Streetside Classics-Dallas/Fort Worth
5400 Sandshell Dr
Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth, TX
No other automaker in the '60s embodied performance quite like Pontiac. While most brands had one or two performance cars in their stable, EVERY Pontiac had a wide variety of spirited powerplants and transmissions, plus a nasty reputation on the street. Dramatic styling went hand-in-hand with these Ponchos, with unique, aerodynamic styling found across the model line. Cars like this gorgeous full-sized 1968 Pontiac Grand Prix hardtop were perfect examples of that philosophy - with a beautiful design, a powerful 400/350HP V8, great factory options, and a comfortable interior that brilliantly tows the line between sport and luxury.
1968 marked the final year for the big-bodied, B-Body Grand Prix. There's no question this is a full-sized car, but the sleek, redesigned shape hides the mass and definitely looks fast. Up front, the '68 GP received a pronounced 'beak-nose' grille, a new front bumper, and horizontally-mounted and concealed headlights from the previous model year. A look at the profile and the eye is immediately drawn to the sharp body crease running from end-to-end, and the pronounced lower-body 'gills' behind the doors add more intrigue to the one-year only design. Pontiac always knew how to take educated risks in their designs, transforming otherwise bland sheetmetal into works of art. Out back, this hardtop sports a revised decklid and big chrome bumper with integrated L-shaped taillights. Finished in April Gold, it's has a slightly greener hue perhaps than traditional gold, but no less attractive. Bodywork is very nicely done with laser-straight sheetmetal, particularly on those dramatic quarters, and while it's not exactly a trailer queen, it's still a strong competitor in the local show field that will bring home a lot more trophies before it's done. With that being said, it can be used as a top-of-the-heap driver classic right away, garnering huge attention everywhere it goes. Most of the chrome is concentrated within the beautiful ornate front grille and hideaway headlights, the massive chrome bumpers at each end sparkle against the gold paint, and the black vinyl 'Cordova' top makes it look more like a grown-up's car.
There's something about a full-sized car with bucket seats and a console that screams performance at any cost. It's like they forgot it was a luxury car and went right for the good stuff when checking off options on the original window sticker (of which we have an official copy), including power windows, locks, and driver's seat, cruise control, and factory A/C that's been converted to R134a refrigerant but could still use a recharge. And if you look closer for the A/C controls, you'll spot them to the right of the steering wheel in a configuration that looks just like the factory push-button radio a pretty rare set-up by both location and style. The goldish-green seat covers and carpets are quite nice and probably original (or at the least exact OEM replacements), with matching door panels that were redesigned for '68 and a beautifully expansive dash that embodies Pontiac's performance/luxury style. There's woodgrain applique throughout, and it doesn't look like the cheap stuff, bringing in a rarified air of sophistication inside the spacious cabin. Factory gauges cover the basics, so a duo of Equus auxiliary units were installed in the center console to provide the driver with more information, and just above them a modern Pioneer AM/FM/CD head unit was installed to handle the tunes. An aftermarket steering with a real wood rim was swapped in and fits the theme of the interior perfectly, especially with the Pontiac-emblem horn button in the center. The rear bench seat is spacious and looks to have been rarely used in its time, and out back the cavernous trunk holds a properly mounted bias-ply spare tire and jack set that's likely the original set, along with an original Pontiac rubber mat on the floor.
The engine a burly 400 cubic inch V8, which is very likely the car's original powerplant according to the block's casting and suffix code, although we won't know for certain unless a full VIN can be pulled. Originally rated at 350 horsepower, the 6.6L engine was later made famous with its credentials scrolled on the side of the Trans AM shaker hood scoop. Even though the EPA had started to choke American motors as early as '68, it's still plenty powerful and pulls this big hardtop around with the kind of effortlessness you'd expect from the brand, and it still has the oats to show its taillights to some pretty serious machinery. It's nicely detailed and fairly correct under the hood, with the only notable upgrade being the newer A/C compressor. Pontiac Turquoise engine enamel on the block and valve covers, the oversized black snorkeled air cleaner, and the 4-barrel carburetor underneath are all part of Pontiac's knowledge that they were building cars for car guys and gals. The underc
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