FEBRUARY 2024: A 1969 PONTIAC GRAND PRIX MODEL J SPARKED TWO FATHER-AND-SON STORIES

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Curtis Lee is the latest owner of a 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix Model J 2-door hardtop, but he is the third owner of the stylish Poncho.

Eventually the car was listed for sale after the son passed away and Curtis became the Pontiac’s owner after his cousin’s three-year search for the right car led him to the ’69 Pontiac.

Curtis’s cousin collects vintage vehicles for sale and parts, so he is on the frontlines of the car hobby. He knew Curtis was flexible in his search and wanted a vintage car with good bones in solid overall mechanical shape.

Curtis knew little or nothing about a 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix and admitted he was not in love with its front end when he initially saw it, but eventually he warmed up to the car’s overall style in a big way.

He liked the famous short deck and long hood style found on ‘69 Grand Prix models because the design enhanced the sporty look of these cars. A 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix had a nimbler overall style than its 1968 predecessor, with a design that showcased the car’s link to its famous stablemate, the Pontiac GTO.

The car is in solid survivor condition and still has its original interior and exterior. Curtis told MyStarCollectorCar his ‘69 Grand Prix also has its original 400 cubic inch engine hooked up to its factory automatic transmission, along with power steering, leather interior and power brakes.

Curtis added his car does not have air conditioning, cruise, or power windows, but he learned the latter two options are finicky, according to his Pontiac sources, so he will not pursue them as add-ons.

However, Curtis has not ruled out a hood-mounted tach because the higher end performance Pontiacs had them that year and he likes the look of them.       

The previous owners did not rack up many miles on the Grand Prix, so it only has 52,400 miles on it after 55 years. Curtis has added to the odometer miles since he became its owner and loves to travel down the road in it. He added his ’69 Pontiac has a “better ride than my 2007 Lincoln SUV”.

The vintage car hobby is an excellent place to meet like-minded people and make friends along the way, a fact that is not lost on Curtis and his 13-year-old son. Curtis is a widower and spends a lot of time with his son, including trips to shows and even some hockey practices in the Pontiac.

The experiences have captured his son’s interest and now the young teenager is the proud owner of his own 1974 Ford Maverick, a car he intends to use when he gets his driver’s licence in three years. Curtis’s son was impressed enough with the car hobby to get a 50-year-old car and immerse himself in the car guy culture instead of the cyber world culture.

Curtis admits most younger generations do not hold old cars in such high esteem, but his son is the exception to the rule and makes him hopeful that future car guys are still on the horizon for the car hobby.

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section. 

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