Friday, April 09, 2010

Parts, Parts and More Parts

It's always gratifying to win an eBay auction for something that you've searched for a while. But the sometimes aggravating part is that the seller apparently doesn't really know what they're selling. This happens all the time. I can remember many a search for McCoy pottery resulting in titles such as "McCoy?" The ever forgiving question mark used to be a cause for frustration, but now I just laugh at the ignorance, naivete, or down-right audacity.

It's funny how sometimes those sellers believe attaching that name to an auction excuses them from responsibility for honest descriptions in their listings. They may think enthusiasts won't know the difference, but believe me, we do.

Anyhow, I won the remote mirror for the Grand Prix a week or so ago, and it's been sitting here in the office patiently waiting for my attention. As I stated in an earlier post, it's not perfect but with a little steel wool and some polish it will do its job nicely. I thought I'd mess around with it today and went out to the garage to replace the incorrect mirror (from a 1966 Pontiac) that's currently on the car.

Horrors! The allen screw is stripped. Think that was mentioned in the auction description? Nah. so I had to back it out by hand just to see if it lined up with the original holes in the door. It does.

Thankfully, with the help of Ames Performance, I'll have a new gasket and mounting bracket for the mirror in a few days. And while I was there I picked up two 10-ohm speakers to work with my restored OEM Delco AM-FM radio. So, I thought, "hell, while I'm doing this I may as well go ahead and replace the hydraulic hoses for the top. So a visit to Convertible Top Specialists and a hundred bucks later, I feel a Grand Prix weekend coming up soon.

Welcome, Spring!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Back to Work

I noticed that it's been a year since I've posted anything about the progress I have or have not made on the Grand Prix. I only have a short note for today, but we'll see where this goes in the next few weeks.

First, I finally found a remote driver's side-view mirror on eBay. I won the auction and it arrived today. While it's not perfect, it's in good shape. I'm looking forward to replacing the one that doesn't belong on the car soon, but I've decided to wait until I can make a day of working on the convertible, when I'll remove the back seat (again) and the rear interior side panels (again) to replace the last component of the hydraulic lift system for the top: the hoses.

The lift motor was replaced several years ago, but there were still problems from a persistent leak. So, I replaced the lift cylinders, in an-all day job, because all indication suggested the left cylinder was the culprit. Following that, the top worked great for about a year. But then I began to recognize the tell-tale slow operation and discovered a dark, unattractive stain forming on the bottom of the Parchment vinyl back seat cushion. Apparently the hose on the left side has been leaking at the machined connection all along. So, after an additional $200 and another day's labor, I'll have that problem solved. Hopefully, then, it will be off to Don's for a new top.

Other than that, the license tags which expired at the end of December are finally renewed. Because the top isn't working I waited for the first warm day last month to sit in the inspection lines. There are countless complaints about the long lines at Memphis' inspection stations and for some reason those cries seem to have reached a crescendo in the last few weeks. As a result, our new Mayor tweeted one Friday that all stations, all lines would be open the next day.

I was amazed when I arrived at the station at 3:00 P.M. to find only one car waiting at each of the four lanes. Thankfully, for the tenth year in a row the Grand Prix passed with flying colors. There was one thing pointed out to me, however: "honey, you need new wiper blades." So, true. But since I don't drive the car in the rain, I don't pay as close attention to the wipers like I do in my everyday driver.

The daily driver, a 2007 VW Passat 3.6L 4Motion wagon.

When I took it for it's annual test two weeks later, the Washington Street inspection station looked more like what I usually expect during trips there.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Good Lord

It's been a while since I've posted here. Quite a while, in fact. Since joining ClubGP though, I think I should to pay some long overdue attention to this blog. Plus, I'm excited to have received a NOS lighter bezel in the mail today that I'd won on eBay. It's perfect -- and I can't wait to replace the one with peeling chrome that came with the car.

The GP is holding its own, waiting in the garage for more balmy days. Aside from normal maintenance, this summer's goals are small but will make a huge difference in the car. I plan to do a second rebuild on the Carter AFB carb since the folks in Pennsylvania didn't do such a great job on the first one. And, the hydraulic lines from the top motor to the lift cylinders will be replaced so the system will be completely new. Finally, I hope to replace the top.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

For Sale on Craigslist

As I review previous posts, I notice that some things need to be updated. For instance, I've replaced the hydraulic lift cylinders for the top, which is now operable. I have receipts for other repairs which include pulling the engine and transmission to replace all of the seals and gaskets.

Here is the latest values for the car according to NADA:

See the Craigslist post here.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Do it Again.

October 18, 2006 was a nice day. Nice enough to get the Grand Prix inspected, a requirement for license tag renewal -- which expired on December 31, 2006. We are allowed to have our vehicles inspected up to 90 days in advance of tag renewal.

I was looking through my backpack this past Tuesday, January 23. There was the inspection receipt along with the tag renewal forms. Five days past the cutoff.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Chris at Downtown Tire recommended that I talk to Powerhouse Motors about replacing the left exhaust manifold gasket. So, I have and soon the GP will be as quiet as it's supposed to be.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

1967 Grand Prix Convertible

Pontiac entered the "personal" car arena in 1962 with the Grand Prix. The model was offered for the next several years as a 2-door hardtop until 1967. This was the first and only model year for production of Grand Prix in a convertible. There were 5,856 convertible Grand Prixs manufactured. And, according to the Pontiac-Oakland club there are less than 800 left.

I bought this car in June of 2000 for $6,500. At the time it had 72,000 original miles on it. My mechanic believed that the odometer reading is accurate -- because the timing gear failed at about 74,000 miles in January 2001. Apparently this was common due to the use of bakelite on the timing gear -- shears off with normal wear at around 70,000 miles.

It's all original, and all there with the the exception of the electric antenna and the bumper jack. 400 CID; 4-bbl Carter AFB; power windows, original AM/FM radio. It's Signet Gold with Parchment interior. I've purchased a history from Pontiac Historic Services, replaced the owner's manual and convertible top manual. I still work on it as I can. On nice days, I drive it! It now has 84,000 miles on the odometer.

I've done quite a bit of work to it over the years -- mostly mechanical. But it still needs work. Some of the things I've had done need to be redone (the carb could use a GOOD rebuild rather than the one I got from a "trusted" rebuilder in Pennsylvania, and the top motor runs but is no longer operating the top -- I think it's a hydraulic fluid leak).

This car has become part of the "America on the Move" collection at the Smithsonian. See the exhibit's web page here:

An account of the history of the nameplate can be found at: