In response to the public's move toward mid-size
luxury/performance cars, Pontiac, under the watchful eye of John DeLorean, chose to base
the 1969 GP on an extended A-body chassis. It sported a wheelbase of 118 inches, and
the body took the long-nose/short-deck styling theme farther than Pontiac ever had before.
The result received the G-body designation, and was a striking combination of modern
elegance, performance and classic styling themes, all wrapped in a package that was distinctly
Pontiac. In one fell swoop, Pontiac had redefined the luxury performance market--there was
nothing around like the GP, nor even in the same league. Its "beaked radiator"-style
grille, "Coke-bottle" body sides and slotted taillights were all established Pontiac styling
cues, yet the car looked like something Duesenberg would have been making, if the company were
still in business. Pontiac product planners also saw the similarity, and they called the
new car "Grand Prix Model J," with the "SJ" a $316 option.
The standard engine and trans were again the old standby
350-horse 400/3-speed manual, with the regular-fuel 400 2-barrel/automatic combination a no-cost
option. The 370-horse 428 was standard in the SJ, optional in the J. The 390-hp 428 HO was
available in both models, as was an automatic, or close-ratio 4-speed.
The new GP was unusual inside, too. The dash curved
around the driver in "fighter-pilot" fashion, and was dubbed the "Command Seat." This dash
was so futuristic that no doubt it alone sold many cars.
The 1969 GP represented a return to the single focus that
was the original GP. It was not a "main-streamed" vehicle. People quickly understood
that this was a true road machine, and not an overweight luxo-barge.
Public response to the new body style was overwhelming.
Sales skyrocketed. Production zoomed to 112,486 units--an increase of over 350 percent!
If Pontiac had strayed from the idea of what made a GP a GP, they certainly got back on
track with this model (see GM ad).