By on May 15, 2014

03 - 2000 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe final iteration of the Grand Am, which was built for the 1999 through 2005 model years, had all the looked-bad-after-five-years plastic cladding that made 1990s GM cars so forgettable and RAM AIR! GM cars of this vintage are still so commonplace in high-turnover self-serve wrecking yards that it takes something special for me to break out the camera for such a car; in this series so far, we’ve seen this supercharged Grand Prix GTP, this Beretta Z26, this Cavalier Z24, and this Pontiac Sunfire, and now it’s the Grand Am’s turn.
13 - 2000 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe cladding on this car looks to be in OK shape, unusually.
05 - 2000 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe 3400 pushrod V6 in the Grand Am GT made 175 horsepower, with five of those horses coming courtesy of the functional Ram Air system.
11 - 2000 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis one’s an automatic, and it looks like it was in fairly decent shape before the front end got wrecked and most of the good parts were grabbed by junkyard shoppers.
01 - 2000 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinWill we see fanatical 99-05 Grand Am GT restorers a couple of decades from now?
19 - 2000 Pontiac Grand Am GT Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinOne nice thing about Denver junkyards is that you can see the Rockies in the background.


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156 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2000 Pontiac Grand Am GT...”


  • avatar
    danio3834

    My cousin had one just like this. He thought it was something special. He called it Jean Claude Gran dam.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I still can’t look at these without thinking of the chase scene in Lethal Weapon 4. Somehow that movie made this thing look good.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Ha! I remember that. It was some good product placement for the then-new final redesign. It must have worked, examples of that generation were everywhere.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I’m ashamed how much I like Grand Ams. Still, this version isn’t as awesome as the earlier Quad-4 GTs.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    It’s cool to hate these cars, but the only thing I found completely unacceptable about them was the way the 3400 goes through lower intake manifold gaskets. The 60-deg V6 was one of GM’s most reliable engines in the early 90′s (2.8/3.1). How’d they fark up the LIM design so badly in the 3100/3400, and why didn’t they fix it until the 3500/3900 redesign? Oh, right – the same reason they didn’t fix the Cobalt/ION ignition switches. It would cost $2 per car, or something. Better to piss off a couple million buyers of cars and vans over an eight-year time span.

    And why’d the 3400 make 185hp in the Aztek and Montana that did NOT have “Ram Air,” but only 175hp in the Grand Am?

    • 0 avatar
      morbo

      “Better to piss off a couple million buyers of cars and vans over an eight-year time span.”

      And that right there is why me, my friends, and my peers refuse to even look at GM product. We were all burned in various and sundry ways, and no amount of “new New GM’ marketing is going to change that. Honda/Acura, Toyota/Lexus, Mercedes, Ford, and Chrysler all have 90/00′s GM to thank for increased sales from my group.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      It was not a design issue, it was the orange death, DEX-COOL, which ruined the LIM gaskets. I’m not sure when the 3400 motor was designed but since its third in a series I’m going to guess it was approved before DEX COOL was introduced. The LIM issue was a time induced problem IIRC so it would be difficult to find in testing (assuming any testing occurred). If GM had simply rejected Texaco’s DEX COOL and stuck with whatever green coolant they had used previously none of it would have happened.

      • 0 avatar
        Crabspirits

        Maybe that was the case in the very beginning with Dex-Cool, but not anymore. It still gets a bad rap. I’ve used the Zerex version in my entire fleet (30 pieces)at work for years to keep everything standardized and long life. I even use it in my older personal cars. It’s fun to watch guys come up to me shaking their head when I have the hood open, then tell me I need to “get that crap outta there” before I ruin my engine. A neat thing it does is self plug minor leaks if you have any. You can also easily spot these leaks by the orange crust that builds up around it.

        The LIM gasket failures stem solely from an insane reasoning of cheapness behind these nylon crap gaskets. GM changed to a “reinforced” version eventually. I still don’t give them any credibility. That stuff crumbles into little pieces after being subjected to heat and age. I don’t know what the hell they were thinking. Did they not test this stuff? They saved a dime only to lose a dollar.

        FelPro makes a metal version.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I’m one of “those guys” as I recently drained the factory Dex-Cool from a sub 30K Saturn SL2 I acquired, and also drained it from my 08 GP at around 70K last year. I’ll be happy to change the generic stuff every two years and will be watchful of leaks on the new Saturn. My 98/167K which never had Dex-Cool is slowly leaking again although I attribute that to age.

          I’m not sure my brother ever changed the factory coolant on his ’02 SL2 but to my knowledge it has never had coolant issues.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          This, Dex-cool isn’t really to blame for the the LIM gasket failiures on the 60* V6s, it was a design issue with the gaskets and a failure to account for the variances in the design of the engine. Dex-cool was used in plenty of engines that didn’t have frequent gasket issues like these.

          Dex-clog does have its problems, but it’s not necessarily the culprit here.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        DexCool is just fine IF you don’t follow GM’s “keep it in your engine for 7-8 years and let it turn into plastic-head-gasket-eating-acid” replacement schedule. Which, sadly, nobody knew until a lot of head gaskets got eaten. But you’re right, without the long life feature, might as well use Prestone.

    • 0 avatar
      alsorl

      Pure junk. I sold Pontiacs for about 9 months back in the 90′s. We would have to spend 2 days fixing the new ones right off the semi. Loose spark plugs air vents falling out. Just junk.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    The Pontiac Grand Am: as seen in every Midwestern high school parking lot since roughly 1990.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I remember alot of N-bodies and J-bodies. Grand Ams, Sunfires, and Cavaliers a plenty.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Cavaliers certainly (one ’98ish convertible!). Escorts, Sunfire, Aleros, and assorted pickups. Couple GA/GP models.

        And one Reatta. And one Audi 5000 (me) followed by a 90S (me).

        And I was in HS from 00-04.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      33% of the midwestern high school girls I’ve known drove a Grand Am of one sort or another. They were ubiquitous.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      I somewhat learned to drive in one of these (not a GT, or a V6) as my small-town Maryland high school’s driver’s ed fleet consisted of a handful of Grands Am. Two-doors at that. At least it did, until a year or two after I obtained my license and the state/county kicked driver’s ed out of the public schools.

      • 0 avatar
        Carfan94

        My drivers-ed school fleet also consisted of Grand Am’s plus 1 or 2 G6′s and 1 Accord LX. They were all appliance white and had 4 cyl’s. I always wanted to drive the Accord, but nope I always got stuck with a Grand Am or a G6! I remember them being very dull to drive and some had warping dashboards. Now 3 years later I see they replaced most of the Pontiac’s with 7th gen Accords.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      @Drzhivago:

      Ha! Spot on assessment.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      I made it a point not to look at any Grand Ams, Grand Prix(e?)s, Bonnevilles, Monte Carlos, etc. when looking for my first car. Or any pickup, for that matter. Even being a “farm kid”, I couldn’t justify the expense.

      Man, why couldn’t I have a good sense of balance? Then I could be like my dad and get a Kawasaki 440.

      • 0 avatar
        matador

        I’ve always looked at Pontiac’s as being cheap and chintzy- of course a teenager would love one. We’re talking about the same people that “need” orange running shoes and want to plaster everything with stickers.

        Just out of curiosity, what did you get for your first car?

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Most of the female Pontiac drivers liked it because it was “sporty” but got good MPGs. Most of the male Pontiac drivers liked it because it was relatively easy to mod and cheap up front.

          I got an ’02 Mazda Tribute V6 AWD, two-tone gray-on-gray. I don’t care for the color, but it’s better than black or (shudder) white. I can get 23 MPG on the interstate, which is 1 more than the EPA says is possible with a V6 AWD model, so there’s that.

          Also holy Scheiße, my mother’s first car was a ’74 Matador coupe. Red-orange with a cream-colored top (not vinyl) and a white pinstripe.

      • 0 avatar

        I’d rather quit than sit – Superjet 701 guy here

  • avatar
    Demon_Something

    I’m trying to determine which has held up better- the car, or the CGI effects in the commercial. I’d forgotten just how bad renders of water used to be.

  • avatar

    When my mother’s Cougar XR7 was in the shop, we had one of these rented.

    I had to drive it while she drove the Cougar and I was like:

    HOLY SHT this thing ACCELERATES SOOOO FAST and the STEERING IS SO SHARP…

    :P

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    Finally, a late model from MM. Working…

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      Sue was insecure.

      Sue made a hurried sprint out to her car. With a 20 minute drive to work, she was running late even with an hour left to get there. The Iphone had gone AWOL overnight. She HAD to have her phone, and spent a good portion of her early morning searching the house for it. Her hair was still a mess, makeup had not been completed, and her blouse was unintentionally showing some cleave. The houndstooth coat was brought over her shoulder as she threw open the door of the Pontiac. Sue nestled herself into the leather. “Okay”, she gasped. The key was inserted. Pontiac really did build driving excitement. Only, this was not the kind of excitement that Sue appreciated. “Please please please please…” The key was gingerly cycled to start with a soft dinging tone. The V6 made eight revolutions and then fired to life. “Yesssss!” Then, it succumbed to an maleficent evil that manifested itself on the instrument panel. “SECURITY”
      “No! F&*K!!!”

      Sue waited the 10 minutes for SECURITY to flash away. She knew after a certain amount of time the evil often grew weary of f&*king with her. She cranked the key again, giving up hope after 10 revolutions. Must’nt be too hasty, lest pay for another starter. She threw all of the tricks she learned at the beast. Tricks she gleaned from a multitude of Youtube videos with over 100,000 views. The accelerator was furiously pumped. The steering column was beaten. The key was cycled repeatedly until the vehicle emitted a favorable chime sequence. Finally, she was permitted to start her own car.

      “You’re late again.”, Sue’s supervisor said matter-of-factually without looking at her. “I know.”, she replied, draping her coat over the chair at her teller cubicle. This was routine for about 3 days a week. Some of her co-workers thought it was funny, others did not. All of them, would likely never, ever, buy a GM car thanks to the second hand smoke of Sue’s Grand Am. It was an envoy of shttyness to everyone she knew: family, friends, mechanics, the NHTSA…

      Martha waited in her Audi after work next to the sadistic Pontiac. It was dark, and SECURITY was being particularly unruly this evening, trapping her co-worker in it’s secure death grip. They chatted in the “trusty” A4 while the beast flashed away. The 3400 fired up. “Thanks for sticking around.”, said Sue, “See you tomorrow…I hope.” Tomorrow was a big day. The Grand Am was scheduled to get another ignition cylinder at Sue’s request. This offering typically satiated the beast for at least a few months. The beast had other plans however. The SERVICE ENGINE SOON lamp illuminated. “You’ve GOT to be shtting me.” The beast was NOT shtting her. Sue was nearly home when the low coolant lamp glowed as if the fires of Hades were behind it. Tears fell upon the embossed arrowhead emblem.

      Sue could have wrote the lower portion of the work order herself, but she had to know for sure. Just as she pulled into the Chevy dealer, Sue spotted something, and a plan popped into her head. She would not be making her scheduled service appointment. She promptly left, and went to Autozone. Sue was not mechanically savvy in the beginning. But as irreconcilable differences mounted with her vehicle, she had learned a few things along the way. The Autozone counter person helped her remove the negative terminal from the battery. Sue retrieved the leftover jug of antifreeze from the trunk next to the wasted tire that had been put off in anticipation of hope that would never come. The counter person was impressed at the sight of the well-dressed middle-aged high-heeled blonde glugging coolant in the hungry maw of the Pontiac like a pro.

      Sue returned to the Chevy dealer eventually. She breezed past the Volts, Impalas, and Traverse SUV’s, making a beeline to the Taurus X that had freshly been traded in. She didn’t really want this particular car, but there was a fair amount of spite at play here. That white POS was parked right where she wanted it.

      The salesman returned to the desk, scratching his head.
      “Well, unfortunately we can’t give you too much for your trade-”
      “I’ll take it.”

  • avatar
    geeber

    The Grand Am is one of those cars that is everywhere, and then, in about five years we’ll realize that they have all disappeared. And no one but us will care.

    I never liked these. The cladding and strakes plastered all over the car were supposed to make it look racy. They made the car look cheap and cheesy. The Oldsmobile Alero, which was based on this platform, was a better-looking car. Its design has held up much better than the design of this Grand Am.

    Unfortunately, both cars were plagued with numerous quality bugs. When the Alero was new, one of the chief complaints was that it had as many interior water leaks as a 1957 Plymouth. You’d think that GM would have figured out how to prevent that from happening by the late 1990s.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    Those little striations on the wheels would make it a PITA to clean all of the brake dust out of them.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I’ll admit it, I had a soft spot for these cars. Like all GM midsize cars during that time, they were torquey off the line but ran out of steam going into 3rd gear.

    If only you could get the “Ram Air” V6 with a manual transmission, that would have changed things at least a little bit and likely dropped the 0-60 sprint from high 7s to high 6s.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Yup, no V6 Grand Am or Alero was never available with a stick. Row your own enthusiasts were always stick with lower trim 4 cyl models. I had s stick 98 Grand Am and stick 02 Alero. I always believed the V6/Sspeed combo would have been nice to drive.

  • avatar
    zach

    The interior of these things were an abomination, that’s really the only thing I remember about them.

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      Pontiac consistently made the most dismal, depressing, aggressively low-quality interiors I’ve ever sat in. I’d rather spend time at the bottom of a well than inside a late-model Pontiac. I’ve had two.

      Only an LS3 + stick for cheap would make me look at another.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        And then GM decided the Cadillac SRX needed the same speedo as this Grand Am. That’s not fair, I think the Grand Am speedometer is nicer.

        • 0 avatar
          Russycle

          LOL, and, sadly, true! The speedo in mine goes to 150. I’m fairly confident, and thankful, that no GA has ever come close to pinning it. As for the interior, well, we’re supposed to keep our eyes on the road, right?

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Internet confirms that with talk of a limiter at 128mph.

            Speculation that it should be able to hit 135 or so without that…

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Those V6 Grand Am’s had a really tall OD gear, so, it just depends on whether that V6 torque was enough to drive that. 135 should be easily doable, unrestricted, I think.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Ugh yes. Horrible interior with bad ergonomics and cheap plastics and switches. Crap radios with bad displays, and ugly gauges.

  • avatar
    zach

    The woman who drive Grand Am’s…lol

  • avatar
    Hoover

    I married into one of these… a black two door coupe. My wife bought it new, fresh out of college. It was a lemon, something like 18 visits to the dealer in 24 months. She was a lifelong GM customer and was totally disappointed. (I wasn’t surprised) My wife was so annoyed with the quality she wrote a letter to GM that her brother (A GM exec at the time) hand carried to Rick Waggoner. She got an extended warranty for her troubles.

    We unloaded it to a high school kid while still under warranty. And will likely never buy another GM product.

  • avatar
    redliner

    Anybody know why these cars had 4 reverse lamps?

    Only thing I remember about these is getting in a rental and thinking “GOOD GOD! How many barrels of oil did it take to make the plastic interior for this thing?”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I hated the pointless lower reverse lamps, I had to switch shops because the pass side lower lamp had been damaged in a minor collision and they were going to fail it for inspection. I argued the reverse lights were in the tail lamps and functioned properly (which they did) but nope he was gonna be a prick about it. Good riddance.

      • 0 avatar
        zach

        Those inspectors think they are saving the world,That’s BS because you had two working reverse lights, and that’s all that is required, lazy civil “servants”.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I agree, he was a prick. Actually here in PA they are not state employees but dealer or indy mechanics, hence me just switching shops.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Yep, same here where inspections are required on transfer. The repair industry is always lobbying for mandatory yearly inspections to increase the gravy train of things to pick at. Many of them make up the rules on the spot, too bad they lost you over the labor to replace a reverse lamp.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Isn’t it that only one working reverse light is necessary? They sell that one Scion now with one reverse light.

            My dad always says “If you get an old enough car, reverse lights aren’t required at all.”

            I’m like “Yeah, something from 1945?”

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @Corey

            This was around 2004, but it was something to the effect of “the reverse light system must be intact”. So if your OEM puts on eight lights, a reverse horn, and a parachute to back up, it all must be functional and in place according to this guy. I switched shops and never got it fixed as long as I still had the lease and the dealer didn’t check it when I turned it in.

        • 0 avatar
          turbosaab

          Two is not required, some vehicles do not even come with two. My ’95 Saab only came with one, same for my ’06 Saab, Land Rover Defenders, and probably some other random ones.

      • 0 avatar
        TheyBeRollin

        I remember those inspection guys from when I lived in a state that required them (what a complete scam). They had to work really hard to fail enough cars to avoid losing their state inspection license, so if you had a car that wasn’t perfect for any reason or even looked worn, good luck.

        As usual, what they try to come up with to fail you is often bogus and not even legal, but if they don’t know you and need to fail enough cars to meet their quota, they’ll find something.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      Before I had a GA, I had a MINI, which had only ONE reverse lamp. Perhaps the GA’s 4 lamps is an attempt to restore balance to the universe.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    The worst thing about these was the interior..bulgy cheap plastics..ugh. The alero was just as bad but at least it’s honda accord knockoff style made it easier to live with. The GA was such so cartoonish. THe GA seats were also lumpy and strange.. they were fun cars to drive though.

    I’ve had an N car(Achieva) and a W car (Regal) and like all N cars the Achieva was a piece of shit and like all W cars the Regal ran forever with few issues. If you wanted a reliable GM car you had to pay up… N cars and J cars were pieces of shit and first time buyers got so burned by them they never wanted to deal with higher end GM products… This was GMs biggest blunder from the 70s to today…their smaller cars were all cheap pieces of shit and they just burned their first time buyers generation after generation. The chevy cruze is the first sign of change…we’ll see if it keeps up.

    • 0 avatar
      zach

      I had a ’95 Achieva, for the life of me I could never get past the cheapness of the interior, I sold it in 6 months, and went back to Nissan.

      • 0 avatar
        3800FAN

        For me the worst about the Achieva was the punishing clunky ride. It would bang and clang over the smallest bumps… GMs definition of “sporty handling” back then. The transmission was also programmed to upshift as fast as possible. The Quad4 would be bucking because it would upshift to 4th gear at just 40 mph… finally that bucked the tranny into losing 3rd and 4th gear. I hated it so muchI drove it that way for 6 more months till it totally shit the bed.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Truth.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I had an Achieva after an Audi 5000. I was pleasantly suprised by the Achieva’s ability to run on a regular basis. It may have not been the best car in the world, but it never left me on the side of the road because of unexplained electronic gremlins or swallowing of the idle screw (that last part sounds dirty, but I assure you, it is not fun).

  • avatar
    rpm773

    With all that plastic, the responsible thing to do would have been to dispose of it in the recycling bin.

  • avatar
    mankyman

    I drove a lot of these as rentals from ’99 to ’02 and was always amazed at how powerful they were. I would come back from some a country like France or Turkey where I was driving things like Fiat 124s or Citroen Xantias.

    They really had a lot of get up and go. They were in the low 7 second range to 60 I believe, with all the attendant torque steer. The interiors were cheap as hell though, and puffy. Very puffy. And I could almost see the volatile organic chemicals evaporating out of every bit of plastic on the car. I don’t think I ever drove one that had more than about 20,000 miles on it though. And they looked the same as their bigger, theoretically more powerful cousins, the Grand Prix.
    Thanks for the memories Murilee!

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      Nailed it! ‘Puffy’ is the adjective that I’ve been searching for for almost 20 years. Looks like an allergic reaction.

      Shame about these interiors. My grandmother’s 94 Bonneville wasn’t as bad, but they got worse over time.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      The Xantia is beautiful, and I’d drive one any time even if it had a 4-cylinder diesel. I would NOT drive a Pontiac. So there!

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        I still remember a little action flick called “Ronin” with Robert DeNiro.

        Plenty of Xantia’s (all in black, I do believe), but the S8 stole the show.

        • 0 avatar
          mankyman

          And I drove that Xantia through the Pyrennes like I thought I was in Ronin! What a great movie. To this day I want a S8. Sigh

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            You really -don’t- want a D2 S8 unless you gots lots of extra cash lying about just to fund it.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          They were all in black yes. There are a couple of production errors involving those Xantia’s.

          In the chase scene with the S8 (which apparently at 300+ HP can barely keep up with 4-cyl Citroen’s, nor push them off the road with hundreds of bonus pounds in curb weight) – they were using different styles of Xantia. The Citroen emblem on the car the bald guy with briefcase is in moves from center grille to left grille. A couple other design differences are noticeable as well, can’t recall at the moment.

  • avatar
    zach

    It almost seems like GM’s interiors actually got worse in the early 2000′s before they got better, even as a kid I wondered why GM’s interiors were so God aweful. I ended up buying a new Olds Achieva mainly on price, 6 months later the interior looked older than the 15 year old Nissan I traded for it, couldn’t stand it any longer and traded it on a NIssan Altima.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    In all of the various places I have lived, I don’t think I have ever ordered a pizza and had it delivered by a car that wasn’t a Grand Am.

    GM must have sold these straight to Pizza Hut.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      Oh, yeah- there’s a Domino’s Pizza Visor (or the like) in there somewhere.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        Around here it’s always a hooptie Volkswagen Golf or Honda Civic.

        One time I got food delivered by a guy in a customized Beretta GTZ, now THAT was cool.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          A guy around here delivers for Jimmy John’s in a ~94 SLS. Ha. I’m like dude MPG’s, come on.

          • 0 avatar
            NoGoYo

            Well you know how the commercials go, to deliver for Jimmy John’s you gotta be fast.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Not in an early N*, hell no! And taking residential corners in that sort of relaxed suspension.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            There’s a Chrysler Pacifica and late 90s Audi A6 on delivery duty around here. Terrible choices for that work.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            MY94 Seville should be Northstar only by that point, you should seek him out to shake his hand on the miracle car he’s driving.

        • 0 avatar
          NorCalSmog

          Heh, guy where I live delivers for a local pizza place with an 05 Mustang V6 running true duals, no muffler, a set of 10 spoke wheels on the back with the stocks on the front and to top it all of a set of altezza tail lights.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      In my town there is a Cadillac Escalade being used for pizza delivery.
      This is not an “upper class” vehicle at all – around here are sold to any gullible fool willing to sign an 84 month contract to drive around in a shiny blingmobile. At least they are trying to stay current on the payments.

  • avatar
    Wscott97

    I learned how to drive in a 94 Grand Am and almost bought this model when it came out. I thought it was a sharp looking car but I got a better deal on an Altima. After a few years had past, I rode in my friend’s Grand Am and the appeal defiantly wore off. The ride was rough, felt cheep and all the plastic started rattling.

    My roommate at the time was also looking at the Grand Am but his girlfriend made him get the Alero because the Grand Am’s dashboard looked like two giant DD Boobs.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    2000 Grand Am? In the JunkYard Find??

    Sh*t. It’s clear.

    At the age of 29, I am definitely getting old.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Don’t worry, I am 29 and was born old.

    • 0 avatar
      chicagoland

      Y2K was 14 years ago kiddos! Certainly ‘U Pull’ age for most cars!

      It’s like the Conan O’Brien sketch, ‘year 2000′ still sound so ‘futuristic’, that people today think it is still the ‘first decade of the 2000′s’! [Nope, it\'s the 2010\'s]

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Always used to see ‘em last decade flying around at very high speeds driven by young, mostly minority women. I think they were big players in the subprime market. I see very few now, probably most were beaten within an inch of their lives and weren’t worth it to keep running. As people are saying, they won’t be missed.

  • avatar
    Pebble

    Cheap plastic interiors! (or see Saturn Ion for really cheap plastic interiors)

    Crap cladding!

    Ugly as sin! Yep, it’s classic GM, as a friend spelled it:

    “Garrbarge” or “Rubbyshe”

  • avatar
    crtfour

    These are kind of like road cockroaches in my neck of the woods. Usually every body panel dented, faded paint, a bald donut spare (maybe 2) and driven by a trashy looking person who is riding my tail on the highway. I don’t know how they keep them running but I wish they would all disappear soon.

    • 0 avatar
      raresleeper

      “…but I wish they would all disappear soon.”

      Lol! Unlikely!

      Roaches never die.

      And I concur, a very well worn temporary tire is generally in action.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        There’s a QOTD: Whats the next cockroach car? In the past it has been GM heavy, N, H, C, and W body along with Camcords and Civrollas. Whats the next generation?

        • 0 avatar
          raresleeper

          Automotive cockroach?

          2000-2007 Ford Taurus.

          Completely forgettable in every way, yet you can’t stop from seeing them every where.

          They won’t seem to die off.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Lol, 05-07 were the 500 though. That’s not as bad.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            Agreed on the 4th gen Taurus. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them roaching around for another couple of decades.

            @CoreyDL- The 05-07 was 4th gen for the fleet version.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ahh, I didn’t know they kept the old style for fleet. Gosh that was a tired design by even 05.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          The Ford and GM large SUVs never seem to die, but people actually like them. I can see the last gen Ford Fusion being a cockroach. It was a good car, but never as popular as the Camry or Accord. The 2.5 will go as long as the transmission lets it. It might not be crappy enough either.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    Quick!

    Look under the hood for a K&N Air Filter!

    Bargain basement “upgrade”. In the airbox on 99.99% of all Grand Am’s.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    I learned to drive on a 1997 Grand Am GT (and a 1992 Sonata). That was packing a whole corral of 150 horses in the 3.1 litre V6! Could you actually get a GT with a manual? I thought it was only an option on the four cylinder.

    Personally I’d love to restore and keep a 1997 Grand Am GT in that metallic green. I have a fondness for it that is only due to nostalgia, but it’s fondness all the same. Or maybe find a cheap Grand Prix GT… they’re everywhere.

    • 0 avatar
      3800FAN

      For the GA’s entire run from 1985-2005 the v6 was automatic only.

      I test drove a stick shift 97 GA “twin cam” once. It was the most bizzare manual transmission ever. The clutch was super super light and gave no engagement feel and the shifter was all zig-zaggy making shifting feel weird and awkward.

  • avatar
    carve

    It looks like someone wrapped a guard-rail around that car.

    These were typical GM FWD meh-cars dressed up to look like a batmobile, ’cause that’s sporty. How did they expect Pontiac to be sporty selling the same cars as every other division? What a farse.

  • avatar
    zach

    How GM got away with making these until what, 2005? well that’s a whole other story, looking back I really can’t beleive GM survived as long as they did.

    • 0 avatar
      3800FAN

      The sad fact too is it’s replacement, the G6 was slower and had worse handling. lol.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      05 is when the Bonneville died as well. I liked the last of their run though – you never see them today and I wonder if they all went somewhere or if they just didn’t get purchased. With the 3800 you’d think they might be everywhere. Truly a huge car as well.

      • 0 avatar
        TheyBeRollin

        Probably an effect of the SUV > Fullsize thing that was going on in the mid-00s.

        I am sure it’ll be at least another decade before we finally quit seeing hoopty 90s H-bodies with 3800s and bad shocks plying the roads of America as basic transportation.

        • 0 avatar

          Speaking of which, I happen to have a hoopty 90s H-body with a 3800 and bad shocks. Still mulling over whether it’s worth replacing those shocks (a possibly expensive job for someone with no room to fix them on his own) or if I’m better off with my “drive it until the wheels literally fall off” plan.

          Either way, at least it’s better than driving around in a Grand Am.

          • 0 avatar
            TheyBeRollin

            Considering I know of at least one that made it over 300k miles on the original engine with minimal upkeep, I’d replace them. I’m sure it’ll keep going regardless of the shocks, but it should be done for safety.

            Why am I not surprised it has bad shocks…

      • 0 avatar
        chicagoland

        The last Bonneville sold in tepid #’s, far from the 1987-95 hey day. So, not many are seen, due to rarity.

        Also, sub prime lenders won’t finance ‘orphan’ brands, so off to wreckers most of them.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    My family has actually had THREE N-bodies. A…1998? Cutlass that died prematurely of DexCool, my now ex-daily driver 1995 Skylark, and a 2005 Malibu Classic.

    I will say, when GM took the cladding off for the last year or two, that did improve the looks of the Grand Am quite a bit.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I never got the hate that these cars garnered, even considering the cladding. I always thought the cladding looked all right and did a great job of preventing door dings. The later cladding-less ones looked naked to me.
    My mom had 2 of these, a 1999 red 4-door SE1 and a 2003 (?) green 4-door GT1. She has leased since 1993 so only had them for a short time. When she got the first one I thought it was the fastest car in the world. I’m shocked to be reminded it had 175 horses. Being that I was driving a 1990 Sunbird probably helped.
    Apparently in ’98 when she was looking at the ’99 she remembered me talking about the GT being better and when the time came to get a new one she went for it. I have fond memories of those cars and I was devastated when she got a Grand Prix in 2006 – one of the ugliest cars ever.
    Of course only having them for a short time means I don’t know how they held up over the long run, but I’d happily drive one today.
    But what I’d REALLY like is a 1993 GA GT coupe. Those cars were sharp, and I don’t only mean the angles of the car.

  • avatar
    3800FAN

    It’s funny how 5 years ago these were EVERYWHERE and now they’re almost all gone. Meanwhile I still see tons of 91-96 Camrys rolling about every day.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      That really is funny. Living in Upstate, NY with it’s harsh Winters I never see 91-96 Camry’s ever! Meanwhile not a day goes by without a 1999-2005 N-body siting.

  • avatar
    PRNDLOL

    I HATED this generation of Grand Am from the moment I laid eyes on it in Lethal Weapon 4. Anyone else remember it made an appearance (and was destroyed) in the movie before it hit dealerships back in 1998?

    http://tinyurl.com/me9okbu

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Lethal Weapon 4 didn’t do much for Van Halen III either. Probably because that album, like the Grand Am, wasn’t very good. I knew I hated Gary Cherone in VH as soon as I heard the tune from LW4.

      • 0 avatar
        NoGoYo

        People argue for ages which Van Halen lineup is better, but nobody ever argues for Gary Cherone.

        Also More Than Words is an AWFUL song and unfortunately the only Extreme song I know.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I had an MY02 Grand Am SE1 3400 V6 new in 2002 which was leased and turned in in 2006. In the 53K I had it, it only experienced three problems:

    1. <2K one of the rear factory tire blew out at random, which scratched the alum wheel. I found out tires were not covered by the expensive warranty we bought. I was about 21 at the time and was surprised at this.

    2. 17K the driver's power window broke while I used it, I believe a regulator. Basic warranty covered.

    3. 39K Orange Death came through in 2005ish. Covered by extended warranty, dealer billed about $900 according to the manifest. Yes I agree Dex Cool was a complete disaster for many and should not have happened.

    These were your typical bean-counted old GM platform crap, but I don't get the hate. I never had any other problems with the car in the time I had it. Three to five owners and years of deferred maintenance in, well that might be another story. Most cars can;t stand up to such abuse any better, although there are some who can.

    The only "d'oh" moments IMO was DexCool and to a lesser extent offering 60V6 instead of 3800, which should have been the standard V6 for Pontiac at that time (esp since N-body Buick/Olds was gone by 2000).

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      “offering any other V6 instead of 3800, which should have been the standard V6 for everyone, forever, at any time”

      Fixed it for you.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I owned two of the ’85-’91 generation and a ’93 of the later generation.

      They had very poor quality. I don’t think a Land Rover would be any worse. I learned how to fix cars because I owned N-bodies and taking them to a mechanic for every problem would have bankrupted me. Even a 3800 would not have saved them. My ’93 had a 3300 and the car just disintegrated around it. They’ve long since been fed to the crusher.

      In contrast, I owned an ’89 Bonneville at the same time as my Grand AMs, and basically completely neglected it but it held up wonderfully, and I knew it was still on the road as of late 2012.

      I’d still go for a Quad4 N-body if I could find one, but that’s just because nostalgia is a weird thing.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “These were your typical bean-counted old GM platform crap, but I don’t get the hate.”

      The interior materials were unpleasant. I can deal with a plasticky interior, but these things just fell apart. Flimsy switches and knobs, material de-laminating, mushy seats. While the mechanical bits could go the distance if maintenance was kept up, the interior made the occupants feel as if the car was crap.

      Also, the Passlock problems frustrated a lot of people, the LIM gaskets destroyed a lot of engines, the quad 4s couldn’t seem to keep their rods in or head gaskets intact and the quad 4s had that awful coil pack bathtub that had a habit of shocking mechanics with tens of thousands of volts.

      So yeah, they weren’t very good cars. Some previous owners may see them rosily, but compared objectively, they sucked in many ways. I generally avoid them where possible because of the common repairs that can add up, plus the LIM gasket question mark. Were they replaced? If so, how long was it run with a crank case full of dex-cool? I hate to compare them to the engine that shall not be named, but I treat them much the same when it comes time to buy something.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Good points, thanks for your thoughts. I agree buying these at random now is a more risk than reward. I like to think if I had kept mine I would have taken it to high miles with little trouble, but who knows. FTR my boss in 2006 had an MY93 N-body Grand Am 3100 with 234K otc on its second automatic transmission, the first of which blew out under an extended warranty at 70K in the 90s. This gentlemen however was a dyed in blue GM man who at the time was maintaining a ’80 Chevy K 1500, an ’85 Olds Tornado Caliente, and a ’00 Bonne along with the Grand Am… so it would not surprise me if he like you got his hands frequently dirty fixing its shortcomings.

        “the interior made the occupants feel as if the car was crap.”

        The earlier Ns I agree, the 97-05 G/A eh to me seemed better than their predecessors but yes still had a cheap air about them.

        ” the quad 4s couldn’t seem to keep their rods in or head gaskets intact and the quad 4s had that awful coil pack bathtub that had a habit of shocking mechanics with tens of thousands of volts”

        I’ve never heard a good thing about Quad-4. Some bad, and some neutral things, but never good.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Don’t you know it’s cool to bash anything GM did in these years despite the fact that many other car manufacturers were also having similar issues. We replaced thousands of Ford 3.0/3.8/4.2 intake and head gaskets but you hardly hear about that now. Even the 4.6 Modular engine had several years of intake gasket issues and oil burning problems but those are cool

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        I’m not defending the other turds from this era. The Ford 3.8L, Chrysler 2.7L come to mind. I won’t make excuses or try and marginalize sh1tty design choices because of brand loyalty either.

        The problems with the 4.6L modular are far less significant. They did have plastic intakes that could crack during a few model years, but this was less frequent than the LIM gasket problem on the GM 60* V6 and Ford took action by covering the costs faster and more completely than GM did with their engine. Yes, the valve seals on modulars can leak oil and cause consumption, but this tends to happen at high mileage and age typically never seen by a GM 60* V6. They’ll run forever like that as long as the oil is kept full too.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I think my ’95 Thunderbird has that problem, but since I plan to swap the heads and intake for the PI versions anyway, that problem will solve itself. Unless the PI heads I get have bad valve seats…

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    No wonder these were popular chick cars. There’s an uncircumcised penis with ball sack between the front seats.

    Beckett was right, death does give you an erection.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Say what you want about the 3400 and its shortcomings, as well as the 2.4 Twin Cam, the ECOTEC 2.2L, the 2200 OHV, etc, but kudos to GM for having cast manifolds/intake runner/whathaveyou with the engine designation cast in or integrated, and NO plastic engine covers!

  • avatar
    DrGastro997

    I recall when GM ventured with Toyota to sell the Cavalier and Grand Am models in Japan. However, the amount of quality modifications needed to make these cars sellable to the Japanese market raised the price so much it no longer made any sense. The Japanese government required over 100 engineering, quality and safety modifications before a Cavalier/Grand Am could be sold in Japan. It still was a piece of junk but Toyota took the chance to try and sell it as the Toyota Cavalier. It still failed to convince Japanese consumers. It soon deteriorated along with Saturn Japan.

  • avatar
    greaseyknight

    Friend has on 05, first time I sat in the drivers seat I was amazed how “GM” it felt, not a good thing. I realized what everyone has been going on about GM and cheap interiors. Was also surprised that it was an 05, thought it was a late 90′s.

    Its also has bad LIM gasket or head gaskets , so I’ll get to tear into it soon. Only plus side is plenty of room under the hood to work.

  • avatar
    fincar1

    My carpool driver had a 2-door Grand Am, silver on maroon. When she bought it, one of the front tires or wheels was badly out of balance, and she drove it that way until the windshield cracked clear from top to bottom. Once on the way home a rear tire blew out, and in the process of changing to the little donut spare I broke one of the four studs. “That’s okay, Chuck can fix that later…” Drove on, nice and easy, but by the time we got to my place the little donut was flat. She decided to take it on home. It had the same wheels as the feature car – I’d thought they were J. C. Whitney specials. She was still driving the thing when I retired a couple of years later.

  • avatar
    George B

    Bad cars like the Grand Am made me want GM to go out of business. The Cruze is a much better car to rent. 20 years ago Grand Ams were everywhere. The plastic doesn’t age well when exposed to the sun, but they used to stay running long after the plastic faded and cracked.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    My best friend’s sister has a 2002 with the 2.4 twin cam 4 banger. It has 120K miles and still runs as new but then she actually services the car when it’s time. It has a little rust started around the rear wheel wells but is otherwise solid and she still loves driving it. She likes the dash and red light illumination and the reliability if the 2.4/4T45 trans axle which has proven to be bullet proof so far.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Seeing a Grand Am at a used car lot is what made me realize I really COULD find a used car new enough, low mile enough, and cheap enough to meet the sadistic conditions the bank put on my first car loan. Didn’t buy it tho.

    I do remember renting a last-gen Bonneville. Everything about that car was big, including the engine and brakes, and handling was surprisingly OK. A nice change from whichever of my endless parade of underpowered, undersized, underengineered VWs was in the shop at the time, but I couldn’t imagine someone paying MSRP for one.


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