Friday, March 9, 2012

Cars in Yards: 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix SJ



Where did the ’73-’77 colonnade cars go? In a recent Junkyard Life story, I was wondering aloud where all the Pontiac Grand Prix models from 1973-1977 were. Especially those of the SJ pedigree. Well, I found one! A recent road trip to South Carolina revealed this baby. I know, another ’77 model, it’s the least of my favorites from that generation of colonnade, but this one is an SJ package!



1977 SJ Grand Prix – something special.



Highly optioned SJ
   What a well optioned car it was, too. Some further Sherlocking uncovered a lot of features. Whomever ordered this car new must have emptied two ink pens checking off goodies to make this one expensive Grand Prix. Talk about sticker shock in 1977, it had power windows, power door locks, tilt wheel, cruise control, Rally gauges (minus the tachometer) hatch roof (t-tops) power bucket seats , deluxe lighting package and much more. It had four plain Jane GM wheels on it, indicating it may have worn hub caps at one time. I find that unlikely. I would venture a guess that it rolled out with Pontiac Rally II wheels or even the optional Snowflake wheel and some other car is rolling on them now. 



Before the term “T-Tops” was coined in the late 1970’s Pontiac referred to their new sporty roof option as a “Hatch Roof”. This super fun option was offered on the Grand Prix as well as a few other GM models. Pontiac started offering this roof on the Grand Prix in 1976.



Pontiac paint code quirks
   This Grand Prix was also a color that was hard to find in 1977, dark blue. I know it looks black in the photos (it was a rainy day) but it is in fact blue! The official Pontiac name was “Nautilus Blue.” You have to hand it to Pontiac for their colorful (get it? 'colorful') names for their paint choices. Code 29 changed names several times in the 1970s. Admirality Blue, Nocturne Blue, Midnight Blue and Gotta-gotta-gotta-the Blue just to name a few. I may have made that last one up, but the others are real. 



This dark blue Pontiac Grand Prix SJ model was trimmed with gold stripes. I bet it was stunning when it was new. The flat tires and weeds are just mocking us now! Notice the fancy side marker lights.



Is this Pontiac 'Grand' enough?
   Roughly, one out of every five Grand Prixs were of the SJ variety in 1977. By the late 1970s it was easier to get a base model with not a lot of options and an appropriate sticker price. The top performance option in ’77 would have been the 400-V8 Pontiac engine. Sadly, the 'Grand' name was not so glamourous on all Grand Prixs. They were seemingly lost in a sea of several makes and models that had become comparable. But look! You could still have a decked out SJ model in 1977 – you just had to jump through more hoops to do it. You would think that since the original market for these cars was the sporty side of the affluent population that they would be better preserved than we seem to find them. In other words, it seems that we would find them vaulted and well preserved. But no! Something must have happened along the way. I know they are out there – so the search is still on. Happy Hunting!


Ron Kidd, The Earth Roaming Car guy at junkyardlife



Send junkyardlife your photos and story:
Email junkyardbull@gmail.com