It had the longest hood of any car in 1969, it was comfortable, luxurious, loaded with options and hauled some serious ass when you mashed the go pedal. It wasn’t a Camaro, Mustang or Charger, nor was it a GTO, Corvette or Barracuda, in fact and for all intense and purposes, it wasn’t even a muscle car. That however didn’t stop Pontiac’s new 1969 Grand Prix SJ from going down in history as one of the baddest executive saloons on the planet. We all know that buying a car is a very personal statement. It gives others insight into who we are, what our economic bracket is and how we view ourselves. If you’re a professional for example, then odds are you won’t be driving up to the office in a Subaru STI with a big wing on the back. However, you may opt for something like an Acura TL. It’s classier, and while not as nimble, it still has plenty of grunt and paints a different picture to the world around you.
The same was true back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Muscle cars were all the rage, but for those who still wanted the dash without the flash, there actually weren’t that many options. This is where the Pontiac Grand Prix SJ came in. The “SJ” model to a Grand Prix was the equivalent of what “SRT” is to a Chrysler 300. It was the big gun in the fleet, and while civilized it would also run like hell if given the opportunity.
Most SJ models came equipped with Pontiac’s 370 hp 428 cu in V8 that produced close to 500 lb-ft of torque. It could also be had with either a 4-speed manual or Pontiac’s tried and true turbo 400 automatic transmission. Regardless of how you set them up, the big Grand Prix SJ’s were not only great to look at, but performed beautifully as well.
Inside these battle barges could be optioned out with full leather, air conditioning, power windows, AM/FM stereo as well as a back seat mounted 8-track tape deck. Their build quality was also far superior to anything that was put out at the time by the likes of Ford or Chrysler. Sadly Pontiac stopped producing the second generation Grand Prix in 1972, which was a shame, because in my opinion they were the best models to date. The Grand Prix SJ, while a beautiful automobile is unfortunately not all that collectible, which means that finding a good one can be difficult. However, like anything else, if you really want one and do your due diligence, they’re out there just waiting to be snapped up.