I’ve held a belief for years that somewhere around 1972, a civil war erupted within Pontiac. On one side you had Herb Adams and everybody who idealized power, performance, a bit of flash, and a lot of competency. The “Excitement Division” folk before that was even a thing. On the other side, you had an old guard that disliked any and every part of the boy-racer program and wanted Pontiac to become more fluffy, more comfort, more…well, looking back on the 1970s and 1980s products, we have to say more Oldsmobile. You can spot when each side scored a win. The Trans-Am led the charge for the hot rodders, while names like Bonneville, Catalina and Parisienne fronted the sofa-on-wheels set. And it stayed this way until the Tupperware team really went to town in the 1990s, giving us such gems as the ribbed-for-who’s-pleasure Grand Prix and Grand Am front-drivers.
But in 1973, there was a compromise of sorts, a car that could both be class and haul ass. The Grand Am had it all, and compared even to the GTO, which was looking mighty plain by comparison all of a sudden, the Grand Am looked the business. Okay, it’s a Colonnade car with three leading edges up front and the thinnest ass on a 1970s car that we can think of, but for a 1973 product, it was proper. With engine choices starting with the 4o0ci V8 and going straight up to the 455 (but sadly, not the Super Duty mill) and Pontiac’s Radial Tuned Suspension, the Grand Am could hustle. The inside was sorted, with the Grand Prix’s full gauge setup available, tachometer included.
Many would walk away from this car simply because there’s four doors. Let them miss out. This is the family man’s hot rod and it should be cherished as such.