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Debbie Harris's 1969 Grand Prix

2022 September
of the Month

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WhiteArrow3800
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Prepare for story time ... or just skip to the pics! ;)

The '93 SSE was my first car, given to me by my parents. Originally I didn't want anything to do with it. Besides this car we had pretty much been an all Ford family. But growing up my parents didn't like the sedans Ford had to offer (Crown-Vic/Taurus). My mom saw this car one day and told my dad she liked it and he had to go find out what it was. Nowhere on the car does it say Bonneville, and in fact even the commercials called the car a Pontiac SSE or SSEi. But dad did figure it out and bought this one from Alltel who used it as a company car and kept it in pristine shape for 4 years and 32k miles. Then I started driving it and I was impressed with it, just as my dad must have when he test drove it. Eventually I came across a Bonneville Club online and joined and the Bonneville obsession grew from there. I went to my first meet in '07 which was in Florida and the engine spun a bearing at 162k miles on the odo. and wasn't going to make the drive back. Two of the club members offered to hold onto the car and rebuild the engine for me. One guy actually mentioned the idea of pulling the motor out of his car and dropping it in mine! So we left it there and flew home. We later decided to try our luck with a junkyard motor and another club member straight up gave us a motor he was going to use for his car, it was a junkyard find out of a Trans-Sport (yeah now I can say it's a grandma mobile with a mini-van motor...even though the engines were the exact same...lol). So they swapped it in and it spun a bearing 66 miles later while they were breaking it in. My dad and I then went down and towed it back home and I spent the next year and a half with a part-time job budget slowly getting everything I needed to rebuild it. There were several complications along the way but she got done in early '09. That ran for 20k miles and the trans let go, which got replaced with another deal through another club member and now she's trucked past 210k miles! However my brother has been primarily driving the '93 since his '83 Ranger had an engine fire a year or so ago and only recently repaired.

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She ran with the two black wheels up front for a little while but she's now back to all four white wheels:

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As for the '01 SSEi, it came about because of one of the "complications" during the '93 rebuild. I wasn't living at home at the time and dad had called me early one week and told me the engine block had cracked after he picked it up from the machine shop. This was going to be the last straw for this build and I didn't want to be commuting with my dad's F-150 90 miles a day once school started again. So I began looking for another car, initially I was looking for a '92-'95 SSEi or a Fiero to turn into a project. The '00+ were out of my price range, but I came across this one that was listed for $9k and I looked for the hell of it. Later that week I noticed the price dropped to $5k which was just outside of my price range but I had it figured I could afford it. I return home that Friday to find the "crack" in the engine block to be a sharpie marker in one of the cylinders. It was all just some huge cruel joke my dad had played on me. Couple weeks pass and I keep thinking about this '01, so I talked with my parents and they agreed to cosign with me if I came up with a down payment. Then I set up a weekend to run down to North Carolina to check it out and the day before I would have left I got an email saying it was sold. I was kinda upset about it, but I noticed as a couple more weeks passed it was still listed. So I called them and it turns out the buyer couldn't finance it so it wasn't sold. So we went down to check it out as soon as I could. It had some issues which is what the drastic price drop was for. Brakes needed to be replaced, all 4 engine/trans mounts were worn or already failed among a few other minor things. The carfax was clean but after inspecting it had obviously been in a wreck. But I figured pretty much everything I could fix myself with no problem so I snagged it up. If I had known the coolant system was solid mud and was going to take years to be rid of cooling issues I would have passed this up. Because it wasn't until the past winter I had that issues solved...it was flushed countless times (both by myself and professionally) but it took me replacing everything involved with the coolant system save for the engine block itself.

But anyway, this one is my daily driver/play toy. Overall goal is to pull low/mid 13's in the 1/4 and/or push 300hp to the wheels, which ever comes last, and still maintain a daily driver. She dyno'd 220hp/233ft.lb. with heavy ignition signal interference on the dyno, so the guys at the shop estimated the actual numbers are probably closer to 230hp/260ft. lb. which is right about where I expected to be with my mods thus far. Two weeks ago she lost 4th gear so she's parked until early December when I've got the time to rip into it for the rebuild myself (First trans rebuild, wish me luck!), as well as a little "suspension remodeling". ;)

The day I bought it:

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And maybe a month later, pretty much everything fixed up/replaced that needed it.

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Painted headlights, tinted tails and 35% tint all around and new exhaust tips:

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Couple from a shoot I did with a buddies RX-8

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Stock wheels from said RX-8, modified & painted to match the Bonnie & in a few shots from a photoshoot with another Bonneville GXP:

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Most recent engine bay shot...soon to be redone:

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I loooooove the color matched wheels. The photos are great! Now I want to go shoot some pictures haha. I'm glad you were able to give this beauty a good home!

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Wow...every car does have a story, doesn't it? ;)

Both cars have their own character. But damn, that bra thing and headlight covers ruin it's clean look IMO.

The 01 is nifty. Those RX-8 wheels actually look right at home on there. But the heads and tails throw off the car...I mean, white headlights, tinted tails...I would have left the headlights be with the tails tinted.

But hey, welcome to Forever Pontiac!

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Thanks Guys!

I hear ya on the bra. I typically only run the bra for road trips, but the '93 has gotten a little banged up and the bra is hiding it at the moment. I threw the headlight covers on to black out the whole front end, I thought it made the bra look slightly cooler....lol

As far as the headlights vs. tails I know what you mean. They're on opposite ends of the car though so it doesn't bother me. I didn't want to tint the tails actually, I more-so did it to hide the typical delamination of those stripes. I wasn't happy still so then I went back and actually masked all the stripes off and painted gloss black over it. Should have wetsanded the tint off but oh well. I absolutely LOVE the headlights though, it takes a few years off her age appearance IMO....as soon as I replace the drivers side lens, which has yellow'd out on the inside.

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Great looking Bonnie!!! I love the white 5 spoke rims on the white car, great job with her!!! :lol:

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  • 1 month later...

Great looking Bonnevilles. Take real good care of them. They look great!

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