Sleeper Sedan: 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix STE Turbo

I remain somewhat melancholy that this era of Pontiac engineering didn’t set the company on a course for continued success. Whatever the motivation was, Pontiac seems to desperately want to build something European car shoppers would consider. They never got close, despite throwing the entire playbook at cars like this 1990 Grand Prix STE, which featured a turbocharged six-cylinder engine, jet-fighter inspired cockpit, and unique body cladding and alloy wheels. Find this survivor-grade example here on craigslist with a $2,500 asking price.

The turbocharged Grand Prixs pushed out a healthy 200 b.h.p. when equipped with an automatic transmission like this car. They also featured lots of gadgetry inside the cabin as well as this turbo boost gauge to let you know the ASC-supplied turbo system was indeed spooling. The Grand Prix was capable of an impressive top speed of 135 m.p.h., but that alone was not enough to convince shoppers to leave their stodgy W124-series Mercedes behind. This example has 116,000 miles on the clock.

Inside, occupants were treated to deeply bolstered leather bucket seats and tons of buttons. The steering wheel has become a running joke among car enthusiasts, and looks absolutely garish today. However, the Grand Prix did pioneer the idea of a driver infotainment system, with a small screen mounted in the lower center console to read out common diagnostic figures, like MPGs and miles to empty. Make fun of it all you want, but Pontiac may have actually pioneered a thing or two that we take for granted in modern interiors.

The seller has owned this Grand Prix for the last 15 years, which is likely one of the longest-tenured current owners of an oddball like this. Recent maintenance includes new ball joints, brakes, intake gaskets, motor mounts, and more, and the trunk is full of extra parts. While not very collectible, these are interesting cars that you don’t often see in a preserved condition like this – and are likely far easier to live with than a Ford Taurus SHO or any European performance sedan of the same era.

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Comments

  1. Jeff

    At that price, someone will snatch it up. And soon after, sorely regret it.

    7
  2. Keith

    Post eighties GM junk car……

    • Daved

      Better than post eighties Ford junk car….

      3
  3. Stilbo

    The Indiana State Police had one of these in ‘Turd Brown’ and used it as an unmarked pursuit cruiser on a stretch of I-94.
    They never even washed it.. It blended in well..
    One morning during my commute it pased me and had to be traveling well over 100 mph with the blue and whites flashing.
    About five miles down the road it was on the shoulder behind an RS Camaro…

    1
  4. Superdessucke

    Wow. I don’t even remember these. Basically the McLaren Turbo Grand Prix in a 4-door body? Anyone know the production figures on these?

    • freddy

      1000 each year and only for 2 years(89-90) in the Garnet red or bright white as pictured. Fantastic machines

  5. JimO

    I had the SE version of this in 1990. Mechanically, it was fine, electrical was the problem….a lot of gremlins.

  6. theGasHole

    Having had a 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix McLaren Turbo, I am shocked to learn of the existence of this STE. Thanks again Barn Finds for more knowledge!

    1
  7. Coventrycat

    Every one I ever saw always had one or more lights out in that front center piece.

    1
    • Daved

      Light bulbs are easy to replace 🙄

      3
  8. John

    Has those awful GM door mounted seat belts. I hate those. Can’t buy any car that has them.

  9. Michael A Groves

    Some photo’s of how the car looks would be nice.

    • Daved

      The listing depicts several photos of the exterior/interior…

  10. JaxGxp

    Gee, everyone laughs at the steering wheel with radio controls etc. Seems EVERY car today has them. Pontiac always was WAY ahead of everyone else.
    Long live the Red Arrow….

    2
    • Daved

      Amen!!!!

  11. Greg Johnson

    I myself love these cars as I just bought a 93 STE. I am a BIG FAN of the steering wheel radio controls, especially at night when they light up! Thanks to a good friend on W-Body.com, only 1000 Turbo STE’s were built in 1990.

    2
    • Daved

      Congrats!

      Color combo?

      1
      • Greg Johnson

        Thanks Daved! It’s still in CA and I’m in Iowa. Hoping to bring her home next spring. It’s white with grey cloth. It’s nicely optioned with the LQ1, moonroof, factory CD player, luggage rack, and HUD. I also have a 91 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme International coupe with pretty much the same options. I love the W-Body cars!

  12. Daved

    Greg,

    I figured it was white on grey- the leather is rare but I do feel the cloth holds up better. A couple years ago, I was at a Pull-A-Part in ATL and happened upon a final year STE that was burgundy over tan leather! I had nearly forgotten about these cars and getting up close and personal to a very nice example (body and intererior nest perfect), my interest re-ignited once I surveyed the car and was reminded of how much they differ from the SE models.

    I too share your affinity for the Wcars, I actually have my eye on an ‘89 Cutlass International coupe with under 50k miles!

    1
    • Greg Johnson

      Daved,

      It sounds like we have the same interest in W-body’s, very cool! Burgundy is my absolute favorite color and I would have loved to see that STE, I bet it was gorgeous when new! I have some pics of some very rare W’s that I would like to share including my own. How do we exchange email address’s without everyone else seeing it? Have any ideas?

      I would like to see that 89 International too! Along with my 91 International, I have a 89 International parts car. It’s in bad shape thanks to the MN road salt but I used a lot of other good parts from it. Let me know if you would like to exchange email address’s.

      • Daved

        Great minds think alike!!! That crosses my mind also!

        Here’s an old one that I don’t use anymore but have access to, hit me up here then I’ll follow up and we’ll take it from there (In case of filters, I’ll remove abbreviations) :

        thejoshuaproject90 at outlook dot com

        1
  13. Stilbo

    To whoever is the moderator here:
    I used to be able to easily stop notifications for postings but it seems that now I need to be a paying subscriber?
    The most recent email comment notification for this thread had a link to control notifications (as they always had) but now I have to log in as a member to stop notifications?
    Based on this experience I’ll not be all that interested in your daily “Today’s Barn Finds” emails let alone contributing any further comments.
    Also, may I suggest to the individuals here that have kept this thread alive to swap email addresses?
    Thanks all
    With respect
    Stilbo

    • Daved

      Stilbo,

      You can easily unsubscribe to a thread by clicking “unsubscribe” at the bottom of the email notification you just received concerning the new comment. It’s grouped right with the “reply to comment” and “manage options”. No, you don’t have to be a paying member to utilize these selections.

  14. Greg Johnson

    Thanks Daved, I just emailed you.

    Greg.

    • Daved

      Awesome! Thanks for the Heads-Up! (Yes, pun intended)

      Hope ol’ Stilbo doesn’t mind another email notification on this thread 🤣

      • Daved

        Actually, it does sound like he’s reached his maximum Barn Find views for the week, which is why the pop-up box to join as a member appears when he attempts to Unsubscribe…..

        Come on Stilbo, give these boys a little cash- they put a lot of time and effort into this site!

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