Here at CC we’ve seen lots of American cars, especially muscular ones from the 60s and 70s, now prowling about Europe. But here’s one that made its way all the way to Australia: a 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix with the optional 428-ci high-output engine.
Unbelievably, it’s one I’ve seen in person before, in 2013 at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The Mecum organization holds an auction there every May and I used to visit each one and photograph as many cars as I could. I don’t have a distinct memory of this Grand Prix, but this photo in my personal archive proves that I stood six feet from it at least once.
From my photos it’s clear that this car was probably someone’s fair-weather driver, but the dent in the passenger-side rear fender and the rust along the trunklid lip attest to a lack of any restoration.
The new owner’s name is Kym, and he emailed me recently after finding my photo of his car on Flickr and wondered if I had any information about it he didn’t already have. I couldn’t help him, unfortunately – I photographed hundreds upon hundreds of cars at the Mecum auctions, and my photographs contain everything I know about any of them.
Instead, Kym told me what he knows about his car’s story. He said that while Laurentians then Parisiennes were produced in Australia in the ‘60s (from Canadian CKD kits combined with some Australian content such as tires, glass, and upholstery), the Grand Prix was not. Due to firm right-hand drive requirements few, if any, were imported and converted. In recent years, the rules have relaxed and conditional registration of historic cars has become possible. Even so, the ’67 Grand Prix remains an unusual car in Australia with fewer than a dozen examples registered.
This Grand Prix was produced early in the model-year run, during the second week of September in 1966. Its production sequence number of 421 means that not only was this one of the first Grand Prixes produced, but one of the first Pontiacs of any kind manufactured at the Pontiac, Michigan, plant that year. The car was well optioned with the 428 HO engine (one of about 300 so equipped), THM 400, limited-slip differential, power steering and brakes, and the custom gauge cluster. It also came with a light under the hood, spinners on the hubcaps, whitewall tires, cornering lamps, and other nice touches. After it was complete at the factory, it was sent to Century Pontiac in Beaverton, Oregon.
As best as Kym can tell, the original owner kept this car until it went to Indianapolis to be sold at the Mecum auction. Bidding went to $13,000, but that wasn’t enough for the seller. It was offered at a later auction, but only after that dent was repaired and the front end and everything north of the beltline was repainted. It went on to be offered for sale at a couple of the usual online places, listed at $18,000. An Australian importer of classic cars purchased the Grand Prix, shipped it down under, and offered it for re-sale. That’s where Kym spotted it and, charmed by its unique and unusual options and its original and umolested condition, bought it and took delivery in February 2015.
Kym says that the car was reasonably well maintained during its original ownership and probably saw little use during its later years. It arrived in Australia in generally good original condition, although the electrics were largely shot and had to be replaced. Kym also had to make sure the car would pass the stringent checks necessary for registration – no damage, no leaking fluids, no non-original equipment, and more. Kym did the repairs necessary to get the car registered and has enjoyed taking it on driving vacations around Australia. But he isn’t content yet: he plans to do a more thorough restoration, so the car will be better than new.
Photos of the car in Australia are copyrighted and used with permission of the owner.