1976 Pontiac Grand Prix Is a Family-Owned Dragster, Runs 9s

Pontiac rolled out a few impressive performance cars back in the golden age of the muscle car. The GTO, Firebird, and the Catalina are the finest examples. The Grand Prix, too, was fitted with high-power engines, but it never became an iconic muscle car. It's not a dragster's first choice when it comes to GM-built coupes, but this one family-owned 1976 model proves that it can be tweaked into a fast quarter-mile machine.
1976 Pontiac Grand Prix LJ dragster 1 photo
The really interesting thing about this modified Grand Prix is that it's an LJ trim. If you don't know your Grand Prix easter eggs, the LJ was introduced in 1975 as a range-topping luxury model. A way for Pontiac to compensate for the underpowered engines of the era, the LJ featured pinstriping, velour upholstery, a cushioned steering wheel, and custom pedals. It was fancier than your regular Grand Prix.

The LJ trim survived until 1984, but it wasn't a very popular choice with customers. You won't hear classic car collectors talk too much about the LJ, but cars from the 1975 and 1976 model years are quite rare now. The Grand Prix LJ is an unlikely dragster, which makes this dark red-painted conversion a cool and unique occurrence.

Family-owned since new, the 1976 LJ still retains its premium (for the era) features. The driver's seat has been replaced, but you can see the velour wrap on the rear seats. The power windows are still there, even though this coupe now features a roll-cage for enhanced safety.

Of course, the Grand Prix looks like a proper dragster on the outside. There's a bulged engine hood with quick-release pins, skinny front wheels, and meaty rear tires, as well as a parachute attached to the rear fascia.

This LJ featured either a 6.6- or 7.5-liter V8 when new, but it now packs a much larger, 8.8-liter unit. Upgrades also include Quickfuel carbs, a Fuelab fuel system, a Proformance T400 gearbox, and a Moser rear end. There is no specific word on output, but based on its quarter-mile times, we're looking at well in excess of 600 horsepower.

Speaking of quarter-mile sprints, the Grand Prix runs 9s effortlessly. The footage below includes two runs, starting with a 9.58-second sprint at 142.76 mph (229.74 kph). The second one is similar at 9.59 seconds, with a slightly higher trap speed of 143.52 mph (230.97 kph).

The Pontiac can do better, though. According to the owner, its best time is at 9.48 seconds, to go with a trap speed of 144 mph (231.74 kph). That's mighty fast for a car tipping the scales at 3,900 pounds (1,769 kg). And it's by far the coolest second-gen Grand Prix I've seen in a very long time.

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