Chopped 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix Golden Lowie Was Cut in 1978, Still Going Strong

With the custom car world moving at an incredible pace nowadays, many of the builds that land on our radar feature widebody conversions (not all of them), which are arguably easier to perform than, say, a roof chop. As a result, a vehicle such as this chopped 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix, which is nicknamed Golden Lowie, will instantly stand out. The Poncho was cut into custom shape back in 1978 and we were thrilled to find out this is still in the hands of Fred Vitali, the man who handled the job.

If the Pontiac brand would still be around, we’d expect the Grand Prix name to greet people in showrooms, since this stayed on the market from its 1962 introduction until 2008, just two years before GM axed the marque.

While the Grand Prix was initially a full-size luxury offering, John DeLorean (yes, that DeLorean), who was Pontiac’s general manager at the time, decided to reinvent the label for its second iteration (1969-1972MY). Influenced by the intermediate platforms that thrived in the performance-dominated late 1960s (Pontiac’s own GTO was a key player in this game), DeLorean switched the Grand Prix to an intermediate platform.

Essentially a stretched incarnation of the GM A-body, this was labeled as the original iteration of the G-body (the second version of the architecture led to the birth of multiple 1980s GM performance cars). As for the body, the Gen II Grand Prix only came in hardtop coupe form (no B-pillars), while sporting the longest hood in the industry, coupled with a short deck.

Those proportions were inspired by the Duesenberg Model J luxury car introduced in the late 1920s and while they convinced plenty of buyers to take the Pontiac home, Massachusetts-born car body specialist Fred Vitali saw them as a mere starting point.

As described in a scanned article from the June 1980 issue of Custom Rodder magazine, which we found in an Advanced Auto Body Facebook post from last year (this is Vitali’s current shop), he performed deep modifications to the machine back in 1978.

Nicknamed Golden Lowie, this 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix looks like a concept car

The headliner here (pun intended) is a five-inch roof chop, while the windows have all been replaced with bulletproof G.E. Lexan units that could be fabricated into shape.

Returning to the widebody theme mentioned in the intro, this Gran Prix also features fender flares, while most of its exterior trim has been removed for a cleaner look.

The stanced of the vehicle, with that lower front end, was achieved by shortening the front springs, which required the fender wells to be removed, so the car could have its standard suspension travel and keep its cornering abilities. And those polished aluminum mag wheels were shod in meaty rubber.

Back in the day, Vitali fitted the unnamed “famed Pontiac V8” (the Grand Prix engine range includes three V8s, the 400, the 428, and the 455) with heavy-duty internals and a custom balancing setup. As for the cabin, a twelve-inch foam rim steering wheel is the only custom piece mentioned in the article.

The car still has its original (custom) paint

And if it feels like the front end, blacked-out theme and all, is different from the standard car, that’s because Vitalli whipped this up using Lexan and brass fill, rather than bondo. The idea was to ensure the custom work, which also saw the man applying custom paint (more on this below) would withstand the test of time.

Not only is the vehicle still in the hands of Vitali, but the said Facebook post, which you can see below shows all that hard work paid out, as “even though the Golden Lowie is showing its age a bit now, it’s still wearing its original paint and bodywork,”

In addition to the images found in that post, you can enjoy some pics in the gallery below, which came via the 70sstreetmachines Instagram page.

In case you’re having a hard time putting a label on the finish of the machine, we’re looking at golden peach candy sitting on top of a white pearl base, while there are also certain dark orange accents.

And, given how many classics end up being neglected for decades, with only a fraction of them returning to the road, we’re glad to see this Pontiac Grand Prix has been doing its custom thing for 44 years now.