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Rough Start: Taking The Road Less Traveled With A Sweet G-body Grand Prix

Rough Start: Taking The Road Less Traveled With A Sweet G-body Grand Prix

For the budget-minded gearhead, GM G-bodies are still a very affordable option and are an excellent car to consider. They offer the best of two worlds: they have the basic old school setup of a full-frame car that is rear-drive, but they have excellent road manners, can handle, have great aftermarket support and can handle just about any powerplant you can throw at them. Sure, you aren’t going near a Buick Grand National, hot Oldsmobile or a clean Monte Carlo SS for a five-grand budget without dealing with issues, but there is another G-body that for some reason, just doesn’t get the same kind of love: the Pontiac Grand Prix.

GP 4


Pontiac was in a weird place in the 1980s. Part of the company adored performance, which the Firebird and some of the sportier front-drivers prove. Then you have the old-school, stuffed and fluffed broughamy-types that were cranking out such charmers as the Parisienne. And the Grand Prix was caught squarely where it shouldn’t have been, with the pseudo-luxury types, instead of riding the wave of newfound horsepower that the rest of the G-body cars were enjoying. Shame, too, because the Grand Prix is a pretty handsome car. The result? You can find a very clean Grand Prix for good money if you don’t expect much from what’s sitting in the engine bay. That little issue isn’t hard to rectify, anyways, so let’s look at today’s find.

GP 3

At $4500 for a solid driver, this 1983 Grand Prix LJ is a score, with a straight body, clean interior and a tasteful set of Cragar Soft 8 mags replacing what were probably 14″ wheels that you probably would’ve trashed out anyways. Other than an aftermarket tachometer and dual exhaust, this 66,xxx mile California blue-plate Pontiac is gorgeous and well-documented. For a bonus, it’s a smog-passer, so if you are in the state, you’re good to go! But you remember what I said about not being too impressed with what’s underhood? The running gear is a 3.8L non-turbo V6 and a 3-speed automatic. It’ll work for driver duties nicely and might even pull some decent MPG, but there’s no doubt that a swap should be in the works. Which way would you go: turbo V6, old-school Pontiac mill, or maybe an LS conversion? The options are endless for this clean cruiser.

Craigslist Link: 1983 Pontiac Grand Prix LJ


GP 2

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7 thoughts on “Rough Start: Taking The Road Less Traveled With A Sweet G-body Grand Prix

  1. Matt Cramer

    If it didn’t call for a coast to coast road trip, I’d be SOOO tempted to get this one. Looks like it can be used as a clean driver as-is and then hopped up when something breaks.

  2. Chevy Hatin' Mad Geordie

    It would sure be a road less traveled if there was tarted-up Chevy in disguise at the end of it. Pontiac used to have their own identity until that Camaro with a beak and a screaming chicken on the hood called the Firebird came along.

    Now if it was an original tri-power GTO….

  3. jerry z

    I don’t understand people that have a nice car put cheap wheels on them! Spend a little time and money to install the factory ralley wheels.

  4. Crazy

    I’d love to find a 2+2 or the later g/p with the console and buckets.. but for this car I’d go get a 3800 series II or III s/c v6 and stuff it in, back it with a T5 out of a 2.8 v6 s10 or a T5 out of a F body that had the 3.4 v6 or the 2.8 v6..
    or mate it to a 2004r if there is an adapter for the 60* v6 bell housing bolt pattern the 3800’s use..
    300+ hp tons of no lag torque and bitch’n mpg .
    Leave the 3.8 badging.. and let them wonder.

  5. Ready to drag race

    I have a 1984 GP with only rust on top corner of whole car where the cloth top was i also have a 1969 12 bolt rear end 411 gears and 5.3 ls truck motor cam up pretty good GP not set up to race or find camaro or chevelle or chevy II set up for racing and ready to go this summer. What to do? What to do?

  6. Bill Mesker

    All i would do to it is slap a efi system on it, get a 3.55 gear set with a posi and put in a 700-R4 trans. Otherwise I would leave it alone.

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