By on June 29, 2020

Rare Rides previously examined a rare Grand Prix. It was from a Pepsi contest and separated from the coupe you see here by only three years. Today we consider the end of an era for Grand Prix, with the very special 2+2.

Pontiac’s full-size V8 Grand Prix coupe debuted for the 1962 model year as replacement for the Ventura. The Grand Prix was more about performance than Ventura, as that name transitioned to become a luxurious trim of the Catalina. By the second-generation Grand Prix, the model shrunk into a midsize offering, but kept the sportiness Pontiac customers desired.

The successful formula remained the same through the third generation cars, but downsizing occurred for the debut of the fourth-gen model in 1978. The boxier and more contemporary looking fourth Grand Prix was a foot shorter than its predecessor, and lost 600 pounds of heft. Another sign of the times (and fuel economy regulation), Grand Prix customers had to pay extra for a V8 engine. Standard from 1978 onward was V6 power sourced from Buick, in 3.8- or 4.1-liter varieties.

V8 options started at 4.3 liters with a Pontiac-developed unit, and ranged to 5.0-liters in the 305 Chevrolet V8. There was also a 5.7-liter diesel option should a customer want to pair an awful diesel experience with their downsized coupe. The vast majority of Grand Prix in this generation gained momentum by the grace of a three-speed automatic. More on that caveat later.

As its sales success continued, evolutionary trim changes appeared. Originally designated as an A-body car, GM created a new front-drive A-body line for 1982, and the rear-drive A-body cars were called G-body instead. And in 1986, there was a bit of a shakeup.

The tail lamps changed in design, featuring three different sections! And less impressively, there was a new body style on offer: the 2+2. This new greenhouse-inspired coupe was paired with the similar Monte Carlo SS 2+2 for a single model year. A homologation effort, General Motors needed to make some production cars in order to use its new aerodynamic two-door body in NASCAR.

Notable changes over standard Grand Prix included the large, fixed rear glass arrangement and shortened trunk lid (made of fiberglass), along with an integrated ducktail spoiler. At the front, a pointy aerodynamic nose replaced the boxy standard front clip. All examples came painted in the same two-tone grey scheme, with 2+2 signage here and there. Other standard 2+2 features included 5.0-liter V8 power, plus a transmission upgrade in the form of a four-speed 200-4R. All used the same Rally II wheels.

It should be noted that the “Aerocoupe” name was an affectation by the public, as the official name of the car was Grand Prix 2+2. Given its special limited-production nature, dealers added a considerable 20 percent markup to the cars. In total, 1,118 were made, and all of them went to Southeastern region Pontiac dealers. The Grand Prix remained unchanged for its final model year in 1987, as the rear-drive coupe headed into the sunset. Its replacement in ’88 was much more with the times: front-drive, powered only by V6 engines, and available with four doors.

Today’s Rare Ride has just under 29,000 miles, and in its pristine condition asks $18,900.

[Images: seller]

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34 Comments on “Rare Rides: The 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2, Not Actually Named Aerocoupe...”


  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I had a ’76 Grand Prix with the 455ci V8 that produced a whopping 200hp which was pretty good in ’76 and a lot better then then the 140hp this 2+2 put out

    • 0 avatar
      Arthur Dailey

      For their era 1976 Grand Prix’s were considered ‘powerful’. I too had a Grand Prix SJ (the sportier version with the ‘big’ engine) and the first time I drove it, I burnt rubber when I left the lot.

      As for this RR, the 305 has never been one of my favourite GM engines.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      Actually according to several sources this 2+2 had the 165 Hp version of the 305 which sat mid way between the std 150 HP LG4 and the HO L69 motor. The 2+2 also was upgraded to a 3.08 rear end in place of the std 2.41 setup.

  • avatar
    brett

    My first thought when I saw this was the SUX 6000 from Robocop.

  • avatar
    ajla

    For one reason or another the Grand Prix of the gen topped out with the 140hp LG4 Chevy-built engine. The Monte Carlo SS (including its Aerocoupe trim) came with the 180hp L69 engine. While the L69 cars are no drag strip kings, the extra output is noticeable.

    The 442 of this era (probably worthy of its own RR post) had a 170(?)hp version of the Olds 307. I’ve never driven a “high-output” 307 but the regular 140hp version punches below its weight IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      ponchoman49

      The 305 never made 140 HP in LG4 4BBL option. From 1983-88 it made 150 HP in G-body form and 165-170 in the full sized cars and F-bodies. The GP 2+2 had the 165 HP version as stated by several articles on this car one of which was Pontiac magazine. The L69 HP V8 started off with 175 HP and then was bumped to 180 in 1984. In the F-body cars it made 190. As for the 442 the 307 HO started out with 180 HP but was downgraded to 170 when switched over to the swirl port 7A heads after the 1985 model year as the vin “9”.
      The 442 was much quicker than the garden variety 140 HP 307 “Y” engines and there lame 2.14-2.56 gears as they not only had 30-40 more horses but also a 3.73 rear gear and a higher stall speed torque converter.

  • avatar
    GreginToronto

    Actually the Monte Carlo SS variant was called the Aerocoupe. Vintage video of the the Monte, 2+2, Olds 442 and Buick GN: https://youtu.be/xcsywdbMwnU

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      +1, I was wondering if someone was going to link that video. Here’s a fun follow-up with a Regal Limited: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96kmdqhz46s

  • avatar
    NoID

    One of the ugliest cars I’ve ever seen, online or in person.

    I want it so bad.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    I think I just threw up in my mouth a little.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Wow, I thought my car had a tiny trunk opening…

  • avatar
    Heino

    Like the boat-tailed Buick Riviera, the rear window is amazing.

  • avatar
    Heino

    Like the boat-tailed Buick Riviera, the rear window is amazing.

  • avatar

    From the camera angles the rear glass reminds me of the original Barracuda rear glass – similar wrap and taper angle. I had never heard of this model. Thanks for the write up, Corey!

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The Pontiac 2+2 was also a trim and performance package offered on the Catalina in the mid 60’s.
    The Super Sport of Pontiacs.
    I’ve beaten this horse before but 1980’s GM had fuel injection standard on compact J-cars and mid sized A-bodies but it was not available on G-and B-bodies unless you got the 4.3 Chevrolet V6 or the halo car Buick T-type and Grand National turbo.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      yup…

      Fuel Injection does not get the credit it deserves in many circles for being such a wonderful leap forward. In my fantasy world my 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with Olds 307 would have had TBI. I don’t even care if it would have increased the horsepower/torque. The drive-ability benefits would have been amazing.

      • 0 avatar
        ponchoman49

        Your not kidding. I also have a 1987 Cutlass Supreme coupe with the 307 4BBL tied to a 200R4 and would kill to have at least TBI sitting on top of that wheezer of an engine.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I love the bubble rear window.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I guess technically it really is a ‘homologation special’ with actual race-track modifications. But, I cannot imagine a world where these are collectable.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    My Dad and his brother Tim were so deep into GM in this era I think that Tim’s fantasy car would have likely been this 2+2 (he already owned a early MY example of this downsized Grand Prix and I’m sure dear old Dad would have wanted a Monte Carlo SS.

    The only redeeming thing I can say about the G-bodies is that supposedly a Big Block Buick/Pontiac 455 will fit under that hood.

    • 0 avatar
      Lightspeed

      While they were sad for horsepower, they did handle quite well for the time if equipped with F41, FE3 packages, and of course you put a built 350 in them easily.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Today, the most typical power plant putting out 140 hp is a three-cylinder, ~1.3-liter turbo.

  • avatar
    ThePitz

    My dad had a ’78 Grand Am. Seemingly a rare car and had the 301 V8 with the 4 barrel carb. This car takes some cues.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    yup…

    Fuel Injection does not get the credit it deserves in many circles for being such a wonderful leap forward. In my fantasy world my 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme with Olds 307 would have had TBI. I don’t even care if it would have increased the horsepower/torque. The drive-ability benefits would have been amazing.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    This car wasn’t built to sell in any numbers…it was built because the aerodynamic Ford Thunderbird was kicking GM’s butt on NASCAR’s big tracks. That’s all.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      A suggestion for Buy, Drive, Burn- Fox body Thunderbird, Cougar vs GM G-body coupes.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Buy – 87-88 Cougar XR-7 with 5.0
        Drive – 88 Thunderbird Turbo Coupe with Manual and SVO type magnetic suspension (Think the 88 had the most power, but any past 85 will really do)
        burn – all of the G bodies.

        • 0 avatar
          MRF 95 T-Bird

          I owned an 87 Thunderbird with the 3.8 Essex TBI, the 88 got the MPI that gave it a few more ponies. One of the best vehicles I’ve ever owned.
          The 87-88 Turbo coupe had the inter cooler with the air slots in the hood giving it around 40 more horsepower. The SVO Mustang had the hood scoop.

        • 0 avatar
          gsdupont

          Art –

          I got an 87 Buick G-Body that says different. It came in one color…Black.

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