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						63 Pontiac Gp 20
Full-Sized Muscle — 421 Tri-Power Pontiac Grand Prix

1963 Pontiac Grand Prix 421 H.O.

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, BringaTrailer.com

There’s something about full-sized muscle cars that speaks to us. That’s not to say we don’t appreciate pony-car era muscle, like the Shelby Mustangs, HEMI Challengers and 427 COPO Camaros, but you have to admit that some of the best qualities of early full-sized muscle cars were forgotten by 1965. Boasting 370 hp from its Tri-Power equipped 421 ci V8, along with deluxe interior accommodations, the 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix reminds us that early muscle cars wore a suit and tie.

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to find yourself in the front seat of a late ’60s muscle car, you might be unpleasantly surprised by the level of effort placed on interior accommodations. The seats most often sport simple vinyl coverings, the floors are usually covered in black carpet and interior controls are often bland. Gauge clusters are predominantly plastic, along with dash features and center consoles, and the exterior trim and badges are usually small and simplified. Times change and so do styles, but when looking over this Pontiac Grand Prix on BringaTrailer.com, we can help but feel like some of the art was lost.

The ’63 Grand Prix comes from the era of full-sized muscle, where some of its closest rivals would have been Ford’s Galaxie with a 390 or 406 ci FE, a 409 ci Chevrolet Impala or Chrysler’s 413 ci 300. But Pontiac wasn’t messing around when it came to horsepower in the early 1960s. In fact, Pontiac won 44 NASCAR races in 1960, 30 of 52 NASCAR races in 1961, and by 1962, Pontiac’s Super Duty engines caused NASCAR to revise its rulebook on factory-equipped speed equipment.

The pride of the Pontiac fleet was the 421 Super Duty, new for 1962, which was rated at 405 hp when equipped with dual four-barrel carburetors. But even that was a bit tongue in cheek, because it was quickly discovered that the engine’s actual output was north of 465 hp! But of course the 421 Super Duty was really a hardcore 11.0 and 12.0:1, race engine, and a more suitable mill for street driving was the 421 ci H.O., boasting Tri-Power and 10.75:1 compression. The engine was much more streetable, but still churned out a massive 370 hp and over 460 lb-ft of torque, and that’s the exact engine fitted from the factory in this 1963 Grand Prix model.

With those specs in mind, there’s no doubt that this Grand Prix can hold its own, especially when fit with a four-speed manual transmission and beefy 3.90 gears with Pontiac’s Safe-T-Track limited-slip differential. But what about the rest of the package, does the Grand Prix come out ahead in terms of features, style, fit and finish?

Call me bias, but I’d say the interior says all you need to know. With enough room for the whole family, gorgeous red carpeting, white bucket seats and jet-era dash features, this Grand Prix interior looks like a lovely place to spend the weekend — with room to stretch out too. Little things like the dash-mounted tachometer, finned center console trim and an analog dash clock complete the package as well. Move to the Marimba Red exterior, and you’ll find plenty of complimenting trim to back it up, along with Pontiac’s telltale 14-inch, eight-lug wheels.

This distinctive wheel design is actually due to Pontiac’s proprietary finned aluminum drum brakes, which were designed to dissipate heat and improve braking performance. With these brakes fitted, Pontiacs got an open-center, eight-lug wheel with corresponding trim rings, without a doubt one of the most unique wheels of the muscle car era.

For such a plain-Jane car, I feel like I could go on forever on this Pontiac. It comes from a lost era where muscle cars didn’t need to be small, impractical or image based. You could drive this car to work all week in a suit and tie and be taken seriously, all while waxing any red light challenger you encountered on your way home. And that, my friends, is what full-sized muscle is all about.

The current high bid is $16,500 on the 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix with two days remaining in the auction. See it here on BringaTrailer.com.

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