3 Speed Manual! 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix

This 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix is a rare bird, being equipped with a three-speed manual Hurt shifter which the seller claims makes it one of 277 built that year. Seeing a land barge like this Grand Prix equipped with three pedals is a anomaly, but someone clearly felt like size should have no bearing on their desire to row their own gears. Thanks to Barn Finds reader dirtyharry for the find, and check out the Grand Prix here on craigslist for $5,500 in Long Beach, CA.

Facts and figures indicate close to 99 percent of all Grand Prixs in 1969 were fitted with an automatic transmission, making this 3-speed option insanely rare (or obscure, depending on your view of things.) Even the 4-speed was apparently more common, so if owning a Grand Prix that no one else has is on your list of priorities, this one is clearly worth a look.

Transmission aside, this is a pretty standard-issue Grand Prix with a 400ci V8 and air conditioning, power windows, and power steering. The seller notes the presence of rust which looks to be contained to the edges of the fenders in the photos. The paint is clearly tired but would likely bounce back with some proper detailing, and the nose of the car still remains one of the more intimidating ones in the business.

The V8 is a numbers matching unit, and the seller claims it runs well. Oddballs like this truly deserve preservation, especially for defunct brands like Pontiac which tried valiantly to be the performance arm of GM for many years. While the value proposition will always be a losing one, I hope someone out there feels passionately about preserving true one-percenters like this stick-shift Grand Prix.

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    I’d be Hurt too if all I had to work with was a three-speed, Jeff!

    That shifter looks like it should be given the boot, to me….

    Like 4
  2. Chebby

    These are so cool and under rated. One of my favorite Pontiacs.

    Like 13
  3. mark

    Nice find. Somewhere there is a Pontiac collector that is drooling over this one as it is a rare one that they don’t have.

    Like 8
  4. Bob C.

    Yeah, a three speed definitely “Hurts” this car.

    Like 1
  5. JOHN Member

    Great candidate for a proper restoration, add a 5 speed, keeping the original 3 speed in storage for the matching numbers guys. Regarding the term “land barge”, it’s only 9″ longer overall than a 69 GTO, and virtually the same width. The exceptionally long hood, short rear deck certainly adds to the impression you are driving something significant, but the frame is basically the same as the GTO and other A-bodys, with the difference of the wheel /suspension being moved forwards about 4 inches. The same frame is used on the Monte Carlo. The Grand Prix also has the really cool exterior door handles, a driver’s cockpit dash design, and you could option it up to a 428 HO, 390 HP so they could move pretty well. I would love to have a manual trans 69 or 70 Grand Prix.

    Like 16
  6. Gaspumpchas

    IMHO the only thing uglier than this is 2 of ’em. A face only a mother could love. That said, very cool with a stick. I agree with John, a 5 speed or even a 4 speed would make this gp Cooler! Again, upgrade to a bigger mill, I guarantee you will be the only one like it at a show. Good luck to the new owner, Do ‘er up proud!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 6
  7. Tom Member

    The pictures are not good but I am pretty sure that paint is beyond “tired”. Proper detailing is not going to fix this paint. In some areas on the sides maybe. The top of the car is baked, completely oxidized and looks like plenty of initial surface rust bleeding through. Definitely worth a try but your buffer is going to have a whole lot of brown on it.

    Like 12
  8. Steven Ligac

    No belt on the AC. As a Fla boy it’s what my eyes automatically focus on straightaway.

    Like 9
  9. Todd Priest

    My father had a beautiful ’69 GP with a factory 4 speed and hood tach. There were other rare features but i can’t recall. It was even featured in Hemmings Muscle Machine magazine.

    Like 9
  10. Evan

    I absolutely can not make sense of this. I’d bet cash money that the option price of a 4-speed was under $100. Why would anyone get the 3-speed??

    • JOHN Member

      The 3 speed manual was the standard or base transmission on the 69 Grand Prix. The 4 speed was just under a $200 option, and the automatic was just over $200. 99% of all Grand Prix’s were equipped with the automatic trans. This 3 speed was one of just over 300 ever built. Rare indeed, but of course, the 4 speed is more than desirable, I mentioned earlier that I would upgrade it to a 5 speed, they will fit without any modifications, 6 speeds I believe would require mods to the tunnel, which might affect that cool console.

      Like 10
  11. Haig L Haleblian

    I have the same shift knob from a 63 Lemans I rebuilt in 1966. Took out the 4 banger/auto, dropped in a 326/3 speed and dual glass packs. I was a happy 16 year old!

    Like 9
  12. Angrymike

    I’ve had 3 of these pass through my life. My uncle had a triple black 428, that I fell in love with back in 1969. Then there’s a blue 70 that visited my neighbor back around 1980. Unfortunately the owner died behind wheel of the blue one. These are among my favorite body style. My fren and I stripped out for the int and engine and dropped it into his Tempest because the drain xz the frame was toast. If I ever owned one, I’d love to find a a manual shifted GP, with a 428 and PW, locks and air

    Like 7
  13. TimM

    A complete odd ball but that’s what makes it cool!!!

    Like 10
  14. Keith

    One of these showed up on the east coast somewhere (don’t recall where exactly) last spring. Craigslist posting, light on details, but definitely a 3-speed manual.

    Seriously thought about buying it… but was torn on rarity vs. how much nicer it would be with a 4-speed. Lucky for me, getting more pictures – and seeing much more rust – meant I never had to decide!

    Like 1
  15. gbvette62

    I love 69-72 Grand Prix’. My mother had a Model J in 72, and I knew a guy who had a 69 428 4 speed SJ. The 4 speed SJ was pretty neat, but unfortunately it was a 4 year old car, that was beat to heck.

    Today people are surprised to see something like a this with a 3 or 4 speed, and a Grand Prix with a 3 speed is rare, but car’s like this really weren’t that uncommon in the 60’s and early 70’s. I knew GTO’s and SS396’s with 3 speeds, my cousin had a 70 Monte Carlo with a bench seat, 350 4bbl and a 4 speed. I’ve seen 4 door sedans and wagons with 4 speeds too.

    This is a pretty neat find, but it’s also a good example of the fact that rare doesn’t always mean desirable.

    Like 2
  16. James Martin

    The 3 speed is what makes it cool. Why destroy it by putting something else in it. And besides 3 is all you need of the line. And most likely a muncie 3 speed to boot.

    Like 10
    • JOHN Member

      A 5 speed will give you everything you want off the line, if that’s what you meant to say, but will also give you overdrive for cruising! I suggested the 5 speed so you don’t destroy anything, complete bolt in, zero modifications. Unless you put it on a lift, or put it in what you thought was reverse (that could get ugly) due to the shift pattern, no one could tell. 6 speeds rock, every time I drive my 65 GTO 4 speed I go looking for more gears, it only has a 3:23 rear, but it is singing at highway speeds. My 70 El Camino SS 396 has a TH400, I always think it is stuck in 2nd gear, even around town, and it only has 3:31 gears. I wish I could get a 6 speed to fit in the stock tunnel without mods…either car. Better mileage, lower engine RPM, what’s not to like? But hey, this is a car hobby, we all have different opinions, it would be boring if we all had the same stuff!

      Like 8
    • Edward

      GM bought Top Loader 3-Speed transmissions from Ford as the “Base” unit in all “Big Block” vehicles for a number of years. GM’s 3-speed units with and without BW overdrives would not survive behind the big engines. They were marketed as Dearborn transmissions. Ford modified the units with new input gear and and clutch sleeve to match GM but the main housing mounts remained stock Ford. GM cast their bellhousings with both Ford and GM patterns.

      Like 3
    • Guy Letourneau

      These motors were well suited to the 3spd. The torque spread was such that the 4spd was unnecessary. Back in the day everybody was doing 4spd conversions. The smart people are going the other way.

  17. James Martin

    Spoiled! You want to drive classic car but want it to drive like a new one. 5 speed my ash. 3 speed is cool enough in a rare car like this. If you want a six speed by a new GTO or a challenger. And when in a quarter mile would you use 5 speeds? Only if the quarter was 5 miles long. Get a way from the mirror, it just appears longer.

    Like 6
    • JOHN Member

      You certainly wouldn’t use 5 gears in 1320 feet. But a modern 5 speed has a much steeper set of gears allowing better torque multiplication (launch), as well as an overdrive, usually in the neighborhood of .068:1 ratio, as opposed to the 3 speed and the 4 speeds with a 1:1 ratio. Hard to argue with a 33% or so reduction in engine speed on the highway. Kinda like riding a bike uphill, what would you rather have, a 10 speed or a 3 speed bike? In addition to my above mentioned cars, I also have a 2006 GTO with a 6 speed, perfect match to the LS2 engine, a modified 4 speed transaxle mid-engine 65 Corvair with a V8, and a 67 Cutlass Supreme with an LS3 4LE80 conversion, I drive them all, no need for the mirror you are familiar with! But hey, it’s your car, drive it the way you want, restore 100% stock, “restify”, modify, race, it’s all good. This is a hobby… we all have a different approach to what is right or wrong. But at the end of the day, I appreciate the effort and passion people put into this great hobby. I may not personally like some of the things I see, but again, I certainly appreciate the dedication and effort. I am 67, been playing with cars all my life, and not slowing down!

      Like 7
      • Johnny R

        Sounds like you have too many cars John. I can help you with that and take a few for a bit LOL!

  18. Dennis McCutchan

    I bought one of these new in ’69 after totaling my ’69 Vette. My insurance man told me to cancel the ’69 454 Chevelle order or he would cancel me. [small town] I got a kick out of the term “land barge” because all my Vette buddies called the GP “Queen Mary”. But guess who got to drive everywhere when more than three of us wanted to go somewhere.

    Like 1
  19. Wayne

    I love this car and it is very tempting. (besides no vinyl top!)
    John, I agree with all your comments!

    Like 1
  20. Del

    Should be restored and 3 speed kept.

    It is extrememly rare and the 3 speed makes it so

    Like 4
  21. Mitch Ross Member

    Probably the only one left, so I think it would be a good idea to change it to something desieable like a 4 speed. Who wants to have a car unlike any oter car in the word anyway ?

    Like 1
  22. Wayne

    Mitch Ross, I hate to see myself going the other way.( same car as me) If I am driving something mundane or common place ( like my wife’s 5.0 2wd Explorer) I at lease add some additional fog lights and different wheels. Everyone driving the same thing is boring. (To me) Go to a hot rod/classic car show and my interest is in how clean and original a classic is. Or how unique a modified or hot rod is. Row upon row of 1957 Chevys with 350/350 power trains or LSs with a GM overdrive shows me no imagination. But a 1957 Chevy with a supercharged 6 cylinder or V12 Jag engine will really get my attention. And even though I might be bored with the drivetrain choice. I still appreciate the time and effort to complete a project. I really like to look at rat rods from the aspect of the ingenuity on many of them. I have never seen one that looked to be comfortable on a long cruise, so I don’t desire one. ( although I am tempted to build one) Straight 8 fuel injected Packard? Twin engine turbo charged rotary power? Now there is some originality!

    Like 1
  23. Mark

    I owned this car quite a while ago. Had to sell due to my situation at the time but had I seen this ad I would have easily bought it back. It looked like heck but it was a pleasure to drive and handled nicely for a full-size barge. BTW, someone commented on it prob being a Muncie but it is not, it is a Dearborn M13. This car was a lot more solid than it looks. Damn, as usual, I cannot catch a break with my luck. Now I have the money sitting around and there is nothing but junk or museum cars for sale. Oh well. I hope she got a good home.

    Like 3

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