NASCAR Special: 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix Aerocoupe

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Automotive history is littered with cars which were developed by manufacturers specifically to give their brand a winning edge in competition. Lancia gave us the Stratos, the 037, and the Delta Integrale for rallying. Ford developed the Sierra Cosworth RS500 for Group A Touring Car competition, while BMW chimed in with the original M3. NASCAR is one category that saw enormous manufacturer involvement, and while manufacturers have less involvement in such development today, the history books will show that cars like this 1986 Aerocoupe were designed for one purpose, and that was to give Pontiac a winning edge. This particular Aerocoupe appears to be a very nice example, and this is your chance to own a piece of NASCAR history. Located in Bloomfield, Iowa, it is listed for sale here on eBay.

The reality is that in many cases, what works on the race track doesn’t necessarily translate into an attractive road car, and the Aerocoupe probably isn’t the most attractive car on the planet. Of course, that opinion is purely subjective, and there will be plenty of people who really love the look of the car. The Grand Prix wears its correct paint color, but it has been the subject of a repaint. When this work was completed, it also received new weather stripping and the correct decals. The car is said to be rust-free, and that aero nose, bubble rear glass, and the integrated rear spoiler certainly make the car stand out. The overall condition of the car does look to be quite good.

The car is a numbers-matching vehicle, so the original 305ci V8 still resides under the hood, and this is backed by the original 4-speed automatic transmission. The owner does claim that the car has only covered 84,000 original miles, but doesn’t indicate whether he holds any documentary evidence to verify this claim. The car has recently received a new exhaust and a new smog pump. There is some evidence of mild surface corrosion visible in a few spots around the engine bay, so it would probably pay to give the car a pretty thorough inspection to verify its rust-free status.

The interior of the Aerocoupe also presents quite well. Recently, the front seats received new correct covers, while the headliner has also been replaced. The dash looks to be in good condition, while the carpet is showing some wear. Standard equipment levels on the Aerocoupe were quite high, and the cars came standard with power steering, air conditioning, power locks, a power driver’s mirror, a tilt wheel, and cruise control. One of the great criticisms of the Aerocoupe was that all of this equipment added weight to the vehicle, and this blunted performance from the 305ci V8, which only produced 165hp.

When the Aerocoupe rolled out the showroom door, it did so with a base ticket price of $18,628. The styling didn’t meet with universal acceptance by dealers, the motoring press, or the motoring public. As a result, an extraordinary number of cars didn’t get sold off the showroom floor but were sold via a factory auction. Quality problems were also to hit the resale value of the Aerocoupe, with the trunk space difficult to access due to a small opening, and the fit and finish of the trim around that huge rear window also questionable. Pontiac painted the cars silver, but these cars never received a clear coat, so that gloss silver has a tendency to become a matte finish, and this also impacted the resale of the cars. Today, it is unknown how many of the original 1,225 cars are left out there, but those that are left are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. While these increases haven’t been dramatic, they have been steady, and it is not unusual to see nice ones selling for prices around $19,000. The owner has set a BIN price for this car of $13,500, but the option is there to make an offer. If an inspection does prove that this car is rust-free, then it would seem like a pretty reasonable buy at that price.

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  1. CadmanlsMember

    Does it look as pictured? The pics posted are almost 3 years old on eBay. Might be the reason for the price adjustment. Myself always liked the looks of these cars might be a great deal.

    Like 4
  2. stillrunners

    Like and agree….. these were an adjustment to win !

    Like 0
  3. Matt


    Like 6

    They were ugly then, and still extremely so.

    Like 5
    • David Eugene Smith Jr

      Thanks for the

      Like 0
  5. Lin Walker

    The Chevrolet version was named Aerocoupe, but the Pontiac was named 2+2. The 2+2 had the anemic 165 hp engine with single exhaust because Pontiac did not not care to invest the time/money required to certify the gas mileage standards for the more powerful Firebird engine in the Grand Prix for such a short run of 2+2s. All 2+2s were equipped with the same options and as I recall the 2+2 option was coded as Y97.

    Like 2
  6. CCFisher

    Aerocoupes are Monte Carlos. This is a Grand Prix 2+2.

    Like 4
  7. wd62vette

    Always liked the 1986 2+2 Pontiac. Bought one in 1990. Not much of a performance car but road nice. The rear trunk was fiberglass and the rear window was much more curved than the Monte Carlo Aerocoupes. Original tires where Eagle GT raised letters with out the white. Liked it but not enough to keep it.This looks like a nice car.

    Like 1
  8. Steve

    Any Pontiac engine can drop right in place of a 305. ANY of them. So if you are looking for a unique “highway star” drop in a 400 or 455 with supporting hardware (transmission, frame and suspension upgrades, rear axle assembly) and surprise a few people!

    Like 4
  9. 200mph

    This car was never called “Aerocoupe”. That name was used by Chevrolet for the MonteCarlo version, the same year, same purpose. It also had a slope nose and an extended rear glass, but retained a mostly usable trunk.

    The official name of this model was the Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2. Pontiac had previously used the “2+2” name on a high-performance Catalina in 1965.
    Nascar insiders called this thing “the whale”. The trunk opening was too small to be useful, and the car’s proportions were not enhanced by the styling. The MonteCarlo Aerocoupe was a big success on track and sold okay. This wasn’t, and it didn’t.

    Like 2
    • Evan

      So small, the only spare tire option was one of those inflatable styles.

      Like 0
  10. Adam ClarkeAuthor

    If I’m wrong on this one, I’m more than happy to cop it on the chin. When I saw the car I wasn’t 100% sure, and I knew that the Monte Carlo was an Aerocoupe. The owner advertised this car as an Aerocoupe, so I did some more digging and found quite a bit of conflicting evidence. Since the comments started to go up, I’ve looked further, and I’ve found that not only have Hemmings featured articles on what they refer to as the Grand Prix Aerocoupe, but they also feature in the price guides of both Hagerty and NADA. I’ve also found a number of other similar cars advertised for sale at present, and almost all of them are referred to be the owners as Aerocoupes. As I said though, if I’m wrong, I’m happy to admit it. Also, thank you for straightening me out on it. I always appreciate it.

    Like 9
    • 200mph

      Hi Adam,
      I worked for Pontiac’s ad agency when this car was in development. “Aerocoupe” was never considered.
      After confusion over the genesis of “Fiero”, Pontiac wanted a name tied to its performance heritage. “GTO” was rejected when GM powertrain refused to certify the Trans Am’s 205 HP TPI V8 for the Grand Prix. Pontiac wouldn’t revive that treasured name without the beans to back it up.
      “LeMans” and “Ventura” didn’t fit, “Silver Streak” was too stodgy (and a movie comedy), “Daytona” and “Talladega” were used by others.
      “2+2” had been a hi-perf 2 door Catalina in 1965-6, a full-size GTO so to speak. So, that name was chosen.

      Like 6
    • Tray Hughes

      Here’s a Hemmings link about the car and what it was named. It is in fact a Grand Prix 2+2.

      Like 0
  11. Dave

    These cars, like the Super Bird before it, represent a certain era in NASCAR history. How many two door Tauruses and Chargers were they required to build before they could be raced? Grand Prix and Monte Carlos are way cheaper than Birds and were produced in fewer numbers. Grab one and enjoy your time and money.

    Like 2
    • Mvickery

      Unfortunately, these cars lack the performance of the Super Birds. I wonder what the desirability would be of the Super Birds if they had all been powered by a slant six with a Torqueflight.

      Like 3
      • Dave

        You made me think…along with the posters who detailed the mentality of GM when these cars were built for NASCAR.
        Correct me if I’m wrong, but the SuperBirds were only available with the 440-4, 440-6, and 426 Hemi engines. If you so desired, and had enough open highway, you could imitate your NASCAR heroes any day of the week. Such were things in 1970.

        Fast-forward to 1984…there were two Arab oil embargoes, muscle cars as we knew them in the 1960s were a receding memory, and the Federal government had a heavy hand in automotive design. Selling a car (or Syclone/Typhoon/Grand National) that had the ability to significantly exceed the Federally-mandated 55 mph speed limit would lay the Corporation wide open to any number of lawsuits. If it’s not good for the stockholders, it’s not good for the Company.

        To your point, if Chrysler was selling SuperBirds in the same time frame as the 2+2 and Aerocoupe there’s a pretty good chance that they would have had a 318 or perhaps a 360 as the prime motivator.

        Or…since this was the “turbo era”, perhaps a 2.2L turbo four-banger would have pushed them out of the dealerships!

        Perish the thought!

        Like 1
  12. JimmyJ

    You could buy almost 4 for the price of that boniville…
    Sorry ill stop complaining…
    But really????
    Ok im done

    Like 0
  13. KSwheatfarmer

    If you were into Pontiacs and NASCAR wouldn’t you have to have one of these?

    Like 0
    • Rick Gaskill

      Low sales numbers indicate evidently not.

      Like 1
  14. Superdessucke

    Never understood why they at least didn’t put the L69 from the Monte Carlo SS into these. As it sits, you get standard family car performance with some flashy graphics. Not my cup of tea.

    Like 1
    • 200mph

      Because GM Powertrain (under the thumb of Chevrolet) wasn’t about to allow Pontiac a chance to pull even in performance.
      Believe me, Pontiac tried to put some high performance under the hood of the 2+2 and was rejected.

      Like 7
      • Superdessucke

        Interesting. I can believe that. Though by 1986, the Monte Carlo SS was no longer a top-tier performance car and was nearing the end of its useful life. By then, all the focus was on the Grand National, Omni GLHS, TPI F- bodies, and 5.0 Mustangs.

        It would have been really interesting if GM would have cribbed the Buick turbo engine for this, like they did a few years later with the 20th Anniversary Trans Ams.

        As it sits, I remember them being criticized as dogs even new. When you drove down the street in one everybody knew you were a poseur. And if You didn’t know that, then you would be quickly taught that lesson by an L98 IROC, Buick GN, Shelby Charger, or 5.0 Mustang. Even an Olds 442 or Thunderbird Turbo Coupe from the era would have made sport of you.

        Nowadays, pretty much anything would beat you except maybe a Mitsubishi Miirage. Imagine getting taken to school by a Toyota Yaris! It would not only out accelerate you but out handle and brake you as well.

        Like 1
      • Dave

        Back when these were new a Honda Gold Wing would leave you for roadkill!

        Like 0
  15. Arthell64

    Looks and performance count and this car has neither.

    Like 1
  16. 200mph

    A footnote: Nascar required so many road cars be built to gain approval for racing. By Speedweeks, only 6 street 2+2’s existed. They trucked them all to Daytona, where Pontiac execs drove them all over town, all week long. Then, they trucked those same cars to Richmond the next week and did it all over again, then to Rockingham, so it would look like there were many of these on the road.
    Nascar never went to the Pontiac plant and counted cars, like it did in the aero wars of the late 60’s.

    Like 3
  17. Randall LanierMember


    Like 0
  18. CarstoriesMember

    Ouch, that must’ve been painful! One never can tell which cars will shine as collectors thirty years down the road. But mann, that sure wasn’t one of ’em, was it.

    On a different note, I find it interesting that the car’s mileage contained the same numerals as the year of the car. I know, right? But interesting, nonetheless.

    Just trying to lighten the mood a little after having to swallow that tough pill. I’d probably be yelling all that too… get it outta my system! Lol

    Like 0
  19. Del

    Aero Poop

    Not worth half the asking price

    Like 0
  20. Thomas Norman

    Dropped a ls2 from a totalled 06 gto in mine,with a 3:73 rear from a 87 monte ss . The car is now as fast as it looks. Will smoke anything!!!

    Like 0

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