Curbside Classic: 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2 – But Where’s The Fastback?

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(first posted 3/25/2016)    As soon as I pulled up to Sam Bond’s Garage last night, I knew that at least someone else had shown up for our little local CC Meet-up. I did a double take when I saw this parked out front…a GP 2+2…but where’s its grafted-on fastback roof? Owner Norm (on left, with redmondjp) soon filled me in on that mystery. Let’s just say this is the genuine article, and likely the only one left of its kind. And there is an explanation, of sorts.

Pontiac 1986 2+2

This is how they’re supposed to look. The GP 2+2, like the quite similar Monte Carlo Aerocoupe, were conceived for the same purpose the legendary Ford Talladega, Plymouth Super Bird and Dodge Daytona had been 15 years earlier: to be faster on the NASCAR ovals. GM was tired of losing to the slippery Thunderbird coupes, and both Chevrolet and Pontiac went to work; separately, but with similar results. So what happened to Norm’s 2+2?

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Norm wrote to the Pontiac Heritage center with his vehicle information, and what he got back was a statement that in essence said that they must have run out of fastbacks for the last few 2+2s to be built.

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Given that Auto Fab, Inc. was responsible for the fastback conversion, what likely happened is that Pontiac built a few more of these specially-equipped cars than Auto Fab had fastbacks for. Or something like that. It does make one wonder if the price was discounted for the missing fastback. Well, all of these 2+2s were most likely heavily discounted, as they were a sales flop. They were heavily optioned, and the asking price, some $2000 more than a Monte Carlo Aerocoupe, was more than the market would bear at the time. Most dealers avoided taking delivery of them, and the majority were sold from factory auctions. It was strictly a one-year phenomena, and only 1225 2+2s were ever built.

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Not having the fastback is hardly a great loss; not only is this a completely unique car (presumably the only one still left), but the fastback had a number of negatives, including overheated rear passengers and luggage, as well as a ridiculously tiny trunk opening.

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Frankly, I’m not a big fan of the fastbacks on these cars; yes, they’re distinctive, but they don’t look the slightest bit organic. This is more honest. And a unique period piece.

Norm bought this a couple of years back, and had it re-sprayed and otherwise cleaned up some, as it was a bit ratty when he found it. And it expanded his collection of Pontiacs to…sixteen. BTW, I first got to know Mr. Pontiac when I ran into a ’63 tempest he was hauling home on a trailer, and that led me to his ’63 LeMans convertible, the subject of an in-depth CC on those unique cars with their rear transaxle, swing axle rear suspension, high output four cylinder engines and their flexible drive shaft.

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The interior of Norm’s car has been nicely cleaned up, and I believe the front seats re-upholstered.

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Behind the distinctive beak resides a 165 hp Chevy 305 LG4 V8, teamed up to the four speed THM. Despite its intent of going 200+ on the NASCAR banks, in real life these were not exactly fats cars, with a 0-60 of about ten seconds and a 17.7 second quarter mile. The Muscle Car era was long over, and this was the depths of the Malaise Era. or the tail end, anyway, as things were starting to look up right about this time, performance wise.

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Norm has another very distinctive and unique addition to his Pontiac stable.

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Maybe one of these days we’ll have to go back out to his place and check them all out. This is what it looked like in 2009; he’s now adding another building to store more of his collection out of the rain.

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The meet-up was an intimate affair; just the three of us. Norm’s 2+2 was a good conversation starter, but there was no shortage of stories, about cars and otherwise. The hours flew by, and one of us got to drive this missing-fastback 2+2 home.