There’s no denying the fact that Richard Petty left a legacy behind when he retired from NASCAR in 1992. After four decades of racing under his belt, he’s earned hero status in the eyes of stock car racing fans the world over. While being predominately associated with Mopars throughout his racing career, King Richard did pilot Oldsmobiles, Buicks, and from 1982 up until his retirement in 1992, Pontiacs, around the banked ovals of NASCAR circuits all over the country.
By the time 1999 rolled around, Petty Enterprises started by his father, Lee Petty, was celebrating its 50th anniversary in business. Wanting to commemorate the occasion, Richard approached General Motors to offer the buying public a special edition Grand Prix with his likeness that buyers could purchase from their local Pontiac dealership. Working with an all-star team, such as Bruce Canepa of Canepa Design and Chip Foose, Richard set out to commission the car with GM’s blessing. On eBay right now is the only example of such a car.
A 1999 model, the GTP has been modified to the tune of 300hp, up 60hp from its original 240, thanks to a cold-air induction package, low-restriction exhaust, a smaller supercharger pulley, and ECU tuning. The brakes and suspension have been modified as well, improving overall driving dynamics and providing a lowered ride height. Not impressed by the factory-issued 16-inch wheels these cars came with, Canepa also installed a set of 19-inch customized rollers to further strengthen handling capabilities, and provide a much classier look that worked with the rest of the car.
To give it the NASCAR/Richard Petty touch, The King’s signature appears throughout the car, as well as his trademark side profile and “43” callout that has become synonymous with Petty. On the deckled, there’s a NASCAR-style rear spoiler and carbon fiber accents can be found in various locations from the engine cover to the interior trim, which also features customized leather interior and embroidery.
Commissioned by Richard Petty, customized by Bruce Canepa, and styled by Chip Foose, the Canepa Design Richard Petty Edition prototype Grand Prix GTP is a perfect example of a really interesting car that was ultimately axed by the General Motors bean counters. You can buy this on-of-one conversation piece for just under $56,000 from RK Motors in Charlotte. With only 1,779 miles on the clock and in impeccable condition, this car is perfect for the hardcore Petty fan, or for someone looking to add the most collectible W-body on the planet to their collection.
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.