Last post on Jul 31, 2002 at 1:56 PM
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#50 of 59 I saw a '76 LeMans...
Jun 26, 2002 (12:23 pm)
...the other weekend, for sale at the all-GM Nationals at Carlisle. In fact, I must admit to lusting after it! It was a Grand LeMans with the little opera window, as opposed to the big louvered quarter windows. I don't think you could get just the big, triangular quarter windows in a LeMans anymore by that time though, like you could in '73-75. It was a light blue with blue interior, bucket seats, floor shift, and a 400. Beautiful car. I think he wanted about $5700 for it. I'm sure that's a lot more than something like that goes for, but damn this thing was NICE!!
When I was a kid we had a '75 LeMans sport coupe...kind of a copperish color. I used to think that car was kinda ugly, but then I loved the '76-77 LeMans (mainly the '76 base model with its simpler cross-hatch grille).
My cousin used to have a '76 Grand Prix. It was his first car. Nice looking car. He replaced it with one of those "Smokey and the Bandit" Trans Ams, which I guess was considered "cooler", but I preferred the GP! He drives a '99 or so Altima now. Ah, how far we've come!
Jun 26, 2002 (3:24 pm)
The older GM cars, such as the Impalas and Catalinas from the '60s, were really tanks; I can agree with that. They were just so big and decently put together. Today's GM equivalents, like the Luminas and Grand Prixs, just seem to be cheap tin cans in comparison, wouldn't you agree?
#52 of 59 Sad for me to say, but--
Jun 27, 2002 (12:35 pm)
I think of today's Luminas, Impalas, and to a lesser extent the Grand Prix, as "rental cars." Pontiac as as a whole used to have (to my eyes) well-done interiors. Witness the Grand Prixs from the late 60's to late 70's. No longer. As I said, this is sad--we were a Pontiac family beginning in 1970 (my father still drives them). Also, that LeMans does, in fact, sound sharp. $5700 is probably slightly more than the original retail on that car! When I can find the extra garage space, a 1976 Prix is one car I will seriously look at.
#53 of 59 I don't see the attraction...
Jun 27, 2002 (2:52 pm)
...other than for nostalgic purposes, I can't think of too many redeming qualities in a '76 Grand Prix. Lemme think: so-so build quality, lousy handling and gas mileage, not much power, not much passenger or trunk space, long, heavy, clunky doors. My uncle had one of these in the early '80s. I will admit they're kinda cool looking, but that's about it. I like previous generation ('69-72) GP much better, though.
#54 of 59 IMO Grand Prixs really lost it ....
Jun 27, 2002 (4:17 pm)
after about '65. The first coup[le of years were really cool ('61-'64) tho there were no convertibles (that's what Bonnies anf Cats were for). Just my opinion, I still lust for a Dark Blue '63 GP with a 421.
Jun 27, 2002 (5:26 pm)
...if I were to pick just one Grand Prix from the '70's to own, it would probably be the '76! The '69-72 generation never really grabbed me stylistically, although I'll admit they had the coolest interiors. The '73-75 were okay, but I just think the quad headlights looked really good on the '76. But then for '77, when they put the turn signals between the headlights, it just looked...well, vulgar! Then the downsized '78-80, while much more sensible, just didn't have quite the style. They still had that turn signal-between-the-headlights thing going on, and I just never did like the "6-headlight" effect.
As for convertibles, wasn't '67 the only year the Grand Prix was offered as a 'vert? I believe that was also the first year of the hidden headlights on the GP.
Y'know, speaking of the '71-75-generation Pontiac convertible, going just on style, I think Parm picked a good choice with the '75. The '71-74's tried, unsuccessfully, to copy the Grand Prix style, and try for a neo-classic/personal luxury look, but the '75, with its wider grille and square quad headlights, looks just "right".
But then again, keep in mind that I own a '79 New Yorker that I treasure almost as much as my '57 DeSoto and '67 Catalina 'vert, so I'm not exactly the mainstream, when it comes to old cars
Jun 27, 2002 (5:32 pm)
You still have the DeSoto, Andre?
Jun 27, 2002 (5:44 pm)
...that's another one I intend to take to my grave with me!
Jul 23, 2002 (1:15 pm)
This message is for billp8. I read that your dad had a 1970 Catalina. I'm currently interested in buying this car, so I would apreciate any insights you have. I would appreciate answers to the basic questions, like did you like the car, was it fast, did it sound good, any recurring problems, etc. Look forward to hearing from you.
#59 of 59 Pappa's Catalina...
Jul 31, 2002 (1:56 pm)
...well, he sold that car in 1979 (but I have a pretty good memory). Here's what I remember: Dad sold the car because of rust (although, at that time, very few people in our Western PA family could keep a car going 9 years). Rust was mainly around the rocker panels, with the biggest part just behind the front wheels. Car had the basic 350 V8, which was strong right to the end, as was the transmission. Honestly, after a few delivery "teething problems," the car was quite reliable. Suspension held up well, as did steering and brakes. Dad did have a water pump installed, along with the usual tires, belts, and hoses. I liked driving that car, until we added a 1976 LeMans Coupe, also with the 350 V8. The 1970 engine was stronger, of course, but the LeMans was a bit smaller, with MUCH better brakes (although, to be fair, the 1970 Catalina had manual drum brakes). I think the Catalina was about a half-foot shorter than the 1970 Bonneville and Executive, so it wasn't as "large" as it could have been. The Catalina did have a great exhaust note. Also, full-size Pontiacs of that era had a reputation as being fairly good-handling big cars (as did, I believe, Chryslers). It really was a shame about the rust, because the basic body was very solid, and the interior held up well. Are you getting a convertible. A few years back, a dealer in my hometown had a pale blue 1970 Bonnevilee convert, with white top and interior, plus Rally wheels. That car looked like fun! Good luck--