With the Grand Prix needing some attention this coming year – highlighted in its last update, back in the fall – one of my tasks this winter has been tracking down some replacement OEM pieces for it. A decade ago this would’ve been a very simple task as these cars consistently made up about half of the GM section at our local Pick-N-Pulls. These days, it’s actually a fairly rare sight to find one in stock.
I had the call out to friends in the USA who frequent junkyards down there for their own projects, for one piece in particular which had still yet to turn up. However, last week one of our local yards actually received the correct pre-facelift (pre-’94) Grand Prix I was waiting on so it wasn’t long after that I was loading tools into the back of the Continental for a run.
The piece in question that was proving tricky to find was a replacement upper dashboard panel. I specifically required a pre-facelift piece as the ’94-96 cars had a completely different dashboard installed, instead of just some different trim like many facelifts see these days. On top of that it had to be from a car without a HUD, and in a perfect world it would’ve also been from the rare Garnet Red interior but that wasn’t crucial. I will note that I’ll still attempt to get my original restored, but I wanted a second panel so as to have one solid base on standby if needed.
Anyway, the lone example in the yard was this 1993 LE sedan. It was as new as it could be to still have the correct dash and had no HUD, but the interior was a dark grey instead. However, the upper panel was still there and aside from some expected dirt it was in pristine condition. Actually the entire car was in bloody good shape which made me pretty sad. If this had been sitting at the front of the yard as a complete car for sale, I wouldn’t have hesitated to take it – spares of everything! Unfortunately however (perhaps fortunately as far as my neighbours are concerned) that wasn’t the case.
So, to pulling I went. I first attempted to get the coolant line I also require as this car had the same 3.1L engine, but ultimately the final clip which held it to the firewall was impossible to get to and stopped me in my tracks. Given the same engine was fit to many W-Bodies of this generation there will be other cars from which I can pull one in case I can’t get back to this GP however. With that being something to revisit, I moved on to the other piece that I desperately needed: the dash.
According to my internet searches it would seem pretty much no one has ever documented how the dash comes apart, as I found just a handful of photos showing the panel removed. That was enough to get me started though, and it wasn’t long before I figured out it was held in by merely three screws (two above the instrument panel and one above the glove box, accessible via a hole in said glove box) and a few clips. Undo the screws, pull the panel straight up (from where it meets the lower half of the dashboard), and then the entire piece slides towards the rear of the car and out from the final two clips located at the base of the windshield.
With the upper panel out and some time left before the yard closed, I took advantage of this ultra clean donor and started grabbing more from it. Having already removed them to get to the dash panel, I took the A-pillars with me as well. I think one of the clips behind my passenger A-pillar trim has failed with age anyway, so now I can replace it.
The center light bar – housing the fog lights – is a piece that really likes to age on these cars, often going opaque yellow over time. This one was not only in like-new condition but the emblem – which is extremely prone to fading – was too, so it was promptly removed.
I also grabbed the driver’s switch panel since mine had to be repaired some years back following the inner framework cracking. My car has power mirrors whereas this had manual (the control would go in that blanked-off square at the bottom) but this can always be cut open and altered if/when required in the future. The buttons for the windows and locks were all very clean so they can also serve as spares.
By the time I got to the car someone else had already rummaged around in the bay a bit and had both the washer tank and coolant reservoirs removed, so I took them as well as the final items of the day. The coolant tank was especially important in my eyes being such a unique shape to fit in a very specific spot in the bay.
Front emblem aside (mine has started to fade again, so it’s time to repaint the inside once more) none of this was necessary for my car just yet, but now I have some more spares to add to my stockpile of pieces. Everything has been tucked away in storage already aside from the dash panel, as it’s now time to start looking into making it more suitable for my car. I had said that it wasn’t crucial for it to be the same colour and realistically I don’t expect to find one given the rarity of the red interior. My main goal here is to keep the car pristine but it doesn’t have to be in an exactly-to-factory standards way. All I care about is that the panel matches the interior colour whether it’s with the factory material or perhaps something a bit fancier instead.