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421 Tri-Power: 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix

The demise of any car manufacturer is a sad event, and while some barely rate a blip on the automotive radar, others are mourned by enthusiasts. Such is the case with Pontiac. When their last car rolled off the line in January 2010, it marked the end of an era. It drew the curtain on a General Motors division that had given the world such iconic classics as the GTO and the Trans Am. Pontiac also gave us cars like this 1963 Grand Prix, a car that combines a luxurious motoring experience with neck-snapping performance. This Grand Prix presents superbly, and it needs a new home. It is set to cross the auction blocks in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 10th. If you would like the chance to stake your claim on the Grand Prix, you will find it listed for sale here on Mecum Auctions. I have to say a big thank you to Barn Finder Larry D for referring this gem to us.

Deciding where to start with this Marimba Red Grand Prix is difficult because this classic has many positive attributes. Pontiac introduced the Grand Prix badge in 1962, with the company performing a facelift for the following year. The styling is crisp and sharp and has withstood the passage of time to remain pretty fresh for a car that rolled off the line fifty-nine years ago. The seller provides no information on the car’s history, making it unclear whether it is a stunning survivor or the recipient of a high-grade restoration. Whatever the truth, its paint shines beautifully, while its panels are laser straight. There is no evidence of rust, with the condition of the trim and glass as impressive as the rest of the exterior. One of my favorite Pontiac options from this era is 8-lug wheels, and they add the perfect finishing touch to this exterior.

Apart from vehicles equipped with the “Economy” version of the 389ci V8, Pontiac didn’t produce a genuinely slow version of the ’63 Grand Prix. However, some were simply faster than others. The original owner of this car went straight to the top of the class when they ordered it equipped with the 421ci Tri-Power V8 that produces 370hp. The task of getting all that power to where the rubber meets the road falls to a four-speed manual transmission, while the Grand Prix also features power assistance for the steering and brakes. If someone pointed this Pontiac at a ¼ mile, the journey would become a pleasant memory in 14.3 seconds. If they kept the pedal firmly pressed to the metal, the needle would eventually hover around 147mph. Once again, information is sparse on this classic, making it unclear how it runs or drives. If the visual condition provides any indication, the news should prove positive.

The theme of spotless presentation continues when we examine this Pontiac’s interior. Its combination of White and Red interior trim is striking, and its condition is hard to fault. The White vinyl shows no evidence of stains or the “yellowing” that can plague vinyl of this shade as time passes. The dash and pad are perfect, with the same being true of the carpet. The seller indicates there is a modern stereo lurking in the glovebox, but the rest of the interior is as its maker intended. Comfort and convenience features include air conditioning, a console, an AM radio, and a tilt wheel.

You often hear people lament about how they don’t make them like they used to, which is undoubtedly true for Pontiac. It became a victim of dwindling sales and economic rationalism, and there is no evidence that General Motors plans to revive the revered brand. That leaves it to cars like this 1963 Grand Prix to carry the torch for the marque, and it does so with grace and pride. I would expect the bidding on this classic to be spirited, and given its condition and specifications, I won’t be surprised if it nudges $50,000 before the hammer falls. That doesn’t make it a cheap classic, but that figure seems justified since they genuinely don’t make ’em like they used to.


  1. Avatar photo BOP_GUY Member

    Oh man, what a beauty! I really appreciate the earlier bodies on these before they got bigger and heavier, but that’s just me. PHS documentation would make a big difference in price in the past, but to some that doesn’t seem to be as important nowadays. 421, tri-power, 8-lugs, 4-speed manual, it’s got it all!

    Like 26
  2. Avatar photo angliagt Member
  3. Avatar photo Johnmloghry

    I remember it well, I was but a wet behind the ears type of car person in 1962. I went to the county fair in my home town where there was always a display of the newest cars being offered from Detroit. The fair was always in September – October. My friends and I looked at all the latest cars, and boy did they deliver. The Gran Prix was sweet, the Riviera gorgeous, and 409/409 Chevy impressive. Ford also had some like the Galaxie XL with 427, or 406. But I always had a real yearning for Poncho with the 421 4 speed. Man I could just picture in my mind what it would be like driving one of these to my high school with all the kids glaring in envy. Those were the days my friend, and those memories live on in my 75 year old (today) mind.

    God Bless America

    Like 39
  4. Avatar photo Brian Goss

    What a spot on restoration!! Steering wheel is the cheap variety. That is a bit of a disappointment.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo 19sixty5 Member

      It is indeed a very nice GP, except the wheel. Highly likely the original lucite steering wheel cracked and yellowed, they were an awesome wheel. You rarely see one in good shape, unless it is on a low mileage, garage kept and rarely in the sun car!

      Like 5
  5. Avatar photo RoughDiamond

    What a beautiful ’63 Grand Prix that ticks all the right boxes. I agree the cheap steering wheel is the one take away from the car. Hopefully by auction time the Seller will have sourced a correct steering wheel for the car. I cannot help but to believe that Mecum would have strongly suggested that correction be made as well.

    Like 5
  6. Avatar photo Mongoose

    A moonshiners “wet dream” with that trunk! lol

    Like 3
  7. Avatar photo Bob McK

    I have one of these, but mine does not have the 4 speed transmission or the 8 lug wheels. I would almost like to buy it just to make the switch.

    Like 1
  8. Avatar photo HC Member

    What a beauty. Yes the buyer didn’t skip when it came to checking on all the options. If it’s a restoration, it was well done, and if it’s more of a survivor it’s incredible. You’re right that it may push to the $50k at auction and worth every penny.

    Like 2
  9. Avatar photo Rob Meyer

    I had a 64 Bonneville convertible with the same 370 hp engine. Difference was a Muncie close ratio 4 speed and a 4:10 rear. Ran 13.9 @ 103.5 at National Speedway tacking 6300 rpm through the traps.

    Like 3
  10. Avatar photo steve Dore

    didn’t a 63 grand prix have a wide chrome strip on the side of the front fender? that’s what I remember but I could be wrong

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo Phil Maniatty

      The Bonneville had the wide chrome strip on the front fender.

      Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Dan Dickey

    Correct steering wheel and correct air cleaner would help big time reaching that $50,000 figure. Would make car closer to looking like a well pampered original car.

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo HC Member

      I think the steering wheel is alright and those original tri air cleaners are hard to come by. Overall the car is spot on IMO.

      Like 0
  12. Avatar photo Dan Dickey

    If the car in line right before is a spot on original compared to this one you don’t want the bidding to stall out at $40,000 because the car doesn’t present with the same exact original feeling.

    Like 0
  13. Avatar photo HC Member

    I think the steering wheel is fine as it is and the original air cleaners you can buy for less than 10k. The car is worth what he sells it for and that’s close to probably 50k. Such nitpickers.

    Like 1
  14. Avatar photo Bill McCoskey Member

    This is one of the few postwar Pontiacs that I lust over. It ticks all the right boxes for me: 421 V8, Tri-Power, 4-speed, Grand Prix, factory A/C, 8 lug wheels. Even the color is right and it’s got a tilt wheel for my belly!

    Sadly, it comes at a time in my life where I’m having to sell cars, not buy more! If this was available 20 years ago, it very well might have come home to be pampered by me. [When it wasn’t being driven hard!]

    Like 1

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