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Redusernab Obscure Muscle Car Garage – The 2005-08 Pontiac Grand Prix GXP

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Welcome to the Redusernab Obscure Muscle Car Garage, a regular feature which aims to expand the notion of what a muscle car is, and have some fun in the process. This has been an interesting series so far, with vehicles covered dating from the 50s through the 70s. What about something more recent, like a car that only went out of production a few years ago, and is still available on used car lots today? Yes, there are newer cars available for sale that fit into the muscle car category, like the Dodge Charger R/T, or the Chrysler 300 SRT-8. There is the Mustang GT and the Shelby, as well as the Pontiac G8 GT. But, did you know there was a powerful V8 Sedan, that wore the Pontiac arrowhead symbol, and was produced just before the awesome G8? Introducing the Pontiac Grand Prix GXP.


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Pontiac used to perform this type of miracle all the time, and it’s your typical muscle car formula. Pull one of your more pedestrian, run-of-the-mill, everyday vehicles, add in a monster V-8, distinguish it by giving it a new designation, and voila, sales heaven. That was the recipe a couple of decades ago, but this time, it was applied to a FWD sedan. On top of adding an all aluminum V8, Pontiac engineers upgraded the suspension, added larger brakes, installed 18-inch wheels, and made subtle changes to the front and rear styling.

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This was the first eight-cylinder Grand Prix in many years, and it was also the most expensive GP ever, hovering around $32,000 for a fully optioned version. The GXP replaced the equally pricey GTP Supercharged Version of the Grand Prix. Come to think of it, what the hell did GTP stand for? And what does GXP stand for? They should have just called it the GFP, for Grand F***in’ Prix!

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The GXP’s 5.3-liter (324 Cubic Inch) pushrod small-block V8 is not unlike the engine used in Chevy’s Silverado pickup. GM replaced the iron block with a lighter aluminum unit for this and other front-wheel-drive applications. The engine found it’s way under the hood of the Chevrolet Impala SS, and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS a year later. It packs 303 horsepower and 323 pound-feet of torque, and it is all funneled into a four-speed automatic transmission controlled with paddle shifters.

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This Grand Prix sports stiffer springs, reduce ride height, and comes equipped with Bilstein struts to tighten up the suspension. A larger rear sway bar was added to reduce body roll, and forged aluminum five-spoke wheels with Bridgestone Potenza tires are also part of the package. A rather curious feature, the GXP’s wheels measure 18-by-8 inches in front and 18-by-7 inches in back and the 255/45R18 front tires are fatter than the 225/50R18 rears. Usually it’s the other way around, and the combo simply looks strange. By way of comparison, the Impala SS has the same sized tires all around.

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Stuffing a V8 into a front-wheel-drive platform results in a lot of torque steer. Mashing on the accelerator pedal at any speed causes the car to dart around. However, even with the gobs of torque steer, the Grand Prix GXP ran a tire-smoking 0 – 60 mph in 6.7 seconds, according to a report published on Edmunds. They ran a 5.7L Dodge Magnum R/T at the same time, and the 0-60 mph run was done in 6.8 seconds, so kudos to Pontiac for having a Front Driver run with a super performing Rear Driver. The GXP leaves the larger Magnum in the dust on the drag strip, running the quarter-mile in 14.6 seconds at 95.4 mph. Its braking performance has been reported as good with cross-drilled rotors (12.7 inches front, 12 inches rear), but the calipers are only two-piston in front and single-piston out back.

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The GXP doesn’t look much different than the standard Grand Prix except for the big shiny wheels and drilled brakes, different front end with lower air inlets, restyled rear end with dual exhaust, a questionable rear deck spoiler and the fashion equivalent of the 70′s 1/2 vinyl roof, air ducts in the front fenders.

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Features you would have never thought of to ask for in a vintage Muscle Car are included in this Grand Prix. Impressive front seats that look and feel expensive, Stability control, OnStar, steering wheel radio controls, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a head-up display, keyless entry and a CD player are standard. Other options include leather seating with suede inserts, a power sunroof, XM Satellite Radio, special paint, automatic dual-zone climate control and a remote vehicle starter.

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So, is this somewhat modern, front wheel drive, V8 sedan a muscle car? And does it belong in the Redusernab Obscure Muscle Car Garage? Or, because it’s front wheel drive, will it never be considered a muscle car? I’m predicting a lot of debate with this one, so let me know what you think.

05 Grand Prix GXP In South Park 2 Photo by dj_stylzpgh  Photobucket - Google Chrome 572014 85423 PM.bmp

Would you consider the FWD Pontiac Grand Prix GXP an Obscure Muscle Car, worthy of a spot within the Garage?

View Results

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Please Note: All Images are screen grabs from around the web. If you want credit for any image, please let me know in the comments section. Thank You!

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  • Alff

    I'll broaden the question … Can a fwd car ever be considered a muscle car? How about one with AWD?

    • OA5599

      F-150 Lightning, GMC Sprint, SS454 Silverado, and Dodge LRE are already in the club. I imagine Syclone would easily be invited if it were a bit more obscure, but there is no question about the muscle part of the equation. AWD is not a disqualifier.

      Performance variations of the Olds Toronado and Dodge Daytona have already been welcomed to the OMCG despite driving the wrong pair of wheels.

      • PotbellyJoe ❤❤❤❤♡

        Lightnings and SS454 weren't AWD, I don't know if that's what was being suggested.

        • OA5599

          What I'm saying is that the AWD Syclone is truer to the musclecar concept than those other RWD trucks. If they're in, it should be in (except it is too notorious to be obscure). And if an AWD truck can be a musclecar, I see no reason why an AWD car couldn't be one, assuming all other criteria were met.

      • jeepjeff

        Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8. Yes, it's high-riding and truck shaped, but it's a uni-body SUV that does the quarter mile in just over 13 seconds at 104mph. And it's got a full-time 4WD system.

        Can't believe I didn't think of that earlier.

    • This is an excellent question.

      Via Wikipedia: Muscle car is a term used to refer to a variety of high-performance automobiles.[1] The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines muscle cars as "any of a group of American-made 2-door sports coupes with powerful engines designed for high-performance driving."

      I find that definition pretty lacking.

      I would say a muscle car has to have a big motor. Outside of that, I am open to suggestions. Does it have to have 2 doors? RWD?

      • Alff

        IMO, yes to both but I prefer a pretty narrow definition of muscle car. I see muscle cars as distinct from other great terms that have evolved through the years such as Banker's Hot Rods, Personal Luxury Coupes, European Grand Tourers and Sport Trucks. I don't even regard desirable vehicles like Falcons and Chevy IIs that have been optioned with the largest engines available as muscle cars, even though their performance metrics might put them in the ballpark. I guess I'm just a stick in the mud of the OMCG. That said, I like the series. For me it's more about profiling interesting performance oriented vehicles from the past.

        • Scandinavian Flick ★

          As much as I prefer 2 doors in general, and I understand what you're saying, and almost completely agree with it, I have a hard time suggesting something like this…

          <img src="; width="280">

          …or this…

          <img src="; width="280">

          …or even this…

          <img src="; width="280">

          …isn't a muscle car.

          • Irishzombieman☆

            Related: In the late 90s I saw an old Vega that looked funny. I stared at it for five minutes before figuring out that it was a 4-door, with the rear doors expertly filled in with bondo.

    • Kazo

      Jenson FF – 383cid 4WD American muscle in an English built muscle car.

      <img src=";

      • Alff

        Much love for the Interceptor in general and the FF in particular – but not a muscle car to me. Too high-end and European.

        • PotbellyJoe ❤❤❤❤♡

          It's very solidly in the Low Flying Executive Transport/ GT category for me.

          • M44Power

            Very much a GT… Even with the funky rear glass.

      • tonyola

        That's more of a Gran Touring car than a muscle car, yankee engine notwithstanding.

    • jeepjeff

      Physics is not in your favor with a front wheel drive vehicle. Besides the torque steer, when you give it the beans, the car rocks onto the rear wheels. All cars do this, it's what happens when you put springs and dampers between the wheels and the chassis and apply power to the ground underneath the car. That weight transfer cannot be engineered out.

      This is not to say FWD can't be fast, fun and worthwhile to drive, but to me, a muscle car starts with taking a pedestrian base vehicle, and dropping a big engine from the factory. However, the platform can't be tapped out at that point. It still needs to look like there's more to be had there.

      For the Grand Prix here, sure, there are go faster parts for the 5.3 (at least, I would bet there are, I haven't looked). But it's already at the eat-the-transmission point, and you can't just stick a bigger transmission in there. Not even by cutting and modifying the trans tunnel, because it doesn't have one. There isn't more space. And no one makes transverse FWD transmissions to stand up to a hotrodded LS. Putting big tires on it and setting up the suspension to keep as much weight on the fronts (to fight the weight transfer) will just start chewing up your steering components and put more stress on the transaxle (that you can't beef up).

      A RWD vehicle just doesn't have these problems. There's plenty of space for big, strong transmissions. Solid axles are strong, but even IRS machines have enough space for really beefy CV joints and half shafts. Natural weight transfer is helping traction, not hurting it.

      The GXP (and most FWD vehicles) doesn't have that sense of "This could be a world beater if I just threw some money and elbow grease at it", even if you never do it. And just that feeling is critical to my definition of a Muscle Car. Given that, sure, I wouldn't be opposed to an AWD car. There are plenty of examples of crazy AWD cars. You could make a muscle car with AWD.

  • stickmanonymous

    Rant:

    Apart from the "big engine, basic car" philosophy, it's horrible. How did anyone think that this was good enough?

    Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, at the same time, by (nominally) the same company:

    <img src="; width="600">

    • And then they brought it here and no one bought any.

      • Hey, I did! Well, I bought it used, 3 years later… in fact, nevermind.

      • Scandinavian Flick ★

        They completely dropped the ball (to put it as PC and lightly as possible) on marketing them. They should've consulted Jim Wangers.

    • Rover1

      And with the same motors, V6s and V8s.
      And they had other versions with the right badge…
      <img src=";
      <img src=";

  • bluehillsmike

    I know someone with one of these, it's been good to him. I had a rental Chev SS for about 1000 miles in the South a few years ago–it was a lot of fun too, got a compliment at a gas station in Birmingham–by a guy in a M5! There are three 6cyl Imps in the family fleet (all driven by my kids) so I am a bit biased. Good basic transportation made better with the SBC. Obama cancelled the SS immediately after taking over GM.

    • RichardKopf

      What.

    • I Think Not

      A rental Chevy SS what? It wasn't just an "SS" because that was new in 2013, so that doesn't qualify as "a few years ago."

      Also… Obama didn't do anything to GM apart from allow the govt to buy a large amount of it, give it some loans, and demand it figure out how to be profitable again. How they went about becoming profitable was an internal GM decision, perhaps informed by the "car czar" who was really just an advisor to Obama about what was going on in the auto industry.

    • Scandinavian Flick ★

      <img src=";

    • wunno sev

      <img src=";

      • Alff

        bwahahahaha!

      • Scandinavian Flick ★

        <img src="; width="600">

    • PotbellyJoe ❤❤❤❤♡

      You missed the Impala part when you wrote this. Now the correctionists will have a fit….. Also, leave the politics to other boards.

      <img src=";

    • Alff

      Any discussion of Obama and the SS belongs in places like Breitbart. Let's talk about cars.

  • david42

    I've always wanted to love these, but the interior makes me want to claw my eyes out. I'm sure the seats are nice, but everything the driver sees looks like it came out of a Chevy Cavalier (or a bus… that steering wheel could be used as a hula-hoop).

    But yes, it is an obscure muscle car. FWD is a compromise, but all muscle cars make some kind of compromise. That's how you make a cheap car go fast!

  • PotbellyJoe ❤❤❤❤♡

    I like the Comp G for this category as well. 260 hp was not terrible and with the torque it was decently quick.

    Let's not forget there was a time period where, when a man needed a 4-door kid-hauler but wanted to retain his man card, he had basically two "affordable" options, the Pontiac Grand Prix and the Nissan Maxima.

    • I Think Not

      I'd like to posit that having kids and taking are of them is all one needs to keep his "man card."

      Otherwise, with just a minivan and a motorcycle, I'm stewed in that respect.

      I also have a 48cc chainsaw for felling unwanted photosynthesis-surviving property dwellers, and I scream in primal fashion when I use it, while feeling my testes swell. Does that help my manliness?

      • PotbellyJoe ❤❤❤❤♡

        I agree. Dan Neil has a wonderful take on why Minivans should be revered as sexy, since they are generally only used by the most virile of our society.

        I own a minivan too. I was more using the man-card as a term for the cars that are not looked down upon. Which we know minivans are.

    • Marto

      Rant begins:

      1. No one can take your man card off you. But…

      2. You forfeit your man card the instant you worry about your man card or what other men are doing with their man cards.

      3. Men who have lost their man cards get their card back the exact second they stop worrying about man cards – anyone's man cards.

      Rant ends.

  • acarr260

    I had to vote yes since I have a 2005 Bonneville GXP. They're great cars on long trips, and they're surprisingly fast. The Bonneville GXP's got an aluminum Northstar engine instead of the 5.3L truck engine, so I think they handle a bit better. It's also fun to see a car guy's face the first time that they see the engine cover that says "Pontiac Northstar".

    • CABEZAGRANDE

      You'd be surprised, I think the LS4 is probably lighter. Like all the aluminum blocked LS based engines, it's right around 405-415 lbs with accessories, while the Northstars tend to run around 425-455 lbs with accessories. DOHC heads are heavy. I just wish they'd have offered a manual transmission, a transverse all aluminum 5.3 GenIV engine with a stout manual behind it would be the absolutely perfect swap for a Fiero.

    • ptschett

      Plus with the Northstar you got a 4T80-E transmission that had a chance of surviving the engine torque.

  • CABEZAGRANDE

    These and the contemporary Impala SS's are surprisingly fun cars. They're still a little terrible to drive in terms of real performance, but I posit that almost nothing is as fun as high power FWDs. They don't really make sense, but damn it's fun to roast the tires while the front end skates around clawing for traction. My only complaint (besides the underpinnings) with the cars is the GM interior. These got better seats and steering wheels that weren't too bad, but everything else was still dark times GM and is flat out depressing. But, there are definitely worse things to drive, and I definitely feel that this fits the definition of "muscle car". I say include it!

  • <img src="; width="500">
    ?…

    $14K for an '06 with 69K miles?…I could see getting that.

    • JayP2112

      I was checking out Buicks… See below.

  • I remember when these came out and it was finally like "whoa…a non-ugly Pontiac? Didn't see that coming."

    Alas, they continued the FWD + 4AT + plastic lug nut covers BS that GM inflicted upon us for 3 decades while their competition passed them by.

    • Vairship

      It's amazing what happens when you remove the stick-on cheap plastic bits. Yeah, whoever decided on putting Tupperware all over the Pontiacs is hopefully unemployed for life…

  • XRSevin

    You want obscure? I had it's big brother, the Buick Lacrosse Super. Great highway car, very quick between 40 and 80, incredibly comfortable. Unfortunately, all the 5.3 front-drivers are tough on transmissions; otherwise I might still have it.
    <img src="; width="600">

    • JayP2112

      This thread had me checking for v8 Lucernes. It had the 4.6 Northstar at 270hp. Those were looking less than $10k for a higher mileage car to $12k at 30k miles.

      • XRSevin

        Check estate sales. That's where I found mine.

  • I guess this is what all muscle cars would have been like if nobody had thought to put an enormous engine in a small rear-wheel-drive sedan fifty years ago. I don't see this being that much more muscle-car-like than a first-gen Aurora.

    And I like those rather a lot.

  • bluehillsmike

    Obama cancelling V8 performance GM cars is certainly germaine to this discussion. Unfortunately politics is influencing our automotive choices–and we need to band together to fight for our freedom. That means shining the light of truth on the Gub'mint. Don"t Tread On Me…

    • Maymar

      I sure hope no one tells Obama it only took GM like a year before they started building another 300hp Impala. And also that these 300hp Impalas are littering used car lots across the country.

      He sure did a number on the Camaro, too.

  • faberferrum

    Had to think about this one all day! I never knew these had a V8. That and the other upgrades on it led to a Yes vote

  • I hesitated, but ultimately voted yes because 303HP V8.

    But otherwise it's a bland and awkwardly styled large-ish 4 door sedan. These GPs have too small green houses, too small grilles, too large headlights, remnants of the Pontiacs before in the bumpy taillights and otherwise noncommittal lines. They seem to be the poster child for styled by committee and focus group and the GXP's package of tacked on styling enhancements aren't doing it any favors.

  • Josh

    For everyone saying the transmissions can't be built to handle the power, they can. I have an l67 (3.8 series supercharged) powered car that uses the same transmission minus the paddle shift mode as the GP GXP (4T65E). I know of 3 places that can build those transmissions to handle 500+ hp. This car and its fellow ls4 powered cousins along with any 3.8 s/c powered car fall into my definition of obscure muscle car.

  • Harry Callahan

    Warning: this car eats transmissions.

    • Nicholas R Morgan

      Yes as mine sits in the garage with its 303 hp and a tranny that is toast…there a pos Trust me

      • NJ

        obviously you abused it, any car can lose that if you beat the F out of it.

        • Nicholas R Morgan

          Nope my best freind is a A.S.C MASTER TECH and first and second go out in so many of those because the tranny cant handle the torqe i love the car minus the trans and exaust that iv replaced 2 times that rust off ..its beautiful..snappy and luxurious just a few corners were cut..also they drink oil im 38 i dont drive crazy i have a stang and a firebird gta for that not my G.M. money pit.Basically G.m will never get my money again im Ford all the way.

    • NJ

      Warnng, Youre retarded

      • Nicholas R Morgan

        Or very bias and a G.m rep lol

      • Harry Callahan

        Warning! You can’t spell or punctuate.

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