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389 Tri-Power: 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix

Many people consider the Pontiac GTO the father of the muscle car, but if it is the main course, this 1962 Grand Prix might be the entree. It presents superbly, but what hides under the hood means it is more than a pretty face. It appears to have no urgent needs, meaning its new owner can hit the road immediately for some satisfying classic motoring. The Pontiac is listed here on eBay in Modesto, California. Bidding has swept past the reserve to sit at $15,600.

The first question many readers will ask is whether this Grand Prix was restored to its original specifications or is a spotless refurbishment with mechanical upgrades. I can’t determine that from the supplied photos or information, but I’m sure some of our knowledgeable readers will be able to confirm this one way or another. Finding fault with its Mandalay Red paint is virtually impossible. It looks crisp and clean, with no signs of significant flaws or defects. The body is laser straight, and the gaps are among the tightest and most consistent I’ve seen on a Pontiac of this vintage. That suggests that any work performed is of a high standard with a careful eye for detail. There is no visible rust, and no issues are mentioned in the listing. If the Grand Prix has spent its life in its current location, the climate is ideal for preserving classic steel. The glass and trim are excellent, helping this car to make a positive impression. If I were pressed to name the best wheel to grace an American production car from the 1960s, it would be a no-brainer. The 8-lugs that this car wears win the title hands-down. Pontiac produced a wheel that looks purposeful and aggressive yet classy and refined. That is a difficult feat, but I believe Pontiac hit the mark perfectly.

Lifting this Grand Prix’s hood reveals a spotless engine bay and a 389ci V8. This is a Tri-Power unit, but the seller doesn’t indicate its specifications or whether it is numbers-matching. The least potent Tri-Power produced 318hp and 430 ft/lbs of torque, although the range-topping version pushed the power figure to an official 348hp. The ponies are fed to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission, with this car also featuring power assistance for the steering and brakes. The V8 wears a range of cosmetic enhancements, and an aluminum radiator keeps things cool. The engine exhales through Flowmaster mufflers and a dual exhaust with electronic cutouts. I’d love to hear it running because it is guaranteed it would sound tough. More disappointing than the lack of information on this car’s originality is the seller’s decision not to provide an insight into how it runs or drives. However, the news should be positive if appearances count.

Ah, White vinyl trim. It looks stunning in its prime but can look pretty awful if neglected or mistreated. This Grand Prix has no such worries because its interior is as spectacular as the rest of the vehicle. There might be some slight discoloring on the driver’s seat, but I wouldn’t rule out this being a defect in the photo. The remaining upholstered surfaces are striking, and the carpet is excellent, with the dash and pad equally impressive. The original owner ordered this Pontiac with bucket seats, a console, and a pushbutton radio. Someone has added a column-mounted tachometer and a selection of gauges under the dash to monitor the powerhouse under the hood. Removing these items to achieve a factory appearance is possible, although I would consider them acceptable insurance in case of a potential mechanical malfunction.

The more I scrutinize the photos of this 1962 Pontiac Grand Prix, the more I like it. This classic seems to need nothing and is guaranteed to draw crowds wherever it goes. The only surprising aspect of this car is the relatively subdued auction action. This gem has only received twelve bids, which is below my expectations. The situation might change as the end approaches because some potential buyers might be biding their time and not showing their hands too early. It might be worth monitoring this auction to see how things progress. The only danger is you might find joining the action irresistible. I wish you luck if you do.


  1. Avatar photo Ramone Member

    Wow! Stunning GP. This should bring big money, or someone is getting a sweet deal. Wish it was me.

    Like 17
  2. Avatar photo Howard A Member

    Yeee-haw, ahem,,,sorry, hey, I am back in Colorado. I rented a new Kia Soul( Seoul,,,get it?) and it was a miserable POS, I almost returned it, figuring, I’ll get used to it,,but never did. And the kicker, I see people , non-rentals, that actually bought that crap. If they think that is a nice car,,well, clearly, they don’t know what a nice car is. Newsflash,,,THIS is the nicest car GM put out. I realize, a hefty claim, as all these GMs of this period were the best, but, this was the best of the best. That Kia had ONE thing, it got 38 mpg, which did come in handy, but that’s the price for good mileage. While looking at this setup, someone might think, oh, that’s going to suck gas, when really, I believe cruising, it just runs on the center carb, and if you could keep your foot out of it,,,,yeah right, I said if, it could get high teens or more. I thought the GP had that extra tail light, but I see it was the Bonneville, that looked awesome at night. I know I rip on California a lot, but they have money, and clearly love their cars, and this is an outstanding example of what you could buy in 1962. The base price for a ’62 GP with tri-power, was $3490, and were gussied up from there. A lot of money in the 60’s when people only made $6100/year, on average. If there would be one car to have, to show what a nice car really is, this it.

    Like 38
    • Avatar photo 370zpp Member

      Howard, a few years ago we rented an almost new Kia Soul after flying into Albuquerque for some NM r&r. We put almost 500 miles on it in five days, sometimes on two lane roads, sometimes on rough dirt roads, bottoming out the shocks at times. I purposely drove it hard and fast. It served us well. When we returned it to the rental company, you couldn’t even tell what color it was. But it was all there. No issues. If I had to buy an econobox these days, I would seriously consider a Soul.

      Like 11
      • Avatar photo Howard A Member

        Hi 370, to be fair, I think it had mismatched tires, a Cardinal sin with those, or an alignment issue. I don’t care for all the info gizmos, coming from my Jeep, where the extent of the electronic warnings is the seat belt buzzer. The car ran well, 75-80 no problem, 35mpg even with the a/c on. You know me and my background, and I prefer not to have any connection with a “Korea” anything, if I can help it.

        Like 12
      • Avatar photo Randy Anderson

        $3490.00 could just as well been a $100,000,00 back then for a nice looking ride like this to own, and then you’re owning a five to ten year old car to drive instead back then to own.

        Like 3
  3. Avatar photo 8banger Member

    Now that’s one slick looking machine!

    Like 14
  4. Avatar photo CCFisher

    Bidding has passed the reserve at a fraction of the car’s market value and the seller has 0% positive feedback. Someone is about to lose their deposit.

    Like 15
    • Avatar photo ruxvette

      Good catch…
      Bring a Trailer:
      1962 Pontiac Grand Prix 389 4-Speed
      Sold for $37,000 on 3/13/23

      Like 11
    • Avatar photo ruxvette

      I thought the pictures looked more like AZ than CA. The original seller was in Glendale, AZ.

      Like 7
      • Avatar photo Mike76

        Nice catch the both of you. The first thing I noticed was the landscaping and homes and said to myself, that does not look like any part of Modesto that I have ever seen. Much more southwest-ish looking. These scammers are never too hard to figure out with a bit of detective work. Zero feedback on a multiple tens of thousands of dollars transaction should be the first red flag and cause pause…probably why the bidding is more subdued. Nice car though. Love the GP’s of this era – my Dad’s first car was a 62.

        Like 6
      • Avatar photo jeff51 Member

        Something smells!!!!

        Like 3
    • Avatar photo Joe M.

      Looks like it was removed.
      Hopefully no one got ripped off.

      Like 4
  5. Avatar photo MLM

    One stunning beauty. These are some very beautiful cars and yes I believe the 8 lugs was the best looking wheels in the sixties hands down.

    Like 11
  6. Avatar photo Davey Boy

    I sure hope people figure it out the scam in this ad. Really hate to see these people win. First rule. If it seems to good to be true, it most likely is. In this case i’d bet the farm it’s a scam. To bad cause it sure is a sweetheart. Couldn’t be made better in any way.

    Like 8
    • Avatar photo Walter

      Someone must have. EBay has taken down the auction.

      Like 6
  7. Avatar photo JustPassinThru

    And the auction page is gone.

    Not “Bidding has ended” – but “Page not found.”

    Like 8
  8. Avatar photo Car Nut Tacoma

    Beautiful looking car. IMHO, 1962 was the best looking Grand Prix Pontiac offered. It must’ve either sold quickly or the owner decided not to sell the car after all, as the ebay ad has been removed. Oh well. That happens.

    Like 7
  9. Avatar photo Rick Rothermel

    Magnificent cars, one of my dads coworkers at Chrysler Aerospace in Huntsville Alabama had a black one brand new, kept it for many years.
    Small point, the original owner didn’t ‘order’ the car with buckets and a console, you couldn’t get a GP without those items.
    Low reserve just doesn’t pass the smell test. Hope no one got shafted.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo john atanasio

      my third car was a 92 strato chief 4 door back in late 68 and I .may still have the lighter somewhere. I thought that those cars had chrome on the side of them.my strato chief didn’t because it was the lowest of pontiac back then.

      Like 0
  10. Avatar photo FrankD Member

    What’s not to like? Right color combination, tri-power, stick and those wheels.

    Like 3
  11. Avatar photo ACZ

    Pure Pontiac! Beautiful.

    Like 3
  12. Avatar photo Clarke Morris

    The ad has been taken down on Ebay.

    Like 1
  13. Avatar photo Al Dee

    I though I knew all the GPs, but evidently I’ve never seen a ’62 GP until this one, because it seems strange that Pontiac would choose to use the Catalina rear end tail light configuration for the GP without any modification at all, rather than the Bonneville wrap around taillight for the GP and modifying them with special lenses like they did all the other years of the car’s production. That’s just REALLY strange to me! But the rest of this GP is prime in the long standing tradition of GPs – and it’s really too bad it looks like it was put up on auction to sucker someone into putting up a deposit that would never be seen again.

    Like 0
  14. Avatar photo PRA4SNW
  15. Avatar photo PRA4SNW

    This is a handy tool for searching for images on the interweb.


    Like 1

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