Did you ever look at ads for old cars for sale in magazines from the ‘50s or ‘60s and wish that you had invested some money in cars like a Model A Ford or a Duesenberg way back when? Well, even though you didn’t, somebody did and those are the folks making big profits when they sell cars they bought years ago in today’s marketplace.
A sure way to make money in old cars is to buy rare ones before they become collectible. We thought about this when we recently appraised a 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix SE with stick shift for Roland Eggebrecht of West Allis, Wis.
The car is in great condition and is being cared for and treated like a late-model collector car. It is also a rare model because of its 5-speed manual transmission. We checked with the General Motors Heritage Center and only 659 of these cars were built with this transmission. A stick shift is considered a performance option. Pontiac was known as General Motors’ performance division and both rarity and performance are important factors to Pontiac collectors.
The standard 1990 Grand Prix was Pontiac's personal sports machine. It came in five models from the responsive Grand Prix LE all the way up to a powerful Turbo Grand Prix coupe (they made around 2,749 of those).
The 1990 Grand Prix featured eye-catching styling, a driver-oriented cockpit and a complete performance spectrum. Changes in the Grand Prix included a redesigned analog gauge cluster with new pod switches and new Pallex/Metrix cloth upholstery. New paint colors included Black Metallic, Medium Blue Metallic and Bright Red for the SE.
Standard equipment on the LE coupe and sedan included a 2.3-liter 16-valve DOHC "Quad Four" engine, a three-speed automatic, P195/75R14 (sedan) or P205/65R15 (coupe) tires, air conditioning, 60/40 reclining front seats and an AM/FM stereo with clock. A five-speed manual gearbox was offered only for coupes with the optional 3.1-liter MFI V-6. Both models with this engine could also be optioned with a four-speed automatic transmission. Other standard features included styled wheel covers on sedans and styled steel wheels on coupes and standard Pallex cloth seat trim in both body types.
The Grand Prix SE coupe added or substituted the a 3.1-liter V-6, P215/60R16 tires, power windows, power reclining front seats with articulated thigh, lumbar, lateral and head support, cruise control, an AM/FM stereo with graphic equalizer, clock and steering wheel controls and a six-speaker sound system with amplifier. Also included were a Y99 rally-tuned suspension, split dual exhausts, 16 x 6 aluminum wheels with white, bright red or medium blue machined faces, exterior aero skirting, fog lamps, specific front and rear fascias and a monochromatic color. The SE also used richer Metrix cloth upholstery.
In the used car market a 1990 Grand Prix SE is probably worth about what a Duesenberg sold for in the early 1950s. But Roland Eggebrecht has owned other classic Pontiacs. He is a member of the Pontiac Oakland Club International (www.poci.org) and he knows that his car is a rare bird that is starting to “re-appreciate” in value. Don’t be surprised if it pops up in a big classic car auction someday.
Late-model rarities have a habit of becoming tomorrow’s classic cars.