389/4-Speed Driver! 1965 Pontiac Grand Prix

Pontiac styling hit high marks in the 1960s and this Grand Prix is no exception. The full-sized two-door features the desirable eight-lug aluminum wheels, 389 cid (6.4L) V8 and, most interestingly, a four-speed manual transmission! The 1965 Pontiac Grand Prix in Ypsilanti, Michigan retains nearly all of its original parts, including a numbers-matching engine. The car’s history is known, and a Marti report documents many details. This true driver recently benefited from a tune-up and valve job. The listing here on eBay asks $14,500 via Buy It Now or, if you’re feeling lucky, click Make Offer. Thanks to reader Patrick S. for his astute eye and the tip.

The full-width tail light panel looks super-smooth and the bumpers, while sturdy, blend beautifully with the bodywork. It’s hard to imagine how the company that designed this sweet GP and other classics later penned the Aztek before vanishing entirely. The car appears to have had bodywork or replacement of the left rear quarter-panel some years ago, and the touch-up aged poorly compared to the Pontiac’s original paint.

The interior shows few flaws, though the seller graciously admits a new headliner is needed. Even common weak spots like the steering wheel and dashboard are claimed to be in great shape. A dash-mounted tachometer deviates from the norm, though it’s listed as an original option. The bucket seats and console came standard on the Grand Prix, perhaps a nod to its sporting European-inspired name.

The Grand Prix’s base 389 V8 uses 10.5:1 compression and premium fuel to make 333 HP 429 lb-ft of torque. With the four-speed and snappy 3.42:1 final axle, this big cruiser should have no problem merging with authority. Bigger engines were available, but this one certainly satisfies the sporty mission of this full-sized coupe. Thanks to lov2xlr8.no for some details. It’s great to see a big two-door like this with high-style, a big motor, and a four-speed, and I’d love to drive it. A car like this doesn’t have to show off its power; you know it’s there. What $14,500 car would you pick over this solid Grand Prix?

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    Just curious, is that engine color a Pontiac color? It looks like a Chrysler engine color.

    Like 3
    • 19sixty5 Member

      Original color, the light metallic blue started in 1966 and continued through the 1970 model year. After that they were a couple shades of blue, and I believe they went back to the light blue metallic before they went to GM corporate blue.

      Like 12
    • Vince

      Yes that is pre-’67 Pontiac Blue

      Like 3
    • Phil D

      As 19sixty5 says, it’s correct.

      Pontiac turquoise is lighter than the turquoise that Chrysler used on their big-block engines in the ’60s.

      Like 2
  2. TimS

    I’m missing something. A Marti report on a Pontiac? Maybe the author meant PHS?

    Like 16
  3. H5mind

    Hey, careful with those Aztek digs, pal. One of the best cars I ever owned! Oh, and this car is nice too…

    Like 4
    • Dave

      Pontiac had a reputation for doing the unconventional during it’s time. The first production Six-Pack, available throughout the line, four-speeds available throughout the line, the overhead-cam six, keeping the Trans-Am alive with a respectable performance level when other “performance cars” had become sticker packages, the Fiero, and the Aztek, which lived on for many years in Buick guise after the division fell to corporate deletion.
      Some years ago there was a black one of these with the factory Tri-Power 421 at a cruise. The owner asked me to close the hood and after doing so correctly he asked me if I wanted to buy the car. I have no room for a third car.

      Like 4
  4. Greggo

    Pulled up to a customers home a couple of years ago and in the neighbor’s driveway was one of these beasts. Completely restored. It stopped me in my tracks. A really great design, looked fast standing still. Imposing yet elegant.

    Like 11
    • Major Thom

      Actually, the Aztek’s brother by another mother (Buick Rendezvous) only lasted two years after the Aztek was dropped in 2005, and long before Pontiac was killed off.

      Like 1
  5. Howard A Member

    Nice! My uncle had a similar ’65 2 door Catalina, one of my favorite cars. Uncle Marv did 2 things. He was in the Army, and worked at Briggs and Stratton, never married, and lived at home his entire life into his 80’s. The GP would have been WAY too fancy, but the Catalina, which was kind of a GP, could still be had, with all the same Pontiac attributes. While Marv’s car was an automatic, didn’t have buckets or console or tach, it did have those gauges on the dash and was pretty much the same car. Marv had a heavy foot, and it was always a treat when he drove. We got somewhere much faster than my old man, for sure. That ’65 Poncho rolled like thunder. Oh, btw, the reason the drivers seat is canted back? You can figure it out,, :)

    Like 8
    • Stevieg

      Your uncle Marv lived into his 80’s because he never married lol.

      Like 2
  6. Moparman Member

    GM was at the top of their game when these came out! Although my preference is for the 66, this one is a REAL beauty,(AND a 4 speed!) seeming to need only a little TLC & paint to restore it to its former glory. GLWTA! :-)

    Like 12
    • 370zpp

      Moparman, I completely agree with you. TLC and paint is all this one needs. What a classic beauty!

      Like 8
    • scott phelps

      don’t forget the 2 +2’s from that era also.

      Like 1
  7. redwagon

    Just amazing to me the designs that rolled out of GM in the mid-60’s. Love these big boulevard cruisers and they travelled equally as well on the highways too. The Pontiac GP and the Buick Riviera were in a class all by themselves. Downsides? The Riviera did not have a manual and iirc the GP existed as a convertible but 1 year only.

    This GP has no AC, no power windows, no power seats, no power brakes (?) and I don’t really care.

    Am I crazy or does $14k seem like a good deal?

    Like 10
    • Tom Member

      Nope you are sane. Good Deal for sure. Runs, solid, running drivetrain and interior good. Great motor and trans combo. wheels are a bonus. Do a great paint job after working the body out and I don’t think you would be upside down. Wish I could buy it but it is not on my short list so I have to stay strong !!!

      Like 7
    • Tom Member

      What I find more amazing is that most every year of car prior to the mid to late 60’s was 100% different EVERY YEAR. i.e. Impala 1953 – 1959, radically different every year. 60 was similar then different. Crazy to re-tool to that extent every year, super cool, but HOW did they do that?? All the technology these days and they run a vehicle for 5+ years with changes to the head and taillights (= smarter, I just don’t know, back in the 50’s, how you literally create a different car AND MANY versions of it….2 door, 4 door, wagon, convertible like from the 57 Bel Air to the 58 to the 59, all 100% different may as well been a Chevy, Ford and Dodge ! Such a simpler and amazing era. I am a 1966 model myself so I didn’t even get to live through it to see it first hand !!

      Like 8
      • ccrvtt

        The mantra in Detroit in the ’50s-’60s was, “Sheet metal sells”. That, coupled with its corollary, “planned obsolescence” pretty much describes what happened during the greatest era in American automobile manufacturing.

        It was a brilliant though arguably wasteful philosophy that our great friends at Apple have embraced lately.

        Like 4
      • Ralph

        With 0 gov regulation anything is possible, no crash testing, no gov standard as to how many lumens the lights put out or where they have to be located, etc etc.

        They usually had the re-styles already planned out years in advance. They would still follow a 3-4 platform cycle with significant restyles in between with the exception of the 1959-1960 GM cars which were 2 years only.

        Like 1
      • local_sheriff

        Don’t forget that manufacturing tools get worn. Instead of replacing them with identical tools the manufacturers could just as well make the new manufacturing tools allowing updated designs

        Like 2
      • vintagehotrods

        I love the 60’s cars and the exciting time of horsepower, styling and innovation they represent. In fact you can see this back to every decade from the 30’s on in American cars. I know we all like to live in the past, but the present times are the true golden age of performance and styling. Need I remind you that we arrived here with government regulation that gave us many innovations and spurred development of safer, more powerful cars. Here are some the cars that make this the golden age of performance!

        2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat Redeye 797 HP
        2020 Ford Mustang GT500 760 HP
        2020 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat 707 HP
        2020 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 650 HP
        2020 Chevrolet Corvette C8 495 HP
        And even a 707 HP SUV, the 2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk!

        Like 2
  8. LMK Member

    Had a 65 GP and loved it a long time. This one really is tempting with it’s 4 speed and other options like the tac and wheels…But missing is the the vacuum gauge that usually sits at the front of the console…Wonder why…? I’ve never seen one without it there…Missing the a/c too unfortunately but I could live w/o it …
    Really a nice car….though…

    Like 5
  9. AAM

    I believe that the automatic trans cars came with the vacuum gauge and manual trans cars had a tach. Manual trans cars are in the minority so the tach looks a little unusual.

    Like 5
    • LMK Member

      AAM, That makes good sense..Thanks !

      Like 1
    • local_sheriff

      That’s correct AAM, however well optioned auto GPs were sold with the vacuum gauge in the console and tach installed in the dash.
      Of 58.881 GPs sold only 1.973 were manual cars. That extremely low # includes cars equipped with 3spd too – the 4spd was optional equipment

      Like 2
  10. DAVID6

    😃had a 70 gp 455 t400 possi it was a torque monster👍 pedal 2 the metal evan shifting 2 third, it would spin till i let off😎

    Like 1
  11. Stan Marks

    Seems in those days, they would make a smaller version of the full size boats.
    There are hints, of my ’65 GTO, in this GP. For instance, the 389ci.V8.
    Vertical head lights. Even the tail lights with the wrap-around rear grill design, below the trunk. Oh, and add the stick-on wood grain along the dash. I wonder if that 4 spd, has a Hurst shifter?
    Am I missing anything?

    Like 2
    • Bob Washburne

      Probably a Borg-Warner unit.

      I’m in the market for a ’66 4-door hardtop, engine & trans optional (I have a spare &Y-code 389 & TF), preferably with air…but damn, this is tempting.

      Curious about the extent of trunk-pan rust.

      Like 1
  12. Stan Marks

    BTW… Are my eyes deceiving me, or is there a gap, between the right rear deck lid & right quarter panel?

    • Howard A Member

      Probably. On another site, someone said they worked at GM in the 60’s. Cars were coming down the line so fast, some workers had less than 30 seconds to do the task. They told of stories where 2×4’s were slammed in the doors to make them close. And long waits too. Customers waited months for their cars, so when they finally got them, panel gaps were the least of their concerns. Unless someone mentioned it, the color match between the left door and rear fender are off, so this car may have been hit at one time.

      Like 3
  13. Bob Mck Member

    I have a 63 GP. I truly love this car. She drives and rides so well. This is one car that I will probably never sell. Unless someone offered crazy money for it.

    Like 2
  14. Frank M

    That wood grain on the dash and center console is real wood veneer. I had a 65 Grand Prix in high school. One of my favorite cars.

    Like 3
  15. Jranders Member

    Remember well, family moved to St Louis. The small subdivision we lived in had a 67 Gran Prix convertible, 67 4 door Thunderbird, 68 Charger, 67 Lincoln. Continental 2 door. We had 67 Buick Wildcat and a 67 Cougar. Been hooked on 60s designs ever since, can you blame me?

    Like 4
  16. JamieB1966 Member

    The dash + center console of the 1965-66 Grand Prix, when outfitted with all the gauges, has to be the best cockpit Pontiac ever produced and one of the best out of GM across all makes. And yes, in 1965 it was still real wood veneer.

  17. CORVAIRWILD

    I own a 1965 Grand Prix, I bought it five years ago, it was in long-term dry storage, it’s loaded with most options, including gauges integrated with a speedometer. All full-size Pontiacs had the three pods above the radio, mine has the additional gauges which is very rare, and the factory tach on the left side, and the vacuum gauge in the console ahead of the automatic transmission shifter. A good friend of mine in Chicago also has a 65 Grand Prix Survivor, but with no options at all except for 389 tri-power, 4-speed and tach. He doesn’t have gauges, but it does have 8 lug Wheels. Interestingly, you could have had the 421 tripower, but whoever bought his car just selected the 389 3×2, which was discontinued after the 65 model year. I believe the transmission is a Muncie, and GM had redesigned the T10 to make it cheaper in 65 ish, and I think they did sometimes do the Hurst shifter, which is obviously better than the Muncie shifter. But my friend would know better, because he has a 4-speed Grand Prix that I hope to own one day, to join with the 20 other collector cars I hardly ever get to drive

    Like 2
    • On and On On and On Member

      Are you by chance also a Corvair owner? Your moniker says it may be remotely possible!

  18. DayDreamBeliever Member

    *Gasp*

    Not one mention yet…. You’re slipping, folks!

    As much as the fender skirts looked Out Of Place on the Caprice last week…

    They are SPOT ON in this application. Designed-in PERFECTION!

    This car would IMO not look right *Without* them!

    Love this car, BTW.

    Like 5
    • Howard A Member

      I thought the Pontiac rendition of skirts looked just right on these too. Funny, unless I missed it, nobody mentioned the factory “reverb-a-matic” control. It, I think, was a half baked attempt at early stereo, but sounded more like the speaker was a tin can under water and no “Safety Sentinel”? Someone didn’t think that was necessary, uncles car had that, and I believe in ’65, they changed the “Gen” to “Batt”, even though they had alternators.Guess they figured Pontiac buyers weren’t ready for that word.

      Like 2
    • 19sixty5 Member

      Pontiac and Cadillac without a doubt had the best designed and integrated skirts of all cars, period!

      Like 2
  19. George Mattar

    What a great car when GM was on top. Very sad that are roads are jam packed with Jap made boring over priced garbage. Long live Pontiac. My dad had a new white 66. I hate getting old, but I can say I remember these cars NEW.

    Like 2
  20. Stan Marks

    I wasn’t aware of a factory reverb, offered in Pontiacs. It wasn’t an option in my ’65 GTO. When I heard it in a friends car, I purchased an after market.
    Back then, having only AM, reverb was a radical sound. We didn’t have rear speakers. As car sounds evolved, over the years, every car has fm stereo, CD player, multiple speakers & an optional XM radio.
    You old school car guys, scoff at Japanese vehicles. Why are they the top sellers in the country? And why are the old American models a thing of the past?
    For the most part, people kept a car, back then, for a relatively short time, before trading up for a newer model? American cars didn’t hold up. German(VW) & other foreign cars were more fuel efficient and held up longer.
    Last Dec., I finally sold my ’00 Accord cpe V6. At 76, I decided it was time. It still looked new. Best car I ever owned.
    I purchased a ’17 Hyundai Elantra, with 28 thousand miles.

    • 19sixty5 Member

      Pontiac did indeed offer a reverb option back in the day called the Verba-phonic, which was different from the typical rear seat speaker option called the Separa-phonic, they were also available in the big car line also. I know the reverb was offered in the GTO from 1964 through 1968, not certain of 1969, I’m pretty sure it was dropped when the AM/FM Multiplex units were first offered in 69, at least in the GTO if I remember correctly. My 65 GTO has the factory reverb, but it is no longer in use as I replaced the radio with a modern AM/FM that has a factory OEM appearance, although it is a 1966 design. I also had a 64 GTO with a reverb, and a 67 LeMans that I bought as a parts car for my 67 GTO convert, it had just about every option available, including of course, the Verba-Phonic. I remember when they came out, it was pretty crazy. The best part was going over a rough road or hitting a large bump…

      Like 1
      • Stan Marks

        Thanks for the info. I was 20, when I ordered mine. What did I know? LOL!

        Like 1
      • jerry douglas

        58 Impala’s had a reverb unit in the trunk under the package tray….sounded kinda funky going across railroad tracks. Fun times.

  21. TimM

    I’m not into the patina thing but in the case of this car being it’s not rust I would leave it just the way it is!! Nice driver and great drivetrain combination!!!

    Like 1
  22. CORVAIRWILD

    The reverb has two long springs inside that slow the sound down, pretty crude, but effective! The reverb box is about 10″ long x 3″ x 3″, in the trunk

  23. corvairwild

    I just noticed it doesn’t have an outside rear view mirror. So early ’65 production. They were federally mandated Jan 1 1965

    Like 1
  24. Stan Marks

    What’s an outside rear view mirror?
    I thought the rear view mirror was inside, in the middle of the windshield.
    Then there’s the driver’s outside side mirror. I don’t recall an outside passenger side mirror. Years later, all cars had both side mirrors.

    • corvairwild

      6 of one, half a dozen of the other?!?!?

      Like 3
  25. Stan Marks

    BTW… I picked up my new car, early Oct. ’64 before the mandate took effect.

  26. jerry douglas

    58 Impala’s had a reverb unit in the trunk under the package tray….sounded kinda funky going across railroad tracks. Fun times.

  27. Stan Marks

    RR tracks were the worst, for reverb units. Sounded like the entire rear end, of the car, was falling apart.

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