The first thing to fail was the alternator. That was about 3 years ago and has not been a problem since.
I have replaced the brakes twice in the front since I bought it (about to again) and once in the rear.
The only time it was in the shop for a repair was for the front hub bearing replacement at 75k.
The air conditioning has leaked out and is still not functioning properly.
The backlighting of the climate control system is not working. I probably had a wire messed up when the radio got stolen.
The heater core started to develop a crack in the supply line. Whatever idiot thought plastic works well in hot places was definitely wrong.
The car has been very reliable. I've only been stranded three times and that was twice alternator related and once a bad tank of gas. It is the car I have been using since high school and has served me well through college.
It is a 2.4L DOHC 4 cylinder. You will note this car has over 190,000 miles on it. This is the same engine as it was built with. Same transmission. Same, well you get the picture. This car, under my ownership, has not had a major repair. This car contradicts most of what any Consumer's Report has said about 97 Grand Ams. I guess I got lucky?
The engine has been maintained with synthetic 5W30 since it had 60k on it. The engine still runs like it is 60k, no joke. The transmission shifts solidly.
The car averages about 27MPG, mixed usage. If you are miserly or full freeway, it will get over 30MPG. Best I got was 34MPG driving through a Michigan blizzard.
The interior is doing fine. I seldom have more than one passenger. I use floor mats so the carpet is in great condition yet. No hanging ceilings or missing carpet. The paint is starting to feel its age, but is in excellent shape compared too many other 96-98 GA's I've seen.
I will miss this car when it finally does give up the ghost, but that'll be awhile. This car prefers to be run.