Pontiac and McLaren once hooked up, and it was rad

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Most of us would bend over backwards to have a chance to own a McLaren car, but few can afford such extravagance. That said, there’s a way you can get behind the wheel of a legitimate McLaren without breaking the bank. For 1989 and 1990, the Pontiac Grand Prix was offered in a limited-edition ASC-McLaren variant that featured tuning and updates from the iconic British automaker. Examples of this rare coupe rarely surface for sale, so it’s surprising to see this low-mile 1990 Pontiac Grand Prix ASC-McLaren on eBay.

The car is the result of a partnership between American Specialty Cars-McLaren (ASC-McLaren) and Pontiac. We’re not talking about the McLaren Formula 1 team or even the iconic McLaren road cars here. The McLaren connection comes from an arm of the automaker’s powertrain engineering department.

The Grand Prix’s standard 3,1-liter V6 got a massage and a turbocharger, adding 65 horsepower for a total of 205 ponies and 225 pound-feet of torque. A four-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels. That output is modest by today’s standards, and it wasn’t outrageous even by 1990 standards, but the car returned a decent 0-60 mph time of around 7 seconds.

The $5,000 ASC-McLaren package added a load of cool 1980s tech to the Grand Prix’s interior, some of which is surprisingly advanced for the time. The car got a head-up display and a digital display on the dash. The steering wheel should be delightfully familiar to anyone who remembers a top-end Pontiac of the era, with the entire center of the wheel filled with buttons instead of the airbags we see today. The car had insanely padded bucket seats front and rear(!) with a distinctive pear shape.

Many sources peg production numbers between 2,500 and 3,500 units, so the car is relatively rare compared to its mass-produced Pontiac counterparts. This one’s got just 17,746 miles on the clock, too, and appears to be in excellent condition. It’s had just two owners and no reported accidents. The seller notes a little surface rust from the car being in storage so long. This era of GM cars tended to deteriorate quickly, so a bit of surface rust shouldn’t be a huge issue.

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