Junkyard Gem: 1980 Pontiac Grand Prix LJ

Junkyard Gem: 1980 Pontiac Grand Prix LJ

John DeLorean and his team at the Pontiac division created the GTO a few years ago by sticking a big engine and some gingerbread on the Lemons, a funky, powerful coupe based on the full-size Catalina. It was the 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix, which sold like crazy and escalated the personal luxury coupe war already underway in Detroit. Starting with the 1969 model year, the Grand Prix switched to a smaller chassis (shared with the new Chevrolet Monte Carlo the following year), and all subsequent rear-wheel-drive Grand Prix (i.e. until 1987) were the Monte’s siblings. Remained as it is. , Today’s Junkyard Gem is a rare 1980 Grand Prix LJ found at a self-service yard near Reno, Nevada.

Sure, a new round of Middle East conflict had put a kink in America’s fuel hose in 1979, causing clogged gas lines and a general feeling of malaise, but at least the new Grand Prix looked extra sharp for 1980. Had been.

The LJ package came with all kinds of appearance and comfort items, including “loose-cushion design luxury seats upholstered in New Florentine Cloth”. A Pontiac Phoenix LJ was also available.

These seats must have been very comfortable when they were new.

Who needed a Cadillac when Pontiac will sell you this car at a base MSRP of only $7,000 (about $26,704 in 2023 dollars)?

If you were willing to get the base 3.8-liter Buick V6, that’s the price you paid. You had to pay extra to get the V8 engine with the four-barrel carburetor. if you Did pay extra for a V8, depending on what state you lived in; In California, you got this 305-cubic-inch (5.0-liter) Chevrolet small-block, and in the other 49 states you got the 301-cubic-inch (4.9-liter) Pontiac. The 305 was rated at 150 horsepower with 230 pound-feet; The 301 made 140hp and 240 lb-ft.

This car was originally purchased in California (the state line is about ten miles from its last parking spot), so it has a Chevy engine. The V8 added $195 to the car’s out-the-door price (in addition to $250 for the California-only emissions system), or about $1,316 in 2023 dollars. Outside California, a 4.3-liter Chevy V6 was available for only an additional 80 bucks (now $305).

All 1980 Grand Prix received a three-speed automatic transmission as standard equipment, with no manual available from the factory. This car has optional air conditioning, which costs $601 ($2,293 after inflation).

This is the “custom sport” steering wheel, which was standard on the LJ. The tilt option cost $81 ($309 today).

There are some Rally IV wheels in the trunk. If they were with the car when it was new (other Pontiacs of the era, including the Firebird, got these wheels as well), they only cost the buyer an extra $91 for the set.

The Grand Prix moved to front-wheel-drive in the 1988 model year, remaining on the W platform until its demise in 2008. Pontiac got the ax just two years later.

There is some rust and paint bubbling, nothing too bad. It’s unusual to see salvageable GM G-body coupes of this era in places like this today, but you never know what you’ll find at a junkyard.

Real players got optional wire wheels (No cheap fake-wire hubcaps).

Once in a blue moon, a new car emerges. An extraordinary car destined for a place in the sun.

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