Cover of the Owner's Manual for the 1969 Pontiac line, including the full sized Bonneville and Catalina, Grand Prix, Tempest/GTO, and the Firebird. Pontiac's classic "arrow" logo is present.
M Y C O L L E C T I O N — My Dad came home with a brand new Liberty Blue 1969 Pontiac GTO, back in the spring of that year. The car came with a 400 cubic inch V8, with Pontiac's classic engine architecture, years before GM started using generic engines in its divisions' cars. It also came with a 4-on-the-floor manual transmission, a HUGE step backwards in my mother's view, and a very deep bass V8 rumble that could be heard, and felt, a 1/4 mile away. Mom couldn't fathom the concept of paying more for a transmission and still getting a manual, though. The car suffered from some production woes, the stick shift actually working itself from its housing and ending up in my father's hands, completely separated from the transmission, lol. He kept this very loud GTO for close to two and a half years and traded it in on a '72 LTD Brougham coupe.
The Liberty Blue GTO that was in our family when new. The car soon sported chrome Cragar SS wheels, lifted air shocks in the rear, and a painted white cowl stripe just in front of the doors, wrapping over the hood and down the other side, a la the Oldsmobile 442 from that period. Looking back, it was all overkill. This car is gorgeous in its standard tires and wire wheel covers. So clean and so pure, the classic Sixties Pontiac look.
Posted below are some pages scanned from this manual, which apparently stayed with the family when the car was sold. I probably hid it! Compared with my current car's manual, which consists of three books in a leather-lined case with 3 CDs as well, this quaint, seventy-two page paper booklet measures 8 1/4 x 5 1/4. It seems so simplistic, evocative of a simpler time I suppose, but I remember my mother talking about the Thirties in that way when I was growing up. Perhaps we all look back to the time of our childhood and feel it was simpler because, as children, we led a simple life!
The full sized Pontiac dashboard instructions. All images clickable to an easily readable size.
The brand-new-for-69 Grand Prix utilized this wraparound instrument panel. Very chic!
The Tempest, and our GTO, shared this dashboard design. I seem to remember a strip of wood near the bottom.
The slightly facelifted Firebird's panel diagrammed.
A typical page, this one showing how to work the various power options. The tortured typesetting is really bad! I'm not sure of the typesetting system used in '69, fully 12 years before I began my publishing career. Perhaps some form of hot lead, or some other "manual" system?