The cars we loved.
There was a time long ago (86-91) that the very mention of the Pontaic Grand Am meant real excitement, just like they used to say in the Pontaic Ads. Now, Grand Ams, conjure images of rental cars, buy here pay here used lots and general automotive wallpaper. Despite the devolution of the most recent Grand-Ams, it was once considered a true performance car. After replacing the Phoneix (Pontaic’s version of the Chevy Citation), the streamlined front wheel drive car was available as a 2 door coupe and 4 door sedan.
First offered with a 3 -liter V-6, the car found it’s grove later with GM’s new dual overhead cam Quad 4. The engine in HO tune had 180hp and 16 vales a feature not common on American cars at the time. It’s performance put it in BMW 3 series range and it’s looks were Eurocool for the time. Build quality unfortunately was typical American, so good examples of driven cars are rare now. All good things must end, and it was no different for the Grand-Am. A new Grand-Am was introduced in 92.
Although sporty, it did not offer quite the performance of the best examples of the previous generation. Each year it became more bloated and saddled with increasingly tacky body cladding that gave it a cartoonish look. The model continued until it was replaced by the G6 in 2006.
I really liked this car in the 80’s. In fact it was one of the few GM cars of the time that I could have really seen myself owning (the 86-88 Fiero GT was another). I almost could get past the space ship like dashboard. Being a student meant that I could not afford one anyway, not even a used one. When the time came to buy a new car, I ended up with a GM car, just not the Grand-Am.