By on August 8, 2016

00 - 1990 Pontiac Grand Am in Colorado junkyard - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

I have photographed and wrote about interesting (to me) junkyard cars for nearly a decade, and so far I have not photographed a single one of the hundreds of discarded BMW E30s I have found in my travels. In fact, I just shot my first E30 the other day (a 325e with automatic, don’t get too excited), but first I must share a car I find far more interesting: an N-Body Grand Am with gray cloth interior and Oldsmobile Quad 4 engine.

1990 Pontiac Grand Am in Colorado junkyard, wheel detail - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Grand Ams are plentiful in junkyards, and they offer us a history of GM’s ups and downs from the beginning of the Malaise Era to the dawn of the current century. When Juggalos captures an alleged thief at the Gathering and his car destroyed by a vengeful, Faygo-fueled mob, what kind of car was it? Grand Am, of course!

1990 Pontiac Grand Am in Colorado junkyard, front seats - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

During my junkyard adventures, I have photographed this Iron-Duke-powered ’89 with Field Expedient Lexan windows, this extremely hooptie ’91 with Iron Duke and scary stencils, this ’00 with RAM AIR and much plastic cladding, and this ’02 GT with a NO FEAR steering wheel. Yeah, yeah, that E30 is coming soon, I promise.

1990 Pontiac Grand Am in Colorado junkyard, engine - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The Quad 4 engine was quite advanced for 1980s Detroit — maybe not as advanced as the Hydra-Matic transmission in 1940 or the small-block Chevrolet engine in 1955, but still a big technological jump forward. This one displaced 2.3 liters and made 160 horsepower, which was very impressive in 1990.

1990 Pontiac Grand Am in Colorado junkyard, fender emblem - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The original Grand Am (in 1973) also had 16 valves, but they were divided among eight cylinders.

1990 Pontiac Grand Am in Colorado junkyard, automatic seat belt - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

The automatic seat belts of the early 1990s (mandated in cars with no driver’s side airbag) were pure misery, though not as maddening as the flaky seat belt starter interlock systems seen 16 years earlier.

1990 Pontiac Grand Am in Colorado junkyard, Libby Light - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

Secretary of Transportation Elizabeth Dole and the Reagan Administration made the center brake light mandatory in all new U.S.-market cars built after September 9, 1985, but it took a few more years for GM to integrate the “Libby Light” into cars in a manner that looked less tacked-on.

1990 Pontiac Grand Am in Colorado junkyard, seat fabric - ©2016 Murilee Martin - The Truth About Cars

This pseudo-velour wasn’t the most comfortable upholstery material ever made and it stained easily, but it withstood harsh sun reasonably well.

If you can stand it this hot, the 1990 Grand Am is one red-hot ride!

Allegedly the best-selling compact in America.

[Images: © 2016 Murilee Martin/The Truth About Cars]

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88 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1990 Pontiac Grand Am, with Quad 4 Power...”


  • avatar
    burnbomber

    Looks pristine inside and out; wonder why it ended up where it did. Young at 125k miles. Clearly it’s been garaged cause the paint is pretty OK for a 1990 model. Better than my N-body daily driver, the final generation Cutlass.

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      And look at those tires. Bridgestones in better shape than 80% of what you would see in a Walmart parking lot. Grandma’s last ride perhaps?

      • 0 avatar
        Ostrich67

        True story: In 1989 my dad and me were driving across the US in my Alfa Spider, and we stopped by the Bonneville Salt Flats. It was a week before Speed Week and the course was open, so we drove on. We saw a film crew shooting something with billowing cloth, fire pots, and a Grand Am. Yes, it was a scene from that commercial.

  • avatar
    tomLU86

    I made the mistake of buying a used one.

    It confirmed that it is a good idea to have a mechanic check out a used car before buying it.

    Mine drove well–it just had a ‘neat’ burble. Turned it that the ‘burble’ was the sound of wheel bearings.

    Mechanic also told me I needed a head gasket or my Quad 4. I learned it had already been replaced–but there was a “hidden” warranty.

    Some good news–after 3 months and 3 thousand miles, I managed to sell it for $600 less than I paid.

    I really was decent car, but I figured..get out while you can

    Good riddance!

  • avatar
    ZCD2.7T

    One of my favorite quotes about the Quad 4 engine from back in the day:

    “…but at least it’s rough and noisy in going about its business of not making very much power…”

    • 0 avatar

      They didn’t make a lot of power but they were pretty reliable as long as you kept a spare coil pack cover and two wrenches in the trunk. It’s like a 10 minute job to change that and if you own one you get really good at it.

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      The Quad 4 in these bodies got 150 HP.

      The Iron Duke had 110.

      The VTEC motor in the contemporary Civic Si got 125.

      I had a 95 Skylark, the one year that had this engine (before that, it was the SOHC version and after, the Ecotec). It was not slow. I did not miss the princely 10 HP I could have gained from the 3.1L V6. I could spin the tires, although admittedly they were terrible factory P195 Michelins I was happy to replace. I also routinely got 31 MPG on highway trips.

      I don’t know how we could call this a weak engine when a Focus gets by with about the same power in the 2.0L Ecoboost.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        The Quad 4 was not a weak engine. But it was coarse, unrefined and it ate head gaskets. Funny when this engine came out, Car and Driver called it a “jewel of an engine”….words they later had to eat. GM wasted no time in advertising “The Vision is Paying Off” with a photo of a Quad 4 being hoisted up by hands of various races. By the time the engine had cemented its reputation as being crude, GM coughed up the dough for balance shafts. Typical of GM beancounting of the day. Crappy at introduction, decent at demise.

        This car, a few years newer, drove my friend into Honda’s waiting hands after her Quad lunched its head gasket at 75K.

        • 0 avatar
          jimbob457

          I recall test driving a new example back in the day. The most extreme flaw was that the inventors of the automatic transmission (Hydramatic) couldn’t get their early-90’s transmission to shift smoothly.

          All I could think was to call out “Taxi”.

      • 0 avatar
        wumpus

        The difference between the 1995 GM 2.5 4banger and 3.1 V-6 was all you needed to know about the difference between torque and horsepower (for ICE). Of course, most of this was due to the rental program I was on meant a ton of Corsicas, and the managed to tie the 2.5 to a three speed auto (a really bad idea since it had no torque below 4000rpm) while the 3.1 had all the torque you wanted by 2000rpm, and peaked around 3000.

        You really wanted that 3.1. Or maybe just a real transmission, but definitely the 3.1 as well.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    That dumb Quad name first made me think it was a V-4 or a square-4 like the old Ariel engines, not just another I-4.

    Wonder what sizzley, ad-happy name those people could have concocted for a step ladder.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Then-new yuppies’ first new car after they finally landed a job, but couldn’t quite afford or didn’t want to spend the money on a BMW. After all, it LOOKED kind of like a Beemer – at least from a distance!

    These things were everywhere in west county, suburban STL. Me? Well, in 1990, I was driving an inherited pale yellow/cream- colored 225 slant-six 1980 Chrysler Le Baron coupe – our famed “Bat mobile”!

    I wasn’t a yuppie, being in my late 30s in 1990…

    • 0 avatar
      SaulTigh

      My first car was a ’78 Lebaron Coupe with a 318 and that awful Lean Burn carb. I went to school in Missouri from ’94 to ’99 and these Grand Am’s were just EVERYWHERE. Lots of rural kids at my school, and many of these were the car that mom used to go to her job in town during the late 80’s then handed down when her offspring went to college and mama got a new car.

    • 0 avatar
      Tandoor

      They were all over north county, too. The kind of car like a pop song that gets played over and over until you hate it. In ’90 I was rolling in my first of many B-bodies, an ’83 Olds Delta 88.

      • 0 avatar
        CobraJet

        My folks actually traded in a nice 83 Delta 88 two door on an 88 Grand Am quad 4 that they ordered equipped like they wanted. Something about down sizing and wanting better gas mileage. They didn’t keep it long, trading for a new 90 Bonnieville, but not before taking a great American road trip. Starting in Tennessee up to Montana, across to Washington, back down to California and then home through Kansas. Don’t know how comfortable they were as they were up in age at that point.

  • avatar
    Hydromatic

    The Official Car of the Walmart Shopper, right down to the two-tone light gray/dark gray plastic-fantastic interior and the faded-to-hell cloth seats.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      We only now deride such people because society no longer offers them productive roles.

      40 years ago this car’s predecessor would have been termed “honest, basic transportation for cost-conscious working people”.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        If this car said Honda on the front, and Civic on the back, it would still have that reputation.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Must concur, to a degree.

        Social mobility rates in the USA, which were the primary reason that it was viewed as the ‘promised land’ are now lower than in many other nations. No longer is it the norm for someone get an entry level job with a good company, work their way up the corporate ladder, retire with a company pension and buy a nice big American near luxury vehicle as their reward.

        And many of the cars that we in memory hold in such high regard, such as the much lauded ‘pony’ cars were not much more than simple, working persons cars with a bigger engine shoehorned into the engine bay.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …We only now deride such people because society no longer offers them productive roles…

        Well said.

  • avatar
    rpn453

    Is that an automatic seat belt? The ones in my ’87 weren’t motorized in any way, but you theoretically could leave them connected as you exited and entered the vehicle.

    The automatic belts don’t sound that bad to me. I mean, what could it possibly take to disable such a thing? Five minutes? Ten?

    • 0 avatar
      Land Ark

      Nope, it’s just bolted to the door like your ’87. I had a ’90 Sunbird with the same setup. I never once got out with it still buckled. I didn’t even know it was supposed to work that way until about 10 years ago.

      I had a ’90 Maxima with motorized shoulder belts. Thinking about it now it would drive me crazy. But I got used to it when I had it. Still had to buckle the lap belt which seemed kinda dumb.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        The motor mice seat belt is why in my quest to find a Gen I Ford Probe GT to add to the collection I will only consider an ’89. 90-92 got the motorized seat belts. YECK

        • 0 avatar
          amca

          I had the motorized belts in an Escort GT. I remember a rainy night when they gave out. I was facing getting on the freeway with no belts, so I got what tools were available in the car and ripped the plastic trim off, manually cranked the belt into a fuse position then ripped the wiring out of the belt motor.

          I had a belt, but boy it was inconvenient to use.

    • 0 avatar
      mike1dog

      I had a Thunderbird with the automatic mouse seatbelts, They were terrible. When you opened the door to get out it would try to strangle you. If you unbuckled it to get out, it meant you had to buckle two seatbelts, and they were prone to breakage because the tracks were made of the cheapest plastic you’ve ever seen. You might still get whacked in the head by the motorized buckle, even if you unbuckled the belt to get out. I tried to disable mine, but it set off a warning light and buzzer in the car that I couldn’t disable.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      It’s a typically American [email protected] way of getting something societally useful accomplished. People won’t buckle up? Well, instead of doing it the right way and simply making it illegal to drive without a seatbelt, we’ll try a seatbelt ignition interlock, and when that doesn’t work, mandate these autobelts or airbags so powerful they will kill children or small people in the front seats because they have to be able to restrain an unbelted adult male.

      And then GM cheaped out in typical fashion with these horrible door mounted monstrosities that met the letter of the law, but were useless and dangerous. A local cop died when his Chevy cruiser hit a pole and the door popped open. With the door mounted belt there was nothing keeping him in the car…

      CAFE is the same sort of stupidity. If there is a societal interest in using less gas, tax the crap out of it to make it too expensive to drive 5000lb trucks solo to work every day. But I have hope – not wearing a seatbelt is a primary ticketable offence in most places now. And a large part of why auto accident deaths are so much lower.

      • 0 avatar
        April S

        Next thing you will be complaining about safety glass and radial tires.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        “A local cop died when his Chevy cruiser hit a pole and the door popped open. With the door mounted belt there was nothing keeping him in the car…”

        Not disputing your story, but I’ve never seen a cop wear seatbelts while driving a patrol car. And I’ve lived in three states and Puerto Rico. Allegedly they don’t wear them because if they have to run out of the car to chase a suspect on foot, getting free of the seatbelts delays their response time (I’ve always found this explanation absurd, but whatever).

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I have three cousins who are the chief of police and two officers in my hometowm in Maine. They always wear their seatbelts (I’ve done a few ride-alongs). Probably the difference between rural Maine and larger cities.

          I doubt any of them have ever had to hop out of their car and chase anyone, and frankly, given all three of them have had a tad too many donuts over the years (my family tend towards BIG), it would take a LOT to make that happen! :-)

          • 0 avatar
            Roberto Esponja

            Good for them. As I said, I find the time delay excuse absurd. Risk life/limb over three, maybe five seconds of time it might take to get out of your seatbelt? Come on…

        • 0 avatar
          msquare

          A lot of cops do wear equipment belts that might also get in the way of wearing a seatbelt.

          But I vividly remember ADAM-12 making a point of showing Reed and Malloy fastening seatbelts before driving away.

    • 0 avatar
      greaseyknight

      Yea, those are the door mounted belts that (like the motorized ones) got the automakers out of putting airbags in.

      The idea was, you where supposed to leave the belt buckled and then open the door and slide out. I’ve tried it in my 92 Sentra 2dr, no dice. But still way better then the motorized ones that come in the 4 door Sentras of that era.

      • 0 avatar
        Toad

        I had a Honda Accord coupe with the shoulder and lap belt mounted to the door; with the door open there was more than 10 feet of belts to try to step into. I was like crawling into a spider web.

        The easy solution was to just cut out the lap belt. That way I just had to slide behind the shoulder belt to get into the car (vs. also having to untangle the lap belt from my lower legs). Sure, it was one seat belt less than ideal but by the standards of the late 1980’s that was better then not wearing any seat belt at all.

        • 0 avatar
          April S

          Lucky you didn’t get into a collision. You would have more than likely slid under the shoulder belt and probably injured. Not to mention your insurance company would void your policy and not cover your medical bills.

      • 0 avatar
        April S

        I think the automatic seat belts was more or less a stopgap until the automakers could work out the extensive changes needed to add airbags. IIRC that was one of the reasons why Subaru quit importing the Loyale and Justy. No easy way to add them.

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          No, the automakers chose to use passive belts in their cars. Not just GM but VW and many others. It was the marketing genius of Lee Iacocca that picked up on the passive belt hate and put airbags in every vehicle they sold. Great marketing. And that is what lit the fuse to the airbag war. Airbags became all the rage almost overnight. I still remember a bumper sticker with images of Bill and Hillary Clinton with the tagline “Dual Airbags”.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    Has anyone checked to see if the Libby Light actually prevented 900,000 rear end collisions annually as was noted when the requirement was enacted?

    That gray was just about the only Pontiac interior color you could get around this time. I know Sunbird convertibles came with a white “leather” interior. I don’t know if I recall tan in this generation. But I am almost 100% sure there was no black interior offered.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I feel like the Trans Am of this era offered a black interior.

      I know the Bonneville of this time offered at least blue, red, gray, tan, and gold-ish tan. I’d guess these colors were available on the rest of the line. But no black that I recall.

      Gray was definitely the default choice on the GA though. I think I’ve seen one with the blue interior in a junkyard while the rest are gray.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Based upon taxicab studies using the CHMSL (Center High-Mounted Stop Lamp) in the early 1980s, it helped to reduce rear-end collisions.

      But now, I doubt it has any beneficial effect, because smartphone.

    • 0 avatar
      operagost

      My sister-in-law has one with a blue interior. Sadly, this junkyard find might be in better condition.

  • avatar
    Gadsden

    My parents had a loaded Turbo, ’89 IIRC. White with white wheels. It was the first turbo I ever was around and was a blast to drive at 15-16. Having to wash those white painted fan blade wheels would probably qualify as child abuse today.

  • avatar
    TDIGuy

    My sister had a Beretta GTZ with that engine. Seemed pretty sporty when compared with other options at the time.

    I remember this engine was good for proving the HP vs torque argument. IIRC the Achieva was available with the quad 4 (180HP/140TQ) and a V6 (140HP/180TQ). Of course numerous “test drives” found both engines were underpowered enough to not notice or care about any difference.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      The one thing I remember about my (first) wife’s Beretta was that the steering wheel actually warped over time. It was given to her in 1989 when she graduated high school from her father. We married in 1992 and the Beretta came along with us. We drove it one more year before selling it. Her dad was furious at us for selling it, but we enjoyed the heck out of the new Del Sol we bought. I’m pretty sure the divorce made him much happier…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Pontiac had some great wheel designs in the ’90s, and this was one of them. Always liked the offset slats. That lease figure seems MUCH too high for 1990 money. But I guess that’s what high interest rates do to ya?

    I just noticed – did the U-Body vans get the same door handles as the 00-06 Tahoe vehicles?

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      Loved them brick red wheels on brick red cars! Huzzah!

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Yes! They had a couple aero designs like Saab, some nice slats like above, and lace alloys. White, red, gold – all bases covered.

        http://www.members.shaw.ca/mikehklassen/1992%20poster%20ssei.jpg
        https://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2009/06/25/21/24/1995-pontiac-bonneville-pic-48586-1600×1200.jpeg

        I mean, that is a sharp looking car.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      Comparing the Camaro 5 spokes (not the IROC five spokes, the other ones fitted to RSes and post-IROC Z28s) to the Pontiac faux wires and deep-dish slatted wheels was just no contest.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    For many years the Grand Am was high on my hate list. The owners – broad brush here – were mostly budding wanna-be drag racers. Now it’s pretty rare to see one; the Grand Prixs seems to be holding up better for the long haul.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      Grand Prixs are a variation of the TTAC-Approved W-body, aren’t they? Though you couldn’t prove it by me, I can’t remember the last time I saw either one around here. Most of this sort of thing that still exist here are little old lady perfect Buicks and Oldsmobiles. Little old ladies didn’t buy Pontiacs.

      Though I suppose if I went to the local Super Walmart there probably would be one or two ratty examples in the parking lot. But Walmart gives me a rash.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Correct.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I think Maine is a weird place where you see an E34 BMW everyday but can’t remember the last time you saw a Grand Prix or Grand Am.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          He’s usually the one driving it.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          He doesn’t GO to the poor part of town, obviously. He lives atop Land Rover Hill, where the poorest person is in a Discovery Sport.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yeah it truly sounds like an a-typical carscape. I’ve never heard of such a concentration of Europeans stuff in the US.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            Well, maybe not Land Rover Hill, more like Land Rover Beach. Lot’s of wealth along the coast. The poorer parts are mostly further inland.

            Close to the Maine border are businesses like Bavarian Autosport in Portsmouth NH which has a huge warehouse stocked with plenty of parts for vintage BMWs.

            Another great place is BritBits in Rye NH. It’s sort of a vintage British car dealership. You can get a restored Spitfire or MG off the lot and have it serviced after the sale.

            The roads of New England are very European, so it’s no surprise to see a lot of European cars.

  • avatar
    CarnotCycle

    Had one of these bad boys for four months. No balance shafts made for quite the shimmy and motor mounts with more play than grandma’s rocking chair by time I got it. I recall the auditory experience going through the gears analogous to shaking a Glad bag full of cans ready for recycling, but imagine being in the bag with the cans.

    One day, it was doing the normal Glad-bag-of-cans routine when suddenly there was jolt, a sound effect akin to dropping rebar on a concrete floor, then silence bar the slipstream going by my now motorless carriage. The old Quad had finally shaken the whole bottom end off itself. I got the crankshaft (with one sad, sad, rod still on it) off the road later that afternoon.

    But I rolled it home on the Grand Am’s final momentum, and first thing I saw on TV was local KIA dealer doing the ‘if you can push it here’ guaranteed trade-in value promotion. $3k crazy KIA dealer promised.

    Shoulda seen KIA dealer’s face that evening as I towed that Grand Am on down, as he had claimed he wanted me to do on the TV.

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      That’s an awesome story! Thanks for sharing.

      It really puked the entire crankshaft right onto the highway? I have never heard of that before – wonder if somebody had been into the lower end and forgot to torque the bearing caps.

      • 0 avatar
        CarnotCycle

        Yeah, whole bottom came off about two blocks from my home, and I rolled on remaining momentum (parasitic friction suddenly much lower) perfectly into my driveway, and walked into house to tell wife – who was watching TV and there was KIA dealer doing his car-dealer TV thing.

        Addendum to story was silent disdain of the neighbors, for I of course made a scorched skunk-trail of oil leaking out the block and top, all through neighborhood into my cul-de-sac right to the Pontiac in the driveway, making for an easy whodunnit.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Compare the Quad 4 to the Iron Duke and the Quad made an N-body feel like a muscle car by comparison.

  • avatar
    Nedmundo

    I had this exact car, but model year 1989, which didn’t have the automatic seat belts. It wasn’t my first choice and I wanted a stick shift, but it was a stellar deal, and the Quad 4 was quite powerful for the class in that era. It also got excellent mileage for the time, about 32 mpg on the highway at 70 mph. Handling wasn’t bad, and the brakes had superb feel. Surprisingly, it was very reliable too. It gave me no trouble, though I only kept it for about 50,000 miles.

    Downsides? Yes, the Quad 4 was a little rough, but this wasn’t an issue cruising on the highway. The seats had terrible support, and the buttons and switches had the cheapest feel imaginable. The stereo was awful, but probably typical of that class. (I upgraded it.) And of course it wasn’t nearly as solid as Hondas of the time, but it wasn’t a rattletrap either.

    Overall, it was surprisingly good for GM of that era, and it served me well.

  • avatar
    LS1Fan

    I won’t be cosigning the haterade train on this one.

    The 1990s High Output Quad 4 made 190 HP and were attached to a Getrag 5 speed. Remember at this point in history Nissan needed a V6 to make that kind of power. Those cars weren’t a joke performance wise.

    Yes ,this motor series idled like crap. My first car was a 2.4 Grand Am, and I knew the coil packs failed when the motor ran smooth for once.
    Only had to change the head gasket once , and water pump twice. Got the car up to 220,000 mile before I essentially gave it to a family member in need of a car. Like its Northstar decendant motor (IIRC that motor was basically a Quad 4 x2) , it drank oil like a supertanker and careful attention needed to be paid regarding coolant levels. Hardly maintenance free, but still better then German cars at the same mileage.

    For what they are- basic transportation with some flair- they aren’t horrible cars.

  • avatar
    ckb

    ” This one displaced 2.3 liters and made 160 horsepower, which was very impressive in 1990.”

    And 25 years later the 2.5l boxer that came with my Subaru makes 175hp. An increase of 0.6hp/year because that’s the most technically valid way of looking at it.

    (sad trombone…)

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    I had 2 Grand Ams, both identical to the article car. The 1989 was a Quad 4 (got totaled) and the 1990 was the Iron Duke. Man, looking at these pics takes me back to being in High school all over again. One nit-pick I could never get past was the huge and uneven gaps between the grille / headlights / front filler panels. Imprecise fit / assembly was the motto in those days, I suppose.

  • avatar

    I’m trying to figure out how the white Venture next to it managed to be bent at the top of the sliding door. Hit by a falling rock? Low-flying plane?

    • 0 avatar
      redmondjp

      Likely loss-of-vehicle control resulting in a near-rollover into a light pole or a tree. Or they banged the crap out of it with the forklift while moving it around in the yard – it ticks me off to no end when a car that has no body damage gets the parts I want screwed up by rough handling once it gets inside the junkyard gates.

      Not to mention idiot customers who go around trying to pry hoods open – how many times do you have to try that in order to figure out that it doesn’t work?

  • avatar

    It was called the “Liddy Light” because Liddy (rather than Libby–which is the more common nickname) was Elizabeth Dole’s nickname.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Dole

    I remember reading a C&D story about the Chrysler TC by Maserati where the Chrysler engineers were annoyed about having to figure out where to put the Liddy Light because of the new regulations. They called it “The Chrome Nerd”.

  • avatar
    Syke

    The blue collar BMW. Stud, my brother in my first M/C had a grey ’89 that he loved almost as much as his Harley. I wondered what happened to it after his death (murdered, on the only night he ever went out without packing his .38. Over a woman, no less.)

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    Ah, the N-body.

    I’d sooner have my rusty carbureted Corollova again than another N-body.

    Scraping ice off the INSIDE of the windows before school and work was enough to make me consider setting the f*cking thing ablaze.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    At least the Quad-4 had a timing chain. Oldsmobile had a prototype of two Quad-4’s put together as a Quad-8. I guess it was less expensive for them to go with a “Shortstar”in the Aurora.

    In the mid-80’s in the suburb of NYC where I grew up many 20 something women drove these. Fresh out of high school or college it was the 1st car for many of them. Just a notch above a J-car but still affordable, reliable and American made. In blue, white or maroon with the obligatory Bon Jovi or Journey cassette in the player.

  • avatar
    Patrick4mv

    I had several of these back in the early 90’s. They were cheap used cars. The first one was slightly wrecked i bought for 75 bucks an 87 with 77k and a 2.5 auto. I think i payed 100 for the whole nose at a local junk yard and it was even the right color. There was a few rows of them there at the time all with 2.3 quad 4s that were blown up. I drove it hard for 3 yrs…beat the hell out of it and it just ran and ran. Than found an 85 sitting in a field with a buick v6 3.0. I bought it for 150 dollars and replaced the bent lower control arm it had with one from the 87. The car was mint otherwise it had like 90k on it. It was by far the fastest of the three.and it looked awesome same colors and wheels as the one in the pics above digital dash etc. The stock delco radio and pontiac specific amr speakers werent too shabby! That car lasted right up untill 2000..it had 220000 miles on it at that time and the plastic timimg chain sprocket had stripped off. I replaced thr chain and sprockets but didnt think about where all thr nylon went well it was in thr oil pump pick up and the engine was ruined as i starved it for oil. It was quite rusty at that point so i junked it…but not before i found a nice 89 with a quad four. It had about 160k and a five speed.it was fun for about 1000 miles and a few redline passes lol before it blew the headgasket. I ended up tradimg it in on a brand new sierra pickup at than new job at a gmc dealership. They were somewhat crude cars but at the time when most teens had a pre fuel injection car they seemed modern. My favorite honestly was the first one with the iron duke. I did unreasonable things to it over and over and over and if u reved it untill the valves floated it actually made impressive power lol. It did not have any rev limiter at about 6200 the valves started to float. Id buy anothet one today as a second car if i saw one that wasnt rusted away.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    My mom bought a ’91 LE in the fall of 1991. It was a demo car. It had the “W32″ performance package, which came with all of the SE’s goodies, except the 16” body colored rims and ABS brakes.

    Hers was an automatic, which meant it had the 160 HP “LD2” version of the Quad 4 that’s in this gem. 5-speed manual cars got the 180 HP H.O. “LD0” version. I remember it being very quick. I don’t recall the harshness everyone’s talking about though I was young then and was used to American V-8s.

    I can still almost smell its new car smell. Gives a really jarring feeling as I look at this forgotten and discarded example. It’s heyday is long over, to the point where no one felt like restoring this pretty nice example.

  • avatar
    CaseyLE82

    This made me miss the first car I ever bought for myself, which was a 1988 baby blue Grand Am. My friends were “afraid” to ride in it, and I will say that it was in pretty bad shape. Cars that were 10 years old in 1998 (when I bought it) were a lot worse than cars that are 10 years old now. That’s for sure.

  • avatar
    THE_F0nz

    I was a Quad 4 aficionado back in the day. Built multiple of them.

    My favorite was an N/A monster that idled like a Harley Davidson at stoplights.

    http://www.cardomain.com/member/phantomgtz/

    (unfortunately all of my posts are jumbled with the new cardomain site. Just keep loading posts for pretty pictures.)

    Sold my last turbo motor to a Fiero race team before I could drop it in. I don’t think it ever saw track time sadly, as the project moved on. Damn college tuition getting in the way of a 20 year old’s dreams…

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