The 1979 Grand Prix.
Signalling a corporate trend that would last to this day, the
1979 Grand Prixs were almost identical to the '78s. They differed only in grille mesh, taillight
lenses and interior appointments. Real wire wheels became an option.
Powertrain changes were limited to two. The V6 was now the
base engine in both the LJ and the base GP. Breaking a nine and a half year tradition, a 4-speed
manual trans was made optional with the 301 4-barrel. The manual trans would prove to be a
For the 1979 show season, Pontiac once again decided to base
a show car on a production GP. Called the Grand Prix Landau Convertible, it featured a
production-style T-top with the entire rear of the roof removed, sort of the opposite of the
treatment used on the 1966 Grand Corniche show car. It also received hidden headlamps, not seen
on any GP since 1968. The rear treatment was more conventional; the yet-to-be-released 1980 GP
taillights were the only deviation from stock. The exterior was finished off in two-tone Rose
Mist and Carmine paint. A stock Viscount leather interior, wire wheels and white-stripe tires
complemented the upscale look.
Production for '79 fell to 210,050 units, due primarily to
a late-season oil shortage that sent many buyers scurrying to the "safety" of 4-cylinder compacts.
The production breakdown was 124,815 base models, 61,175 LJs and 24,060 SJs.