Home » Revel In The Curious Anomaly Of A 1994 Pontiac Grand Am Making It On Bring A Trailer

Revel In The Curious Anomaly Of A 1994 Pontiac Grand Am Making It On Bring A Trailer

1994 Pontiac Grand Am Ts2
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As time relentlessly marches on like an undead drummer, the sands of what constitutes a classic car shift. After all, with a common definition normally holding the age threshold around the quarter-century mark, the goalposts have never stood still. The latest example? A blue 1994 Pontiac Grand Am SE just hammered on Bring A Trailer for $3,800, and while that result isn’t anything huge, seeing a car like this on Bring A Trailer is a milestone in itself.

At face value as a method of transportation, this Grand Am isn’t anything special. The odometer shows 80,000 miles but that may not be accurate, the ABS light reportedly has a mind of its own, the rear dampers need replacing, and the body shows a variety of imperfections. Twenty years ago, this would’ve been a common sight on any used car lot, but thanks to attrition, it’s an anomaly.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

With PG1 cross-lace hubcaps, the UM6 cassette stereo, cruise control, and power windows, this Grand Am is a basic but sensible spec, a value-line proposition at some Pontiac dealership nearly 30 years ago. It even has a 2.3-liter single overhead cam inline-four making a sensible 115 horsepower. That’s one of the numbers of all time, just like three, as in the number of forward ratios in this car’s automatic transmission.

Grand Am Left

1994 Pontiac Grand Am Underbody

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While this Grand Am was originally registered in Florida, it’s spent 18 years in New York, and as a result, the underbody isn’t exactly pristine. There’s a predictable layer of corrosion on the front subframe and rear axle, along with more concerning crust on the jacking points, sills, and inside the spare tire well. It should be possible to clean it all up, but unless you really want a blue 1994 Grand Am, many wouldn’t see hidden bodywork as being worth the effort.

Grand Am Engine

1994 Pontiac Grand Am Interior

Still, there’s a certain appeal in this slice of ’90s mundanity. The pop of the paint, the boldness of proclaiming the presence of antilock brakes on a dedicated badge, the questionable clash of dashboard panels, and the false machismo of try-hard alloy-faking hubcaps. The visual hype of yesteryear is now quaint, like a mellowed-out deathcore kid who now listens to Sufjan Stevens and carves salad bowls from tree stumps.

1994 Pontiac Grand Am Rear

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The survivor car is a medium. What does it say about a world that used to exist? What have we lost? What have we gained? In this case, bubbly motifs dripping with post-Cold War optimism have given way to relentless aggression, as if every midsize sedan needs two acres of grille. We’ve painted the world grey, yet grown rich with distraction and standards of comfort, and seen a second digital revolution. This Grand Am wasn’t made in a better time, but instead a simpler time, when your friend’s weird older brother filled the niche occupied by podcasts, when clocking off meant clocking off, and when you had to build bridges with those in your physical vicinity because you had no other choice. Time travel isn’t real, but a well-preserved example of a perfectly mundane car is pretty much as close as it gets.

(Photo credits: Bring A Trailer)

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Ffoc01
Ffoc01
3 months ago

Ok, I just watched a ’91 version of this exact car, with 18k mi, sell at Mecum for $16,500.

We live in strange times.

Mike TowpathTraveler
Mike TowpathTraveler
3 months ago

The BAT winner of this Grand Am should do what a few past winners on that site have done with their exotic Ferrari’s, Porsche’s and Stingrays……….resell the Grand Am on BAT in say, 1 year.

A good barometer to judge exactly how much the GA has appreciated in value within the past year!

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
3 months ago

The Grand Am of that time was a great car when it had the 3.3L V6 or 3.1 V6 mated to the automatic or the HO version of the quad 4 with the manual.

This example is NOT a great example. This example has the weaksauce “quad OHC” engine with the slushbox… probably the worst powertrain option available for that year.

Angular Banjoes
Angular Banjoes
3 months ago

I worked in car stereo in the late 90’s/early 00’s. I’ve fought with so many of these horrible GM products, every time I see one, I can feel the awful dashboard trim panels cracking in my hands. The interiors of these things were built like a SnapTite model, and the plastics were of a pretty similar quality.

Matt Butler
Matt Butler
3 months ago

Make this a 93 and 4 doors and this would be my first car!

Slirt
Slirt
3 months ago

This is the 4th Grand Am to sell on BaT since last year, two in ’22 & two this year, so yes a BaT ‘anomaly’ but not unprecedented.

Detroit-Lightning
Detroit-Lightning
3 months ago

I never need to see another one of these things.

Grey alien in a beige sedan
Grey alien in a beige sedan
3 months ago

A wild Honda Integra has entered the conversation!

Greensoul
Greensoul
3 months ago

We can all blame the now prevalent body cladding fad on Pontiac, they started that sh@t, BTW. The brand may be dead, however sad it may be that is gone into the junkyard of the skies, the trend of slapping plastic crap all over the vehicle lives on. I guess Pontiac still lives. Now if only teal would come back….

Greensoul
Greensoul
3 months ago

Already sold! DAMM! I would have loved to have gotten this as a mothers day gift for my 84 yo mom. We replaced her beloved turquoise in and out 96 Pontiac Sunfire with a new silver Forte in 2017. Oh the horrors! My mom always had a thing for Pontiacs, especially turquoise or teal ones. Her Sunfire replaced a Turquoise Sunbird, which replaced a jade green Phoenix, Which replaced a turquoise Grand Prix, and so on and so on. Mom still asks me, why don’t they make Pontiacs anymore??? I always loved the red dash lights and buttons she says. I explained they kept Buick instead during the purge, and she’s like….why? BTW, my parents brought me home from the hospital in a teal 65 Grand Prix. Growing up I rode in a few teal-ish colored Grand Safaris…..

Nycbjr
Nycbjr
3 months ago
Reply to  Greensoul

you’re mom sounds cool AF!

Logan King
Logan King
3 months ago

Sometimes you just need to launder small amounts of money.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
3 months ago
Reply to  Logan King

Underrated comment!

Wasteland Firebird
Wasteland Firebird
3 months ago

“When you had to build bridges with those in your physical vicinity because you had no other choice”….

Jack Beckman
Jack Beckman
3 months ago

As I used to say when these were on the roads all over: Grand Am not.

Lokki
Lokki
3 months ago

To me all this car says is that “Bring A Trailer” is done.

It wasn’t long ago that you have to have a high bucks specialty car to get a listing. It got to the point where Doug DeMuro identified a market niche below BAT but above eBay Motors.

Now a CraigsList quality car is good enough…

SirRaoulDuke
SirRaoulDuke
3 months ago
Reply to  Lokki

I honestly think BaT accepts this kind of car on occasion for shits and giggles. It will draw a decent amount of clicks and comments just for nostalgia.

Rdub231
Rdub231
3 months ago

Recently came across one of these with a manual! Who knew.

Nycbjr
Nycbjr
3 months ago
Reply to  Rdub231

I had a 93′ GT with the HO quad4 and a 5 speed. Was a hoot to drive, till the head gasket blew lol

Andrew Daisuke
Andrew Daisuke
3 months ago

the tape deck has auto reverse! what more to you capitalist pigs want!? ????

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
3 months ago

What blows me away is the realization that more than a few people actually spent their hard-earned money on these – that they didn’t run across the street into the arms of their local Mazda, Nissan, Ford or Dodge dealer when they encountered the fake alloys and Playskool interior.

Shop-Teacher
Shop-Teacher
3 months ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

I’m not sure what kind of twisted memory you have, that makes you think the offerings from Ford and Dodge were any better. I spent plenty of time in Neons and Avengers and Escorts and Tauruses. Same shit, different badge.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
3 months ago
Reply to  Shop-Teacher

Of course the Tempo/Topaz were end-of-cycle garbage. But the Ford Escort and Mercury Tracer were essentially Mazda 323s – all 3 had reasonably good interiors, space and performance for the era.

The Dodge/Plymouth Neon had cleaner interior styling, a more powerful base engine, and the handling was set up to make it a more enjoyable drive overall. And it had Airbags rather than the archaic door-mounted shoulder belts.

Nissan had the NX1600/2000 – that was a smart little coupe that was fun to drive.

Honda had the Civic Coupe – Even in DX trim, it was probably the best comparable out there.

Mazda did have the MX6 and Ford had the Probe – but they were more costly and larger coupes.

Avengers came along @15 years later –
Tauruses were good for the time – but a larger and more expensive size class.

Christopher Glowacki
Christopher Glowacki
3 months ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

These cars were all over the place at the time. Relatively cheap, treated as disposable by apparently nearly all owners. I kinda feel like I gotta ask though, among those brands listed or others that would have sold in the same price class, what was dramatically superior? A Ford Tempo? Nah, Nissan, could make a case for the Sentra SE-R, possibly a 200SX but that’s nothing special in direct comparison. Dodge maybe a Neon or perhaps a cheap trim Stratus. Mazda a 626 would have maybe been a bit sportier to drive and maybe a bit nicer so I could see that one. A Toyota Celica of the day would have been nicer as a sporty-ish coupe than that Grand-Am as would a Honda Prelude or Accord coupe but those I think were in a somewhat higher price bracket which would have likely mattered more to a lot of the prospective buyers.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
3 months ago

Agree, price and styling for sure. Especially a V6 example, since GM would dangle that in the marketing. And they would of course discount too, so even if on MSRP alone it seemed like more car on the spec sheet, it might also end up even cheaper.

Tempo or pre-cab forward Chrysler? Less styling, still plasticky. Neons and cloud cars were better but not really any more durable in the long run it seems.

A Sentra or Civic were much smaller. As space inefficient as the N-cars were, they were for sure larger than those. Also larger than the more dedicated sports coupes – some that were thousands more like the MX-6. A Probe was closer in price, though you could get a V6 Grand Am much cheaper than a V6 Probe. Some Eclipse/Laser/Talon DSMs were probably close in price. Preludes were thousands more too. Even moving out of sport coupes, an Accord was was a bit bigger but no V6 and thousands more.

A few years older, but a 1990 C/D comparison of sport coupes under $13k included a Sunbird, Cavalier, and Beretta up against much smaller cars for the money like the Civic Si and GTI. In numbers alone the GM cars might compare well, but numbers alone didn’t help the cars in the comparo (in fact some of the slowest cars ranked at the top).

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
3 months ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

At least where I grew up, there was still a UAW plant in town (Chrysler) and there used to be another one (GM). So you had people who 1) refused to buy “imports” and 2) had a discount to use at the local GM or Chrysler dealer. So my HS parking lot was pretty much all GM and Chrysler products. Very few Fords despite being a “Detroit car”. And you’d be more likely to see a Geo/Chevy Prizm instead of a Corolla.

There were a few older folks I knew who got the memo. A Toyota or Honda would run forever and sipped gas, but they didn’t say it too loud.

Prizm GSi
Prizm GSi
3 months ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

I’ve often wondered how *any* 1990-up Cavaliers were sold when the Prizm existed in the same showroom. The quality step up was impressive for the first generation NUMMI car and a quantum leap in the second (post 1993) generation. Seriously, take a look at an interior photo of a ’94 Prizm and compare it to the dash pic above – the Pontiac is a cruel joke, not even to the level of playskool.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
3 months ago
Reply to  Prizm GSi

Remember when it was big news that GM was exporting Cavaliers to Japan as Toyota Cavaliers?
Of course hardly any found buyers against the wide variety of excellent Corollas and Coronas across the showroom.

Nick Fortes
Nick Fortes
3 months ago

Those light grey interior plastics were always so trash to me. They always looked worn out in any GM car I ever sat in…. I learned from this article my 1994 Jetta had the same horsepower as this but from a slightly smaller engine, The venerable 2.0 cross flow lol Rated at 115hp, we ran mine on the Dyno at a friend’s shop way back when and it put up a mighty 104hp to the wheels with a K&N filter and Techtonics exhaust lol.

@Sol_sees_cars
@Sol_sees_cars
3 months ago

Any car becomes a classic if you wait long enough.

Lokki
Lokki
3 months ago
Reply to  @Sol_sees_cars

So, essentially the same principle that applies to women in a bar at closing time?

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
3 months ago

I haven’t checked, does BAT’s search function accept “plain old car” or “teal”?

Citrus
Citrus
3 months ago

I don’t want the car but ’90s teal needs to make a comeback. Maybe we can get that really dark purple you could get a Grand Am in?

In short I don’t want a Grand Am but I do want its paint colors.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
3 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

Also more greens, all cars should offer at least a dark emerald green, if not additional shades. And also turquoise

Unclewolverine
Unclewolverine
3 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

These, and just color in general. I love a good metallic dark grey, but an endless sea of black, white, and every shade in between is soooo boring.

Danger Ranger
Danger Ranger
3 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

Most definitely the dark purple! I have always loved that color, my 86 Trans Am was almost that color (cheap respray from white) I have seriously been thinking about painting my truck that color.

GreatFallsGreen
GreatFallsGreen
3 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

I’ll also accept color matched wheels. Black wheels don’t count.

IRegertNothing, Esq.
IRegertNothing, Esq.
3 months ago
Reply to  Citrus

I’m sorry, but this is 2023. You’ll get grayscale and you’ll damn well like it!

The Dude
The Dude
3 months ago

After shopping for ~3 to 3.5k cars for my kids last year (an acceptable price point for them to learn mistakes before having a fancier car), the $3.8k auction price doesn’t seem half bad.

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
3 months ago

I genuinely don’t have anything to say about this. Here we are, I guess.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
3 months ago
Reply to  Vetatur Fumare

Same. A mute shrug and a sad shaking of the head are all I got for this.

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