By on November 21, 2016

2001 Pontiac Grand Prix Daytona 500 Edition in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

General Motors created quite a few NASCAR-themed special-edition W-bodies during the first decade of our current century, complete with plenty of plastic cladding and racy-looking decals. Ordinary W-bodies clog up every junkyard in the country, and so it takes something special for me to deploy my camera on a W.

This very-rare-but-not-so-valuable Grand Prix Daytona 500 Edition showed up in a Denver-area yard, and I photographed it last week.

2001 Pontiac Grand Prix Daytona 500 Edition in Colorado wrecking yard, decal - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The pace-car replica version for 2000 got brightly colored decals, special Daytona 500-embroidered seats, cool-looking aluminum wheels, and a decklid spoiler (the latter two items have been removed from this car).

2001 Pontiac Grand Prix Daytona 500 Edition in Colorado wrecking yard, engine - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Naturally, there’s an automatic transmission, but at least this car came with the supercharged 3800 V6 pumping out 240 horsepower, which made this car reasonably quick for its era. These Eaton blowers have become so commonplace in junkyards that most of them go to the crusher; everybody in the country who wants a $50 supercharger already has several stashed in the garage.

2001 Pontiac Grand Prix Daytona 500 Edition in Colorado wrecking yard, odometer - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

More than 200,000 supercharged miles on the clock.


Wide-track is better!

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

72 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix Daytona 500 Edition...”


  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I wanted one of these something fierce. I hated the graphics and the wheels (three spokes with fins) but I thought the lines of the coupes were fantastic.
    I was heavily into silver at the time, but I still would have preferred the blue Daytona Edition from 1998. The wheels were standard 5 spokes and the graphics were more subdued.

    I’ve since learned the confusing lesson that it’s only ok to put cladding on a car if it pretends to be off-road capable.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    Nascar *Edition*? I can do one better, a few years ago there were Grand Prix stretch limos driving around Daytona, FL. Complete with Nascar team logos, wings, ground effects, etc.

    This isn’t the greatest example, but they looked something like this: http://www.greencountryautosales.com/web/used/Pontiac-Grand-Prix-NASCAR-LIMO-2004-Collinsville-Oklahoma/1844463

  • avatar
    OldManPants

    I can remember a time when owning a Pontiac was nothing shameful. F*ck, I’m old.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    pretty impressive getting 200,000 miles out of this car, and FWIW the only car my kids ( age 14 and 11) ever thought was cool was the grand prix rental I had a fews years ago and that was after GM killed the brand, they still talk about it and ask me if I can get a Grand Prix to replace my TDI wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      pdieten

      Having owned multiple ’80s-’90s GM cars with the 3.8, I’m pretty comfortable saying that the drivetrain was still running fine, and the rest of the car fell apart around it.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        BOW DOWN TO ETERNAL TORQUE.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Motor yes (with a caveat for LIM gaskets that need to be addressed in time), transmission… eh depending on use. All that famous torque does their longevity no big favors IMO. On the Supercharged 3800s in particular, or cars that see heavy city/hilly use. I don’t think they’re horrible mind you, just not “bulletproof.”

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          3800 didn’t suffer from the same kind LIM issues IIRC. I don’t remember why, either the material was better or the design was different.

          4T65-E wasn’t the best application for the L67, should have been 4T80-E. Ironic GM could not mate a great transmission and engine together, and instead but a great motor with a so so transaxle and a great transaxle with a crappy motor.

          obligatory:

          Make GM Cars Great Again

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Gotta pick your battles – you can’t always get what you want!

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            The FWD Series II has some LIM problems (not sure about the RWD ones). The other versions of the 3800 (and the 3300) don’t.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Ah right on, Series III 3800 went back to an alloy intake manifold.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Was that the difference, an alloy intake vs rubber?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            There is some grand alternative history where the top Cadillacs of ’96-’11 were powered by ~310hp supercharged 4.9Ls with the 4T80.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I have no problem with this alternate history.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I could write that history.

          • 0 avatar
            LS1Fan

            The 4T-65E was modified into the HD spec for supercharged L67 3800 motors. It holds up well enough with the stock output ,provided the owners kept the burnouts to a minimum and maintained the fluids.

            Start modding the car though, and you’d best make some friends at a trans shop. That said , calling these cars “fragile” because of the trans is a misnomer.

            In hindsight we look at these cars and go “can’t handle more then 240 HP?weaaak” , but back in that day 240 was a LOT of power for the segment. In 1998 a Mustang GT “only” had 260 HP stock. Even the hallowed E36 M3 had 240 HP in US spec.

            Insofar as the 4T80 goes, rumor has it GM couldn’t get it to fit into the W-Body frame. Considering how tight the Northstar motor/transaxle is squeezed into the much larger G/K platform , it’s probably true.

            Amusing postscript; there’s a small cottage industry of people swapping l67 3800 motors and transmissions into K body STS and Eldorados. Swapping to a 3800 makes a lot more sense then putting another time bomb Northstar into those cars if the owner is keen to keep them long term.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            “there’s a small cottage industry of people swapping l67 3800 motors and transmissions into K body STS and Eldorados”

            My dreams are real?

        • 0 avatar
          psarhjinian

          @gtemnykh I think you’re correct: the 4T60/65 couldn’t quite handle the supercharged V6 and NA V8s in these cars. I think the Pontiacs had it worst, given their demographics.

          Pity they didn’t go with the 4T80 in these cars.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            Putting the 4T65E behind the LS4 was hilarious ineptitude. It has a shot at a long life with the SC3800, but the V8 shreds it to bits well under 100k.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    I knew a dude 10 years back who got one of these into the 11s at the drag strip. He pulled the Eaton blower and built a turbo install using a custom made UIM and ground up tune. When it ran right it was a scalding beast of a car.

    The rest of the time it was getting a new trans put in -or the custom tune was being ironed out.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Bread and butter working class Midwestern transportation. Our intern bought a ’00 GT coupe for $800 with 167k for commuting. Badly needed new tires and brakes and the transmission slipped a bit in traffic once it heated up, but these things are sturdy old pack mules, gotta respect them and the rest of the W-bodies. They’ve earned their place in the automotive landscape. J bodies and old Tauri are much the same (I’ll take a W-body out of all of those options). I’m a Japanese-car fan for this sort of heavily used cheap commuter class just in terms of assembly quality and other “nuanced” things that I appreciate (I prefer working on them too), but I dig these abused to hell and back OHV steeds. I’ve mentioned this before, but back when I lived on the East side of Indy it was not uncommon to find yourself at a light where quite literally 80%+ of the other cars surrounding you were W-bodies of various generations/makes/models.

    • 0 avatar
      OldManPants

      I will pay 25 genuine US cents for every photo of a Pontiac still being driven that has complete tread (let alone siping) on all 4 tires.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Haha it’s terrible here in Indiana with no inspections. My fiance’s sister’s friend showed up in a beige ’04ish Impala with belts peeking out of the back tires…. man I don’t get it, can’t say it’s financial hardship in that case.

        • 0 avatar
          OldManPants

          “belts peeking out of the back tires”

          F*ck!

          In spite of everything I’ve learned in 62 years, if I see something like that belonging to anyone I know I kick into intervention mode.

          What the HELL are people thinking when they’ll blissfully ignore something like that but MUST have the newest cell phone?!

          The utter ignorance/indifference of most people to issues of basic mechanical/electrical safety scares the sh1t out of me.

          • 0 avatar
            dukeisduke

            As an old friend of mine used to say, “Drive on ’em until the air shows!”

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            That statement about GMs running badly longer than other makes run at all was only true when the other makes were predominantly Ford and Mercury.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          If you see a broken down car in Indiana on the interstate, it’s almost certainly an old, rusty GM vehicle which is A) a Pontiac or B) a Buick.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al From 'Murica

            In fairness, Old GM iron does continue to run badly long after the competition has ceased to run.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Big Al yep that’s how I’ve always heard it said “GMs run poorly longer than others run at all.”

            I’d say in general I’m amazed at the tenacity of fuel injected motors with modern sensors that can keep running with 3/6 cylinders misfiring and all sorts of issues, there are default sensor maps and many things that can be compensated for to keep the car running. I do worry about the small displacement 4cyl turbo motors though. An ironblock OHV 3800 can live on with a cylinder missing in action and no oil changes for a loooong time. I don’t think an Ecoboost 1.6 or new malibu 1.5T will manage the same feat. Hell GM’s own 3.6L V6 can’t tolerate neglected oil changes very well.

          • 0 avatar
            indi500fan

            Not so sure about that. Today’s northside 465 survey yields old Kia Sephia, old Subaru, and Iacocca era Dodge minivan.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Next time anyone’s driving through Indianapolis, hit up 16th and Emerson (Exit 87 off I70). We still drive through there to go to church, the corner there’s got some interesting things going on. In order: a shoddy repair shop fixing said W-bodies, a guy selling fantastic and cheap hotdogs in the parking lot of the Family Dollar, a pawn shop with presumably a lot of stolen property, and a safeway in front of which I saw a drug addled prostitute get tazed at 6:30am on my commute in to work last year. Good times on the East side!

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          RE : Cords showing through old tires ~

          I was in the desert in September and some kid on a sport bike pulled up to the next pump, he had worn cords showing 4″ wide on his back tire ! .

          I mentioned he could easily find a used tire that was only worn past the wear indicators in the treads for FREE and install it ~ he shrugged, saddled up and zoomed off .

          I hope he lives to see 30 years old .

          -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      87% of this vehicle’s former owners voted Trump!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    This one is screaming at me.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Who’s gonna save it?

    • 0 avatar
      Thorshammer_gp

      Not that I would be the one to do it, but seeing this makes me just a *little* sad…my parents bought a red GT sedan back in 2001, and it was the car I learned to drive in (as well as certain other activities). It’s been relatively trouble-free in 15 years, and despite the impressions this might cast on me, I admit that I’ll be sad to see it go eventually.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Look at the cleanliness and condition of the driver’s bolster. This was not owned by a person of hefty proportion.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    His eyes were on the tan paper tag, the shape taunting him a bit.

    “Hey, wh–“

    Will hadn’t heard, too lost in thought. He shook his head and his vision returned mostly to normal.

    “Sir, hey. Who’s this for?” The stringy haired associate asked, not that she really cared. This was her 2,347th day on the job and she had not yet moved past the floral department.

    “Natalie, put Natalie on there. And a heart.” His eyes went off to the side, he couldn’t say something like that to a stranger with any seriousness and look them in the eye. Never was very good at that sort of thing. He was getting lost in his thoughts again.

    “That’ll be $11.95…”

    She had said something else after that, but Will hadn’t heard it. He was pulling out the Kroger gift card he’d won during the trivia round at the employee holiday lunch. “Should be uh… like twen—“

    But the card was already hanging in the air, waiting to be taken back. “Thanks, have a great day.” she offered, scooting the potted fern toward him with her free hand. Not making eye contact he nodded and grabbed the plant, careful not to mess up the bright red foil wrapping, and exited the grocery store.

    The worn key found the door on “the Daytona” and unlocked it, and Will slid his slim frame into the seat, carefully putting the fern on the passenger floorboard. Lips curling up slightly, he gave it a smile “She’ll like you.”

    A pale finger found the heated seat switch in the console, flicking it to high before turning the ignition key in the loose, sloppy cylinder. The ever-faithful 3800 spun into life – sounding just like it always did. It was a nice constant in the relatively tumultuous past few years. A balding, shaved head rested back against the embroidered head rest. Not for long though, he needed to get moving.

    Strip malls passed to the left and right, as Will headed toward his destination in the nicer part of the suburbs.

    “Oh sh-t!”

    At a stop light, the fern had fallen over. A couple of branches bent out of the way, but another had snapped during the fall. “Aaaahg,” a noise escaped his mouth like someone had just punched him in the stomach. He knew the light was a long one, so he threw the 3800 in park and hopped out – around the front to the passenger side, flinging open the door. Quickly he righted the fern, and attempted to scoop up some of the soil that had fallen out onto the thin grey carpet. But he was out of time.

    Back in the driver’s seat and with foot on the brake, the selector was moved to D. But something wasn’t right this time. A slight chirp followed a heavy thunk. Will gave a side eye to the console, making sure he’d selected D. “Okay, go.”

    But his insistence would not change the mechanical suffering which had occurred a foot or so underneath him. There was a horrible whirring sound, and the car crawled forward slowly in protest. No matter what pressure Will put on the throttle, the whirring only changed in intensity. Now, only the 3800 cared what happened to Will, the rest of the Daytona was unsympathetic.

    Outside, a redhead with pigtails was watching his struggle. Her cold eyes were unfazed, stupid smile still across her face.

    Will gulped. “No, no no no not today, not now!” and resigned to his fate, rolled the Pontiac into the nearest space available at the Wendy’s. It was the biggest cacophony anyone had ever generated in a parking maneuver. Two taps of his finger, and she was on the other end of the line.

    “Yeah, it did-“

    “Well I don’t know, it was fine at the store before.” Eyes casting down to the damaged fern; he picked it up, moving it to the driver’s foot well with him. His journey in the Daytona was finished, at least for today.

    “Just please, this doesn’t have to change our day – I’m five minutes away. Please.” With a shaky and pleading voice, he convinced the one on the other end of the line to come and fetch him from his mess. When she pulled up, he was leaned against the car, a sheepish grin on his face.

    “Thanks for coming… Oh! And I got you something for your new place.”

    Natalie’s eyes were already slightly angry, the irritation she always felt when dealing with him. He opened the wide coupe door, revealing the little fern sitting there. It was a modern interpretation of that sad little Charlie Brown Christmas tree. And outside, pathetic, dependent Linus – still holding onto his comforting, silver metal blanket.

    “That’s… great.” she replied flatly. But that was enough for him, and he grabbed the poor specimen in his arms, the little heart tag fluttering onto the floor without his notice. He carefully shut the door of the Daytona, and walked around to the passenger side of her bright blue Corolla S.

    Maybe this time, she’ll take him back for good.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    The Pontiac Grand Prix, and it’s smaller cousin, the Grand Am, were West Michigan staples for years. They were “sporty” cars for the masses: still large enough to haul your family in but still having enough power to be fun. Well at least the S/C ones.

    But it seemed that a large number of the drivers of these thought they were piloting some super fast muscle car. High amount of derp, even with the 3.1L versions. Or at least that’s how my encounters with them went. Maybe it was local thing.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Locally, I feel like the “I have a sportscar lol” Pontiac crowd has migrated to base model Nissan Altimas. Weird but true.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I feel like I see them now in modified Jettas, or the Veloster.

        Also there are some Pontiac people clinging to the later Monte Carlo still.

      • 0 avatar
        scott25

        Definitely agree with that crowd driving Altimas now, almost always with unpainted front bumper. A lot of them still drive Grand-Ams and Grand Prixs though also.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Oh, Dodge Avenger is another one that shoes in as basically a direct Grand Am replacement both in terms of buyer demographics and the vehicle itself. Quite a legit hot rod with the optional Pentastar I might add.

    • 0 avatar
      turbo_awd

      To be fair, the 3.1s that replaced the 2.8s in the Cavalier/Z24 WERE reasonably fast for the time – 140/180 hp/tq was nothing sneeze at in the days of 100 HP GTIs. My ’84 GLI wasn’t quite able to keep up with those. I rented a 3.8 Grand Prix once (S/C), and it drove well enough with good power for the times. Of course, that was 15 years ago, and the “half the power compared to now” generation. I drove a ’11 or ’12 3.6 Impala (another rental), and it got 30 mpg without trying in 110+ degree heat (in Indiana/Illinois, summer of ’13, IIRC).

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Looks like it took a light hit to the front and that was the end – totaled by insurance.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

    I remember when those wide track commercials were out, with Micheal Jordan and such. Look up the front and rear tracks of the Grand Prix vs. its compeditor’s. The Taurus had, IIRC, very similar front track and a wider rear track. Someone told me that the Grand Prix didn’t even have the widest track of all the W bodies. I guess your Wide Track Grand Prix would look great next to your Rich Corinthian Leather-equipped Chrysler Cordoba.

  • avatar

    Google a 1998 Grand Prix Pace Car. I sold one of those waaaay back in the day. 132k easy Florida miles.

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I haven’t seen one of these Grand Prixes in a while. Last one I saw was a “1st-gen” “squinty” one. There’s a surprising number of those around here…

  • avatar
    ttacfan

    On mine it was an L-shaped plastic tube to which a coolant hose was attached. I guess making it of brass would have rised the cost by 50 cents.

  • avatar
    Troggie42

    A friend of my Dad had one of these, it was the first supercharged car I ever drove, and also the first car I ever drove with a Heads-Up display. Seeing one like this is kind of depressing, but hey, that’s where most of the old 3800 powered GM machines are going these days, anyway…

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    This motor needs to be in my buddies Iron Duke Fiero!

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Upper Midwest High School special #479.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    I considered one of these a few years back to replace my Fox body 87 T-Bird. The one I checked out was decent and the 3800SC had plenty of grunt but instead I went for a MN-12 95 T-Bird V8.

    An aunt of mine had a 2000 Century with the 3100. Decent car, quite popular at the time with the retirement home set. She passed a few years ago but the car still rolls on with it’s 3rd owner.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    I just bought a 2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue GLS from a Copart auction with 57,000 miles for $725. This one is in immaculate condition and was another donated vehicle. It will need a new right front fender and some door work but the car is otherwise in great condition.
    The plan soon is to blend a two door Pontiac Grand Prix with an Intrigue powered by the 3500. This latest purchase is far too perfect to cut up.
    I will then have a 2002 Oldsmobile 442! (Four Seats, Four Wheels, Two Mirrors!)…


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • Tstag: Ford should sell Lincoln to someone who can turn it round or just give up. Ironically the company that might...
  • geozinger: First Takata, now Kobe Steel. For many, they say they won’t/don’t trust Chinese manufactured...
  • turf3: Basically I don’t operate a vehicle (bicycle motorcycle or automobile) without the appropriate parts and...
  • gearhead77: I have a manual car for the first time in a decade. Yes, sometimes shifting/ clutch work is tedious while...
  • ash78: Absolutely. I’m that weirdo who just can’t get used to four-pots in this price range. I drove a...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States