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1962-1968 Pontiac Grand Prix


1962-1968 Pontiac Grand Prix Design

To create the 1962-1968 Pontiac Grand Prix design, Pontiac took its basic 120-inch-wheelbase Catalina hardtop coupe, gave it a sports-car-oriented interior, and cleaned up its already attractive styling. Although the Grand Prix shared all of its body panels and the new-for-1962 pseudo-convertible roofline with the Catalina, the exterior was marked by sparingly applied bright-work.

It also sported a mildly revised grille, grillework in the rear cove between the taillights, and exclusive rocker panel trim. Lest no one notice that this was a special Pontiac, badges adorned the front and rear grilles as well as the recessed sculptures on the doors. All in all, the Grand Prix stood out as a masterpiece of understatement.

Inside, bucket seats were upholstered in Morrokide, a long-wearing material with the look and feel of top quality leather. Full instrumentation was standard, including even a tachometer in the center console, which also housed the shift lever and a locking glovebox.

The rear seat featured a fold-down armrest; above it was a rear-seat speaker. Notably, the interior was finished in a monochromatic theme (except with Parchment, in which case the dash and carpeting were black, red, or turquoise).

Powering this beauty was the Bonneville's 389-cid, 303-horsepower V-8 with dual exhausts and four-barrel carburetor. A three-speed manual gearbox was fitted as standard, but buyers overwhelmingly ordered Hydra-Matic, a $231.34 option.

The Grand Prix, whose power-to-weight ratio was nearly nine percent better than the T-Bird's, boasted a power team strong enough, according to Motor Trend, to hurl this two-ton automobile from 0-60 mph in eight seconds flat. The standing quarter mile took 17.2 seconds, with a trap speed of 85 miles an hour, and top speed came in at 103.4 mph.

1962 grand prix, red, left side
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
Pontiac launched the Grand Prix -- a cleaned up Catalina with bucket seats -- for 1962.

For those who wanted a bit more performance, Pontiac willingly supplied a 318-horsepower Tri-Power (three two barrel-carburetors) version of the same V-8. A step up from that came the Trophy A high-performance V-8s, good for 333 horsepower with four-barrel carb and 348 horsepower with Tri-Power.

The last employed a hotter cam and higher compression ratio (10.75 versus 10.25:1) and developed an impressive 430 lbs/ft torque at 3,200 rpm. And for enthusiasts, a four-on-the-floor manual transmission made it to the options list, priced the same as Hydra-Matic.

Although buyers seeking fuel economy were hardly likely to shop for a Grand Prix, Pontiac nonetheless listed a two-barrel-carburetor version of the 389 V-8. Available only with Hydra-Matic, it was rated at just 230 horsepower at 4,000 rpm but developed a satisfying 380 lbs/ft torque at a low 2,000 rpm.

Read more about the 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix on the next page.

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