The Pontiac Grand Prix and other GM cars suffered from engine shortages caused by the need to meet the various emission standards, which meant that some buyers of GM cars did not receive the engines they had ordered. This resulted in a class-action suit against General Motors by irate owners and consumer advocates.
The media quickly picked up on the suit and GM received a lot of negative publicity over the incident. As it turned out, the only winners were dealers. They took back the cars in question only after setting a mileage charge that could cost the consumer as much as $2,000. Then they would have the opportunity resell the low-mileage used car at a premium.
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The starting price for a 1977 LJ was just a bit under $5,500, but the final tab could top $9,000 if you ordered every option.
Despite the loss of the 455 and the "which engine is it?" fiasco, 1977 proved to be the best year ever for Grand Prix sales. Model-year production came to 288,430. A significant portion of the GP's record-setting sales figure could be attributed to the fact that the public knew that this was the last year for the "big Grand Prix." The 1978 model year would usher in a much smaller car that would be powered by a new generation of V-6 and small V-8 engines. Despite the claims of greater efficiency and space utilization, as well as improved gas mileage, many buyers could instinctively sense that things wouldn't be the same for the Grand Prix and the rest of the GM intermediates.
That is not to say that the 1978-1987 Grand Prix models were not good cars. They were solidly designed, had great durability, and average, if not spectacular, build quality. The problem was that they looked like the Monte Carlo, which looked like the Regal, which looked like the Cutlass. Not surprisingly, sales of the Grand Prix dropped by almost 60,000 in 1978 and the downward slide in sales would accelerate.
Something was lost the day the last 1977 GP rolled off the line and that something was individuality. Though Pontiac's second-generation G-body did lose a little up to that point, there was still a lot left. Its unique blend of luxury and performance was something the nameplate would not experience again for another decade. And isn't that what owning a Grand Prix was supposed to be about?
Continue to the next page for models, prices, and production numbers for 1973-1977 Pontiac Grand Prix.
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