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Classy Driver – 1976 Pontiac Grand Prix LJ

Pontiac freshened the ’76 Grand Prix with a revised waterfall grille and quad headlights, and fans of the sporty luxury coupe responded, snagging 228,091 units, more than doubling 1975. This 1976 Pontiac Grand Prix LJ in Rochester New York wears shiny nine-year-old paint and a fine looking interior, and runs and drives “very smooth,” according to the seller. Check out more pictures and a brief description here on Craigslist. The $14,000 asking price transfers the title on this well-preserved specimen from America’s Bicentennial year. Thanks to Wikipedia for some details, and to reader Rocco B. for spotting this tidy cruiser.

Nothing obvious disputes the claimed 94,000 original miles on this classic. Sun fading plagues nearly all GM plastics of this era, some of which began turning to dust by the ’80s. Velour bucket seats welcome long drives, and options galore promise comfort and ease, including power windows, power seats, and tilt steering column. While the listing makes no mention of air conditioning or cruise control, components in the engine compartment suggest it left the factory with those options as well. Good luck finding something made in the last ten years with this luxury, comfort, and style for $14,000.

A subtle version of the prominent beak up front echoes at the rear, accentuated by the two-tone paint scheme on this specimen. Fans of earlier models may lament the federally mandated bumpers; their rendering on the Grand Prix rates neither best nor worst from the era.

The 400 cid (6.6L) came standard on the LJ, newly notable as Pontiac downgraded the J model’s base powerplant to a 350 cid (5.7L) mill. Similarly, the SJ first shared this 400 by default in ’76, with the mighty 455 becoming optional on all models. By this time, buyers had begun to forget the tire-frying performance of the classic muscle car wars. Brochures no longer offered two-page fold-outs of myriad powertrain options listing gear and compression ratios. High schoolers were left having to turn a corner to get their parental people-movers to peel a tire, but the 400 still offered more thrust than smaller engines, and “satisfying” became a practical accolade. With all cars equally afflicted by lowered compression and final drive ratios in the quest for lower emissions and fuel economy, the receding performance tide lowered all boats. Can you picture yourself in this stylish luxury two-door?

Comments

  1. Avatar photo Threepedal

    Price doesn’t reflect the aftermarket oil fill cap. Small detail or symbolic of careless maintenance?

    Like 4
    • Avatar photo Johnny

      Call it what you will. I can attest to how well they ride. My mother bought one. Blue with a half vinyl top, and white pinstripes. Same interior, only hers was done in blue.
      Luxury, oh yeah! And a ride, that probably only a Cadillac could maybe beat.

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Lance Platt

        The 1969-76 Grand Prix models were beautifully styled. This example has the right options: air conditioning (hope it works), floor mounted automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, 400 6.6 liter V8 and bucket seats. Silver is not my favorite color but contrasts nicely with the afomentioned red seats. Not perfect but definitely worth a look by all fans of the long lost personal luxury car class.

        Like 1
  2. Avatar photo JCA Member

    Yikes. Bright red, maroon, silver and black. She’s got a lot going on

    Like 6
  3. Avatar photo Malcolm Boyes

    Move that front license plzte so the radiator can get good airflow..please!

    Like 7
  4. Avatar photo Gransedan

    The contours of both rear wheel openings are way off, far too ‘square’ on top. That and the missing wheel opening trim are causes for concern.

    Like 1
  5. Avatar photo douglas hunt

    I had an SJ version 76, charcoal where this one is black, with bordeaux leather interior.
    Bought it from my next door neighbor she was original owner.
    found a Trans Am steering wheel hanging on my uncles junkyard wall, really spiffed up the interior.
    luved that car, my GF was driving it when a kid stole his grandparents car sideswiped her on the interstate and a guy in a truck slammed into the back not paying attention….sigh

    Like 1
  6. Avatar photo Old Man

    The 1970 Grand Prix was a classic design, then slowly it turned into this monstrosity.

    Like 1
  7. Avatar photo BajaPFE Member

    Great platform for a resto mod.

    Like 0
  8. Avatar photo JAYPEA50

    it’s the batmobile!! 🦇

    Like 0
  9. Avatar photo JoeNYWF64

    The “mighty” 455 for ’76 had only 15!! more hp than the 400 & only 20 more ft lbs of torque at higher rpm than the 400, & drank lot more gas. Should have been discontinued in ’75 when the GM restrictive cat conv was fitted. What was pontiac thinking, considering the gas shortage just 3 years earlier.
    Both engines only 7.6 to 1 compression – probably will run on 85 octane/

    Like 0
  10. Avatar photo John Oliveri

    Car was built with A/C, compressor is missing, as far as the Missing wheel well moldings, my 73 was re painted and the molding was shot, I left them off, nos 1000,00 for 4

    Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Fred V

    Nice car but I wish whoever removed the A/C compressor would have left it in place without a belt so that a future owner could either reconstruct the old system or install a vintage air system.

    Like 0

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