Home » Northern Wisconsin Beaters: 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix vs 2006 Chrysler Town & Country

Northern Wisconsin Beaters: 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix vs 2006 Chrysler Town & Country

Sbsd 5 1 2023
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Good morning to any and all Autopians in range of my voice! I’m writing to you from sunny (and hot) Las Vegas, Nevada, so just ignore the beeps and dings of the slot machines. We’re here to talk about cars, specifically old beat-up cars for sale in northern Wisconsin. But first, let’s see how our Corvettes ended up:

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Bah. Philistines, the lot of you. Well, fifty-eight percent of you, anyway.

All right. Let’s head north to Wisconsin, where old American cars with a bazillion miles are kings of the road. Winters are harsh here, and folks are thrifty, and they hate buying a new thing when the old one is still fine. Still, there are bargains to be found, especially if you’re not picky about looks. These two still seem like viable machines; let’s see what you make of them.

2000 Pontiac Grand Prix GT – $3,000

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Engine/drivetrain: 3.8 liter overhead valve V6, four-speed automatic, FWD

Location: Eau Claire, WI

Odometer reading: 190,000 miles

Runs/drives? You betcha

The GM W-body is a member of that rare class of car that just seems to run forever, or at least have a remarkably long half-life. One owner thinks it’s just about used up, sells it for cheap, then the next person gets another few years out of it before they think it’s done for, sells it, and so on. And GM made so many of them that chances are we’ll still be seeing them on the road for quite a while to come.

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This Pontiac is probably a couple of owners along in its journey through life, and it’s got some scars to show for it. The interior still looks all right, but the left rear quarter panel is pretty banged up, and we can see some rust in the door sills peeking out from around the plastic cladding. It’s still not terrible by Great Lakes region standards, but it’s not going to win any show awards.

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I do have to hand it to the seller for having a car with this much body damage detailed before sale. I’m not sure it helps the car itself much, but it shows they still care about it, and that speaks highly of its history. We don’t get much information on its mechanicals except that it runs well and is daily driven, but it’s a basic and well-regarded car that’s a known quantity. It probably has a couple of years left in it before it ratchets down to the next tier of buyer.

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I can’t quite figure out why the seller chose to only photograph it in their garage with everything open but the hood, unless the detailer just finished with it. The whole thing is just kind of weird. But the car looks honest enough.

2006 Chrysler Town & Country – $3,000

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Engine/drivetrain: 3.8 liter overhead valve V6, four-speed automatic, FWD

Location: Eau Claire, WI

Odometer reading: 244,000 miles

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Runs/drives? Sure does!

If there is one vehicle that defines rural or small-town northern Wisconsin life for me, it is the American-made minivan. Folks in the northern plains embraced the two-box minivan philosophy early on, and these vans quickly became the vehicles of choice for a whole lot of them, and still are. And the Chrysler/Dodge/Plymouth models are by far the most common.

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This era of Chrysler van, I imagine, especially appealed to frugal Northerners, with its ingenious now-you-see-them-now-you-don’t “Stow & Go” seats. Drive the kids to school, take Grandma to church on Sunday, and haul lumber to build the new woodshed, all with the same vehicle, without having to break out the tools to switch between modes. It can replace the truck and the sedan!

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This van has literally been to the moon mileage-wise, but the seller says it still runs and drives just fine, and they’re only selling because they need something with a wheelchair ramp. They say most of the miles were driving back and forth to “the Cities” (Minneapolis/St Paul, in case you’re not from the area) so it hasn’t really been to the moon, just back and forth over the same eighty miles of Interstate 94 a whole bunch of times.

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It’s in fair shape, with some rust creeping in along the lower edges, but for its age and location, it’s really not bad at all. Inside it looks pretty nice, and the high mileage is actually a benefit with this one, because it means the notorious Ultradrive transmission has been maintained. If it hadn’t, it wouldn’t have made it this far.

Well, that’s what I’ve got: two crusty silver steeds with their best miles behind them, still slogging through Midwestern winters with resolve and as much dignity as they can muster. Which one is for you?

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(Image credits: Craigslist sellers)

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Taxi maniac
Taxi maniac
11 months ago

Look at these two old beauts! I mean really how can you go wrong either way.

Do i want capability or style and class.

This a such a walk down memory lane.

I had a 91 grand prix two door with 3.1L that i couldn’t believe how much nicer it was then my 92 rs camaro with a garbage 305 tbi engine and leaky t tops. But the tranny went in the grand prix around 130k which is disheartening cause that car cruised in a way only a 91 two door gm could.

I had several of this generation town and country that were so much nicer and more RELIABLE then my fully loaded 2008 town and country that had everything break on it.

As 42 year old man that has given up everything that used to make me happy in my 20’s and 30’s went with the capability of the van…. but i don’t feel right about it. To bad ya can’t vote BOTH!

Taxi maniac
Taxi maniac
11 months ago
Reply to  Taxi maniac

Isn’t it funny how much newer the 2001 sedan looks then the 2006 bubble van. Polish the headlights up, pull the dent out and spray paint the interior in its rightful shade of black again and that thing would look like a car with styling that would still hold up today.

22 year old car with 3.8L engine with fuel injection that will get you 30 mpg on the highway. If america still made cars, this thing would still be close to whats available. No wonder america stopped making cars.

If my daughter needed a car and i didn’t have an affinity for cars made by my friends over in asia nowadays, i’d be stoked to set her up with this american classic.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
11 months ago
Reply to  Taxi maniac

> Do i want capability or style and class.

Are you looking at the same two cars as the rest of us?

Stephen de Riel
Stephen de Riel
11 months ago

Gran Prix all day. I like the Minivan in theory, but I just know how it smells. They all do.

Stephen de Riel
Stephen de Riel
11 months ago

don’t think that @ worked correctly lol

Tommy Helios
Tommy Helios
11 months ago

These are the selections when you let @Stephen de Riel gossin pick the shitbox showdown cars.

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
11 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Helios

And he’d buy both.

Matt Woods
Matt Woods
11 months ago

Grand Prix looks to have less rust, so Pontiac for the win.

David Smith
David Smith
11 months ago

With as tidy as that garage is I’ll trust that the Grand Prix was perfectly maintained. Although either seem like a fair deal.

Jay Maynard
Jay Maynard
11 months ago

When he said “northern Wisconsin”, I thought he was talking about Superior or Rhinelander or Iron Mountain. You know, *north*. Eau Claire isn’t even north of the 45th parallel, for Pete’s sake!

Oh, right, cars. Gimme the van. GMs rust where you can’t see it.

Freelivin1327
Freelivin1327
11 months ago

Grand Prix! Oh, you betcha!!!

LactoseTheIntolerant
LactoseTheIntolerant
11 months ago

I had a former coworker drive a similar Grand Prix who lived in the Twin Cities. Reliable yes, look good yes, but it rusted from the bottom up showing no signs of what lay underneath. Van for me.

Pneumatic Tool
Pneumatic Tool
11 months ago

strangely, I went with the GP because I thought the exact same thing was probably happening on the van.

Steve Lee
Steve Lee
11 months ago

It’s always #vantime.

Dinklesmith
Dinklesmith
11 months ago

Grand Prix all day. Those engines are dead reliable and they solved the intake problems by that point. I would not trust a Chrysler product with over 200k miles

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
11 months ago

Grand Prix. Parts are cheap and available everywhere. These vehicles are extremely well known and mostly friendly to work on. Well, aside from changing spark plugs. But even then it’s not horrid.

Lhn91
Lhn91
11 months ago

Sad that these are the prices, but that’s the market at the moment. Otherwise, straight toss up. The GM 3800 itself is dead reliable but the electricals in the W-Bodies are ALWAYS suspect. The vans never seem to die unless the transmission does, and this one seems to be hanging on.

Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
11 months ago

In my area, every old Chrysler van has been bought up by gig economy delivery drivers, who then drive them into the ground. You can’t beat a Chrysler minivan for cargo volume/$ spent.

DDayJ
DDayJ
11 months ago

Grand Prix all the way! I owned one of these way back in the day, and while the late 90s/early 2000s GM material quality left a lot to be desired, it was a great car. The 3800 is a great engine, just make sure to watch the EGR and intake manifold gaskets.

Last edited 11 months ago by DDayJ
Dinklesmith
Dinklesmith
11 months ago
Reply to  DDayJ

I think they switched the intake manifolds to aluminum instead of plastic by that point so even that should be ok

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
11 months ago

The nice thing about the minivan is that it can serve multiple roles: winter beater, utility load hauler, and occasional high passenger count hauling. That alone makes it a more sensible choice for most people.

I wish today’s market didn’t mean $3,000 for a beat-up runner is within reason, but here we are.

World24
World24
11 months ago

Battle of the 3800’s! (I’d be surprised if the “.1 means you can round 391 to 392 for marketing purposes” Chrysler V6 actually displaces 3800cc’s though.)
Any who, I’d go minivan, though not because I’m a Mopar guy, but mainly because I’d like to sit comfortably in a vehicle with some practicality. Then again, I’d rather it’d be a SWB Caravan with the 2.4 or 3.3, but I’m down for a Town & Country.

Last edited 11 months ago by World24
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