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Item: 1964 Pontiac Grand Prix


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It's not common for someone mid-aged to still have the first car they ever bought.

I picked up this '64 GP in '86, it was 22 yrs old then. Still got her, 34 years later, and she's now 56 years old. Thankfully, she's basically the same shape as when I got her, as opposed to having degenerated in the time in-between.

Very nicely optioned for '64: heater/defroster, power steering, power brakes, AM-FM, power antenna, power windows, A/C, Electro-Cruise, tilt wheel, Cordova vinyl top, automatic. Standard were the 4bbl 389 V8, dual exhaust, bucket/console, padded dash. Regarding the tilt or the AM-FM, one is a first year option, the other is 2nd year. I think tilt is first year.

When my buddy asked me to borrow $100 to buy it, I said 'let's go check it out'. It was parked with 2 other cars for sale:

1963 Buick LeSabre 2-dr sedan, 150K miles, painted white with a ROLLER. $150
1966 Pontiac Catalina 4-dr sedan, 125K miles, no keys, gold, $125.
and this triple-black Grand Prix Sport coupe was just $100.

Needless to say- I lent him the 100, with the caveat that he give me first dibs when he decided to sell it (inevitable, and on a short time span based on past history).

Now, the car was bought in '86. The inspection sticker in the window was dated from 1971! So it had already sat for 15 years. Owner said he started it regularly, but the alternator always gave him trouble so he parked it. Odometer the day of purchase said 55554.5

My buddy then (we were young squirts) basically only bought cheap old iron to use as daily drivers. Went thru them fast & furious. Even though we rebuild the carb one night at his gas station job, the tank had enough gunk in it that the car continually stalled out while driving. Why he never dropped/cleaned the tank I don't know. I think it was mere months later when he offered it to me for the same $100. I accepted, August 21, 1986.

Edited by balthazar
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  • 3 weeks later...

Both lower front fender drain holes tend to clog & rust out on these- there's a hole on each side there.
Paint on the horizontal surfaces is lightly crispy, but the sides are going to buff out nicely.
Frame, trunk pan, floors and rockers are mint. What's left of the vinyl top shows zero bubbles (at the C-pillar).

It really was only on the road for 7 years.

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1 hour ago, balthazar said:

Both lower front fender drain holes tend to clog & rust out on these- there's a hole on each side there.
Paint on the horizontal surfaces is lightly crispy, but the sides are going to buff out nicely.
Frame, trunk pan, floors and rockers are mint. What's left of the vinyl top shows zero bubbles (at the C-pillar).

It really was only on the road for 7 years.

Anything you can do to address or fix the drain hole issue?

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I've never looked specifically at that, but this isn't a car that's going to sit out in the rain, maybe ever again.
I have spare rust-free fenders, but 1. they're a gold color, 2. they have many different bits of trim that would require drilling & filling of holes to take to GP spec, and 3. that's a considerable amount of dis/re-assembly to swap them out. I'd rather live with the contained rot & the original fenders/paint.

I always pictured this car restored to stock. Financially, that doesn't make sense; I can buy one restored for considerable less than it would take to get this to that condition, I think. So I've moved on from that vision to one closer to the Cab-Over; make mechanically sound and drive. The GP is in FAR nicer shape than the COE, one could put it in the 'survivor' class of collectible since it's never been restored / is all original. Interior is really pretty great shape, has the original cardboards/mats in the trunk.

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• Vacuumed/ washed the vinyl trunk mat.
• Starting to amass info to do the carb rebuild.
•Working on getting 4 steelie rims together for tires. Feelin' optimistic there. 2 are done, 3rd is primed & partially painted.
• Following a 3rd lead on a replacement accel linkage piece- the ball stud the carb linkage hooks to snapped off mine.
 

IMG_2222.jpg

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• Changed the oil/filter.
• Hooked up the un-hooked-up trans cooler lines. I do not recall why they were disconnected to begin with.
• Finished painting rim #3.
• Pulled all plugs, cleaned & gapped. Installed loose, as I want to turn the motor by hand with them out, to lessen the high compression load.
• Lead 3, 4, and 5 for the accel linkage are dead. Still looking.
• Carb rebuild next.

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  • 6 months later...

OK. here's the update since last post.
Cylinders were filled with Marvel Mystery Oil end of August but the motor never responded to turning any further. OK, it may have moved about 1/16th of a revolution. It's stuck. It has to come out.

Using a borescope, most of the cylinders are fine, 2 look less so. Don't have any idea why it won't turn- it's something else.

I decided to have the Tri-P rebuilt and run that, it needs to get done so the motor can use it when being built. 2 months turnaround on the carbs, supposedly 3 months before the engine builder has a slot for my mill. Cam is spec'd, going to do some transmission recon as I may swap it for a THM400 unit.

It's either get this car moving again, or sell it off. 

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Not legitimate idea, no. Yes- it "ran when parked".
It's not the trans; put it in N and pushed it smoothly both outside & back in garage. Friend says starter, but that's illogical to me. Took all belts off front, water pump turns (someone online suggested that, but there's no mechanical connection between a water pump & the reciprocating assembly). I have wondered about the timing chain, but if debris wedged, it should reverse out. Seems to point to the rings. 

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7 hours ago, balthazar said:

Not legitimate idea, no. Yes- it "ran when parked".
It's not the trans; put it in N and pushed it smoothly both outside & back in garage. Friend says starter, but that's illogical to me. Took all belts off front, water pump turns (someone online suggested that, but there's no mechanical connection between a water pump & the reciprocating assembly). I have wondered about the timing chain, but if debris wedged, it should reverse out. Seems to point to the rings. 

Did you try and start it at some point?

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Carbs are boxed and going to rebuilder tomm. Tri-P manifold has had all threads chased, all edges broken and all casting flash ground smooth. I wish this were aluminum, but only the factory race pieces were (big $$). Cast iron here, weighs 46 lbs.

19DC4945-71AC-46E4-A78A-5551F24AB423.jpeg

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Upgrade on the cam is about it. Machining & new pistons will reduce compression (rated at 10.5:1), cam will need to offset that. The trans is still a question- the stock one is of unknown condition, not sure if I will go thru changing over to a TH400. Gearing is fine.
I'm approaching this as a 'survivor' car since it's so original, besides; the Invicta will eat any GP cosmetic money right up. I'm way past the point of no return there, so the only way is 'forward'.

A pic/vid shoot would be awesome. Of course- I will keep the status posted here.

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On 2/18/2021 at 12:45 PM, balthazar said:

Upgrade on the cam is about it. Machining & new pistons will reduce compression (rated at 10.5:1), cam will need to offset that. The trans is still a question- the stock one is of unknown condition, not sure if I will go thru changing over to a TH400. Gearing is fine.
I'm approaching this as a 'survivor' car since it's so original, besides; the Invicta will eat any GP cosmetic money right up. I'm way past the point of no return there, so the only way is 'forward'.

A pic/vid shoot would be awesome. Of course- I will keep the status posted here.

This thing running might bring me back out to New Jersey. 

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