1978 Pontiac Grand Prix 301 from North America


I loved the car, but would never own another car with the 301


At a little over 60,000 miles, the transmission went out. That was replaced, and within 5,000 miles, the engine went out. This process was repeated to the tune of 5 transmissions and 4 engines in a matter of 20,000 miles. I finally put a 400 engine and transmission in out of a 1973 Grand Prix, and then the rear end went out.

General Comments:

This was a beautiful car, and one which I have not seen the likes of, ever. It had a maroon color that I have not seen on any other Grand Prix's, even of the same year. It had a white interior with a white vinyl top. This, with a custom set of wheels, made it a gorgeous car that drew looks wherever it went. Unfortunately, this was usually on the back of a wrecker.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st January, 2010

2nd Jan 2010, 14:05

I owned a 77 Grand Prix with the 301, it was a bit under-powered, but was also in a different body, which was much heavier than the 78. I never had a single problem, it ran smooth and very strong for a small engine in a large car. The 301 was the perfect V8 for the downsized 78 Grand Prix, especially with a four barrel carb., and the engine was built by Pontiac, who in my opinion made better V8s than any other GM division.

2nd Jan 2010, 17:08

I had a '76 Grand Prix with the 400 engine and 400 turbo-hydramatic transmission and it was of course flawless. Never broke - in fact nothing on the car ever broke. Typical old GM.

A friend had a '77 with the 301 and it was both adequately powered and perfectly reliable. Also durable - last we heard of it the car had around 250,000 miles and going strong.

1978 Pontiac Grand Prix LJ 4.9L (301) 4BBL from North America


It was a great car


The window regulator bent in the driver door.

The radiator developed a slow leak at the top.

The rear subframe of the car rusted badly and the bumper had to be welded back on. This is why I got rid of the car.

General Comments:

The performance from the little V8 was unbelievable. It would keep up with stock 350's in similar models. The ride was kind of plush and quiet. Steering and braking were exceptionally easy for such a big car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd December, 2008

24th Dec 2008, 04:26

I never had any experience with these smaller, downsized Grand Prix's of the late 70s and 80s, but a friend had one of the big full sized ones (I think it was a 77 model, the last year), with the little 301 V8 in it. Amazingly, the car was quite reasonably quick - we 'raced' it, in our careful way, with various 1980s cars, and while it couldn't keep up with an '82 T-bird with a 255 V8, it walked away from an '84 Grand Marquis with a 302.

Also it ran forever, I think last we heard from the guy he sold it to it had around 280,000 miles on it, with no rebuild of any kind.

1978 Pontiac Grand Prix 301 from North America


Comfort, smooth ride, and nice looks


Once I fixed everything I had known I had to fix when I first test drove this car, I have had absolutely no problems. When I bought it for $600, I knew I'd need to do some work to make this car a daily driver. That included rear end seal, fuel lines, four tires, rear shocks, brakes, and front end. The bulk of $700 spent on repairs went into the front end. Not a bad deal for $1300!

General Comments:

GM makes cars that are pleasure to take on a highway. Once you get up to speed, relax and enjoy the smooth ride.

It's not too bad in a city either. True, the car is big, heavy, and bulky, but it steers very easily and you get a feeling that you still can relax while driving. (When I drive my Lincoln Mark VIII, I always a little rigid)

One more point about handling. It seems that nose lives a life of its own. It will go up and down as you step on the gas or brake, however it does not feel like shocks are bad. Anyway, many 70's cars do that.

Gas millage is awful. Just about 10 miles a gallon city, a bit more highway.

Nice seats - very comfortable for back and legs (Again, it's hard to drive my Mark for more than an hour without getting cramps in right leg)

Starts easy even when cold. Pump gas three times and crank it for about 5-7 seconds - it'll start even after siting for a week in cold weather (It's been 0-20F for the last couple of weeks). Only once chock plate got stuck. It happened after I left the car for about 2 hours - go figure. Anyway, I sprayed WD-40 and it never happened again.

Performance... 301 does not pull it. It'll beat almost any 4 cylinder of the line and burn tires, but there is not much passing power when you hit a highway. It feels slower than it is because the car is so smooth.

I hold my left hand on top of the steering wheel and drive with one hand, it's hard too see speedo for my left hand gets in the way. It's only my driving habit, but GM could place speedo better.

Trunk is very roomy.

I like the way it looks, slanted nose is a nice touch.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd January, 2004

31st Jul 2006, 23:45

Your bad fuel economy and sluggish performance are probably carb-related.