44K Mile Survivor: 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix

The Pontiac Grand Prix has one of those iconic car names that sometimes feels a bit ironic when slapped on to a mid-size coupe or sedan with fairly humble underpinnings. Grand Prix is a great car name, no doubt – but the vehicle itself isn’t exactly a track-ready specimen. Given its usage was primarily for daily driver slogging, most surviving cars are extremely tired examples with one wheel in the salvage yard; to find a survivor of a fairly pedestrian vehicle is a challenge, which makes this low-mileage fifth generation Grand Prix worthy of a closer look. This 1989 model has just 44,000 miles and is listed here on craigslist for $4,500. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Gransedan for the find. 

The fifth-gen Grand Prix introduced numerous changes, the most significant of which was perhaps the front wheel drive layout and lack of V8s in the lineup. The design was quite sharp, with numerous details to make it a standout compared to its Japanese peers. Tinted taillights, loads of body cladding, and a steering wheel with more buttons than you’d ever seen – Pontiac set the stage for the next ten years of corporate design with the 6000 sedan, and the Grand Prix proudly carried the torch. This example wears a color combo you don’t see much of anymore, with tan paint, red pinstriping, and a caramel interior.

The interior was a game-changer compared to the last generation Grand Prix. Extremely well bolstered leather seats, including true dual buckets in the rear, were a far cry from your grandmother’s Grand Prix. The steering wheel is still fairly hilarious today – who on earth thought that many buttons was necessary? – but perhaps Pontiac was a visionary, considering how many controls can be adjusted from the steering wheel in seemingly every modern automobile. Of course, the main attraction here is how well preserved this interior is, showing little in the way of wear and tear and demonstrating that the previous owner was exceedingly careful with their beloved Grand Prix.

The rear seat is a shocker, as you traditionally only see true buckets in the hottest of sports cars to come with an actual backseat. This 1989 model also comes with the new-for-that-year 3.1L V6 that kicked out a reasonable 140 b.h.p. paired to a standard four-speed automatic transmission. The turbocharged ASC model is the most collectible of this era of Grand Prix, but I also like the final-fling GTP coupe with the additional ground effects, five-spoke alloy wheels, and firmed-up suspension. This Grand Prix is undoubtedly a survivor of a car rarely kept in this sort of condition; however, I wouldn’t buy it as an investment, but rather as a car to simply use and enjoy as one of the nicest ones left on the road.

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Comments

  1. Mitchell Gildea Member

    It looks pretty clean, but considering it’s not a GTP or an ASC McLaren model, what would it be worth?

  2. CCFisher

    If it had a 5-speed, I would own it by now.

    Like 1
  3. Cmd1978

    I had an 89 GP with the 2.8V6 and 5 speed manual. It was a base model, barely any options, even had roll up windows. I loved that car and passed it on to my mom who, at 70+, still considers it one of her favorite cars she’s owned.

  4. CarCrazyDan

    I have always loved these! The glove compartment door even had a combination lock. I had its cousin a lumina euro coupe with the same 3.1 engine.

  5. irocrobb

    As a Pontiac lover I think this car is a very good deal if it is in the condition described. What can you buy for 4500 and when is the last time you have seen one this nice ? I remember seeing lots of black and also grey ones in the day but, do not recall this color being popular.

  6. Ed Hardt

    Buttons all over the steering wheel, thick plastic body cladding, orange dash lights and suddenly your crappy GM was a sport machine worth a premium over the Chevy.

    Like 1
  7. Robert Kado

    I owned a 89, silver with the 3.1 and nice options. Mine had the “skinny” headlights and was without all the jazz on the steering wheel.

    Great car that I drove until it had over 200k miles before I sold it for a late 90s GTP which was also fabulous.

  8. Glenn C. Schwass Member

    This is in great shape. I didn’t know they had leather. My wife had a 92 but it was not great. It had issues like rear brake calipers that stuck, the condendation tray for the AC would plug up and the floor would get wet. We gave it to a friend’s father who drove it a couple of month but died. Did even have 130k…brakes in general sucked and it wasn’t fun to drive…

    Like 1
  9. Paul L Jackson

    I had a ’90 Lumina Euro 3.1
    Fine engine, but horrible transmission.
    But I loved that car…

  10. Jeff Michiels

    I personally love this car…but hate this color!
    I owed an 88 SE that was white with the white wheels and red accent moldings, with grey interior.
    I got so many compliments on that car back in the day…and I think they have aged well IMO.
    I traded mine with 160k miles for a 94 Grand Prix that I didn’t like nearly as much.
    The Grand Prix was always my favorite of the W body cars, in 2 door only.

  11. Doug C

    I bought an 89 GP with two tone blue paint and blue cloth interior. Had the digital instruments, but after the serpentine belt snapped and broke the wiring harness, it never worked properly again even after the harness was replaced under recall in late ‘99…ran great but lousy transmission loaded with problems.

  12. Bakyrdhero Bakyrdhero Member

    That steering wheel is a bona fide legend to 80s kids like myself.

    Like 1

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