Rare Rides: The 1986 Pontiac Grand Prix 2+2, Not Actually Named Aerocoupe
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.