Where is Jake Blues? 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix

If you haven’t seen the movie The Blues Brothers starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd, then you should seek professional help.  It is one of the best car movies ever, even if it isn’t about a car specifically (some of you may beg to differ). While the former Mount Prospect Dodge police car gets most of the screen time, there is another car in the movie that is worthy of discussion.  Carrie Fisher, in the role of Jake’s jilted bride, drove a mid 1970s Pontiac Grand Prix in red. While the movie car had what I believe to be a black vinyl top and red vinyl interior, you are not far away with this low mileage 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix LJ found here on eBay in Great Meadows, New Jersey. With bidding hovering around $7,600 as of this writing, somebody is going to make this car their collection’s star attraction.

Choosing this car for Carrie Fisher to drive in the movie was a good casting choice.  As a middle to upper middle class young lady at that time period, Carrie’s determined character would have likely driven a car like this. The 1970s were dark times for automobile enthusiasts. As we have discussed before, safety issues, OPEC, insurance companies, and environmental concerns all joined together to smother anything that resembled performance in the 1970s.  The American public improvised and overcame, just like we always do. With performance regulated to the preservation of and constant tinkering with muscle cars, we found other ways to have fun in our cars as a nation. The fun seekers found two ways to overcome the malaise with their vehicles: vans and personal luxury coupes. Vans were customized in all sorts of ways and could be fun to tinker with. The rest of America purchased fairly luxurious and sporty two door coupes to have fun cruising down the highways in. While this is not a big segment of the market today, this type of automobile was the bread and butter for many manufacturers for a long time.

This particular personal luxury coupe is like a time capsule for researchers investigating the 1970s.  The color, which appears as mostly red in some pictures and more brown in others, is indicative of the colors we chose back then for cars and appliances.  Brown was big back in the day, and so was avocado green for some strange reason.  People also loved vinyl tops, chrome, white wall tires, and thick rubber trim down the center of the body panels to help prevent door dings.  While the car door that was dinging your door was always just low or high enough to make it not matter anyway, my uncle sold a lot of this stuff at his body shop. Mud flaps round out the popular options on this car, leaving out only curb feelers from our trip back in time.

Inside, our trip continues.  My mother had this car’s cousin, a 1977 Olds Cutlass Supreme Brougham.  Her car’s seats were made from the same material. The closest I can come to describing it would be crushed velvet, one shade of thickness more plush than the stuff they make the velvet Elvis paintings on (I always wanted one of those.  I love the King and hope to meet him some day). Let me tell you, when GM combined the plushness of this material and the insanely thick foam padding underneath, passengers were guaranteed to have one comfy rear end. The only problem was that this stuff was also a superior form of insulation. In the summer, your legs would sweat mercilessly when in contact with these seats. On the good side, at least it isn’t covered in 1970s vinyl. That stuff was always a dark color, and could lay a third degree burn on you before you could jump off the seat in the summer. Getting back to the car, this one looks to have power windows, power door locks, and even a power seat. The ad even states that there is a fuel mileage gauge on the dash to let you know you are wasting fuel. With these cars, it should just bury the needle on the waste side of the gauge when you start the car. They ate a lot of gas.

Under the hood, you can see why it ate a lot of gas. While everything on this car appears to be nice and neat, except for the surface rust on some of the bolts and covering the hood latch and spring, the engines in these cars were not up to the task.  While it is a V8, this Pontiac’s engine only had 301 cubic inches and a sad 135 horsepower to motivate this heavy automobile down the road. The science of reducing emissions hadn’t progressed very far by the time of this car’s manufacture, and was regulated to mainly slapping on a big catalytic converter and maybe some lean burn ignition tricks.  All of this likely made the cars burn more gas, which created more emissions and killed any chance of horsepower occurring, which caused the driver to push harder on the go pedal, which burned more gas…  You get the idea.  People who grew up on muscle cars must have kept Kleenex in their cars for the crying sessions that surely resulted from dealing with the reality they found themselves sitting in.  At least they had a comfortable spot to cry.

What we have here is a well taken care of car that provides us a good look back to the 1970s.  We tend to ridicule and bemoan the 1970s, and for good reason.  A lot of the cars from that era were duds, and we won’t even talk about the music.  Despite this, there’s a lot to be said for a car like this.  They are pretty good looking, fairly safe, and definitely comfortable.  A guy could buy a car like this one, which has only 23,500 original miles, and have some fun cruising around in it.  He could have more fun raiding the junkyard for a modern Chevrolet small block and doing an engine swap.  A little more horsepower would make you feel less like Huggy Bear and more like Cale Yarborough (To be fair, he drove a Monte Carlo, which is the Chevrolet version of this car).  Another use would be to dye the top black and have your wife or girlfriend dress up as Carrie Fisher to your Jake Blues.  Cosplay is huge, and it is only a matter of time before these people get cars to match their costumes.

The movie industry decimated the supply of four door Dodges, but this is the next best thing if you want to make that run to the Cook County Assessor’s office.  Just don’t plan on getting there in record time!

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Comments

  1. geomechs

    My favorite Grand Prix, the ’77 LJ. Sold lots of them through our dealership. Mostly 350 and 400 motors though. Don’t knock the 301; I had a 4bbl version in my Grand Am and it went like Jack, the bear. Mileage and performance left a lot to be desired at Nixon’s mandatory 55 mph speed limit. Cruising at 70+ you could get into the upper teens. My friend’s GP with 400 was marginally worse. An SBC? Please, don’t make me come and shoot you….

    16+

  2. Rustytech

    I liked every one of the 70’s Grand Prix’s. The early one’s, with the 455 ci monsters were real tire burners, these later ones were, not so much, but in my opinion they were better looking cars. I like this one a lot, though I’d like it better with bucket seats and console.

    10+

  3. dirtyharry

    A Pontiac. I already now young people who don’t even recognize the name. The excitement brand from GM did some great stuff. Nobody will buy this to race, but it is certainly a great cruiser. On the interstate you won’t care, you will still go 80 all day long. I think Carrie Fisher was just great in the Blues Brothers, Star Wars, The Burbs. Now we lost her and the Pontiac. I will miss you both.

    14+

  4. 86 Vette Convertible

    Simply beautiful! Take that one on a Sunday Cruise, stop by the local drive-in and get a root-beer float. Enjoy the summer in it.

    7+

  5. gregwnc

    My big brother bought the a new SJ model back in ’77. Of course he traded in his ’72 low mileage GTO that he also bought new since the wife wanted a new more luxurious ride. Jeez. I was 14 years old and begged my Dad to buy the GTO and not let my brother trade it in, thinking of my future of course. Dad laughed.
    From what I remember, the GP was a nice, nice comfortable cruiser with decent power with the 400. Mandarin orange with beige landau top and vinyl buckets.
    I’m still smarting about the GTO though.

    5+

  6. irocrob

    I had a 1975 with the 400 and it was a great highway car but very thirsty.

    2+

  7. Michael

    Owned a ’76 with the 350. Black w/ red interior. Drove it cross country to CA in ’86. Best car I’ve ever owned. No mechanical issues whatsoever. Yes, it was thirsty.

    3+

  8. J Paul

    My stepfather had one of the 1976 50th Anniversary Grand Prix models—gold paint, leather, t-tops, power everything. Very disco, and apparently somewhat rare (less than 5,000 made, according to a quick scan of the internet).

    As a kid, it seemed impossibly fancy. But it was unfortunately an unreliable mess. The t-tops leaked, the “power everything” often lost power, and one time the driver’s door stopped opening from the inside (causing my mom to have to climb out the window Dukes of Hazzard style). It disappeared from our driveway not too long after.

    My stepfather never bought a new American car again, and made the improbable transition into a die-hard Saab enthusiast. Go figure.

    1+

  9. Dave

    My grandfather had this same car except red interior, traded it in one year later on a four door Bonneville because the doors were too heavy for my grandmother lol.

    0

  10. AMXSTEVE

    My bud bought a gorgeous 77 triple black one with red pinstripes in 79. Loaded to the max with T-Tops it was a chick magnet. Many a fun time in that car, but I don’t remember what happened to it.

    0

  11. jeff

    I had a 77 GP LJ Black with Red interior , bucket seats , 301 2bbl , and 8 track.
    Was a nice highway car for 1988-1992 back and forth to college. Rear quarters rusted out, I blew a rear tire out at 70 mph and the belt from the tire ” shredded ” the driver side of the trunk floor. Then the jack froze right at the notch that allowed me to change the tire…..barely. Carried a floor jack from that point on afterwards. Overall had decent power and floated down the highway. Not bad for $ 500 investment. Jeff

    1+

  12. duaney Member

    Too bad not the Olds 403

    0

    • Greg

      Exactly what I was thinking! Also strato bucket seats. They really do look better than the earlier 70’s models, and didn’t that 301 have a problem with knocking?
      Man I wish Pontiac was still around!

      0

  13. Joe

    I bought one of these new. It was Berkshire green w/wht. landau top.301. Great car & last of the big GP’s that I always loved from ’62 – ’77! Had to sell it as my family was getting bigger. Wish that I still had it cause it was one of my favorites! My friend & his cousin had red ’62s one 4 sp & other auto. & I had a ’62 Bonneville conv. white on white w/ red int. 389 4bbl. another favorite. I’ve owned a lot of vehicles but Pontiacs,Cadillacs, Buicks, Chevys & Olds were always my favorites.

    1+

  14. Keith

    Nice car…The 77 Olds Cutlass Supreme, Buick Regal, Chevy Monte Carlo and the Grand Prix were the ultimate personal luxury coupes of the 70’s and the last of the true “mid size” GM automobiles. I had a 77 Monte Carlo with the 350 4-barrel back in 1985/86 and I loved that car. Memorable GM line-up from the 70’s in my opinion.

    1+

  15. Tommy D

    What’s so wrong with 70’s music…?

    2+

  16. Gay Car Nut

    Even though I watched The Blues Brothers, and I remember Jake Blue’s incensed wife, played by (the now late Carrie Fisher), I regret that I don’t remember her car.

    0

  17. Wayne

    The author is correct about The Blues Brothers. If you have not seen it. It is good entertainment. (not a socially significant movie, but good entertainment none the less) Much of the movie was shot in our (at the time) little town of Wauconda Illinois. In fact the movie opened in our town. (not New York or Hollywood) It was a great time having them in town. Dan and John waving and flashing their lights from the blues mobile at me when I went to work. As they were waiting for traffic to clear so that they could start the day shooting. The 2 acres of old Illinois State Police cars destroyed for our enjoyment. It was ok with me!

    2+

  18. craig sibert

    My mom had a 77 lj with t tops,400 ,buckets ,power windows and even had a early mechanical remote starter. It was gold with beige interior.nice dar with the t tops off learned how to power slide in the snow .would drive it like a maniac all night long then pull in the driveway real slow like thats how i drive.

    1+

  19. Jubjub

    Parked outside the”Curl Up & Dye” beauty salon!

    Are the remnants of the mall they drove through still standing? I think it was in Holland Il. Worked up there about ten years ago and remember seeing it, then reading that it was the filming location.

    0

    • Marty Wilke Marty Wilke Staff

      Dixie Square Shopping Center in Harvey, IL

      0

  20. Gay Car Nut

    It’s always fun to see where scenes from the movie took place.

    0

  21. Moparman

    “I love the King and hope to meet him some day” I take you mean after you pass away?; I’m sure you’re aware that “The King” passed away in 1977, in Memphis. 🙂

    0

  22. RayRay

    I own a 77 myself, SJ model 400ci floor shifter and leather bucket seats
    Bought it for $1000 from an elderly couple who took great care of the car
    Interior is a solid 98% clean

    Man these cars are fun to drive, I’ve taken it on cross country and it has never break a sweat
    I’ve recently converted mine to dual exhaust with a pair of flowmaster kicking in and you can hear the old poncho
    I WILL NEVER SELL MINE, NEVER

    1+

  23. RayRay

    Here is a shot of the interior, that compass is factory add-on
    Mine also has the color matching Rallye II wheels

    2+

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