Rare McLaren Turbo: 1989 Pontiac Grand Prix

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The popularity of the Pontiac Grand Prix remained strong in 1988 when the car entered its sixth generation of production, this time as a front-wheel-drive coupe with a completely updated design outside.  However, the car’s standard engine didn’t provide spirited drivers with very much excitement behind the wheel, tweaking out just over 130 horses under the hood.  In terms of performance, some good news came the following year when a turbocharged model became available, such as this 1989 Grand Prix Turbo here on Craigslist in Boyceville, Wisconsin.  Priced at $8,000, it’s probably not going to take long before this cool Pontiac finds itself a new home.

A big Barn Finds shout-out goes out to Tony Primo for his excellent tip here!  The best number I can gather is that around 3,500 of these special Pontiacs were produced during the car’s run, which lasted only two years before the fun stopped in 1990.  McLaren provided the turbocharged 3.1 liter V6 that was rocking over 200 HP, plus it also produced 220 pounds of torque, more than ample power for the 4-speed automatic transmission to send to those front wheels.  The seller describes his Pontiac as a great running cruiser and states that the actual mileage is under 67,000, low to some degree due to the car sitting in a boat shed for more than two decades before he acquired it.

ASC contributed plenty to the Grand Prix’s outside appearance, adding hood louvers that not only look tough but are truly functional.  The company also implemented the body flares and gave the underside some suspension modifications.  The seller doesn’t go into a whole lot of specific detail regarding the exterior, but the body panels seem to remain straight overall, with even the red paint still holding a reasonably good appearance.

We only get to view two photos from the interior, both of the dash so the condition of the seats and door panels are a mystery.  However, the period-correct factory cassette player is mentioned as working, so you’ll have to stop by your local thrift store and pick up some popular tapes from the late eighties to blare through the Stereo.  Def Leppard or GNR, anyone?  With some of the more desirable McLaren-equipped offerings selling for much higher, I’m feeling $8k is a fair price for what you’re getting here.  What do you think?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Nevada1/2rack Nevada1/2rackMember

    “ ASC contributed plenty to the Grand Prix’s outside appearance, adding hood louvers that not only look tough but are truly functional.”

    “..look tough..”? Dude!!! This car, like, really got you spun up, man!! 😆

    Perfect euphemism for this one, Mike, and this car did look tough for its time besides giving the car community a little hope that all the daily driving fun had NOT been taken away by the insurance/safety ninnies or OPEC.
    Good find of a car that I’ll bet most of us living the time had forgotten about. Only saw one of these and it was on the side of the road with a Highway Patrolman talking to the driver-about the car as I found out later from him! He was speeding, yes but the trooper (a car buff himself in turns out) let him go on a warning.

    Like 15
  2. JCAMember

    Back then the more buttons you had the more high tech it was

    Like 19
  3. Tron

    Never knew about these. Interesting to say the least. Boycville, WI? Sounds like a place where the great Tommy Boyce (from the duo of Boyce and Hart) grew up.

    Like 5
    • Fox owner

      I remember seeing these new and liking the gold lace wheels. I wonder what torque steer was like? New FWD performance cars have engineered it out.

      Like 6
      • Philbo427

        When you mention torque steer, it makes me think of a friends 80s Dodge Shelby charger GLHS. He wanted me to help him drive it to the dealership and I was waiting in traffic to make a left turn. When I found an opening I hit the gas a little too hard and the steering wheel practically ripped out of my hands! Car tried to go straight, was wild! I have a 2019 Honda Civic Type R and cannot detect torque steer even under very hard acceleration. This car has a special front suspension design to minimize torque steer.

        Love these GPs. One of the cooler looking cars on the road back then imo.

        Like 3
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

        Philbo, I know what you mean! I had a GLH-T and I could make it go straight while the wheels where turned right and spinning like crazy.
        The GLHS only added to that sort of fun.

        Like 0
    • her

      Boyce and Hart! Yes, I remember them. Great duo! I think they wrote many of the Monkees hits, even after there were turned down as one of the four actors on the TV show. I heard the four actual Monkees were a little jealous because they were making more money as the song writers than they were performing them. Those were the years when silly pop music really made me happy. I didn’t have to think too much about it, I kind of drifted for a few years about that time, and that was okay, it was what I needed to do.

      Like 6
    • Smokey Smokerson

      I think WI has the market cornered on all that is Grand Prix. One of my sons spent 4 years in the Air Force Honor Guard in DC and commented that the only place he sees Grand Prixs is in WI.

      Like 0
  4. Nelson C

    These were the best of the original three until the Lumina arrived. Red always looks good but I was cautious about those lace wheels. What a pain in the side to clean those. We progressed from all those buttons to touch screens. I think we’re backing up.

    Like 5
  5. Aussie Dave Aussie DaveMember

    Two sentences into the description, and I stopped reading, Front wheel drive.

    Like 4
  6. Sam Keeling

    8k? Rather buy a used z370 for that much and still have 130 more hp..

    Like 2
  7. Ed

    That steering wheel is a bit busy.

    Like 5
  8. Dusty

    Ahhh the Rubix Cube steering wheel. Back in 88-92 I worked in the bodyshop at a Pontiac Olds Buick GMC Caddy dealership. Lots of fun correcting the products made by UAW workers and GM (general mistakes) engineers.

    Like 2
  9. Dennis

    My neighbor half a mile up the road had one of these for sale for $1500. Zero rust but the car had a few hard to fix dents in it. Repairable of course. Test drove the car and it surprised me at the performance it had. Extremely fast for the era.

    I passed on it stupidly…

    Like 4
  10. mick

    Sorry, this is a big “NOPE” for me.

    Like 1
  11. mick

    These cars were built during the end of the Roger Smith era of “give them what’s cheapest to build and what we want them to have, rather than build cars that people want.

    Like 2
  12. Stmpwi

    I’m from WI, and I had a 95 gp. Loved that car despite its continuous mechanical problems. Remember the gm anti freeze debacle. Let my 16yr old daughter drive it and one minute of distraction put it in the ditch, the end. Seems to me the turbos in
    these McClarens aren’t repairable

    Like 0
  13. theGasHole

    I had one of these back in 2014. Same color, same interior, condition was a 9/10. Definitely quicker than they advertised. Never noticed any torque steer with mine. Took a bit for the turbo to spool up but once it did the car would take off. Sold it for $8,500 if I remember right. I think they look better in black.

    Like 2
  14. Too much nostalgia isn't living

    I can’t see how any of that was necessary. It’s an ’89, not an old Packard.

    Like 0
  15. Chris Miller

    That’s called a b4u package I loved those cars I always wanted one grew up in the 80s.we had odd cars..with a lot of buttons.

    Like 1
  16. Jon Calderon

    Won’t ever compare to a 77. That was the best year for GP’s.

    Like 0
  17. nycbjrMember

    Me want!! As a genx kid I loved and lusted after these, tho I hated not having a 5 speed! Hope someone picks this beauty up!

    Like 1

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