. That means it handles and stops with greater accomplishment than your standard early seventies B-body, which typically drove with the characteristics of the Blob. Under the aircraft carrier sized hood is what is claimed to be an Edelbrock engine block. The standard engine in this car when new would have been the 265-bhp Pontiac 400. Available as an upgrade, and standard on the JS was the 455. This one looks to be the 400, and sucks through a plain and simple 4BBL.
Backing that up is what's claimed to be a 4-speed automatic, its NBA commissioner probably enjoying double clutching about as much as double dribbling, and that's actuated by a console-mounted lever. The rest of the interior looks pretty much stock at first glance, but there are a lot of details changed in here too. The three pot instrument panel has had its dials replaced by digital displays, and the Delco radio has likewise been given the heave-ho, replaced with a bluetooth sporting flip screen head unit for all your dubstep. Seats are vinyl-covered buckets up front, flat as the midwest and there are kickers growing out of the footwells like magic mushrooms. The billet steering wheel isn't as asstacular as it potentially could be.
Outside, the two-tone paint helps to mask the overall size of the car, while panel fit appears to be better than anything that left the factory back when this car was new. The coolest door handles on just about any GM product smooth the doors, while the shaved bumpers do the same for the separate ends.
As everyone knows, Grand Prix in French means grand prize, and while no generation of Pontiac's personal coupe wearing that moniker would ever be mistaken for a participant in the hallowed, and like-named racing series, this customized edition is cool enough that it wouldn't likely get tossed from the pits. But what about its price?
The North Carolina dealer selling this former NBA-er's ride is asking a cool $26,995 for the honor of taking this custom Pontiac home. That's a full court press, and considering its uniqueness, getting that probably won't be a slam dunk. What do you think, is that a price for this Prix that you might find grand? Or, is this dealer hoop dreaming?
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