1964 Grand Prix Sports Coupe.
The 1964 Grand Prix can best be described as a logical styling progression from the previous year. Rather than start with a clean sheet of paper, Pontiac wisely chose to adhere to its practice of carrying a body style for two years without a major overhaul. The first year was meant to introduce a car, the following year to refine it. In the third year, the cycle would start again.
The styling changes for 1964 cleaned up the design a bit further while retaining the styling cues that made up the Grand Prix "look." The headlights were frenched into the fender and bumper, whereas the bezels on the '63 had cut sharply into the body. The grille treatment was also updated, with a fine horizontal slat arrangement. The turn signals remained in the grille cavity, but were now rectangular with rounded corners. Gone were the large chrome support bars.
The '64's interior was very similar to the previous model's, with some minor trim and appointment revisions. The same story applied to the powertrains.
The 389 4-barrel remained standard, but when coupled to a manual transmission it boasted an additional 3 hp, up to 306. Base automatics stayed at 303 hp. The 230-horse low-compression 389 remained for the frugal buyer, but was still an automatic-only option.
For the more performance-minded, there was some good news and bad news. First the bad news: Following GM's pullout from racing in January 1963, the 421 Super Duty engines were dropped for good. While this loss affected racers of Pontiac Catalinas more than Grand Prixs (only 19 SD Grand Prixs were built in 1962-63), it signaled the beginning of Chrysler dominance in racing.
Looking back, some positive effects did result. While Pontiacs were no longer competitive in NHRA or NASCAR events, they were certainly a force to be reckoned with on the street. With the Super Duty effectively dead, engineers were now focusing their attention on street engines. The fruits of their labor were some of the finest street performance engines ever to come out of Detroit.