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White Over Black: 1971 Pontiac Grand Prix

From the early 1960s through the balance of the decade, the Grand Prix was one of the auto industry’s most definitive personal luxury cars. And it could be combined with some of the performance touches that Pontiac had become known for. This 1971 edition looks like a winner and has some recent upgrades. It presents well though the seller says it will need new paint to be a show car. Located in Clearfield, Utah, this cruiser is available here on eBay where bidders have raised the ante to $13,600 without triggering the reserve.  

Pontiac treated the Grand Prix to an extreme makeover in 1969, using a new G-body platform that was derived from the mid-size A-body. It would become quite popular, selling 95,000 copies in 1969, 65,000 in both 1970 and 1971, and another 90,000 in 1972 before they adopted the Colonnade look that all of GM’s mid-sizes took on in 1973. A mild refresh in ’71 gave the car a bit of a boattail look at the rear (can you say Buick Riviera?) and single rather than dual headlights up front (like the Chevy Monte Carlo). The GP and the MC both had about the longest hoods of anything to come out of Detroit at the time.

This ’71 Grand Prix has a 400 cubic inch V8, although the 455 brute was still available as an option. Both had begun to feel the Federal detuning efforts that were underway to reduce the emissions output from vehicles. Unleaded fuel was now available and catalytic converters were just a few years away. The seller’s car has been fitted with an electronic ignition, and the suspension has been reworked within the past few days. As a result, we’re told the Pontiac runs like a dream.

In most of the photos, the Grand Prix looks quite sharp, especially the two-tone interior and contrasting vinyl top. We’re told the car has new tires, but are they on the 17” wheels shown in one photo or the stock rims in the rest? But with the larger wheels, the front end looks to be much higher in the air, like those custom lowriders you see in California. So, when you take the car home, do you get both sets of wheels, as the factory Rallys look much better? The seller isn’t high on the black paint, but it looks good from where I sit.


  1. Avatar photo Maggy

    Lose the wheels asap.Sitting way too high in the front. Nice cars with a great long hood body style like the 70 -72 mc’s.glwts.

    Like 43
    • Avatar photo Richard McBride

      Beautiful car

      Like 12
    • Avatar photo Fran

      I was thinking something was wrong with it sitting so high!! Also what a mess up not making more manuals!!!

      Like 2
      • Avatar photo DrD

        A 4sp was an option in ’71 but not sure about ’72 or what engine it was mated to.

        Like 1
  2. Avatar photo Robert Proulx

    Absolutely beautifull. Beeing from the older generation i’d go with the stock rims and whitewalls that go better with the era and just dig the engine compartement. Thumbs up to the owner that kept it all so very nice

    Like 19
  3. Avatar photo Mike76

    In Oakland, there’s a shop, A-1 Springs, that is well known for the rear down front up “treatment.” I have seen a lot of late 70’s and 80’s box Chevy’s – Caprice / Impala with this look. An acquired taste I suppose. Personally, I am not a fan. X3 on ditching the wheels.

    Like 28
  4. Avatar photo Dave M

    Interesting you note some “boat tail Riv” in the rear view of the Grand Prix because Buick was originally going to move the Riviera to the G Body platform with the 71 redesign. Too many unique stampings were needed, so GM made them move it to the LeSabre/Centurion platform.

    Like 7
    • Avatar photo Sixone

      That is interesting and I hadn’t heard that before! I know the GP was originally planned the same full-size as the 68, but they changed their tune when it became apparent they were not selling. Although the Riv of 71+ wasn’t a total dud sales-wise, it wasn’t that great either. I wonder if they had, if it would have significantly increased the sales.

      Like 2
  5. Avatar photo Connecticut mark

    Nice car in first photos, with rims and jacked up, looks like trash, put on 15 inch stock rims instead of 14 inch and will be fine

    Like 19
    • Avatar photo Sixone

      Could that car even be had with 14″ rims? The ones I owned back then pretty much all had 15″. Chrysler and Ford were somewhat behind GM, but eventually everything was 15″, until switching to 16″ in the 90s at some point, then up from there. My 2012 Lincoln has 22″ and it came from the factory that way!

      Like 0
  6. Avatar photo Poppy

    I’d refer to that color scheme as “black over white with a white top”

    Like 9
    • Avatar photo Sixone

      Agree! A little dose of reality always helps.

      Like 0
  7. Avatar photo CCFisher

    As lovely as stock Rally II wheels are, I find the oversized aftermarket versions to be cartoonish and dorky. I don’t believe the other wheels shown on the car are stock, either. They look like Buick wheels.

    Otherwise, awesome car!

    Like 15
  8. Avatar photo walter nelson

    I have a 72 so 455 original medium charcoal black interior custom wheels with many parts I wish to sell call me at 910 546 6515

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Montoya Herron

      Pictures of your baby?and what’s the price you talking

      Like 0
  9. Avatar photo Bill Maceri

    All through the 60s I was a big fan of the Grand Prix, I even liked the name. But when the 71s were released I didn’t like the front grill and headlights. My boss bought a new one in 71, it was a horrible yellow metallic color with a black vinyl top and interior. I couldn’t really look at it because of that horrible color. However as I saw them out on the streets in different colors I began to like them. This black with white combination looks very classy. The long hood, the single headlights and big chrome grill is actually very good-looking. The rear taillights in the bumper I liked right from the start. I also liked the black raparound dash and center console. When I was younger and wanted to put big mag wheels and tires on my 69 Mach I, which meant raising the back so the tires wouldn’t rub, my dad used to tell me the engineers designed the car to work together without my help. He said the car would look bad, handle poorly and wear out tires and parts incorrectly and cause other mechanical problems. Of course I did it anyway. But I then realized my dad was right. I then went back to the right size tires, although now I put radials on it, they were just becoming popular. I was able to lower the rear to the stock level and could feel the better handling and liked the way it looked better than with the back jacked up. Now I keep everything stock, but buy the best tires, shocks and engine parts, and I feel much better that l’m keeping the engineering that was designed into the original car. We live and learn. Just like how now I see this 71 Grand Prix for the work of art that it is. Thanks Mr. DeLorean, you designed some of the best looking cars to ever come out of Detroit. Too bad he couldn’t just stay at GM and help them build better cars. But I guess we gotta do what we gotta do to get it out of our system. I love cars! I always have and always will.

    Like 16
  10. Avatar photo John Oliveri

    Beautiful car and color combo, those wheels are atrocious to say the least, I’d keep the factory wheels or go with 15 inch true spokes and nice whites or Vogues, more period correct

    Like 12
    • Avatar photo Sixone

      Huh, Vogues wouldn’t look half bad!

      Like 0
  11. Avatar photo Ed Anderson

    Thanks, Russ, for another great article on yet another great automobile ! Whenever I see write-up of one’a these, I can’t wait to open it up and read it. I own a ’70, Model J, one of 172 built with the 3spd manual (Hurst shifter, walnut knob). I wanted to note that Pontiac actually built over 112,000 GPs in ’69 which was almost 4 times as many as the big B-Body ’68s. And they built 58,000 GPs in ’71. I really like the grille of the ’71s. They look like chromed vertical blinds when viewed from the side, especially noticeable when they’re highly polished.

    Like 6
  12. Avatar photo Tony

    Stock wheels are far better
    Those existing wheels are ugly.

    Like 13
    • Avatar photo Eddie Tucker

      Ruined with those ridiculous wheels. Back to the 15″, please.

      Like 2
  13. Avatar photo MammothStu

    Had a ’72. Ice blue exterior, white vinyl top, same interior color as this one except with medium blue carpet. 8-track player – dealer installed if I recall correctly – was on the tunnel hump behind the center counsel. Thing was an “elegant beast”. Four of us, all our ski gear, going up the Sherwin Grade to Mammoth, we could pass any other vehicle on the road. Those rims on this one stink, the originals look 100% better.

    Like 5
  14. Avatar photo Stu

    I owned a 71 for several years, silver over black w/ black vinyl top. One of my best cars ever. Would chirp the rear tires when shifting into 2nd gear. My GF at the time commented that “it sounds like a damn jet plane taking off”, and I guess it did. I would still have it today had my younger brother not borrowed it for a date and rolled it.

    Like 5
    • Avatar photo Terry

      My uncle had a 69 and my parents liked it so much that they ordered a 71 when they saved up for it. Longest hood a 7 year old had ever seen with a upper radiator hose to match. Pop ordered it in bronze with tan top/interior and almost went to a out of town to buy it as our hometown Pontiac/Chevrolet/Buick/Olds dealer thought the color combo was weird and they didnt want to order it. It came in and they ordered three other GM cars in the same color combo as everyone that saw it loved the color combo. A friend had a poppy orange, white top/interior 71 and yeah, it sounded like a jet on acceleration! We could always tell when mom was coming home from work (2nd shift) as it whistled on deceleration!

      Like 0
  15. Avatar photo Gary D. Oliver

    I’d lose the wheels and have the top dyed black.

    Like 4
  16. Avatar photo Harold

    And get the proper ride height back,
    at least you won’t be blinding everyone at night.

    Like 4
  17. Avatar photo Al Dee

    Get those ridiculous bike spoke wheels and tricycle tires off that gorgeous car! It’s either got a ton of bricks in the trunk or overload shocks on the front — another big NO NO for this classic. — Put the wheels and shocks back to stock and you’ll have a great classic car worth some big bucks.

    Like 3
  18. Avatar photo Sixone

    I like this one very much! The black & white combination is wonderful, although unusual. Forget about those aftermarket rims and the front spring height, both look like sh*t. Otherwise it seems in quite nice condition. From the photos at any rate. If everything functions as it should, it’s right on the money price-wise.

    Like 1
  19. Avatar photo Sixone

    Hey, the writer, Russ Dixon, doesn’t mention it, but it appears to be a legit 33k mile vehicle. I don’t doubt it from the photos and the short video. WELL worth asking price if it all checks out. Too bad the video didn’t show it starting and/or running. Definitely ditch those dumbazz wheels!

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Neil R Norris

      Yup. Some things to dislike that are easily addressed. Love this one. A 455 would make it perfect. But the 400 will do.

      Like 1
  20. Avatar photo John D

    I love The 69-72 GP 71-72 being my favorite. I like the style of the wheels but they need to be in stock dimensions. I don’t like the nose up look on anything. Just a couple tweaks on this and it would be great.

    Like 2
  21. Avatar photo Dave

    Had a 71 model J. 455 . would bark the tires hitting 2nd gear with the automatic. Factory air shocks, which meant it didn’t sit like this one does. My absolute favrorite car. Ditch those wheels please!!

    Like 0
  22. Avatar photo Roland J. Smith

    Take those stupid wheels off. It’s not a Tonka toy. 15 were perfect and should stay. Beautiful car, love my Pontiacs.

    Like 1
  23. Avatar photo Ashtray

    Someone finally got the pinstripping right. The last one I saw on this website wasn’t even close?
    I have owned several Gran Prix cars, starting in 1969. The 69 J model with a 400 engine was the fastest, perhaps because of the higher compression that year? Even faster than my 1972 SJ model with a 455 cu engine.
    My 1969 had factory wire wheel covers.
    I won’t comment futher on the front end and wheels?? Enough factual comments have already been posted!
    It is a nice car and I am beginning to want a GP again, after all of these years. I think they are absolutely awesome.
    Oh, I almost forgot something, the wheels and front-end are a joke.
    Just my opinion!

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo John Oliveri

      69 with a 428 was faster than the 400, 72 455 was not fast anymore, I have a 73 SJ 455, not fast, top end yes, but smog heads killed everything, compression died in 71

      Like 1
  24. Avatar photo Larry G

    Rolling tuxedo. Absolutely beautiful. New wheels should be sold even for scrap price, they bastardize this work of art. I’ve loved Grand Prixs ever since I’ve been old enough to appreciate a car. I like these old ones better than my 69 SS Camaro.

    Like 1

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