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Home/News and Feature Articles/*Featured Cars and Trucks/Pontiac Featured Cars/ 1960s Cars/

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Marc White's rare, big prize (Grand Prix) leads the way in styling and luxury for Pontiac in 1967.

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1967 Pontiac Grand Prix Press Photo
 
 
 
Aluminum brake drum and "8-lug" wheels were a Pontiac exclusive from 1960 through 1968. It's hard to find a more attractive wheel, even today!

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1967 Grand Prix convertible - Marc White's rare prize leads the way in styling and luxury
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By Eric White and Society Staff – reprint with permission only

The 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix convertible is a unique vehicle that introduced several firsts for Pontiac Motor Division. '67 is the first (and only) model year that Pontiac produced a drop-top GP. Of the 42,981 Grand Prixs built that year, only 5,856 were soft tops.

Among the three senior-size Pontiac models offering a convertible body style this year; the Catalina/2+2 and the Bonneville being the two others - the GP was the rarest and costliest. In fact, the only model that featured a higher base price than the GP convert in the 1967 Pontiac lineup was the Bonneville station wagon.

As it was since the inaugural year of Grand Prix production in 1962, the '67 version was based on the short wheelbase (121") Catalina-class body and chassis. As tradition also dictated, the GP was given its own special front and rear end styling treatments, setting it apart from the other large Pontiacs of that year. A major portion of that uniqueness resulted from a Paul Deesen designed, hideaway headlight feature, another first for Pontiac. Vacuum-operated doors covered twin, horizontally arranged headlights located inside the split-loop front bumper.

Slotted turn indicator lamps were positioned in fender extensions above the outside corners of the bumper. The state of Pennsylvania decided that it did not like this new high-mounted turn signal, and required all '67 GP's sold in that state to utilize the Catalina's lower valence mounted front signal light system. Even though the front bumpers for all the B-body Pontiacs appear to be the same, the GP unit is not interchangeable with the other big Pontiacs.

The hideaway headlight system from the Grand Prix was also a standard feature on the Canadian-market Pontiac Grande Parisienne. The Grande Parisienne line-up included: a 2-door sport coupe, 4-door sport sedan, and 4-door station wagon, leaving the U.S. Grand Prix as the only Pontiac convertible with the distinctive vanishing headlights.

An additional first for all big-body '67 Pontiacs was a hideaway windshield wiper mechanism that stowed the wipers snugly under the trailing edge of the hood when not in use.

A fourth major first for the Pontiac line this year was the full-length door side glass - no "ventipanes"on the GP hardtop coupe. This advancement was introduced by Oldsmobile on its 1966 Toronado, and by Buick on its '66 Riviera. This feature did not make the grade for the GP convert because the windshield framework was not originally engineered to support itself without the additional stability provided by the door's wing vent frames. It would not be until the 1969 model year when all Pontiac convertibles lost this wing vent window.

The interior furnishings of the Grand Prix were, in keeping with tradition, heavily influenced by the upscale Bonneville model. Strato bucket seats were standard, with a Strato notchback bench seat also included on the options list. The Bonneville's burl-grained, simulated elm, vinyl instrument panel and console trim coverings were also part of the GP's luxury-oriented package.

At the back, a GP-only tail light panel, featuring slotted lamp openings similar to those of the GTO and Firebird, was made possible by a simple die-cast, white metal panel that bolted over the Catalina substructure.

Drivetrain specifications included a standard 400 cubic inch engine, rated at 350 hp, and fed by a Carter AFB (Aluminum Four Barrel) square bore, 4-barrel carb. Optional engines included a no-cost 400c.i. 265 horse, 2-bbl (regular fuel w/TurboHydraMatic only), and two extra-cost, performance 428 cube, 4-bbl options. The base 428 engine was rated at 360 and the performance 428 HO dished out 376 hp.

The standard transmission for all but the economy minded 2-bbl 400 was the Ford-sourced, Dearborn "top loader," heavy duty three-speed manual unit. Extra-cost options included the "long tail," aluminum case, Muncie 4-speed manual and the always capable Turbo 400, three-speed automatic that was the standard unit on the 2-bbl 400.

Marc White's Montreux Blue, with black convertible top and dark blue interior Grand Prix convertible is a primo performance-oriented example of Pontiac's luxury, soft top cruiser for 1967.

The XH engine-coded car was originally invoiced to Oxenborg Pontiac of Rochester, MN. The medium blue beauty was built in the Kansas City, KS assembly plant during the last week of April, 1967.

Whether the car was originally purchased from the southeastern MN dealer, or was dealer-transferred to a California store is not known, but sometime between the spring of '67 and the summer of '76, it ended up in the sunny climes of Southern California. There it remained until a Pontiac collector brought it to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1981.

In May, 1984, Marc's father purchased the GP and made a new home for it in Michigan. By 1995, the elder White was entering retirement, and the convertible was offered to Marc with the provision that he restore the car. A deal was struck, and the GP returned to Minnesota for a full frame-on resto and option upgrade program. The body and paint work was completed by RPM Restorations of Lino Lakes, MN. The original, 58,000 mile, numbers-matching drivetrain was not opened up, just cleaned and detailed.

Remember that XH-code engine mentioned three paragraphs ago? XH designates the standard, high compression, 400 c.i., 4-bbl engine backed by a manual transmission! According to PMD-sourced records, this is one of only 205 stick shift convertible Grand Prixs built by Pontiac ever. PHS documentation reveals that the aluminum case, Muncie 4-speed was the tranny of choice in this case. Transferring rotational forces to the road is a 3.42:1 open differential.

Other options originally installed on this car include:
  • Pushbutton Radio, w/Manual Fender-mounted Antenna
  • Dual-stage, Heavy-duty Air Cleaner
  • Visor-mounted Vanity Mirror (passenger side)
  • Outside Remote-control Mirror (driver's side)
  • Power-assisted Steering
  • Power-assisted  Drum Brakes
  • SoftRay Glass, windshield only
  • Heavy-duty Battery
  • 8:85 x 14 White-wall Tires
  • Deluxe Wheel Covers*
  • Deluxe Steering Wheel*
  • Bucket Seats*
  • Floor-mounted Console
*standard items with Grand Prix

Options/Upgrades added:
  • Hood-mounted Tachometer
  • Tilt Steering Column
  • Custom Sport Steering Wheel
  • Wood Shifter Knob
  • Power-assisted Window Lifts
  • Power-assisted Vent Windows
  • SoftRay Glass, all windows
  • Deluxe Seat Belts
  • Trunk compartment Courtesy Light
  • Aluminum Integral Hub Brakes w/8-lug Wheels, power-assisted
  • AM/FM Stereo/Mutiplex, Pushbutton Radio w/Rear-Seat Speaker

Since returning to Michigan from the Minnesota restoration facilities in 1998, the now pampered convertible has participated in 13 Woodward Dream Cruises and many summertime shows including the 2008 GM Next Autofest that celebrated GM's 100th birthday on the grounds of the GM Technical Center in Warren, MI, the 2009 Eyes on Design invitation-only show where it was awarded a blue ribbon in the "Eyes Wide Shut," hideaway headlights class, and the 2010 Eyes on Design tribute to the recently retired Pontiac Motor Division.

A car of many firsts, the 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix convertible represents a highly collectible vehicle that is seldom seen at car events today. A '67 GP convert equipped with a manual transmission is a car that most people never see in a lifetime.

Additional 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix reference materials available on WAC:


Owner, Marc White, unpacks for a stay at the 2001 Woodward Dream Cruise. Hood-mounted tach is only tachometer option available on B-body Pontiacs in 1967.

Three pedals and a long stick in the console tell many an unsuspecting show goer that this is a sporty, luxury car with a performance flavor.

Rear fender skirts, which were standard features on the Grand Prix and Bonneville, complete the lower body line, and accentuate the low-slung length of the GP.

Standard 400 cubic inch/350 horsepower V8.

Pontiac did not offer chromed rocker covers on GP 400 engines. That detail was reserved for the 428's.

WAC member, Paul Deesen, was the Pontiac Studio Asst. Chief Designer in the mid '60's. He is responsible for this clean front end design.

Marc's drop-top sits in the Eyes on Design show field in 2009, where it would win a blue ribbon of distinction in its class.

A 2010 return to EoD's Van and Fitz inspired farewell to Pontiac Motor Division display.

Slotted tail lights stylistically link the GP to its GTO and Firebird cousins.

Cavernous trunk is typical of the 1960's full-size American passenger car. GP trunks received inside trim panels and full floor mat.