1973-1977 Pontiac Grand Prix

The 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix

Like its corporate cousins, the 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix featured a new "colonnade" roof style that had fixed rear "opera" windows. With the onset of new government safety regulations, the roof design combined the graceful look of a hardtop with the additional rollover protection of a pillared coupe. Up front, the headlight and grille design recalled the look of the previous-generation GP, with its large vertical-slatted grille and dual headlamps finished off with squared bezels.

As on the earlier cars, the turn signals were cut into the leading edge of the front fenders. Suspended by energy absorbers that bounced back from minor impacts, the Grand Prix's slim front bumper jutted ahead of the grille in another bow to the new safety standards.

1973 Pontiac Grand Prix
©2007 Publications International, Ltd.
When the new Grand Prix finally made it to market as a 1973, it surrendered its unique 118-inch-wheelbase chassis of 1969-1972 for a 116-inch stretch.

Perhaps the most apparent difference was in the Grand Prix's new proportions. Gone was that super-long, almost exaggerated headline of the previous generation. In its place was a more conventional interpretation of the "long-hood/short-deck" styling theme that became standardized among other GM G-bodies. In keeping with tradition though, the hood featured the familiar "ironing board" sculpting that came to a point at the grille. The rear of the 1973 Grand Prix featured a new interpretation of its predecessor's sculpted rear deck. While the slotted taillamps were no longer set in the rear bumper, the design was an evolutionary step and integrated the protruding rear bumper as well as possible.

Two versions of the Grand Prix were offered for 1973, the base model and the sportier, upscale SJ. (The Model J designation used previously on base models was dropped.) The SJ differed from the entry-level Grand Prix by virtue of its larger standard engine and its "Radial Tuned Suspension," which included specific coil springs, stiffer shocks, and a larger front sway bar. Interior accoutrements for both models included a custom-padded steering wheel and African crossfire mahogany instrument panel inserts.

Although the 1973 GP lost two inches of wheelbase, it actually gained three inches in overall length. It was now 216.6 inches long and the increase was comprised primarily in the federally-mandated bumpers. The big difference was in weight. While the base GP's shipping weight rose "only" 125 pounds from the previous year, the scales under a fully loaded SJ could register 4,400 pounds, a gain of more than 500 pounds.

On the next page, read about the 1973 Pontiac Grand Prix's engines and specifications.

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