Everyone here knows what I’m talking about. We’ve all had an experience with the one you don’t take home to Mom. Oh, maybe she (or he) is a little more experienced than your mom’s used to, or older, or younger, or tattooed, but there’s something just a bit shady about her that you’d rather keep to yourself. I think the same sentiment can be applied to cars, and this one is, ironically, all my wife’s fault.
Photo Courtesy of mecum.com
For our ninth anniversary this year, my lovely bride bought me (amongst other things) a full-line 1975 Pontiac brochure, and I was almost instantly smitten by the Grand Prix shown in the lead photo. Maybe it was the silver and black color combo, or the contrasting 1930s Mercedes in the garage behind it, but I kept returning to it like it was some kind of siren calling me to my doom.
As has been covered before, Pontiac really began its long, slow decline in the 1970s. Its glory days were just a recent memory, as Oldsmobile carried the GM day in the malaise years. In a way, buying a “real-life” 1975 Grand Prix would be paramount to taking “that” girl home to Mom; after all, I have a garage full of super-cool (well, in my eyes anyway) ’50s and ’60s iron. The older stuff is where my heart lies, and if I ever brought a ’70s car home, it had better have a screaming chicken on the hood. Yet I can’t stop thinking about the Grand Prix.
There has to be a rational reason, or at least that’s what I keep repeating to myself. To get to the bottom of my self-diagnosed perversions, I’ve examined the Grand Prix’s GM competitors to determine if I have similar feelings for them. Perhaps I am an undiagnosed personal luxury coupe lover.
Chevrolet, however, can be safely eliminated, as I’ve never been a particular fan of the ’73-’77 Monte Carlo. The round headlight versions like the above ’75 model aren’t terrible, but the weird mirror image door handle/lock cylinder deal is a bit of a turnoff. The parallel bodylines on the rear quarters and fenders are fairly well-done, but on the whole, I’m not going out of my way to check these out when I find them. Strike one.
Perhaps the most mainstream option of the 1970s was the Cutlass Supreme. The bronze color, although undoubtedly popular at the time, does the body no favors in my opinion. Neither do the strange creases adorning its flanks. As a complete work, I guess I can see the appeal of the Cutlass Supreme, but it doesn’t really seem to stand out from the others in the looks department. I guess Oldsmobile buyers just followed the crowd in the ’70s. Strike two.
OK, I’m a Buick guy, so how about the ’75 Regal? Sorry to say, I think that Buick churned out the least appealing example of the personal-luxury genre, at least amongst the GM brigade. The rear end treatment is OK, but I’m not in love with the front end, especially on the square headlight examples that followed this one. Somehow, the Regal seems to be the most conservatively styled of the four, and not in a good way. Even a set of Buick Rally wheels can’t save it for me. Other GM brands…you’re out!
Photo Courtesy of mecum.com
Thus, I’m back to square one. To be honest, pictures I see of the actual car, especially of the rear end, don’t do it for me like the brochure image does. In a similar vein as the Oldsmobile, the copper color on the above ’75 doesn’t belong on anything but a Turbine Car or other mid-’60s Chrysler, but even the lines don’t exactly take my breath away. The ironing board hood, however, does add some much needed drama and tension, draping this generation of Grand Prix with an exciting visual image, at least compared to its contemporaries. The problem for me is that the Grand Prix had already set almost unattainable styling standards.
I don’t think I’m alone when I say that the ’63 Grand Prix is my favorite. All ’63 Pontiacs were trendsetters, and the combination of special grille and backlight and lack of ornamentation and eight-lug wheels…well, you can see why I’d have no problem proudly bringing a ’63 home to my garage. It’s the tall brunette with glasses, my favorite type of girl.
Then there was the ’69 Grand Prix. Although I’ve never been a real fan of this bodystyle, I can see the appeal–it’s crisp and masculine, and it belies its size with handsome tailoring. The ’69 is like a blonde girl, not my favorite, but nobody would question my taste if I parked one in the driveway.
Therefore, I must sadly admit that I’ve been rambling without being able to provide an answer or a reason to myself or to others. This brochure image caught me in a moment, glanced at me across a crowded room. I felt the initial pangs of desire, but can pursue it no further. I’m spoken for, and this ’75 Grand Prix is just not my type.