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 car story?
Send us details and we’re on the way!
Send emails to Jody Potter at
and 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 car story?
Send us details and we’re on the way!
Send emails to Jody Potter at
and Ron Kidd at