Pontiac Grand Prix
Back in the ’60s, Pontiac was GM’s performance brand, so it is no coincidence that they conceived the GTO. The allure of powerful engines and aggressive designs was Pontiac’s trademark. However, their management wanted to widen their appeal beyond regular muscle cars like the GTO and the Firebird. To enter the world of luxury muscle cars, Pontiac had a perfect candidate in form of the Grand Prix.
The Grand Prix was a personal luxury car they introduced in 1962 in a coupe body style with powerful engines and a long list of options. This model was put against the Ford Thunderbird and Oldsmobile 98 as a so-called gentleman’s express. However, with the restyling of the Grand Prix for 1969 model year, Pontiac introduced a special car.
First, there was a cool-looking new design with a long hood and short rear end and an interesting, driver-oriented dashboard. The 1969 Grand Prix looked different than the competitors, so sales immediately jumped. Second, there was a cool trim option they called the SJ which featured a high output 428 V8 engine delivering 390 HP and a host of other performance options.
They borrowed the moniker, “SJ” from the legendary Duesenberg brand. The SJ insignia was on the most powerful Duesenberg cars back then so Pontiac wanted to get a piece of that legend with the Grand Prix SJ.
This personal luxury car was popular with the automotive press and car fans, so the Grand Prix sold well. The powerful V8 propelled this big coupe to some respectable acceleration times and despite being an executive transport, the Grand Prix SJ was a respectable street machine.