12 July 2016

Our Cars: Greg Ingold’s 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix

Greg Ingold’s love for automobiles follows a familiar storyline. He grew up around cars and swapped the engine in his first vehicle – a 1989 Chevrolet half-ton pickup – while in high school. “I remember carrying tools for my dad as a 10 year old while we were at the local salvage yard grabbing parts to restore the interior of a 1973 (Oldsmobile) Cutlass Supreme,” he said. The car later became his. During his teenage years, Greg also drove a 1982 Oldsmobile 98 Regency that was “pristine” – quite a feat considering Michigan’s notoriously brutal winters. Later car projects with his father included a 1970 Chevy Suburban and 1966 Chevy Caprice. He and his dad scored his 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix last summer.

Name: Greg Ingold

Position at Hagerty: Valuation Data Support Specialist

Years at Hagerty: 4

Vehicle: 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix

Why did you choose a 1969 Grand Prix? The Grand Prix is such a unique looking car and you never see them. They’re essentially a GTO underneath, but you’d never expect that sort of punch under the hood of such a formal looking car. It is somewhat of a “sleeper” muscle car, and the only thing that gives the car away is the nasty sounding idle.

My dad and I found it a couple hours away, and the two of us got to work replacing worn parts and fine tuning it as soon as we brought it home. My family is big on the collector car hobby and making sure everyone can be involved, so everyone gets to drive the cars no matter who owns them.

Repairs and Modifications: The only non-stock parts are Hooker Aero Chamber mufflers for a more aggressive note. We plan to freshen up the 350-hp, 400-ci V-8 and more cosmetics down the road. That’s it.

Hobby activities: I’ve attended a few local shows and cruise-ins. The Grand Prix is just a blast to drive.

Interesting Car Stories: My wife, Angela, and I used the Pontiac in our wedding last November (before the snow arrived, of course). We enjoyed cruising around town and having our pictures taken with the car. After a long day, we drove to the reception. About a half-mile away we ran out of gas. Luckily the groomsmen got us to the hall and bought gas so that the Pontiac could attend the reception.

Favorite Drive: The Old Mission Peninsula (on Lake Michigan in Traverse City, Mich.) is a gorgeous drive no matter the time of year. It offers a variety of scenic routes and road types to try out.

Best and Worst Moments: The best moments with the Grand Prix are the interactions you have with people. It’s a car that draws people to it. It can be parked next to a prettier, more collectible car and people are still drawn to it. Makes for some really cool conversations and stories.

The worst moment was days before the wedding; the passenger door would not open. The panels are original and we found out that an inner fender support was corroded and needed strengthening. Our family friend Steve, who has years of body work experience, fixed the fender, repaired some paint and detailed it finishing it the evening before our ceremony.

19 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Kyle Traverse City, MI July 12, 2016 at 19:47
    I've been close friends with Greg for almost ten years now and can attest to his mechanical ability! His Grand Prix is no joke, I was amazed at how long of a power band the car has and it's clean lines definitely turn heads. Congrats Greg!
  • 2
    Tim McManus Denver, Colorado July 13, 2016 at 20:26
    I purchased a new blue/white top 1970 Grand Prix and loved it! Wish I could find a real clean one to add to my collection of 1950's & 1960's. Hard to find without being tricked out. Anyone?
  • 3
    Dale Overland Park, KS July 13, 2016 at 20:34
    Greg, I have the same year, stock, same custom color GP. Couldn't agree with you more about your description of the car and how people react to it. It usually starts with "My Dad (or uncle or neighbor or buddy) had that car and I always wanted one ..." I grew up driving a '69 GP in Marshall, MI, and would like to take mine on that Mission Peninsula drive or on M-22 north of Frankfort.
  • 4
    Joe Central VA July 13, 2016 at 21:11
    Love your GP. A friend in high school had one in gold. I will never forget the sound of that car.
  • 5
    JDemko Calabash North Carolina July 13, 2016 at 21:15
    I had a 68 442 which I traded for a 69 Brownie Green Grand Prix with same 400ci motor and got 25 mph on the high way. The car was a blast to drive and own. I am sorry I traded it for a black 73 which was a piece of junk compared to the 69. Good Luck and enjoy. JD
  • 6
    Pete Kaczmarski Waupun WI. July 13, 2016 at 22:42
    My '69 Grand Prix Model J has 9k original miles. Its Burnished Brown exterior and Pearl White Interior. I only burn one tank of gasoline a year. I remember filling this car w/gas while a teenager once in a while.
  • 7
    Todd Maryland July 14, 2016 at 13:28
    Love The Grand Prix!! My brother had a beautiful 77, new. Wish we still had it!! Great cars, you never see them. I think a lot of them got chopped and lowered. They were coveted by the low rider modifiers (with good reason, they were beautiful). I keep my eye out for a 73 with a 455!!
  • 8
    Ray Figueiral miami July 14, 2016 at 09:31
    Great car. I grew up on Pontiacs Had 68 & 69 firebird , 67 GTO sedan one of the latter models that brought the 400 with Hurst dual gate shifter. But your car while working for a towing company I rebuild the motor with the O41 cam , double springs, Edelbrock manifold & Holley and a stall converter. This car became a legend with ac and tough racer at the track. Thanks for bringing back those memories.....just realized how long ago it was
  • 9
    John Engle Beavercreek (Dayton) OH July 14, 2016 at 10:46
    Love the Early Grand Prixs. I have a friend who has a very-rare factory-original '69 GP SJ with a 428 & 4spd. I have it's Chevy cousin, a 1970 Monte Carlo SS454 4-spd car that is a BLAST to drive.
  • 10
    Willie Little Rock, AR July 14, 2016 at 11:15
    Beautiful car. I had one myself in 1969 and its one of those I wish I had kept. Great combination of luxury and performance. I loved the interior, which was a new styling concept also. Do you have any interior shots?
  • 11
    Kevin Cox Ft. Wayne July 15, 2016 at 07:57
    I had a green 69 model J. I really loved that car. It had so much power and was a great driving car. I have an NOS rear valance for it if anyone is interested.
  • 12
    Chree kysar Greenwood, IN July 15, 2016 at 20:56
    We had a gold '69 GP that I loved as did my two little boys! Don't ask about the speeding tickets mom got. Finally decided to sell it ( to our mechanic who also loved it) when our third child came along. We never see them at car shows. Certainly would love to have it back now. Beautiful car and a joy to drive.
  • 13
    Kevin Jacobs Jacksonville, FL July 15, 2016 at 09:48
    I am looking for one right now. I have owned four Grand Prix's in my life. Two '71s, a '74 and a '77. I would really like to find a '69 or '70 with the factory manual transmission. I thought that I read that there were a very limited number built. Sure would like to know if that information is accurate.
  • 14
    Michael Cassidy Streetsville, Ontario July 16, 2016 at 20:34
    Seeing the pictures of this very nice Grand Prix immediately took me back to 1969. In 1966 my buddy had started a job in a nuclear plant south of our home town on Lake Huron. He purchased one of these very hard to find cars by special order in early 69. We were down at the lake. It was a Saturday night in July. There was a dance and there were young people everywhere. Two young lovelies were soon added to the back seat and we just dove around for awhile. One of the girls said "Is this your dad's car?" I looked at my buddy and saw RED coming up his shirt collar all the way to his ears! The ride was over quite quickly after that!! I knew she had just sold that car out from underneath both our sorry butts and, within two weeks it was replaced with a Corvette! Sad but true.
  • 15
    Ron Merkle Deerfield Beach Florida July 17, 2016 at 14:08
    Loved these cars. Owned a 70 and a72. Still have a 69/70 hood available. Used to race 75/76 gp's at the local circle track. Still own two 68 firebirds, two 69 Lemans, a modified 69 Bonneville, and some fieros.
  • 16
    Lawrence B LaBarbera New York July 18, 2016 at 00:46
    Ias in my friend's old Galaxy with my other friend driving a green 69 GP ,on our way to her house so I could buy it from her father, we stopped for a light and, and she didn't, as we felt the impact. Ended up with a 70 Monte Carlo instead.......
  • 17
    Andrew Gould Swartz Creek, Mi August 8, 2016 at 21:05
    Kevin Cox, I'm interested in your valance panel. Please email me @ hopontiac1969@comcast.net
  • 18
    Ron Medlock DC Sacramento California September 13, 2016 at 02:23
    When I was 3 my father got our first 69 Grand Prix. A green on green modle J with a 428 option. Dad was a mechanic for Arnold Weibe in Visalia, Ca. The Grand Prix was a wrecked trade in by a fella visiting from Oregon and didn't want to wait to get the GP fixed and just traded it for something else. Dad got it for $2500. He gave that car to me in high school in the early 80s. But faced with college and gas pumps eliminating leaded gas for unleaded I foolishly traded that car for a 68 VW bug. Now, I wish I still had that first GP back. License plate was "ZHG 778"! Recently, on labor day I found another modle J with only 94k miles. Gold on gold with a 400cid engine. It's not the same as my original one.. But man.. It's a 69 GP... And it's got me and my dad giddy with excitement. I can't tell you what this car is to me... Looking at it sitting here in my garage is like watching old home made movies of me as a kid.. It's even got that old pontiac smell I remember... Love this car.
  • 19
    Jim Jerzycke SoCal / Long Beach September 28, 2016 at 17:56
    One of my best friends back in Illinois has a 1970 Model SJ with the 455 and a 4-speed. The car *always* turns heads, and looks like brand-new. And it goes pretty doggone good, too!

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