GTP – Grand Prix GTP coupe, with a 3.4 liter DOHC V6 (210hp), 5-speed manual transmission, dark gray cloth interior with quad bucket seating and power moonroof.
Acquired September 2004 on eBay from Phoenix AZ, this car has served several purposes. It was intended as the destination for the engine left over from the stillborn DOHC Fiero project on the silver GT from the summer of 2004, but was also an educational project for me and Bob Neumann to learn about the DOHC engine in its native habitat, as I still plan to do the DOHC Fiero conversion on my ’88 GT. It didn’t hurt that it was the first car I’d owned since 1997 with a back seat and large trunk. It became my second and final “Aspirational” car, replacing my first car, the Grand Am listed below which I tried to trade in on a GTP but couldn’t afford it at the time.
Towed to Kenosha, Wisconsin with the silver GT and disassembled in April 2005 due to impending engine failure; I returned it to drivable condition two years later in April 2007, when I used it to tow the hardtop for Fourplay back to Seattle from Arkansas. This resulted in the transmission’s failure in Bozeman, MT, from which I towed it the remaining 700 miles.
I acquired another transmission from a seller in Hayward CA May 2007 and retrieved it using the silver GT with its passenger seat removed, because it was too large and heavy to ship. The transmission was replaced and the car was restored to service May 24, 2007 until the engine failed three months later. It spun the #6 rod bearing during a rescue operation on Fourplay.
The engine was comprehensively rebuilt and failed again immediately upon startup in September 2008 due to misordered rod bearing caps, so I bought and rebuilt its third engine and restored it to service again in October 2008.
It was repainted in dark metallic red in December 2008 and then failed again with a broken timing belt in January 2009.
I pulled the engine out of the car and found a lot of consequential damage from the belt failure. I decided this was the last time I was going to have this happen, so I went over the top and replaced not just the timing belt, but also the intermediate shaft, timing chain, both timing covers, both head gaskets, both front ball joints, both driveshafts, driveshaft support bearings, water pump, clutch, IAC valve, throttle sensor, and a bunch of other small things. I put it back together with the kind of care and precision reserved for jewelry. It was restored to service in mid-March 2009.
In the summer of 2010 the clutch started slipping. By fall I had made arrangements for a location to pull the engine again that October, when I found a leak in the detent cover of the 284 transmission that was leaking fluid onto the clutch and flywheel, causing it to slip. Due to this being an unobtainable replacement part, this was resealed with JB-Weld and returned to service November 2010.
A year later in November 2011 the timing belt was stripped from a failed tensioner. Minor repairs to replace the timing belt and tensioner followed.
Then in spring 2012 the fuel pump failed. I replaced it with the complete pump, sender and tank assembly from a junkyard ’93 STE, but when I found the wiring for the ’93 sender was different and wasn’t reporting the correct fuel level, I reinstalled the original ’92 sender and all was well.
Then in summer 2014 the clutch failed completely in rush-hour traffic on I-5 north of Everett. I felt something break and heard an awful rattling noise. I towed the car home and took the engine and transmission out again, and found that the stud supporting the clutch fork had snapped. The transmission’s bellhousing was slightly damaged but couldn’t be repaired and the transmission had to be replaced again. I obtained another one from a recycler in Maryland that shipped it to my door. I got it all back together that fall, and then the fuel pump failed again a few months later.
I knew I was on borrowed time with that fuel pump anyway, it was used when I installed it three years before. I bought a new one this time and installed it, but then the new tank seal was wrong and it was leaking fumes. This one wasn’t fixed until two years later in summer 2017.
Few people would hang in there with a car this troublesome, but I’m especially fond of this one and I don’t give up. I don’t regret any of it and I’m proud of the results. I learned a lot from it all, and now I’ve got a smooth, comfortable, surprisingly powerful, good-looking and good-as-new daily driver that really stands out from the crowd.
It was repainted again in winter 2011, summer 2012, and summer 2014 and soldiers on.