421 Tri-Power 4-Speed! 1966 Pontiac Grand Prix

With $135,000 invested, this 1966 Pontiac Grand Prix promises to stand tall at any venue. Immaculate paint and a factory-perfect engine compartment represent merely the appetizer at this smörgåsbord of Pontiac perfection. Only 20 miles have passed beneath the no-expense-spared beauty since the restoration ended, and please speak up in the comments below if you spot any flaws. If you’ve decided to finance a six-digit restoration, an original Tri-Power 421 four-speed Grand Prix with air conditioning, eight-lug aluminum-brake wheels and more make a great starting point. The listing here on craigslist includes more details. The $89,900 asking price on this Boulder City, Nevada classic tells a story we’ve heard many times over, that you can go “upside-down” restoring a car vs. finding a high-quality example that’s already done. Thanks to reader rex m for spotting this gleaming Grand Prix.

Only in the classic muscle car era would you find two Tri-Power 421 cid (6.9L) V8s on the options list, and this is purportedly the monster High Output version making 376 HP and 461 lb-ft of velvety torque. Attention to factory parts and finishes separates a high-quality refurbishment from a true restoration. This one appears ready to face the scrutiny of Pontiac judges on a national stage. A fresh car on the scene often tours a series of shows, attempting to make a name for itself before the factory perfection begins to fade. After amassing a trunk full of trophies, such a car could retire from the high-dollar shows and enjoy a more relaxed life of pleasure in the collection of someone who appreciates and drives it. Oddly the VIN provided doesn’t check out on tpocr. It begins appropriately with 2=Pontiac, 66=Grand Prix, then takes an abrupt deviation from reality with a 5 for 1965 and nothing reasonable after that.

Anyone thinking “so a ’66 Grand Prix is just a fancy GTO” could be forgiven based solely on the set of pictures in this listing. To understand the size and substance of the full-sized GP compared to the more familiar mid-sized LeMans / GTO, check out this similar car at DealerAccelerate. The full-width light panel at the rear adds a classy touch, and the slight peak in the rear echoes the prominent pointed front. I used to own a powder coating company and I’ve never heard of powder coating an entire body before painting it, but that’s the story on this car. That should more than adequately protect this Poncho for future generations, though it could complicate body repairs in the unlikely event of a fender-bender.

One look inside and you see this is no GTO or LeMans. The elegant and upscale Grand Prix blends power with luxury with extra chrome and details. The extra pedal and manual shifter push this GP over the top, and air conditioning keeps the double-black classic cool even on a hot summer night.

Pontiac aficionados go limp-kneed at the site of the interesting eight-lug wheels. The finned aluminum drums boasted greater heat dissipation and lasted from 1960 to 1968 when “disc brakes” became the go-to upgrade in marketing parlance. Modern radial black-walls mark a rare deviation from the factory, unusual on a car with a factory-correct battery. As you might imagine, a car in this price range only appears on Craigslist as a teaser. Earnest buyers will demand an inspection, an exhaustive reckoning of the restoration work, and confirmation of the Pontiac’s provenance by someone they trust. Have you seen a more perfectly-restored Grand Prix?

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Comments

  1. Ramone

    As good as it gets for GP’s. Beautiful.

    Like 21
  2. Nick P

    Todd,
    You missed the 57 in the VIN for 2 door hardtop before 6 for the year followed by x for Kansas City assembly plant. It checks out. Car is beautiful. Would love to own it. Happy New Year!

    Like 14
  3. Chilla White

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful car. I love big American cars and this is the best I’ve seen. I’ve never had the pleasure of driving one but I know what I like. Whoever owns this vehicle is a very lucky person, it looks great.

    Like 5
  4. AZVanMan

    Still miss my ’66 GP. Just a 389/auto that had not been loved like this one when I got it, but it would beat the pants off new Mustangs, Camaro’s and Firebirds when I owned it in the early 80’s. This one is perfect, but too nice to drive would never work for me.

    Like 4
  5. local_sheriff

    Not just a ‘fancy GTO’ – in my world this is a much, much cooler and unique gentleman’s muscle car and so nicely spec’d too. 135K to finish this GP…yikes… That should be way beyond what any car guys I know in person would ever be able to spend on a hobby car project

    Like 7
    • Doug McClain

      I’m sure the owner didn’t intend to go to 135. but its the old story while were in here we might as well its just another 5 grand.

      Like 12
      • local_sheriff

        I get your point but there are not many gearheads able to operate within such budgets. Should I even have such $ on my bank account; if wifey learnt I spent 135K on a frickin’ HOBBY CAR the ‘but honey, it’s a 4spd six pack car’ argument would NOT be of any help. It could’ve been a 36spd 24pack car for that matter. I’d be in the same situation as the seller of this GP – ‘running out of life time’

        Like 6
    • LMK Member

      local_sheriff, Exactly why restorations don’t make sense financially…

      Like 3
  6. MattR Member

    One from the top of my bucket-list.

    The story in the CL ad is an amazing read. He goes all out, even sending out the electronics like the radio to be refurbished. And a power-coated frame is dreamy. I did that to my Harley, but a big GP? WOW.

    This rich guy must be like my 10 year old kid who loves building lego sets but doesn’t play with them much when done. It’s all about the build.

    I believe I’ll never see a better one. This is the measuring stick.

    Like 8
    • MattR Member

      I reread it and Todd’s write-up and I realized I missed that he power-coated body-panels too?!??!?! This is crazy stuff of legends now.

      Like 2
    • local_sheriff

      Though I know powder-coating is supposed to produce a super tough surface I have mixed experiences with the finished product starting to flake. Would it still stick to a driven car’s body after thousands of miles? I mean; both the chassis and body will flex a lot during usage. And the powder-coated body; can/need it be polished and in any other way than regular paintwork?

      Like 1
      • Todd Fitch Staff

        Hello local_sheriff. I owned an auto powder coating company, 20 years ago and I’m sure the coatings are even better now, but generally the pc is 3 times the durability of paint, and it’s a fairly high build. I never tried color-sanding a powder coated piece though I’ve heard you can do it. Like paint, prep is key, and poorly prepared surface can lead to flaking. I believe Volvo (Saab?) powder coated cars at one time, but this one is supposedly pc THEN painted. That’s beyond my comprehension. That would DEFINITELY make rust less likely, and it looks beautiful.

        Like 5
  7. Jcs

    Spectacularly stunning. Gobsmacked.

    Like 6
  8. EPO3

    Powder coating the panels doors hood and trunk would be like rino coating them way to many mills to match the body.All said and done one bad ass GRAN PRIX

    Like 5
    • PonchoFan

      Thank you for the correct spelling of this model

  9. Charles Sawka

    Doesn’t get much better than that. Or bigger ! Happy New Year!

    Like 2
  10. Moparman Member

    Where are the windshield wipers? If ever one wanted to go into hock for a ’66 Gran Prix, I think that this would be the one! But then, could you bring yourself to drive it, and disturb this perfection??? Decisions, decisions! GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 2
    • Bob Washburne

      They’re there…the wipers operate from the outer edge, and the arms/blades fold in & over each other at the center.

      Like 1
      • Chuck Dickinson

        Not sure what YOU’RE seeing, but there are no wiper blades on this car. Look at the front end photo. The wiper transmissions are visible w/nothing attached.

        Like 2
    • Bob Washburne

      Wow, had to click in to the larger image – you are correct, sir!

      Saw the shadow on the cowl, though that they were the blades.

      Hopefully, they just haven’t been installed yet. No tools needed, at least.

      Like 2
  11. Bob_in_TN Bob_in_TN Member

    Great car. Reading the Craigslist ad, and taking it at face value, to me it was kind of sad. Owner wants to re-create a car he once owned and loved, spends too many years and way too much money doing it, then finds that he can’t enjoy it.

    Like 5
  12. Ed55Smith Member

    What a beautiful car I wish I had the cash I would buy it in a heartbeat a true restored car fit for Barrett.

    Like 5
  13. Ed Montini

    They call it primer powdercoating – after the media clean of the partsand inspection to be sure of perfect surface prep, then like powdercoat, a light coat of gray powdercoat is applied and cured. My experience is very good doing this process. Powdercoat gets to the hard to reach areas that spray primer or epoxy cannot get to, with excellent adhesion. Once applied it can be sanded to begin the body work process. Without doing it this way, then you have to get your panels that were media cleaned back asap before they begin to oxidize and epoxy primer them for protection.

    Like 4
  14. Gerard Frederick

    What a beauty! this example proves there were no more beautiful cars on earth than american iron, up to about 1980. This Pontiac reminds me of the day I was working as the finance manager of Pontiac Plaza Seattle ( a branch of the Portland store with the same name). Ah well, the days of youth, money and , well you know! My personal car was a 1967 Glas 1700 GT, but my company demo was a GP with the handling package and all the toys. I was so knee-deep in great cars, I never appreciated what I was priviledged to enjoy. I gues it´s true, youth is wasted on the young.

    Like 5
  15. Goatsnvairs

    If it was a ’65 it would be perfect. As is, its darn close!

    Like 1
  16. Gary Rhodes

    Wow, waste $135,000.00 on a $50,000.00 at most car. Extremely poor “investment”.

    Like 1
    • gary rhodes

      Let me be clear about my post from before. I love Ponchos, it was the first car I drove. My dad and mom had a 66 tri power, four speed, burgundy/ burgundy GTO they bought new, trading a 57 Bel Air two door sedan in for. I was three and pops would put me on his lap on the interstate (I77 in Charleston WVa) and let me steer. My grandpa already had me driving his tractor by then! We traded it in on a new 455 4 speed Grand Prix SJ in 1971. Very fast beautiful car. Wish I had both of them now.

  17. 421HOBONNEVILLE

    You have to grow up in the muscle car era and own a Pontiac to really appreciate a car like this. Says a one time owner of a 64 421HO Bonneville convertible with Muncie M 21 close ratio 4 speed and 4:10 rear. 13.9 @ 103.5 at National Speedway stock.

    Like 6
  18. Gerard Frederick

    yah right, but it is a work of love. It´s kind of like a marriage, at the beginning noone ever thinks of the total cost.

    Like 2
  19. Reinmd21811

    Wish I had my ‘62 GP. 389 TriPower, 4sp, 8 lug aluminum wheels, AM with reverb. With a set of Atlas Bucrons and gentle use of clutch I would surprise many a Mustang and Chevelle. I never understood how 3 2bbls changed a 303 hp into a 318 hp behemoth

    Like 1
    • John

      Forgot about Atlas Bucron (and Plycron) tires. Good stuff form an era when you got tires from the local Standard Oil Station. Thanks for the memory.

      Like 2
    • Joe

      Reinmd21811: I had the same car w/slimjim automatic and A/C. Seafoam Aqua w/white interior. Sold it 2 yrs. ago to a pro restorer, but it ran like a pissed off Bull.

      Like 1
      • Chuck Dickinson

        64 was the last year of the ‘slim jim’ Hydra. In 65, all the full-size Pontiacs got the new Turbo Hydramatic 400.

  20. Rick Brown

    Shortly after I got my license in 1970 my dad had a ’66 GP…automatic, loaded and it was an amazing driver, once or twice I raced it, never lost, not sure what it had under the hood but plenty of power, would love to have this one!

    Like 1
  21. Ron Swanson

    A lot of comments on this one but we all agree, it’s beautiful. I developed an appreciation for the big Pontiac’s when I had a 67 convertible restored for a friend of my Dad’s in the mid 80’s.

    Like 2
  22. DayDreamBeliever Member

    If I liquidate some retirement funds, I could buy the car and the trailer to haul it in. Hmmm….

    But then likely I’d have to live in it. The spouse would not be happy. Not a good trade, so I’ll be sticking with hoping that whoever gets this car appreciates it as much as the seller!

    Like 1
  23. John

    Forgot about Atlas Bucron (and Plycron) tires. Good stuff from an era when you got tires from the local Standard Oil Station. Thanks for the memory.

  24. John Oliveri

    That’s a whole lotta money for a car w manual windows no 8 track, no tilt wheel, I love my car and it can’t compare to this car, but 135,000 into a 40,000 car, maybe 50,000 ?

    Like 1
    • Chuck Dickinson

      GMs didn’t get 8track tape decks until 67. Ford started them in 66.

    • Chuck Dickinson

      GMs did not have an 8 track option until 67. Ford started them in 66.

  25. Bob Washburne

    I have a ’66 Bonneville, owned for over 20-years. Garage kept most of its life. The paint faded out; after learning that it was re-painted, I decided to get it re-done. It has dings & small dents, with a minor sideswipe on the right quarter that needed major attention (the quarters on these cars are eight feet long, and have a character line through the middle).

    First shop still employing panel beater wanted $24K and a year to do it.
    Second guy (retiree from the above shop, recommended by the owner) wanted $15K & seven months to sand the whole thing down to bare metal.

    I compromised by having the second guy re-do the quarter & trunk (absolutely amazing work, little to bondo). I’m removing all of the brightwork, which is taking forever to do with care, and MAACO (a good one) is dealing with the 54-years of dings and scratches and painting it for six grand. Ultimately, all told, it’ll be about $8000.00.

    While dismantling mine, I can see how the restoration fever seizes and things get out of hand. It has taken titanic restraint to leave things be – and this is with a car in extremely good original condition. I am currently struggling to decide whether to weld up two smaller rust holes, bondo them, or leave them alkone: they’re under the stainless belt at the front fender doglegs, and thus invisible after reassembly. I found them ten years ago, cleaned them out, and sprayed POR-15, and they are unchanged since.

    But I want to continue driving it regularly, and any more money spent will never be seen, appreciated, or re-couped in the unlikely event I ever sell it.

    Like 4
    • Miguel

      WeirdBeard on You Tube is doing the same kind of thing with a 1959 Coronet. He started to do a few areas and it turned into stripping the whole car.

      If a guy told me he needed 8 months to sand a car I would laugh in his face.

      Like 1
  26. 3Deuces

    Beautiful GP! (and, it’s a 3×2 with pedals to boot!)xRedline tires and rear fender skirts would really complete “the look” …

  27. Chuck Dickinson

    GMs didn’t get 8track tape decks until 67. Ford started them in 66.

  28. Phil

    I restored the samhow show condition and am into it for much less. I hope he gets every dollar! :)

  29. Comet

    STUNNING!!! The only car I’ve seen that could look at a GTO and say “Who’s your daddy?”

    Like 7
  30. MLM

    This beauty was made when car manufacturers knew something about style and power.Pontiac was one of the best,no wonder they did so well.

    Like 2
  31. George Mattar

    Absolutely beautiful and not a replica GTO. Looks like a Scott Tiemann restoration, the best Pontiac restorer on the planet. But sad as well, because with today’s idiot drivers going 106 mph with a phone glued to their face and a Big Mac in one hand, the results are tragic. In a world of POS SUVs, this car is irreplaceable.

    Like 3
  32. Stan Kaminski

    While admiring one of these at a Pontiac a car show I spoke to the original owner of a 1966 GTO next to it. He told the story of returning it to the dealer a few weeks after purchasing it to have something corrected. The salesman told him, “son you didn’t buy a Gran Prix, you bought a GTO“ and did not address his issue.

    Like 1

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