Saturday, October 23, 2021

1970 Pontiac Grand Prix Model J

“If This is Real, Should I buy It?”

There is no vaccination for the Grand Prix virus. Once you get bitten, you begin to notice them. Then you admire their unique place in automotive history. If you are lucky, like Junkyard Life brother David Owsley, a Grand Prix will practically show up in your driveway. Owsley has always been a Pontiac man. He has an extensive history with Pontiacs and a few of them still reside in his garage. We are long time friends of Owsley, so we were privy to watch his Grand Prix affliction unfold in real time. A 1970 Grand Prix J! And by “show up”, we mean Owsley found this car four miles from his house! None of us ever knew it was in his neighborhood.

“Come into my Parlor,” said the Spider to the Fly
When you ask a self admitted Grand Prix nerd if you should buy a 1970 Granada Gold Grand Prix J Model with a 400 and plenty of options like power windows and deluxe lighting... You know what we told him. There is not enough “Yes” in our response to properly reflect the yes-ness of our answer. As far as we are concerned John DeLorean is still our commander in chief. We smile when we say words like “Castilian Bronze” and “Cross Fire Mahogany.” Grand Prix nerds indeed.

Third owner
Owsley scores a gold 1970 Grand Prix. Not only is the car fully documented via a build sheet and the treasured Protect-O-Plate, but how often do you become only the third owner of an important piece of Pontiac history from the height of the famous Detroit horsepower and styling wars?

A large hood covers the 400-V8 engine. The mammoth hood was a bragging point for the new to market personal luxury genre. Under the hoods was even more fun. Gone from the menu was the exotic 428 from last year. Buyers had two engine choices of 400-cubed variety and for those who dared… A new for 1970 behemoth motor… the 455. It was capable of 370 horsepower. Who knows what numbers it really churned out. Pontiac was notorious for underrating their power plants. Transmission choices were limited to a Hydra-Matic and a couple of manual gearboxes. Though we have never seen a manual three-speed, Pontiac listed it as an option. However, out of 65,750 Grand Prixs produced in 1970, only 329 got a 4-speed. The affluent buyer of the Grand Prix probably didn’t want to shift their own gears. Pontiac did admit that Owsley's 400 with a Quadrajet was throwing down 350 horsepower in stock form. That engine had been around since 1967 and had quite a good run through 1979 and remains to be a solid favorite of Pontiac fans.

Eye candy
Dave’s 70 GP was adorned in Granada Gold (code 58) and slides you into a gorgeous Sandalwood bucket seats. The designers wanted an aero inspired cockpit feel behind the wheel. When you sit in Owsley’s Grand Prix, you begin to relate and connect to their original intentions. Thank you again, John DeLorean.

High praise to the previous owner who really went above and beyond when he had the vinyl top redone. Top notch work on a Sandalwood roof that includes the classy halo top trim. A pricey option available on most of the GM line that made the car appearing to wear its vinyl top as a halo.

Inside the headliner is in superb shape. The 14-inch Rally II wheels (
or hub caps if Ron has his way) are going to be an easy restoration. Owsley already has his radar on for a deck lid (his experienced a strange accident) and other Grand Prix swag that he could use.

We welcome 
Owsley to the Grand Prix family. The personal luxury experience awaits. We at Junkyard Life are quite sure Owsley made the right choice!

Ron Kidd
– Junkyard Life

Dave O’s Grand Prix Fun Facts:

  • Owsley’s Grand Prix was built in Fremont California and delivered to Inland Pontiac Olds in Corona, California.
  • Owsley’s Grand Prix has the odd 2:93 axle ratio.
  • The “J” and “SJ” designation was borrowed from Duesenburg.
  • Owsley has been our eyes on Pontiac matters for years. I (Ron) have actually called him for factoids for past stories
  • Owsley was actually looking for a station wagon when he stumbled upon this Granada Gold ’70.
  • Owsley’s GP experienced a freak accident when the previous owner somehow let it roll down a hill backwards. Lucky for him, there was a tree to catch his fall. Gravity stinks sometimes.
  • Despite never being rebuilt, Owsley’s transmission seems to be in excellent shape.
  • All of the air conditioning parts are intact, just not functioning at the moment. I anticipate Owsley will be cool very soon in more ways than one.
  • Owsley’s Grand Prize still has the original AM radio! This leaves him wide open for one of those old/modern stereos with the retro feel. We can wait to see what stealthy tune maker he comes up with.
  • Owsley’s Grand Prix has travelled the country despite only showing 66K. It began life in California and then up and over to Indiana before winding south into north Alabama when it began the wait for Owsley to come along.

Do you have a classic car in the yard, or a great story? Send us details and we’re on the way!  Send emails to Jody Potter at 
or Ron Kidd at


The primer on the driver's side of the Grand Prix will get some attention in the future

14-inch Pontiac Rally wheel with trim rings.

Only 66k miles on the odometer of the 1970 Pontiac Grand Prix.

Do you have a great classic or muscle car barn find story? Send us details and we’re on the way!  Send emails to Jody Potter at & Ron Kidd at

Thursday, September 30, 2021

How to get scammed buying car parts on Facebook Marketplace, Buy and Sell Groups

 Facebook Marketplace is home to used auto parts for sale. Beware not all sellers are honest.

Selling or stealing? Buyers beware! Buying used automotive parts online has been made easier and supposedly safer than ever before for the do-it-yourself junkyard parts shopper. But the scammers are getting smarter and the ability to scam has gotten easier. Scroll around on any number of social media apps and you will find new avenues to buy and sell and fall victim to a scam. Entire business models have sprung up from people's basement because they can sell in the global marketplace using Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and more. Beware! A new profile is just a click away for scammers who happen to get caught or have too many "bad" seller reviews. A scammer can setup a new alias in the same amount of time it takes you to think up a new password for your email account. It's best to know the seller before you hit send on that payment.

I bought an oil cooler for a Mitsubishi Evolution. It looked like crap  right out of the box, plus it was missing parts that were shown and listed in Facebook ad.
I bought a used oil cooler for a Mitsubishi Evolution for $200 shipped. It looked like garbage right out of the box, plus it was missing parts that were shown and listed in Facebook ad.

How it started
Finding parts for your latest project heap in the basement in getting harder. You've always tried to buy parts that you can see and hold in your hand but the local junkyards have dried up on the old stuff, or rare parts, and the swap meets are few and far between. Taking a stroll on the web to look at cars and parts is a daily occurrence. Making purchases can be scary but easier than ever before with transactions done in seconds and the immediate gratification of expedited shipping. Facebook Marketplace is the hot spot for reasonable deals without the extra fees that beat you up, such as Ebay. Another option, Craigslist, which used to be my "go-to" place to find deals before the car dealers ruined it. Sellers jumped off Craigslist when they were forced to start charging a listing fee for vehicle ads to temper the massive flow from car dealers.

What went wrong?
I'm a recent Facebook Marketplace shopper that was burned on a $200 purchase from a seller in California. I made a deal to buy a used oil cooler, two oil cooler lines, and a plastic shield for a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. The cross country seller, also a member of two Mitsubishi Evolution parts/car classifieds groups on Facebook, sent only one of the four parts listed and photographed in the description. It appeared that this seller 
was highly-rated and maintained frequent postings. I assumed built-in safeguards would protect me as a buyer but my claim with PayPal was denied because the seller produced a shipping receipt that shows he sent something (but not everything) to me. When questioned, prior to my filing a dispute with PayPal, the seller said he sold the other parts (that were pictured and listed in description) to someone else. The seller even boasted that he sold the oiler cooler lines for $150.

Not cool.

Missing items shown - no Evo oil cooler lines or plastic shield.
Two oil cooler lines and a plastic shield were the missing items.

A little digging
After a few minutes of searching Facebook, I located some heated exchanges between this seller and other unhappy customers in the Evo parts groups. The rogue seller in question even launched a pre-emptive strike on one unsatisfied customer by posting a "SELLERS BEWARE" listing warning other sellers to watch out for the buyer he scammed. He included a photo of the buyer and their text exchange. Others in the group, who are also sellers, seemed quick to side with their seller friend and come to his aid. They belittled the buyer by bashing him in the comments.
  I've learned that it can become an ugly scene in the groups. There must be others who keep quiet and take getting burned by bad sellers as a lesson. 
I sent a message to that buyer and learned that he is still waiting on a resolution. The "SELLER BEWARE" post that featured him is now 31 weeks old and has 673 comments. That feud continues. 

Face to face
I'm sure this bait and switch tactic (or misrepresent items), is a proven and common practice for those, like the seller who don't mind scamming buyers 2,000 miles away. Get caught? Ha! The game continues. Without the threat of an unhappy buyer showing up at their door, these scammers continue to operate without a conscience
. You will find many of these egregious sellers are eager to post and sell but slow to ship or respond to issues. Their excuses for bad business practices are lame as well. Too bad I don't live in California. I'd like to discuss my issue with the seller in person.

New rules for buying
This may shutdown many of my internet sales possibilities but I believe meeting the seller is the safest way to do business. My new rules for buying 
used parts online from individuals:

  • Meet the seller.
  • Inspect the part.
  • Discuss any issues.
  • Agree on a price.
  • Complete the transaction.
Other options, such as brick and mortar junkyards or online salvage parts resellers have some recourse if a part is damaged or incomplete when shipped. I purchased another part for this same Mitsubishi Evo project from an online parts dismantler without issue. 

Tough luck
You think you are covered? Think again. FaceBook Purchase Protections are enabled when you use their checkout or shipping features. If you were "smart" enough to use alternative payment options such as, PayPal, Payment in Messenger, or Venmo you are out of luck. Facebook Purchase Protections will not help you. Your purchases may be secured with other buyer protections provided by PayPal and others. Just follow their rules. PayPal's Resolution Center turned down my repeated efforts at making my case. Scammer know the loopholes and these loopholes are easy to overlook when you want a part in a hurry. Do your homework and check the seller's ratings and their longevity as a seller.

$200 paid for a junk Mitsubishi Evolution oil cooler.
$200 paid for a junk Mitsubishi Evolution oil cooler. Everyone is not your friend.

Another lesson
I learned more about turbo cars and shady salesman in one purchase than I anticipated. Never, never buy a used oil cooler. After unpacking the oil cooler from the soaked, dripping cardboard box, I decided my first step was to flush the cooler with gasoline. I found metal shavings everywhere on the black t-shirt I used to filter the contents of the flush. The engine this oil cooler was removed from had internal damage. This cooler was unusable. I wouldn't want to install it on my Evo with metal shavings embedded in the cooler. I would never be able to flush it completely. A closer look at the fins on the cooler showed evidence of previous welding repairs and damage from burns or a wreck impact. Total loss.

At least the oil cooler lines and plastic shield were on the way. Haha!

Jody Potter
– Junkyard Life

Garbage for sale: $200

Do you have a parts purchase horror story?
Send us details and we’ll try be supportive, maybe even share your story.
Send emails to Jody Potter at