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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