Powertrain offerings for the 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix were a virtual carryover from the year before. The Grand Prix's base engine was the familiar 400-cubic-inch Pontiac V-8. Equipped with a Rochester Quadrajet four-barrel carburetor, it was rated at 230 net horsepower at 4,400 rpm, with 325 pound-feet of torque at 3,200 revs. The compression ratio was 8.0:1.
The only other engine choice was the four-barrel 455-cube V-8 standard on the SJ. This larger engine was rated at 250 horsepower at 4,000 rpm, with 370 pound-feet of torque at 2,800 spins. It also had an 8.0:1 compression ratio. The only transmission for either engine was a Turbo 400 automatic; manual transmissions had been dropped from the Grand Prix line in March 1971.
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Hobbled by the OPEC oil embargo that sent consumers in search of smaller, more fuel-efficient 1974 cars, Grand Prix orders dipped to just below the 100,000 mark.
While it is not widely known, the legendary 455 Super Duty V-8 was originally intended to be offered in the Grand Prix, as well as in the GTO and Grand Am. Though mentioned in dealer catalogs, the option never came to pass in those cars. It was reserved instead for the 1973-1974 Firebird Formula and Trans Am.
Despite the extra weight and the lack of Super Duty power, the new GP was a runaway success. While 1972's total production of 91,961 Grand Prixs was certainly respectable, it paled in comparison to the new car. All told, 1973 Grand Prix production soared to 153,899 units, 20,749 of which were the upscale SJ models.
The lion's share of the record-setting automotive market in 1973 was centered around mid-sized models, with very strong demand for two-doors. Among the Grand Prix's G-body kin, Chevy's Monte Carlo sold a very impressive 290,693 units. The Olds Cutlass Supreme accounted for 219,857 orders, while Buick buyers took home 163,269 Luxus and Regal coupes.
On the next page, read about how OPEC's 1973 oil embargo impacted the 1974 and 1975 Pontiac Grand Prix.
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