Rare Model SJ: 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix

The year 1969 was very good for General Motors – a good economy and strong sales. At Chevrolet, there was a record number of Camaros produced (243,000) but it was goodbye to the Corvair. Over at Pontiac, they were riding high on the second year of the redesigned GTO, and just as importantly, enjoying big sales (112,000 units) of their completely redesigned Grand Prix, like this Model SJ coupe, located in North Las Vegas, Nevada and available here on eBay for a current bid of $6,011, no reserve. So far, 27 bids have been tendered.

Pontiac introduced the Grand Prix as a two-door hardtop, based on the full-size “B” platform in 1962. The focus for the Grand Prix was performance. As the years progressed, it became evident that performance in the form of a personal luxury coupe like the Ford Thunderbird and the in the planning stage Chevrolet Monte Carlo was where buyer’s tastes were headed. So, for ’69 Pontiac moved the Grand Prix from the full-size “B” platform to a stretched 118” wheelbase “A” platform also shared with the Tempest/LeMans/GTO. The ’68 Grand Prix, the last of the full-size models, generated about 32,000 units in sales; clearly the move to the new platform was a giant shot in the sales arm.

Since performance was the focus for the GP, there was a standard, powerful 350 HP engine in the entry-level Model J. The Model SJ, like our featured example, came with 370 HP generated from a 428 CI V8 engine. The seller claims that this Grand Prix, “runs and drives excellent.” Most Grand Prix’s of this era were equipped with three-speed automatic transmission (Turbo-Hydramatic 400), as does this one, but a four-speed manual was an option too – pretty rare though. There is a typo in the listing which refers to this Pontiac as a ’70 model but the VIN clearly illustrates it to be a ’69. The seller mentions that the AC needs some work, that’s an understatement as it needs a compressor, at the very least.

We are told that this Pontiac’s undercarriage is in excellent, original condition and the images back up this assertion.  Not sure of this 50-year-old car’s origins or its storage arrangement but it is clean and appears to be free of the tin-worm that adversely affects so many of the General’s “A” body models.

The Butternut Yellow finish is not original, it’s a repaint and it looks great, it has nice depth. Additionally, the seller states that the body is in excellent condition; all of the sheet metal is as it was installed at the Pontiac assembly plant back in ’69. I can’t spy a problem! This is a very thorough listing and there are a lot of nicely detailed images on ImageBam accessed via the listing.

There are several qualities that set Pontiacs apart from their brethren Chevies from this era and interior is certainly one of the more notable aspects. This Grand Prix has the newly introduced pilot cockpit, wrap-around dashboard and it is as impressive as it is unique. Note the “back-in-the-day” Kenwood cassette player. The interior in this Grand Prix is all original and appears to need noting other than some work on the console lid. Clearly, it has been well cared for.

I can attest to the power of one of these as a high school friend had the good fortune of having a mother who owned a Grand Prix just like this, a different color, however. Better still, she let us loose in it. The power was outrageous for such a big-feeling car. We swapped the Quadrajet carburetor out for a Holley but I can’t remember why now – vagaries of being seventeen, I guess. It took a lot of coaxing to get it to idle properly after our shade-tree shenanigans. All these years later, I still have very fond memories of that big Pontiac. This example is as beautiful as it is original and being the less often seen SJ model really adds to its appeal. The current bid is in the reasonable territory but it has five days to go so it will be interesting to see where it tops out. The only unknown is this car’s mileage, the listing states it as 20,000 miles as does one of the images reveal. But I have to imagine if that were the real mileage it would be something else for the seller to crow about so I’m thinking it is 120,000 miles – something to consider.  Anyway, could this GP today, possibly be the poorer man’s GTO?

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Comments

  1. JOHN Member

    Nice car, but it makes you wonder why the A/C compressor and brackets are missing. Needs service is one thing, missing components are another!

    Like 8
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      The RF corner of the engine looks funny in the photo, wish I could get a closer view. Thinking maybe an ear was broken off of the exhaust manifold, if that is where one of the AC compressor mount brackets would have bolted down?

      Like 4
  2. Skippy

    I think Grand Prix cars (Grand Prixes? Grand Prix’? just plural Grand Prix?) in general are among the best looking big GMs for any particular generation, but this generation is one of the most ungainly looking, especially in front, with the birds beak. Why did every car maker make the worst looking cars at the very end of each decade? The next generation has much cleaner lines and a slightly better looking interior. Still…this might be a very good buy for the right person.

    Like 4
    • Larry McGaw

      Yes, 1969, noted for such visual atrocities as the Camarillo, Firebird, Charger, GTX, Mustang, Cougar, Cyclone, Torino / Cobra, etc. It was a watershed year for great looking vehicles, including most of the full sized offerings from the Big Three. Even the Javelin and AMX were attractive. I personally like the look of this era of Grand Prix. Eye of the beholder and all that …

      Like 20
  3. Shaun Dymond

    If only I could afford to buy this beautiful Poncho and import it back to the UK! I love the Grand Prix, and this is just stunning.

    Like 5
  4. Troy s

    Solid car with a lot of power, sporty look to it. More of a grown up mature sport coupe to me. A poor man’s GTO, and it’s a stretch, a warmed over Tempest seems more fitting.
    Clever Pontiac stretched the wheelbase a few inches and we’re able to use the big 428 on a mid sized platform.

    Like 3
    • JOHN Member

      The Grand Prix frame for the most part is a stretched A body. Pontiac engine blocks share the same external dimensions… a 326 through the 455 will bolt in any of the A bodies, and even the F bodies. That’s why there is no such thing as a Pontiac “big block” people tend to think once an engine reaches the magic 400 cubic inches it is a big block. Chevrolet small blocks at the largest are 400 cubic inches, big blocks were 396 through 454 cubes. Every time I hear someone say “big block” I cringe…

      Like 12
      • Troy s

        Exactly right. No, I was thinking more of GM’s corporate rule about their 400 cubic inch limit on intermediates and pony cars.
        Even though it’s longer this car is still based off the intermediate platform.
        Big block/small block terminology has always been a Chevy thing to me but that can open up a can of worms,..just like the confusion over several 351 Ford engines.

        Like 6
      • 68custom

        don’t forget the tall deck 366 BBC, but your right!

  5. Steve P

    Trunk and door fits seem a little off, but really like the Grand Prix(s?).

  6. Bill DeBlasio

    Poor mans GTO? Wasn’t the Grand Prix higher on the Pontiac food chain and cost more? More like the rich mans luxury GTO!

    Like 25
    • Stevieg

      Yup, the bankers goat!

      Like 4
  7. John Oliveri

    I learned how to drive in a 69, I also learned how to do burn outs in the same car, hole shots, brake revs, great car, and w a 428, awesome car, I own a 73 w a 455, but u know 73 wasn’t a hi horsepower yr, but I still love it

    Like 4
    • Bill DeBlasio

      I have a 73 SJ 455 as well. Love it. It was my first car – handed down from dad in ’82 when I turned 16. He bought it brand new. Man the fun we’ve had in that car.

      Like 4
  8. Fitz

    Borrowed my step brothers GP for prom in ‘74. Spent part of the night doing block long burnouts. Then the fun began…..

    Like 6
    • Bill DeBlasio

      I have a pic from my Senior Day in high school where I did such a long burnout in my Grand Prix the pavement was smoking and sparks were flying from my steel belts!

      Like 1
  9. Dana R

    Rare for a 69 GP would be the SJ with the 390 HP 428 HO and M-21 4-speed; I think less than 100 were made.

    Like 3
    • John Oliveri

      Guy a one of my cruise nights, has a 428 4 speed 69

      Like 1
    • Steve P

      That would be such a cool car to own!

      Like 1
  10. Bryan

    The seats look like from a 90s version?

    Like 2
  11. Dale Watson

    People always talk HP when these car have plenty and are a great luxury ride which I love . Had one of those for a tow car it would pull my car trailer very nicely

    Like 1
  12. Todd

    My father had a beautiful 69 GP with factory four speed and hood tach. It was featured in Hemmings Muscle Machines.

    Like 5
  13. Steve P

    Lucky!

    Like 3
  14. Chuck Mather

    I owned a 69 model J with a 400 and a 4 spd. It would run 14.0’s all day. Had a 70 SJ with a 455 that would go 13.8 if you turned the a/c off. That was with a factory rated 390 h.p. This vehicle weighed 4400 lbs. How do they rate the Hellcat’s horsepower numbers again?

    Like 1
  15. John Oliveri

    Had a guy on my block, I was a kid, had a 69 Bonneville w a 428, 390 horse, smoked all those lil wanna be Mustangs and Camaros, every option in the book, block long smoky burnouts

    • Larry McGaw

      Hmmm … methinks you may be misremembering the facts. That Bonneville had a 1,000 pound weight penalty to overcome versus the typical Camaro or Mustang. Pretty hard to overcome that when all these cars had 390+ HP on tap.

      Like 2
      • John Oliveri

        Many many a fool, did not know how to operate those iconic legends, many couldn’t shift, and a lot had no heart

        Like 1
      • Bill DeBlasio

        First of all, all of them DIDN’T have 390 hp on tap. Lot’s of dudes who had some weak small blocks plus mix in dudes who can’t drive (blow the tires away, miss a shift) and it was easy pickings in a heavier car that hooked up a lot better.

        Like 2
      • Larry McGaw

        Merry Christmas. John O didn’t mention that he lived down the block from “Grumpy” Jenkins. Just sayin’ that any muscle car with similar HP to this legendary Bonneville would be easily capable of leaving its 4,400 pound ass in the dust. Even the ones with a paltry 335 HP. The 0-60 and 1/4 mile stats are easily found.

  16. JoeNYWF64

    I wouldn’t wana mess with the replacement radio here while driving. lol
    How hard is it to replace the stock radio on old “cockpit” dash cars?
    I would think it would be a nightmare on some early ’70’s big ford cockpit dashes, where the radio is not only to the left of the driver, but it’s way up on top!

    Like 2
    • 68custom

      the worst was a 70’s Datsun B-210, try and fit a Sanyo 1490-A in one of those, and you got skills!

  17. Larry McGaw

    … where only the driver could adjust things. It definitely had its advantages.

  18. Cadmanls Member

    428 was a great motor swapped one in my 64 Tempest back in the day and was an animal.

    • JoeNYWF64

      Might have trouble running it on today’s “gas”, especially in areas with a max of 91 octane.

      Like 1
  19. DayDreamBeliever Member

    Definitely getting some respect from potential owners, bidding at $13,900 with a day and a half to go.

  20. G MAN

    I own a 69 GP. had it for several years, I am 75 years old, make me feel like a 20 year old kid. Love it.

    Like 3
    • DayDreamBeliever Member

      I keep hitting the “Thumb Up” button, but it will only let me give one….

      Go G Man!

      Like 1
  21. John Oliveri

    Isn’t that amazing what a car can do for you, my sister in law had a 69 Grand Prix, she’s 77 now, always talks about that car, taught myself how to do burnouts in that car, in like 1974, I was 14, got replaced by a Vega, big downer, keep enjoying your car, I’m 59 and have a 73 Grand Prix, I always pray I’m gonna still be enjoying it later in life, your an inspiration, stay young

    Like 1

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