It’s been a busy winter for me, but I had some free time during Christmas week and captured this fine example of nineteen eighties NASCAR aero design. That week, I had driven east for a family get together in Crossville, Tennessee, and racked up 2,200 miles in two and a half days. To reward my efforts, fate provided me this Grand Prix 2 + 2, which I found making a cigarette run to the local convenience store.
I talked briefly to the owner, who proudly informed me that while this Pontiac is viewed by some as a collectible, he had bought it to be DRIVEN, and that is exactly what he does. What you see is what you get with this car- He planned to paint it flat black some time in the future, but had no plans to restore the interior or keep the driveline original.
In fact, the original Chevy 305 V-8 was long gone, replaced by a healthy sounding 350. I’ve only seen these NASCAR Aero-coupes in museums and car shows, so it was nice to see one in daily use. When I shared that thought with the owner, he replied, “Yeah, my kids can fight over the car once I’m gone.”
If you’re not familiar with the Grand Prix 2 + 2, here’s a close up of the rear window, the key element of this design. GM hoped this aerodynamic glass would make their mid-sizers more competitive on the NASCAR banked ovals (the Chevy Monte Carlo received the same treatment).
The car arrived in response to Ford’s new “Jelly bean” Thunderbird, and took advantage of the same NASCAR rules that created Super Slick Speedway specials like the Torino Talledega, Charger Daytona, and Plymouth Superbird. The rear fenders and roof C-pillar remain stock G-body parts, but the glass, fill panels and trunk lid are all unique and super slippery.
Some have said his car (and it’s Chevy counterpart) used the back glass from a third generation Firebird or Camaro, but this shot shows that the back edge of the glass has too much curve to match the F-body hatch. You can also see that the trunk lid loses much of it’s functionality, with an opening best described as a mail slot.
As I said earlier, this isn’t a car you’d expect to see on a daily basis- Several internet sites put the production number at 1,118, and I don’t recall ever seeing one on the road. However, they appear to be a bit more common in south- During our talk, the owner told me there are four Grand Prix 2 + 2s in Tennessee’s Cumberland County alone (population in 2010- 56,035).
Of course, rarity means nothing here at Curbside Classics. Once we post a car, it’s here for all eternity, so enjoy!