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Thread: Pontiac Grand Am (1st gen) 1972-1975

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    The Netherlands

    Pontiac Grand Am (1st gen) 1972-1975

    The Pontiac Grand Am is a mid-size car and later a compact car that was produced by Pontiac. The history of Grand Am starts with Pontiac executives noting incursion into the US market by Mercedes and BMW. Notably, the American sports car was usually without luxury features and the luxury car without sport features. Foreign makes mixed these features. Pontiac hybridized the Trans Am with the Grand Prix to create the Grand Am. Built on the A-body platform, the intended GTO body was re-badged and fitted with the Grand Prix interior. As the 1973 was produced, OPEC levied an oil embargo to the USA. This resulted in a dichotomy of buyers: total luxury or total economy. Since Grand Am was a “in-betweener “, its sales died and it was discontinued in 1975. The Grand Am had two separate three-year runs in the 1970s: from 1973 to 1975, and again from 1978 to 1980. It was based on the GM A platform. Production of the Grand Am was canceled in 1980 when it was replaced by the Pontiac 6000. The Grand Am was reintroduced in 1985 when it replaced the Pontiac Phoenix. It became Pontiac's best selling car and was later replaced by the Pontiac G6, so named as it was intended to be the 6th generation of the Grand Am.

    All 1973–1975 Grand Ams were built in Pontiac, Michigan at Pontiac's main assembly plant. The 1978-1980 Grand Ams were built in Pontiac, Michigan at Pontiac's main assembly plant and in Atlanta, Georgia at GMAD Lakewood. All Grand Ams between 1985 and 2005 were built in Lansing, Michigan at the Lansing Car Assembly.

    First generation (1972-1975)
    The original Grand Am was introduced in the fall of 1972 as a 1973 model. It was based on the GM A platform (A-body) along with other cars such as the Chevrolet Chevelle, Pontiac LeMans, Pontiac GTO, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, and the Buick Century. The GM A-body platform had major design revisions in 1973 that included the elimination of pillarless hardtops due to proposed Federal rollover standards, but with frameless windows similar to that of a hardtop. No convertibles were produced due to the rollover standards (that never were enacted). In addition to Federal emissions regulations, new safety standards required a 5 mph (8.0 km/h) impact-resistant front bumper and a 2.5 mph (4.0 km/h) impact-resistant rear bumper, which increased to 5 mph (8.0 km/h) for 1974.

    The Grand Am, coined by Pontiac with a name derived from two other cars in its lineup ("Grand" signifying "Grand Prix luxury" and "Am" for "Trans Am performance") was designed as America's answer to European luxury/sport sedans and available as a four-door Colonnade sedan or a two-door Colonnade coupe.[6] A total of 43,136 Grand Ams were built during the first year of production (both two-door and four-door models).

    The Grand Am could be had with a standard 2-bbl 400 cu in (6.6 L) V8 engine with single exhaust producing 170 hp (127 kW; 172 PS), an optional 4-bbl version of this engine with single exhaust producing 200 hp (149 kW; 203 PS) that was only available with a 4-speed manual transmission, an optional 4-bbl version of this engine with dual exhaust producing 230 hp (172 kW; 233 PS), or an optional 4-bbl 455 cu in (7.5 L) with dual exhaust 250 hp (186 kW; 253 PS). Availability of 310 hp (231 kW; 314 PS) Super Duty version of the 4-bbl 455 V8 did not materialize. The engine displacement, expressed in liters, was displayed on the bootlid in an effort to accentuate the car's supposedly European character.

    All engines were available with a Turbo-hydramatic 400 automatic transmission as standard equipment. A 4-speed manual transmission was available with the 400/4-bbl engine in 1973 and 1974, but this was not popular.

    The 1973 Pontiac Grand Am style had a unique flexible urethane front fascia center nose (known as the 'Endura' nose) that was squeezable and could return to its original shape following a minor collision along with the new energy-absorbing bumpers, a total of six grille openings with vertical bars, round front turn signals with a cross-hair design, horizontal rear tail lights, and chrome rear bumper. Additionally, Grand Ams featured a Radial Tuned Suspension (RTS) as standard equipment that included radial-ply tires, Pliacell shock absorbers, and front and rear sway bars. The springs were advertised as being computer selected. The Grand Am was one of only three GM cars to have standard radial tires and appropriate suspension tuning in 1973, with the others being the Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon and Chevrolet Monte Carlo S.

    The Grand Am included Strato bucket seats upholstered in Naugahyde vinyl or corduroy cloth featuring manual recliners and adjustable lumbar supports - both features common on European-style sports/luxury sedans, but unusual for American cars of that time. Also included were an instrument panel from the Pontiac Grand Prix featuring a Rally gauge cluster with fuel, oil, water and volt gauges (a tachometer or fuel economy gauge was optional, and on cars so equipped, the clock was moved to a space on the lower instrument panel under the radio), three-spoke padded steering wheel with brushed-stainless spokes, and Genuine Crossfire African Mahogany trim on the dash facing, radio and clock surrounds, as well as the center console between the front seats. Grand Ams also were among the first U.S.-built cars with a turn-signal mounted headlight dimmer switch that had been common on imported cars for decades. Other standard equipment included concealed windshield wipers, a 1.12 in (28 mm) front stabilizer bar, and an in-the-windshield radio antenna. Upscale options included air conditioning, tinted glass, power windows-locks-seat, rear defogger, various sound systems, and tilt-steering-wheel. AM/FM stereo with a tape player was optional.

    Pontiac also produced a single 1973 Grand Am station wagon as a feasibility study. This was a LeMans wagon converted to a Grand Am. A functional ram-air induction system was developed for the Pontiac A-bodies utilizing twin NACA openings in the hood, but the option was dropped due to inability to pass federally mandated drive-by noise standards. A few functional Ram Air systems were sold over the counter. The twin-scoop NACA hood was an option for any Pontiac A-body for all three years, but was non-functional.

    In a Popular Mechanics Owners survey, 67% rated the build quality as good to excellent and 79% liked the handling. However, 22.1% disliked the fuel economy.

    Source: Wikipedia
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    Last edited by Man of Steel; 03-23-2020 at 11:42 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    The Netherlands
    Described as "The mid-sized Pontiac with Foreign Intrigue ... American Ingenuity" on the front cover of the four-page 1974 Grand Am brochure that featured a green four-door sedan, only minor styling changes highlighted this year's model including a redesigned nose and grille with 12 openings with horizontal bars. The 1974 Grand Am's rear-end styling was redesigned for the new 5 mph crash standards and had vertical rear taillights with relocated license plate and fuel filler above the bumper. Engine and transmission offerings were the same as 1973, but four-speed manual transmissions were no longer offered in California, where only the Turbo Hydra-matic automatic was available. Inside, the genuine African crossfire mahogany trim on the instrument panel was replaced by a simulated material due to delamination problems on the 1973 models but the real wood was continued on the center console, optional console clock, and radio bezel.

    Engine choices were 400 cu in (6.6 L) 2-barrel single exhaust producing 190 hp (142 kW; 193 PS), 400 cubic inch 4-barrel single exhaust producing 200 hp (149 kW; 203 PS), 400 cubic inch 4-barrel dual exhaust producing 225 hp (168 kW; 228 PS), and 455 cubic inch 4-barrel dual exhaust producing 250 hp (186 kW; 253 PS).

    Sales were down more than 50 percent due to the 1973 oil crisis, and while the recession continued, prices increased for all 1974 model cars. Only 17,083 Grand Ams were built.

    The 1975 Grand Am looked the same as the 1974 model, but had vertical front grille bars, a body-colored rear bumper, and a catalytic converter single-exhaust, which mandated the use of unleaded fuel, along with GM's High Energy Ignition and other items promoted as part of Pontiac's maximum mileage system. In addition to the standard roofline with louvered rear side windows, Grand Am coupes with the optional vinyl roof could be ordered with a full triangular rear side window or a vertical opera window similar to that found on the Grand Prix.

    Inside, the Strato bucket seats received revised vertical trim patterns, the adjustable lumbar support controls were dropped, and only the passenger seat had a recliner, a "safety practice" which would continue at GM for a decade. New this year as a no-cost option was a 60/40 bench seat with center armrest.

    Engines were also detuned to meet the 1975 emission regulations with the compression ratio dropping to a new low of 7.6 to 1 on some engines. Standard was the 170 hp (127 kW; 172 PS) 400 cu in (6.6 L) V8 with two-barrel carburetor, optional were a 185 hp (138 kW; 188 PS) 400, or a 200 hp (149 kW; 203 PS) 455 cu in (7.5 L) - both with four-barrel carburetors. Turbo Hydra-matic was standard equipment and the only transmission offered this year. Performance from 0-60 was 7.7 seconds.

    A total of 10,679 Grand Ams were built in 1975 and the series was dropped after this year due to declining sales and rising gas prices as a result of the 1973 oil crisis. Also a factor leading to the Grand Am's cancellation, were plans for all 1976 Pontiac A-body cars receiving the newly approved rectangular headlights, which would necessitate a complete redesign of the Grand Am's Endura nose and Pontiac officials decided that the expense of such a redesign could not be justified based on low production numbers. The basic GM A-body design remained until 1977.

    Source: Wikipedia
    Last edited by Man of Steel; 03-23-2020 at 11:37 PM.

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