Recalling our recent “Oddball of the Aughts” article we ran just a few weeks back, the 1989-1990 ASC/McLaren Turbo Grand Prix (TGP) was one car that almost made the cut, had it not been so old. However, the TGP was always a car your author has been intrigued by since it was first released in 1989, and I was nine years old. Being built upon the new at the time W-body platform that replaced the rear-wheel drive G-body, the TGP featured a ton of new tech that made the two year difference between it and the ’87 G-body look more like an age gap of twenty years instead of just two.
Believe it or not, it was the very first production car from General Motors that featured Head-Up-Display – a revolutionary idea at the time – borrowing jet fighter technology and implementing it for the road. Features that seem perfectly normal today were included into the TGP, such as a digital compass, tire-pressure monitoring system, oil change light, tire rotation notification, an onboard diagnostics computer, anti-lock brakes and much more. The seats were power adjusted lumbar supported leather, and the rear bench was replaced with matching mini buckets with a center console for a 2+2 layout, and literally everything was power.
Under the heat-extracted hood was a MPFI 3.1L V6 that produced almost as much horsepower as the 5.0L V8 that powered the G-body in the base naturally aspirated car, but in this particular McLaren Turbo guise, jumped up another 65 hp to a full 205 thanks in large part to an intercooled turbocharger. Quarter-mile performance was in the low 15-second range for the boosted Pontiac, but that was pretty much on the mark with its big brother, the 5.0L TPI Trans Am of the same year. Handling was above average for a front-wheel drive car and offered a sporty feel.
Thanks to the ASC/McLaren outsource (those same characters responsible for the GNX), the TGP was held in high-regard and a high price at the time. It was used as a Daytona 500 Pace Car, as well as a PPG Pace Car during its tenure, and you can catch a glimpse of it in the 1990 Tom Cruise film, Days of Thunder. Oh and these are quite rare as well. For 1989, there were only 750 Grand Prix McLaren Turbos made (375 Black/375 Bright Red). They would produce an additional 2725 TGPs for 1990, as well as 1,000 sedan-based models dubbed the Grand Prix STE.
This particular example is currently on eBay, and has been a few times as of late, through a classic car lot that specializes in Corvettes, called Corvette Mike. With the bidding at $3,500 and climbing as of this writing, it’s rumored that the asking price is $10,000 for this clean example with 89,000 miles. Is it priced to high? We’ll let you make the call.
Rick Seitz is the owner and founder of GMEFI Magazine, and has a true love and passion for all vehicles. When he isn’t tuning, testing, or competing with the brand’s current crop of project vehicles, he’s busy tinkering and planning the next modifications for his own cars.