NASCAR Homologation: 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix Aerocoupe 2+2

The 1980s were a unique time for the Automotive industry. Some customers in the early 80s were getting fed up with cars that had poor build quality, questionable reliability, and started making a move toward the import market. By the end of the 80s things had improved but it was too late for some buyers. It wasn’t all bad though, some good cars still came out of the big three. The General Motors G body platform was one of the best and most popular cars of the period. The popularity was partly due to the heavy use of the model in NASCAR racing. To make the design more competitive in racing, design changes needed to be made on some production models. The car we have here is a very nice original example of approximately 1200 Pontiacs made to satisfy racing regulations. Check it out here on craigslist in Dayton, OH for $14,000. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat L. for the tip!

The Aerocoupe was GM’s answer to a problem with their Chevrolet Monte Carlo and Pontiac Grand Prix stock cars. At high speeds, the GM cars became aerodynamically unstable because of the roof design making the more aerodynamic Fords have an advantage. The answer was a more aerodynamic rear window design, this is not a hatchback, the rear window is fixed leaving an opening for a small trunk lid. All Pontiac Aerocoupes were painted silver with gray rockers. In order for NASCAR to homologate or approve of these changes, GM had to produce a certain number for the public. Probably the most famous examples of this are the Plymouth Superbird and Dodge Charger Daytona.

All Aerocoupes came equipped with a console shifter and leather-wrapped steering wheel. I have always been fond of the Grand Prix interior, I think the dash layout is the best of all G-bodies. This car seems to be very well preserved inside and out. The ad gives us few details other than it runs and drives well, has 85,000 miles, and is not restored. From the pictures, the car looks very nice, especially with BF Goodrich Radial TA white letter tires that any self-respecting Grand Prix should have.

There is nothing NASCAR about the underhood view, here we have the standard 165HP 305 V8 that was in the normal Grand Prix. The sister to the Grand Prix Aerocoupe was the Chevy Monte Carlo SS which had a similar rear window treatment but was equipped with a HO 305 with a few more horsepower.  Everything looks stock with the exception of bright yellow plug wires. These are great driving cars and have adequate power to get the job done. There is a huge aftermarket scene for the G body so engine, suspension, and brake upgrades are endless. There has never been a hot market for these cars but eighties classics are gaining popularity so this one may command the asking price.

 

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Comments

  1. John B

    Always thought these were interesting, too bad Pontiac shot it in the foot with the lame standard-issue 305 with no sporting pretensions whatsoever.

    Like 11
    • Ralph

      Chevrolet would not share the 305 HO from what I recall and I think that the EPA would have wanted new certification for the engine in a Pontiac, they decided it wasn’t worth it for a really limited volume model.

      This whole generation of Grand Prix never had any performance engine option at all for some reason.

  2. jerry z

    Also don’t understand why they used a different rear window compared to the Monte SS Aerocoupe. If you break that rear window, you are FUBAR!

    Like 2
    • JoeNYWF64

      That rear trunk lid might be just as rare, if it’s damaged.
      The location of the behind the lic plate gas filler makes a larger down to the bumper trunk opening impossible.
      Odd how many delux ’80s steering wheels seem to wrinkle with age.
      That was not the case with ’70’s tuff wheels & ’70-6 t/a steering wheels – they just faded & cracked if exposed long enough to the sun.
      Notice the 2 round SEAMS in the GP ’86 steering wheel – they are still there on all of today’s delux steerin wheels!! – apparently, in the 80’s, automakers LOST THE ART/ABILITY of making a SEAMLESS steering wheel, like the above 70’s delux wheels. It’s got me scratching my head why & how.

  3. Doc

    Strike a deal on this one.. clean it up, get some nose GP interior console bits, clean up some engine bay stuff.. well well worth the investment!

    Like 1
  4. Jim in FL

    I drove a couple of them at the dealer. Had decent pickup, would have been better with a 350, it it think the key was the aero, not the engine. I feel like the Pontiac was a little goofier looking than the Monte Carlo SS.

    Pontiac Oakland Club had a guy several years ago who was making repro aero bits for these. Pricey then, I’m sure much more now. As someone said, don’t break the back window. I doubt there’s more than a handful around.

    I remember these being iffy sellers then. You really had a decent size trunk, problem was the access was a mail slot.

    Odd how different each of the BOP variants looked.

    Like 2
  5. Jcs

    The definition of fugly. And I own an 87 GP, which is like new.

    Owned an 84 Hurst Olds for years, which I bought new.

    Never could warm up to these.

    Like 1
  6. Superdessucke

    There was just no reason to buy this in ’86 over the Monte Carlo SS or 442, much less the turbo Regal. Never understood these. They should have at least put the L69 in it.

    Like 4
    • Fred

      The 305 HO was the L69, and thats what came with these cars

      • Thomas

        No they came with the stock 305 not the HO 305

        Like 1
      • Superdessucke

        That is incorrect. These came with the LG4.

        Like 3
  7. George Mattar

    I agree. These are the ugliest Pontiacs ever, except the Aztek. Such a great marque til GM destroyed it. Amazing the idiots who run GM still have a job.

    Like 3
  8. Fran

    NASCAR’s demise was not using real Bodied cars. What they use today is nothing but personalities driving things around with stickers of headlights, grills, and taillights! They even use the same style or brand of components. They keep the power limited. Thus just like a socialistic attitude everything is the same. The really horrible part is the old time nascar guys went along with it and now are announcing to empty stands pre covid, or owners of many teams. Goodbye nascar you will not be open for business in 10 years if that. I miss the real number 9 car and the owners like Alan who had an untimely death number 7 car! Seeming this Pontiac is what it should be!

    Like 9
    • Tom Bell

      Right on point, Fran. Fake cars in an overly commercialized sport. My interest in NASCAR racing departed with real cars although there really are no more production RWD platforms upon which to base “stock cars”. Death by natural cause hastened by malpractice.

      Like 3
      • LARRY D BROOKS

        Tom, the current cars used in the Cup Series for Chevrolet and Ford are the Camaro and Mustang, both of which are rear-wheel drive.

      • Dave

        Larry, a few years ago NASCAR mandated that everyone drive its own car, the Car of Tomorrow. This, and other rules, have turned it into IROC 2.0, a “racing show” intended for a corporate/television audience. The old “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” stopped applying when more people began buying SUVs and crossovers than coupes or sedans.

        Like 1
  9. LARRY D BROOKS

    Speaking of the sibling for this car, I attended the World 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1986. The Monte Carlo SS aerocoupe and Pontiac 2+2 were in the race.

    GM had to build a minimum of 200 production copies for the car to be legal for sanction to race. The aerocoupes had just been introduced shortly before that race. So Chevrolet brought ALL 200 of them to the track and had them on display in the infield. All were identical in white paint. That is quite an unusual sight to see 200 identically colored cars in one spot and in neat rows!! I’ll never forget that.

    Like 4
  10. Maestro1 Member

    There’s nothing attractive about the design, and I’m not interested in NASCAR although I am in Formula 1. I’ll pass.

  11. Cerno

    Who doesn’t like seeing something that is different and own a extremely well built vehicle at the same time. The Grand Prix 2+2 was definitely the dumpster diver compared to the Monte Carlo SS and the Olds cutlass or Buick Regal but they were all comfortable decent on gas and could take a whipping. Not sure why GM dropped Pontiac and Olds because they happened to be one of there better brands I guess that’s why you see so many Hyundai’s and Kia,s now . Car is cheap enough to love and enjoy and play with so I cant see you getting hurt . The early Plymouth Barracudas had the fish bowl and they still get love today.

  12. Kirk Wolfe

    This is one that I really wanted to buy a long time ago. When most people spoke fondly about other G-bodies from this era, I always found that nose and rear glass amazing pieces of design. Pontiac at this time was seen a luxury brand and the idea of creating a luxurious sports car over the classic Grand Prix was a risky choice. That nose cone is actually pretty easy to reproduce and find, but the rear glass and that small trunk opening is simply a statement of “live it or leave it”.

    Just in case, only c.1000 units of the Grand Prix 2+2 were produced, against 6200 Monte Carlo SS Aerocoupe between 1986-87 and some 500 of the 1987 Buick Regal GNX. Despite not being the most attractive for collectors, this little beauty is able to reach high speeds with ease due to the better aerodynamic features. Think about that before hitting bonneville salt flats. And make sure that you have a 6-speed manual too. Grand Prix 2+2, flying with luxury and comfort.

  13. Chevyman6699 Member

    I worked at Pontiac dealer in the 80s and we turned lots back to regular trunk and glass. We could not sell them.

    • 65mpala

      Doubtful. MAJOR SURGERY. It would have cost more than the car was worth.

      Like 2
  14. David Bailey

    Cool car. One thing. The idea that only The Big Three had a few cars that were less refined than back in the old days. Have you ever REALLY checked out the import ‘stuff’? Talk about junk!! Yeah, better mileage by a few MPGs, but total rustbucket , tint tuna fish cans. That mess might have persuaded some West Coasters who had smoother roads, with no weather. I’d like to compare with any import cars Big 3 Quality, but I’ll be damed , I haven’t seen a 1980’s import since–Well–Sonce early 1990’s!1 (Detroit)…

    Like 3
    • Ralph

      Taking a dig at American cars for no reason in an article for fluff is SOP here, some of the “writers” are hoping this is this their audition tape for Jalopnik or TTAC……

  15. Robert May

    I worked at a Buick/Caddy dealer when these and Monte Carlo version came out. We got 2 GNXs in one day. Anyway we knew the Pontiac was gonna be the scarce one. Fast forward 10 years or so, a poor, literally, family had one of these that was their only car and they could barely afford to drive it much less keep from wearing out. You could tell they were rough on the car, too. It was sad to see. I saw it around for a little over two years, then it wasn’t around anymore. I always hoped someone saved the rear glass.

  16. Terry Bruce

    Actually Pontiac built one 2+2 that was painted black. It was built for the museum at Talladega and had no VIN.

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