By on September 28, 2017

Image: 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, Richard Petty Edition, via sellerThere’s a bit of a history with Rare Rides entries featuring Pontiac models. First was the awesome all-wheel drive 6000, with a Pepsi Edition Grand Prix following on its heels just three days afterward. Now, three months have elapsed since we last saw a Pontiac on these pages — far too long!

Bend the knee, for the Richard Petty Pontiac Grand Prix SE has arrived.

The NASCAR-inclined among you are already aware of Mr. Petty’s successful NASCAR career. Coinciding with his retirement after the 1991 NASCAR season, General Motors decided to do a very special limited run of Pontiac Grand Prix models in his namesake.

Image: 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, Richard Petty Edition, via seller

Limited to the 1992 model year only and a 1,000-unit run, each Richard Petty SE featured some special cues and badging, like rare Pontiacs are wont to do. Buyers chose from red, white, or blue paint (#America), and all examples were powered by the 3.4-liter DOHC V6 engine.

Image: 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, Richard Petty Edition, via sellerUnique trim surrounded the exterior, where you’d find a special spoiler on the trunk. Also on the trunk, Petty’s signature.

Image: 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, Richard Petty Edition, via seller

Some color-keyed lace alloys prove once more how awesome Pontiac wheel designs could be.

Image: 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, Richard Petty Edition, via sellerThe Grand Prix’s interior didn’t receive as much attention as the exterior. Never fear, all examples got the ever-useful combination glove box lock. Perhaps making this particular example more unusual, there’s a manual transmission putting all horses to the front wheels.

Image: 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, Richard Petty Edition, via seller

Over on the passenger’s side of the dash, special “appreciation tour” badging is found. Richard Petty himself signed this one, which (after some research) we can conclude was not a standard feature.

Image: 1992 Pontiac Grand Prix SE, Richard Petty Edition, via seller

Petty is presently owner of a NASCAR team, and his name has been in the news recently due to some inflammatory comments he made surrounding NFL anthem protests. In fairness to the seller, the car was listed before Petty made said comments. Current ask is $10,000, but surely there’s some flexibility there.

Maybe we’ll contact the seller later to offer some photography tips.

[Images via seller]

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32 Comments on “Rare Rides: Kneel Before a Richard Petty Pontiac Grand Prix From 1992...”


  • avatar
    doctorv8

    “Passenger airbag cover”?? Surely you jest. GM didn’t even put a driver’s bag in most cars prior to ’94, sticking with cheapo passive belts, until dual airbags became mandatory.

    You can clearly see the passive belt in your first pic with the window down.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Maybe worth $4k.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    Yikes…I’d like to know what other mistakes this private collector made….Corvette pace-cars? Dale Earnhardt Monte Carlo SS?

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I actually think a Dale Earnhardt Monte Carlo would clear 5 figures.

      Sr. died on the track relatively young so his positive legacy is fairly well cemented. He’ll never become a rambling surly grandpa like Petty or Waltrip have become.

      Earnhardt is heavily associated with Chevy. A Petty W-body Pontiac is like a Johnny Unitas San Diego Chargers jersey.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      As an investment yea many of these commemorative cars are a bust. Still I like the blue and other than Petty’s politics he seems like a decent fellow and great racer. Just not $10k worth for 90s GM

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    3400 DOHC HO – FYI (growing up in a heavily GM area of the Midwest) plan on headgasket before 100,000 mile mark – I never saw a used one with it’s original headgasket unless it was being hauled to the scrapyard.

    Uncle Tim had a W-body Cutlass convertible with that engine and eventually traded it (with bad headgasket) to his cousin Bruce who promptly installed a 3.1 V6. (Tim got a W-body 3800 Monte Carlo SS in trade.)

    • 0 avatar
      quaquaqua

      Like that was all that rare back then. My friends all had 90s Thunderbirds and Shadows (for some reason) in high school. It became a running joke between all of us, who would have a head gasket go next. I had a relatively new Cavalier at the time. Ran like total crap, but I got to 122k miles unscathed. Shocking back then!

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Doing a HG repair on an Essex or 60-degree OHV is relatively straightforward.

        Doing a HG on the 3.4L DOHC is an Italian-level nightmare.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          how much of a nightmare? Serious question.

          I don’t understand this headgasket scare. Aren’t they like $600 to replace? Make it a grand. 100,000 miles is 6-8 years. Ditto valve cover gasket. I really don’t get it… but am willing to hear other opinions.

      • 0 avatar
        saturnotaku

        I think those late 80s-early 90s GM cars were better than people give them credit for. Our immediate and extended family had an ’89 LeSabre and Celebrity wagon, along with a ’92 Cavalier, Lumina, and Cutless Ciera. All ran reliably to well over 100,000 miles each. The only real pain point was the Cavalier tended the chew through alternators, but replacements were cheap and easy to come by so no big deal.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I worked at a Pontiac dealers at this time. I don’t believe we had the Petty edition in Canada, but we had the otherwise identical car. Every year the cladding got bigger and bigger, like it would engulf the whole car (nearly did here). I quite liked the dashboard design with the switch pods, an idea that should have stuck around. Of course these were atrocious, typical GM handling too soft on longer bumps and dips, too damn hard on sharper bumps, heavy ‘sport’ steering and hopeless brakes. Remembering the AWD Pontiac 6000STE, that’s the direction they should have taken.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Sweet interior plastics, switchgear and gauges, GM!

    A worthy predecessor to the Cadillac ATS!

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    What is that, the LQ1 P.O.S. edition?

    Only a proper power-train is bow worthy.

    There is only one who grants believers eternal torque.

  • avatar
    The Soul of Wit

    It would have been sweeter, perhaps, if the car had actually been painted the same shade of blue as Petty’s famous #43 race cars.

    Also, as to Mr. Petty’s so-called “inflammatory” language on the NFL “protests”…..

    One persons “inflammatory comment” is another persons voice of reason. Since the writer obviously doesn’t know the difference, perhaps it would be better had he left that reference out. Readers don’t have to be beaten up over this issue in EVERY article we read online, do we?

    • 0 avatar

      The comments themselves were inflammatory across the media. This is a fact, not an opinion on the content of said comments.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      In my book, firing people over what amounts to a political disagreement may be legal, but it’s wrong. It’s not like someone who kneels for the national anthem is live-streaming himself tossing rocks through a Starbucks window wearing full antifa gear, or goose stepping down the street singing the praises of Adolf Hitler.

      Petty’s entitled to approach this issue any way he sees fit. And I’m entitled to say that I disagree wholeheartedly with his approach.

      Welcome to America.

  • avatar
    Buckwheat

    The little Pontiac dealership I worked at back then, got two Richard Petty Grand Prix’- one red, and one white. We couldn’t get a blue one for some reason. The red one sold immediately to a guy that was almost a clone (in appearance) to Petty, right down to the hat, belt buckle and sunglasses. The white one sold quickly as well.

    I thought the 3.4 Twin Dual Cam engine was great, until the head gaskets and timing belts started failing. It wasn’t long before we refused to trade for 3.4 powered cars, unless it was one we had previously sold.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      I recall a story on this engine when it first came out. There was a cutaway of it and the caption was “4 valves per cylinder – the hard way!”

      Didn’t this engine use a jackshaft where the cam would be in a OHV engine…I believe this was done so the tooling that made the OHV engine that this was based on could be used on the “Twin Dual Cam” engine. Sheesh, after the tooling related fiasco with the Olds diesel you would have thought that they learned their lesson.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      @ Buckwheat – I was going to suggest that Petty buy this car, but now I’m going with the story that the guy who bought the car from your dealership was King Richard himself.

  • avatar
    JEFFSHADOW

    Ahh! The ideal next car plan!
    I have been watching Copart auctions for awhile now. Here’s the plan: Combine the front and rear of a 2001 or 2002 Oldsmobile Intrigue with the center of a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix coupe (they are both W-bodies; this has to work! Where’s Igor!?!)…
    Then you will have a new 442!
    With the Shortstar 3500.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    I made a model of one of these when I was a kid, but mine had the turbo 3.1L.

    I was 12 years old and really into cars when the turbo Grand Prix came out. I don’t know why now, but I really loved it. Crapped my pants when I saw the model kit at the hobby store. My model was black with bronze metallic flake with those gold alloy spoke wheels.

    Z24 Cavaliers, Beretta GTs, IROC-Zs, 5.0L Mustangs, man, these were the cars I aspired to have when I got my license.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    I’m meh on the Richard Petty stuff, but it’s rare to see ordinary cars from this era in this kind of condition. What a time capsule!

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    I had the unfortunate pleasure of selling these back in 1992. Yes I sold Pontiac vehicles for around a year. Pure junk! It would take two days to prep these cars after rolling off the truck. Spark plugs would often be lose, interior bits falling apart. Pure junk.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    If I throw in an extra quarter will the owner take it to the gas station and vacuum the interior? It drives me crazy to see cars for sale where the owner was too damn lazy to clean the car decently for sale. Makes me wonder how much attention he paid to mechanical maintenance.

  • avatar
    Pig Hater

    Looks like all it had was 210 horsepower, which was good for the early 90’s but piss poor for a 3.4 liter V6 today

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