Full Access Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Salisbury, North Carolina
Great INFO I found on my 89 McLaren GP
I know this is NOT an LX car but it was such interesting information that I received about ONE of my other cars. 89 McLaren Turbo GP.
Just thought I'd share. My car is stored currently in my garage and had only 7,034 miles on it. Hoping some day this car will be a collectable. It was the Pace Car from the Movie "DAYS OF THUNDER" filmed at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Thought I'd share for any car lovers out there.
the new GM10/W-Body Platform was launched in MY (Manufacturing Year) 1988 it was met with rave reviews, even with a version of this platform; a white Grand Prix SE garnishing the coveted Motor Trend car of the Year Award. A response from Pontiac of an image building vehicle of the Grand Prix was decided, though there was talk of this already in the works as GM felt its W-Body line was to be a resounding success. So the Excitement Division/Pontiac was given the go-ahead to do a sporty and image building show car for the Grand Prix line-up, hence the Turbo version of the Grand Prix SE 2-door. To attempt such an involving and exclusive endeavor, the following team was enlisted: Tom Nash/Pontiac Grand Prix Product-Engineering Manager, Pontiac Design Leader Terry Henline, Pontiac Product Planning Group, Phil Pearson/Powertrain Specialist, General Motors CPC Engineering Team, Mark Huebner Plant/Project Manager for ASC, Alcoa, GM's Huges Aerospace division, Wiley McCoy Executive VP and COO of McLaren Engines and, AutoStyle who skinned the original concept car in 1988 that had the 305 hp turbo engine setup. Many thanks go to our founding fathers!
As with the infamous work to make the fantastic 1987 Buick Regal GNX (and 2 GNX Police Pursuit cars); Pontiac enlisted the expertise of ASC/McLaren Specialty Products, made up of ASC (so named at the time: American Sunroof Corporation) and drivetrain partner McLaren Performance Engines (so named at the time) to take a fully loaded Grand Prix SE to the next level, and into production status. The plant responsible for putting together all the pieces that made the conversion was constructed faster than any other ASC plant in history, and was ready to start production in November of 1988, with first sales said to start in January/March of 1989. Aside from the only options of a CD Player (in 1990), Leather Seats and Moonroof, the Turbo Grand Prix was already fully equipped with ever other option in the GP SE lineup, and with class leading technologies such as ABS and HUD display as well as a water-cooled/intercooled turbo setup, made this a car few could compare to. Efforts of ASC working with Pontiac design studios resulted in one of the best aero complimenting packages made on a American car, even by todayís standards. ASC's partner McLaren tackled the drivetrain project; turbo conversion, thermal testing, tuning, validating and certification (emissions and driveability), with a vast list of well thought out components and upgrades to round out this setup. GM as well as ASC also participated in testing the Turbo Grand Prix setup in hot-cold climate test with dyno cels as well as remote locations such as in hot climate Texas and high altitudes in Colorado. Though robotic efforts had already been started at GM doing vehicle finishing/painting, the Turbo Grand Prixs all received a higher quality hand finish by skilled workers, compare the 6 mil finish of a Turbo Grand Prix to other Grand Prixs of that era and there is a noticeable an appreciable difference.
Before and during those periods from 1987+ till 1990, the Turbo Grand Prix had other brothers, the luxurious Grand Prix Turbo STE 4-door, and a 1988 gold Grand Prix SE with just the turbo drivetrain and louvered hood (no aero kit and a trimmed down interior) that ran at Pikes Peak, and a concept version; the 305hp Grand Illusion Turbo Grand Prix, and 7 Pace Cars, and even a one-off convertible version. There were many proto-type versions as well and all those known at this time are listed below.
A total of 26 proto-type Turbo Grand Prixs and TSTEs were built, starting off with 2 gold 1988 Grand Prix SEs one of which was sent to be assembled and setup by Frank Peterson Racing/Leo Payne Pontiac and raced at Pikes Peak taking the Show Room Stock win over the heavier AWD GMC (prototype as well, possibly with the Buick GN Turbo Motor) Syclone at the time. There was also initially 1 burgundy LE that was a turbo test-bed, and 1 white Turbo Grand Prix 2-door, 2 red Turbo Grand Prixs 2-doors, 4 black Turbo Grand Prix 2-doors and 2 red TSTE. There were also 7 Pace Cars of which headed up the 1989 Daytona 500 and 5 which were used in the 1990 movie Days of Thunder with Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Randy Quaid and Robert Duvall. There was also mention of a rear wheel drive Turbo Grand Prix Pace Car. There was also a yellow 2-tone down the center, Turbo Grand Prix. Last there was one convertible red Turbo Grand Prix that was likely a custom aftermarket.
GM initially wanted a single exhaust/false dual exhaust setup, but the ASC assembly shop pushed that the expense would be a small increase and worth it for this car to go with real duals, and that in the colder months it would not look good to have only one exhaust tip puffing white and the other not. Also the initial idea was to use a sheet metal formed tip with a chrome trim which thankfully was upgraded by ASCís suggestion to the use of the better final finish cast aluminum ones as seen in production!
McLaren had 15-20 people working design and fabrication. ASC had 30+ on such items as rims, aero construction/fitment/finish, drivetrain testing, and vehicle assembly. Resulting thermal tests by McLaren and GM's dyno cels warranted the use of a much more efficient, costly and thicker copper/brass radiator for production verses the stock aluminum/composite plastic radiator used on production w-body cars. With wider 245mm tires, the allowed suspension travel had to be reduced so the tires would not rub the fender wheel well opening and aero trim.
Old GEEZERS LOVE CARS TOO!!!
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