Cohort Capsule: 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix — Rock Vs. Disco

Photos from the Cohort by Hyperpack.

Last week there was a bit of discussion about my Disco Music car of choice; a 1975 Dodge Charger. What I didn’t say that day was that the theme was a two-parter, since I was still pondering the matter. On one end, I wasn’t entirely sold on the Charger Cordoba as a Disco Music ride. On the other, a car sitting right next to the Charger displayed better the musical shifts of that decade: a 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix. A melange of neoclassical cues, brutalist lines, and overdone hipness that several 1970s music genres seem to fit.

After all, both Pontiac and the Grand Prix nameplate had undergone enough mutations by ’77, that it felt more like the aging rock act adopting new trends. Whether you liked it or not, at the time it worked; this was the most sold generation of Grand Prix ever (’77 being the model’s all-time high at 288K units).

So is this ’77 Grand Prix a Rocker going Disco? Going Pop? Or delving into Hard Rock?

What I do know is that this late Colonnade Grand Prix is Pontiac doing its best Oldsmobile impersonation. Does Cutlass Supreme and Grand Prix rhyme? Not quite. No wonder I’m not entirely sold on this generation of Colonnade Pontiacs.

And as Paul mentioned previously, these Pontiacs were nowhere as distinctive as they used to be just a few years prior. A Medium Prix, as he said. Still better than the Lesser Prix that was coming.

But as I said last week, adapt or die. However, these late colonnades have such a mix of cues, from the classic to the brutal, that I find it hard to pinpoint what tune they’re playing. I guess that was part of their sales magic? Look into the product and project whatever image you want into them?

After all, I can see this Grand Prix embodying the spirit of Disco and Rock all at once. And mirroring Pontiac’s shifting strategies and luck, is this Grand Prix just entering its “Everyone Bites The Dust” era? Or as I remember it, “Everyone Sells To Disco!” as my 1970s rock music pal used to taunt us whenever that Queen tune played at our workplace in SF.

However, an old COAL on the model talked about this generation of Grand Prix as being their Heavy Metal car. That brutalist face does make a case for it, as it is certainly tough-looking and menacing. In my head it seems the right car for the Evil Dead’s Ash to drive, if he could finally get rid of the ’73 Oldsmobile Delta 88 he seems so attached to.

Did I say you could project any image you wanted into this Grand Prix? Just about, but not quite. After all, this car certainly didn’t fit with the understated-luxury crowd that was growing at the time. If you were into Audis and Mercedes, or Alfas, GM had no business with you. Something that would cost the Giant later, but we’re talking about the ’70s here, right? Why look into that gloomy future?

Let’s leave these two Disco-Classic-Rock era cars behind for now, as neither one seems to be in a partying mood. Rock or Disco wise, those parties they attended truly wore them out. Too bad, but such is life. Party too hard, and those tires will deflate and those vinyl tops will crack and peel away.

Still, I know myself and my head will keep playing around, thinking of the right soundtrack for each, though I really doubt any of my favorite Erik Satie piano pieces will fit either. Which is fine, those understated tunes are reserved for the trips on my imaginary Audi 100.


Related CC reading:

Curbside Classic: 1976 Pontiac Grand Prix — Grand Size, Medium Prize