Junkyard Find: 1976 Pontiac Grand LeMans

Murilee Martin
by Murilee Martin
junkyard find 1976 pontiac grand lemans

Personal luxury” became one of the few showroom bright spots for Detroit during the darkest days of the Malaise Era. The definition is a bit fuzzy around the edges, but the basic formula always involved a midsize-or-bigger two-door with a generous helping of disco-grade bling, maybe with some heraldic crests and pleather upholstery. Chrysler had the Cordoba, Ford had the Cougar, and GM had the Grand Prix, to name just a few of many examples of the genre. Why, even dowdy AMC got into the act with their Matador Barcelona. So many of these cars were built that you’ll still find examples now and then at self-serve wrecking yards. By 1976, personal luxury was being applied across whole lines, with broad strokes. Today’s find is one of the last of the big A-body LeMans family, built before the LeMans became a cruel Daewoo joke.

You had your Luxury LeMans, of course, but that car just wasn’t grand enough for the America of Watergate and the Fall of Saigon.

The French Cathouse Red interior fad reached its zenith with Japanese cars of the late 1980s (though Chrysler was still using up its stockpile of red velour well into the 1990s), but The General sure didn’t pull any punches with this car.

The Pontiac 350-cubic-inch V8 was one of the more reliable pushrod V8s of its time, but I’ve learned that I just get depressed when I look up horsepower figures on Malaise Era Detroit engines. Let’s pretend that this one made, say, 340 horses and leave it at that.

This clock almost certainly stopped working before the end of the 1970s, so I didn’t buy it for my collection. It looks cool, though.

Pontiac wasn’t going to let those 5 MPH crash bumpers take away their cars’ pointy snouts!

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2 of 63 comments
  • Vasya Bricklyn Vasya Bricklyn on Feb 17, 2013

    One of many mid 1970's Shitstains. This one wasn't your average 1970's Shitstain- it was a Grand Shitstain.

  • Jols Jols on May 04, 2013

    Would love to know where this car is, and if parts from it are for sale. We have one, running that we are restoring and would love to get parts for it.

  • YellowDuck Thank goodness neither one had their feet up on the dash....
  • Zerofoo I learned a long time ago to never buy a heavily modified vehicle. Far too many people lack the necessary mechanical engineering skills to know when they've screwed something up.
  • Zerofoo I was part of this industry during my college years. We built many, many cars for "street pharmacists" that sounded like this.Excessive car audio systems are kind of like 800 HP engines. Completely unnecessary, but a hell of a lot of fun.
  • DedBull In it to win it!
  • Wolfwagen IIRC I remember reading somewhere that the Porsche Cayenne was supposed to have a small gasoline-powered block heater. There was a loop in the cooling system that ran to the heater and when the temperature got to a certain point (0°C)the vehicle's control unit would activate the heater. I dont know if this was a concept or if it ever made it into production.