The 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix came with a 389 V-8 with up to 348 bhp.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd.

Sales for the 1962-1964 Pontiac Grand Prix varied by year. The 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix was a so-so seller. It wasn't that cheap at nearly $3,600, and it cost little less than a T-Bird when optioned to match. GP did best Oldsmobile's comparably priced Starfire, but trailed Thunderbird by 2-to-l.

The '63 sold much better, thanks to peerless styling. Like other big Pontiacs, the GP wore slightly curvier contours enhanced by newly stacked quad headlamps, clean bodysides devoid of sculpturing, straight A-pillars and-the crowning touch -- an exclusive razor-edge roofline with concave backlight (replacing the previous pseudo-convertible treatment). Despite a mere 1.3-inch gain in overall length, the effect was a larger, "more important" Grand Prix, and it turned heads everywhere.

The impression of extra bulk wasn't just visual, for Pontiac's 1963 "Wide Track" chassis boasted 2.9-inch wider tracks (64 inches total). But curb weight was hardly affected, and power was more plentiful, the two most potent 389s replaced by a pair of new 421s (a size first seen in '61) with 353 bhp (four-barrel) and 370 bhp (Tri-Power). Though they cost a towering $400 each, the 421s delivered equally towering performance. MT timed its 370-bhp job at just 6.6 seconds 0-60. Then again, even the lowly 303-bhp 389 could run that sprint in under 10 seconds.

Of course, no car is perfect and neither was the '63 GP. Suspension remained a bit soft, the Hydra-Matic was still plagued by excess slippage, the console-mounted vacuum gauge (replacing the '62 tach) was so hard to see as to be virtually useless, and a new "Cordova" vinyl roof covering was a questionable use of $86.08. But heavy-duty suspension was optional, too, along with Pontiac's handsome multi-spoke aluminum wheels ($122.13), and the performance and styling were all anyone could want. As a result, nearly 250 percent more buyers wanted Grand Prix in '63, a high-water mark that wouldn't be duplicated for another six years.

But this winning design wouldn't last long. The '64 was basically the '63 with a modest facelift and minor mechanical upgrades. After that, all full-size Pontiacs swelled to hippy, heroic new proportions. Not until 1969 would Grand Prix again offer the sort of manageable sports-luxury it had in the beginning, which explains why the 1962-64 models are now so coveted as collector cars. They were, and are, some of Pontiac's best.

The 1962-1964 Pontiac Grand Prix's performance was a major part of its appeal. Get the Grand Prix's specifications on the next page.

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