Hot 455/4-Speed: 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix Coupe

The next owner of this solid 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix will have some decisions to make. Hiding under the hood is a pretty potent piece of iron, but the original cylinder block also comes with the car. The choice will be whether to leave it as it is or to return it to a numbers-matching car. Barn Finder local_sheriff referred the Pontiac to us, so thank you so much for that local_sheriff. The Grand Prix is located in Clackamas, Oregon, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The BIN price for the car has been set at $12,999.

The owner describes the body of the Grand Prix as original, with minimal rust. He does provide a lot of clear photos, and it does appear to be a solid car. The driver’s side of the car has copped a hit or two, with noticeable dents in both the door and quarter panel. There are also smaller dents visible on the passenger side of the car. The gold paint has its share of minor marks and chips, while the paint on the top has worn through quite badly. The car also wears 8-lug wheels, and these appear to be in good condition. All things considered, this does look like a solid car that needs some cosmetic work to revive it.

Apart from a new headliner and new carpet, the rest of the interior is said to be original. The worst issue here is the severely cracked dash pad, which really detracts from the condition of the rest of the interior. The only other areas that will need attention is the rear trim on the passenger side which needs stretching back into shape, and the carpet on the bottoms of the door trims which is quite faded. The cover on the driver’s seat is also stretched, but given the general level of originality, I might be inclined to leave that as it is. The car also features a center console that is in great condition, and a cool factory tach fitted to the left of the dash. Air conditioning is also part of the package, but this doesn’t work at present.

The original engine is no longer under the hood but has been replaced by a pretty hot 455ci V8. This features a Tri-Power setup and has been balanced and blueprinted. Backing this is a freshly rebuilt 4-speed heavy duty transmission and a 3.73 Posi rear end. The owner has poured more than $20,000 into this setup, and it pumps out 450hp. There is a video at the bottom of this article where you can hear the engine start and run. It sounds really tough, but I suspect that it will need some tweaking, as there is a noticeable flat spot when the gas is hit. For those that want to return the car to original, the numbers-matching 389 block comes with the car. The owner floats the idea that this might have been a Tri-Power, but decoding the numbers suggests that it was actually a 4-barrel engine, which was still good for 300hp.

This Pontiac Grand Prix appears to be a nice, solid car that offers a few possibilities and options for the next owner. It doesn’t look like it will take much work to bring both the body and interior up to a fairly high standard, but the big decision is going to revolve around what is happening under the hood. Would you return it to original, or would you leave it as it is?


  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Tough choice! The loud pedal would bark deafeningly for a car that was made when a Pontiac LeMans shamed Jags, Ferraris, Porsches and-yes-Stingrays at the NASCAR Challenge Cup..

    Like 4
  2. Todd

    Cool car. Great thing about Pontiac motors is that they all look the same from 326 to 455. Leave the 455 and tri-power.

    Like 13
  3. Chris M.

    I love a 63 GP and this one is a nice ride. Not wild about the color options but whatever. I’m a little curious as to were the owner spent $20 grand on a 450 horse big block. Don’t get me wrong it’s a solid set up, but 20 large??? Doesn’t add up.

    Like 8
    • Nick p

      That silver blue metallic paint is pretty steep.

      Like 2
      • Tom Member

        Just curious, what does “pretty steep” mean? It is the stock original color.

        I am just wondering why someone would take a 7K+ loss? Keep it and drive it like it was originally meant. Maybe they just need the cash, I have been there and done that unfortunately. $13K is worth every penny. Not crazy about the color combo BUT that is just me. At least it isn’t GREEN!

        Like 3
    • Jeremy

      It’s possible ,especially if he couldn’t do any of the work himself. Machine work alone could be a couple grand just on the shortblock, not to mention head work(porting,polishing,3 angle valve job, etc).Also, it’s not uncommon to pay upwards of $2000+ just for a tripower setup if he didn’t already have it. Plus assembly labor?oops,sorry Nick p. This was in response to Chris M on his 20k rebuild comment. I struggle sometimes haha!

      Like 2
      • Jeremy

        That $20k may also include the 4 speed and posi rear-end rebuild

        Like 2
    • Steve S

      To Chris Pontiac never made a big block or small block. They used the same block from 265 cubic inches up to 455. All they did to change the cubic inches was bore and stroke the blocks. So every v8 engine block are the same size and pretty much the same weight.

      Like 1
      • Glen Riddle

        Well, except for the 301 of course. :-)

      • Marty Parker

        And the 265.

      • Glen Riddle

        Marty, as Steve wrote, the 265 through the 455 were the same basic architecture.
        Th 301 was a truly different animal. Though initially a rather weak engine, the changes made for use in the turbo applications improved it immensely. It is a shame that GM killed it and forced Pontiac to run Chevy V8s with the Gen 3 F-bodies.

      • Marty Parker

        No, what Steve said was all 265 – 455 blocks were the same. 265 and 301 blocks were absolutely different than all other Pontiac V8 engines. They were short deck blocks making it impossible to have the longer stroke of other V8 engines.

      • Glen Riddle

        Marty you are right. I was thinking of the 287 I had in my ’55 wagon when I was a teenager in the early ’60s(the first of 19 Pontiacs I’ve had over the years). I had 265 and 1955 together in my head…probably because the 1955 Chevy V8 was a 265. At 74 I’m afraid I’ve got a few cobwebs up there in the noggin! :-)

        Like 1
      • Chris M.

        I understand that about Pontiacs V8 architecture. I’m just curious as to how this guy spent $20 grand on a “warmed up” 455. It looks awesome, but in my mind after that kind of coin you’d have a 500+” stroker with aluminum heads and 600 h.p.? By comparison I’m current ly having a 383 Mopar built that makes nearly 400 h.p. and I’ll have $4000 in the motor and 727 all new parts, assembled professionally. Idk…

  4. Jeremy

    I’m 47,but the “17 year old side of me” was really hoping he was going to end the walk around video by ripping 2 gears of posi traction out of there! Looks like a safe, open warehouse parking lot 😈

    Like 5
  5. Ken Carney

    Would drive it as is for awhile, and restore
    the rest as time permits. My late FIL had
    a ’64 Catalina painted these colors and it
    looked pretty sharp. His was all original
    down to the 389 and automatic in it. Tried to buy it from him, but he had this
    thing about not selling a car to a family
    member. Just like this car, it was very
    nice too.

    Like 2
  6. JP

    Love those ’62 – ’77 GPs!

    Like 2
  7. Bultaco

    These aren’t super valuable collector cars, so why not just keep the 455, put some proper Pontiac tri power air cleaners on the carbs and source some 389 factory chrome valve covers? It would look almost identical to the original engine, but the extra power would be nice in a big car like this. Fix the AC and enjoy.

    Like 7
  8. Dean

    Appears to be manual brakes. I think I’d get those upgraded first thing.

    Like 5
  9. Gaspumpchas

    Very cool poncho. I’m sure its got plenty of cajones!! A good gearhead should be able to sort out the flat spot. Sure would be cool putting the 450 ponies to good use!! Good luck to the new owner!!!

    Like 2
  10. Bob S

    I had a more door version of this car and it was nice, but like all cars from that era, it is large when you are attempting to find a place to park nowadays.
    I really like the styling, the wheels, and the 455, and would leave it the way it is. I would rebuild the original engine, and have on a stand. I would even put it in the living room, if it wouldn’t cause a death in the family.
    I loved the Pontiacs from those years.

    Like 2
  11. Rube Goldberg Member

    Got to be one of the nicest GP’s ever made. My late uncle had ’60’s Ponchos. Nothing like this, Catalinas, mostly, but taught me at an early age, these were the coolest cars of the ’60’s. Uncle had a heavy foot, and was always a treat when we took the Pontiac anywhere. We got there a lot faster than my old man, for sure. A shame someone dented the drivers side, and a bit of rust, easy fix, but a lot of work appears to have been done already with the motor, I’d leave it alone. Nicest car of the mid ’60’s. For once, I’m saying totally worth the asking price, and no bids, tells me interest MUST be waning for these too. The stuff some people want $16g’s for ( a certain Chevy shortbox comes to mind,,,that still grinds my gears) and a fantastic car like a ’63 GP, FOR LESS, and not gone by now, with 56 watchers and not even a bid,,,,tells me, the hobby, as I remember, is certainly ka-putt. If there was one car from the ’60’s worth having in your collection forever, it’s this.

    Like 5
    • Gaspumpchas

      Great commentary, Rube- Pontiacs super duty program was so far ahead of its time. Guys were doing upgrades in the pit areas of drag strips, the factory would deliver the parts to the track. Swiss cheese catalinas, The Little tempest with a big @$$ engine shoehorned in there- the era of factory support and sponsorship was the stuff that dreams are made of!

      Like 5
  12. Glen Riddle

    Pretty car. I had a couple Bonnevilles from this period back in the day(’61 wagon and a ’64 4-door hardtop sedan) and they were wonderful. I’d suggest keeping the 455 for now, maybe going to an EFI setup for drive-ability and maybe a GearVendors overdrive while you’re at it, making that 3.73 a 2.91 when engaged.

    Like 3
  13. the one

    I love gold!

    Like 4
  14. Butch

    Bang out any dents. Do a repaint leaving the bottom the same color and do the top in a root beer brown metallic. Add air conditioning and drive it!

    • the one

      And don’t forget the “dingle-balls” SA. That color combo would look like it was wearing a toupee..

      Like 1
  15. Miguel

    The ’63 never pushed my buttons like the 1965 – 1966 cars did.

  16. pwtiger

    If I could, I would buy it just for the engine, then restore the GP back to stock. Then build a nice 64 Lemans/GTO using that tri-power engine…dreaming is fun, I don’t think that you can have to many Pontiacs!

  17. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    I really like the 63 GP, but I do believe the is one represents to little for to much.
    God bless America

  18. Terry J

    I’m with Bultaco, In my opinion the old “Numbers Matching” importance is way overdone in regards to most cars. If it was a 12,000 mile survivor owned by the original owner I get it, but in this case ( most cases) who cares? I grew up in the 60’s and these Pontiacs NEW were a common sight and I did ( and do ) love the clean crisp lines.Decent handling road cars too considering the bias ply tires and drum/drum brakes. WIDE TRACK PONTIAC was the catch phrase. :-) Terry J

    Like 2
  19. ACZ

    One thing I will never understand is people will pour money into an engine or a custom paint job but will never fix the air conditioning. That option is rare enough on cars of this vintage and enables you to enjoy the car all the more. Why?

    • SteVen

      On an original car, the reasoning might be that they don’t want to modify it to do so(would have to convert to modern modern refrigerant), especially on a car where the buyer may have no interest in needing it to operate.

      On a non-original car like this, the thought might be why bother to repair and convert an antiquated system when the buyer might just remove the old tech and install a modern system that is both far more efficient and effective.

      Or maybe they are just lazy. My favorite excuse on more modern cars is where they claim “It just needs a charge of refrigerant” because if that was all it was they would have done so. And if they are too lazy to have done that, it sure doesn’t give one confidence that they followed a good maintenance regimen.

      Like 1
  20. TimM

    The ultimate sleeper!! Looks like something that grandma would take to the grocery store and pick up dinner then grandma would leave your butt in the dust as she grabbed some gears out of the parking lot!!! Go grandma go!!!

    Like 2
  21. Clay Bryant

    Is it just me(I have a somewhat trained eye after 60 years in cars) but it looks to me like on the passenger side there’s been a repaint of the fender AND the door. If it was bad enough damage ,it transferred into the door. That said, paint would be required after removing dents, etc. But to cut to the chase, this is a helluva’ deal.I’ve driven so many collectible cars as main transportation and when I get done, I more then get my money out of them. I would not be too surprised if I learned half the people making negative comments on all postings on here drive what I call “boxcars” that have lost at least half their value in 5 years.Asume you gave 12k for this. I’d put a C note on the table that if you keep it up. it will be a :free car” when you decide to sell it again……….

    Like 2
  22. ron andras

    A little love story about my 63 Pontiac Grand Prix . When i was 23 yrs old i bought a 63 Pontiac GP back in 1965 (i’m 78 yrs old now). i bought it from a Pontiac dealer then . I sold the car in 1967 because my bride and i needed money to help pay for our wedding. We are married 53 yrs now. Fifteen yrs ago i went to my bride and asked her if she remembered the GP . She said yes . I told her i would like to find one to restore . She said ok .
    I put an ad in the local paper stating “Wanted 63 Pontiac GP to restore call Ron ,HarperWoods,Mich” . A guy called me (didn’t know the guy) stated he found one sitting in a barn in Veil , Colorado . I asked him if it was mashed and if all the glass was there . He said the body was rough and the glass was all there . I had it shipped here on a flat bed trailer for $750.oo PLUS i I
    had to give him $3500.00. I bought it sight un-seem .
    I totally restored the GP . My body guy had the car for 4 years and painted it silver/gray with white/black interior . When i ran the numbers on the GP it was Tan with Tan&White interior when it came down the assembly line from Arlington,Texas . The GP is a labor of love with I’m still doing to-day
    Thanks for reading , Ron

    Like 1
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      That’s a very cool story, Ron. You’ve found your dream car and it’s giving you what you’re giving to it-the opportunity to be young again.
      Keep us posted on its rejuvenation!

    • Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

      Nice story Ron. Love the G. P. Four years is a long time to wait, patience must be one of your strong suits. Plus a guy who has been married to the same woman for over five decades and still refers her as his bride, you’re obviously a passionate person, and that goes a long way with classic cars.
      God bless America

      Like 1

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