CC Capsule: The Pontiac Commercial Chassis, 1971 to 1975 – The Overlooked Rarity


A hearse isn’t the most appealing car one can imagine.  Take away the curtains, vinyl roof, and landau bars and it could have been an ambulance.  Either way, this car started life as a commercial chassis Pontiac.  A coach builder might also convert these chassis into limousines, not just hearses and ambulances.

Chalk this find up to the CC Effect, as I found this the day after the ’73 Grand Ville article.


This Pontiac wasn’t alone, as this ’70 Pontiac ambulance and Cadillac hearse were also nearby.  I have no clue what is in the pole barn behind the copper Pontiac, but I suspect there are more hearses and ambulances.  Seeing this got me to wondering about the abundance of commercial chassis Pontiac built.

If you watch enough 1970’s era television, it appeared Cadillac had the market cornered on professional chassis with Pontiac being an aberration.  That would be a highly accurate assessment.  How so?  Let’s compare:

Model Year Cadillac Pontiac
1971 2,014 194
1972 2,462 320
1973 2,212 240
1974 2,265 113
1975 1,329 60

Cadillac was outselling Pontiac in this arena by huge margins every year, so this commercial chassis Pontiac is a very rare critter.  For 1971 to 1975, the commercial chassis was classified as being in the Grand Ville series with a 126″ wheelbase.  Every picture found revealed the Bonneville name on the grille; maybe the Bonneville name had more cachet than did Grand Ville.

What about Oldsmobile and Buick?  No production numbers could be found, although a few pictures of Olds 98 based ambulances did show up in Google.  Unable to find production numbers for anything more recent than 1975, it makes one wonder if Pontiac ceased production of the commercial chassis after the showing of 1975.