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Pick of the Day: 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix hits the sweet spot in ‘80s style

The sports coupe rebooted GM’s ‘excitement division’ with some new blood

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“We Build Excitement” emerged in 1982 as Pontiac’s slogan at a time when the automaker’s lineup – aside from perhaps the Fiero and the Firebird – didn’t offer much that would escalate a heart rate. 

The 6000 and the Sunbird were really just badge-engineered variants of their sibling GM cookie-cutter sedans.  At least the marketing was fun to watch – cheesy 1980s commercial jingles and all. 

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Later that same decade, a sports coupe emerged in the Pontiac family that gave the brand a little more credence to the excitement claim:  the all-new 1988 Grand Prix.  The Pick of the Day is a 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix SE coupe listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in Morton Grove, Illinois. 

At just under 70,000 miles, this Grand Prix qualifies as having low mileage for being 32 years old, and the seller’s listing goes into great detail about service and maintenance history. 

“There are no pending maintenance needs,” the ad states.  Among the items addressed are the injectors and fuel pump, alternator, air-conditioning system, rack-and-pinion steering, brake lines, and suspension. 

Pontiac initially launched the Grand Prix as a performance-oriented replacement for the Ventura, back when John DeLorean was head of Advanced Engineering at Pontiac in the early 1960s.  The model went through a vast number of changes over its seven generations until Pontiac as a brand was phased out after 2008.

The fifth-generation “W-body” platform Grand Prix cars like this one were powered by a 2.8-liter multi-port fuel-injected V6 and offered with either a four-speed automatic or a five-speed manual transmission.  This example uses the TH440 automatic, and its white-with-white-wheels aesthetic screams 1980s design just like big hair and aerobic leggings. 

As time went on, Pontiac became known for its over-styled body cladding and ribbed aero treatment, which had only just begun when this model rolled off the assembly line in Kansas City.

This Grand Prix’s saddle-leather interior is configured in a 2+2 seating arrangement with heavily bolstered bucket seats.  A console-mounted compass with information center was advanced for this era, and in typical Pontiac fashion for the time, there are buttons-galore on the interior and instrument panel.  Even the glove compartment is fashioned with a combination-lock mechanism that was unique to this model. 

Collectors probably would be hard-pressed to find a Grand Prix with better-sorted underpinnings than this one.  The seller states that the suspension has been upgraded to incorporate springs from the high-performance McLaren Turbo version of the Grand Prix, and its modified exhaust system gives a little more growl than a stock setup. 

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Perhaps this Grand Prix will generate some excitement after all, especially with a little bit of Janet Jackson playing on the cassette deck. 

The seller’s asking price is $7,500. 

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

Hagerty
Tyson Hugie
Tyson Hugie grew up in a family of gearheads and enjoys anything to do with automotive and motorsports. He is a contributing editor to Redline Reviews, a YouTube channel with coverage from major auto shows. He also writes for Arizona Driver Magazine and holds leadership positions with a number of car clubs. Tyson has lived in Arizona for 10 years and his current obsession is Japanese cars from the early 1990s which, though hard to believe, are now becoming classics. Tyson can usually be found exploring offbeat and obscure road trip destinations on his blog "Drive to Five," which started as a way to share travel stories and experiences with his now-550,000-mile Acura.

8 COMMENTS

  1. Biggest POS ever! I hope we’re not calling this a classic car.
    There’s a reason Pontiac went out of business…and this car didn’t help. pos

  2. What collector would want a 1989 GP? The only collectible cars Pontiac made were the early GTO’s & Firebirds.

  3. I remember when these were new, and didn’t like them much then. If I were to own any W-body car as a collectible it would be an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme convertible with the much preferred 3.8 liter. Even that is a reach. The interior reminds me of a Plastic Fantastic.

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