(Most everyone here on CC knows about my love for the 1977-81 Pontiac Bonneville, so you can imagine my reaction when Junqueboi recently emailed me this lovely find. May I present JB’s second CC post for your enjoyment! Tom Klockau)
I hadn’t driven my blue ’73 Pontiac in a while, and decided to head into Roxboro yesterday morning for a little BK fix. As I was exiting the parking lot, I spotted a very clean ’77-’79 Bonneville headed down the main boulevard of the town. I don’t usually chase folks down, but this was a rare sighting and I know some guy on CC (ED: Who’d that be?) happens to really like these cars–they are definitely my favorite ’77-’79 B-body car. For once I picked the right car to drive and it would be a waste to not pursue this opportunity.
The Bonneville turned into a Family Dollar-type store and I pulled up next to him. I could tell he was a little puzzled at my waving and thumbs-up, but I could tell his guard went down as his eyes scanned my older version of his car. I should have taken a shot of both cars, as the odds of two Bonneville coupes of this vintage meeting up are quite slim.
The owner, an older gentleman named George, was obviously dressed for morning worship and had no time to dilly-dally, but was very nice and allowed me to grab a couple of shots of his car while he ran inside for something. In our short conversation, he affirmed my guess that it was a ’78 model, adding that he bought it fifteen years ago and had replaced the sluggish 301 engine with a 400 4-barrel unit out of a ’75 Grand Ville not long afterward. He smiled as he said how much better the car runs now: I bet it does!
Please excuse my thumb, it just had to pose with this Bonneville!
A very nicely executed dual exhaust was fitted with stock-appearing pipes and quiet mufflers, indicating that all the work done was first-rate. The car had a near-perfect maroon velour interior (although I didn’t get a shot or a good look at it, which is odd for me). Maybe I’ll get to see it again one day when I can get some better shots of it…preferably without my thumb interfering!
I was flattered that he complimented my car (’73 Bonneville hardtop, but I’m sure you’ve already ID’d it) and asked if he could take a couple pics of it while I was taking shots of his. He was dressed very nicely and I almost wanted to get a shot of him with his car, but that would have probably bordered on the weird. You meet the nicest people when you’re driving a CC!
Cool! The owner did himself a big favor by swapping out that wheezy 301… bet it’s much more enjoyable to drive now.
I just spotted another one of these Bonnies yesterday. Got something else planned for tomorrow already – but next week I’ll probably be posting that, and telling the story of my old ’81 sedan.
Those old B-bodies really were something special. They weren’t perfect, but they did get a lot of things right. If I found a coupe that was as straight as the one pictured, I wouldn’t hesitate to own another.
The world renowned Pontiac 301 V8? Father of Iron Duke?
I like the Pontiacs of that generation quite a bit, certainly better than the Buicks. The 400 engine probably makes that one quite the pleasant driver.
Enjoyed the pictures of your 73s as well.
I do agree with you in general about the Pontiac preference. But this Buick Sport Coupe (from the same build years & greenhouse) is right up there with the style and presence as the green Bonne below in gottacook’s post.
I’d love to have either one for a keeper today. If only they would build some of these 70s/80s designs again. We have to keep these cars around because we all know… it just isn’t gonna happen.
Nice car though I’m not keen on the half vinyl roof,it looks like a bad hairpiece.Did they ever come with a full vinyl roof or without any vinyl which would improve the looks a lot.
Certainly there were non-opera-window Bonneville two-doors; here’s one I found:
Thanks,that’s even nicer.This sites slowly making me a full size car fan!
Oooh, that’s a sweet ride, and looks great in that color too. Perfect execution, True Pontiac front, side, rear and interior. Even the best dashboard of them all.
Still in withdrawal from Pontiac’s death.
Did you guys read that Lutz just revealed the Gov insisted on Pontiac going to the ash-heap as part of the bailout package $$$?
Sickening. I had a ’68 & 2 ’69 GTO’s. A ’72 Ventura coupe and a ’77 Grand Prix.
I still and always will miss Pontiac and don’t get me started on Oldsmobile being gone
I love that green & and slightly prefer the plain roof myself!
Do u know if that 2 tone green pontiac 1979 is for sale
Perhaps I’m splitting hairs, but that’s what we do here… for some reason, among the ’77-’79 B-bodies, my favorite is the Bonneville without fender skirts, while my least favorite is the Bonnie with skirts!
Two Great Ponchos! I would of loved to see a better pic of the two side by side. Did you do a CC on your Bonneville yet Junqueboi?
Hey thanks! The blue car has some rear-end damage (previous owner) and some unanswered questions I’d like to sort out before I post something on it. The wife of the original owner is still alive and supposedly in her 80’s. I found out post-purchase that this car may have had a few interesting experiences.
Thank you, these are great pics.
The Pontiac rally wheels give these large cars lots of elegance and style.
And both cars are in fantastic shape.
The paint on the ’78 is especially well cared for, with lots of depth, it looks almost new.
Wondering if it would have a clear coat?
I know the Versailles pioneered clear coating at the time.
I do like the look of these cars – expecially the non-opera-windowed versions, which I believe fit the Pontiac image better.
Nice looking car. I rarely see B-body Pontiacs that aren’t smoking bombs.
The 77-81Bonneville was a smart looking car and its replacement with the downsized G Body Bonneville should be one of GM’s deadly sins. We know it, the customers for the Bonneville back then knew it and even GM knew it as while then could not backtrack and lose “face” with the Bonneville G Body scheme, they brought the pontiac parisienne to the USA to regain the big car crowd
I agree. Funny thing I went from my Caprice when the engine wore out to the ’83 Bonneville I had much like the customers then probably did. Let me tell you there is no way that or any G-body could fill the role of a full size. That car made me long for another b-body every time I got behind the wheel. It handled well but if you were used to the big trunk, ride and roominess of a full size there’s no way it could fit the bill. I ended up selling it and buying an ’83 Olds 98 in a backlash to it.
my first thought when I saw the pic was “that needs a 400”. then I read article.. man, would I like to run across THAT for sale…..
Mmmmmmmm the #s made me smile. 1978, 400V8, dual exhausts… ahhhhhhhh heavenly.
One day I will be that older gentleman I just haven’t found the car yet. :))
When I read those numbers, I uttered a sound not unlike the one Homer makes when he’s first in line for donuts.
Back in the day, a good friend’s mom bought one of these. Same burgundy top, but hers was white and had the fender skirts. The interior was burgundy vinyl. It had the Buick 350 4 bbl. For the life of me, I can’t remember the wheels. Did Pontiac still offer the turbine style wheel covers?
They invited me to come along for the ride when she picked it up from Glenn Straub Pontiac in Wheeling, WV. Her trade-in was pretty cool, also. A ’74 GrandVille 2-door. Burgundy metallic with black vinyl top. Burgundy vinyl interior. Motive power? 455 with 4 bbl, natch. 🙂
I had lots of passenger time in both. It’s a good thing she traded off the GrandVille before her son got his license! Let’s just say the Radial Tuned Suspension in the new one got more than it’s fair share of use & abuse!
I’m not 100% on the post ’76 model Pontiacs, but yes, the “custom finned” wheelcovers (see yellow ’73 Pontiac above) were still available only the fins were an argent color instead of black. Very nice but fragile covers. The standard wheelcovers for ’77 are super cool too IMO (see pic).I’m not sure if they were offered in ’78 though.
The Snowflakes, Rally IIs, & “regular” wire covers were also available in some (maybe all) ’77 – ’79 big Pontiacs.
I used to love this Pontiac hub cap in the 70s.
I bet they were great for sorting coins as well. : )
Great find on the ’78, Junqueboi. But I’ve gotta admit I really loved seeing your ’73s. Both without vinyl tops and both with nice wheel options. Porcelain Blue and Desert Sand, if I’m guessing right?
Why thank you very much sir! My second car was a low-mile ’73 Bonneville Coupe – Golden Olive with white accent stripes, white Cordova top, & white interior. I so loved that car but couldn’t afford to keep it (young & stupid).
That car got me hooked on all 1973 model GM cars (less Cadillac/Vega/X-cars).
You’re close on the colors but the blue car wears a special-order unnamed paint color not offered in ’73 — it was a $119 option per the invoice. The yellow car is code “81” (Mesa Tan) — Buick calls it “Bamboo Cream” & I call it “Bleah Beige”. The yellow car’s base wheelcovers are actually hiding in the barn because I like the custom-finned ones so much more.
Both cars are RTS coupes but have wildy varying options, making them drive quite differently from each other. Other than the slightly googly headlight/grille treatment, I find these cars gorgeous inside and out, especially when equipped with certain color & trim combinations.
So cool! I’m really into the ’73 Pontiacs. My Pop had a ’72 Grand Prix, and he took me back to the dealer in ’73 when the new Pontiacs came out, and I got the brochures on every model (they each had individual flyers that year). I spent tons of time going over every detail on those cars (still have them all, very worn since I looked at them so much). My favorites were the Firebird, Grand Prix, Grand Ville and Bonneville (never quite warmed-up to the bullet-back LeMans). I remember the color selection was on the back cover of each brochure, and I used to know all those colors by heart. Very interesting that your blue car was a special order–I actually did think it looked a bit different than Porcelain Blue but couldn’t place it. Sad to say I forgot all about Mesa Tan… but I think it looks good on your car, and the finned wheel covers really pick it up (not a huge fan of the basic full wheel covers that year). They had some great colors then, as well as some weird ones. They featured a color called Burnished Umber (odd metallic brown) on several of the cars, including the cover car on the Bonneville brochure. Not exactly sure what “umber” is or why you’d burnish it. Golden Olive and white must have been a great combo–do you have any pics of the Bonneville you had in that color? And hopefully one day you’ll give us a detailed CC write-up on these two Bonnevilles as well.
That’s amazing — how cool it is knowing there’s someone besides me that has a huge thing for the ’73 Pontiacs! Funny you should mention Burnished Umber because I have another ’73 Bonneville that was originally this color. It’s a 4-door sedan with the “basic group” and was purchased for $200 at an impound auction 10-15 years ago for the drivetrain. But the darn thing was so reliable that I kept it intact. I’d post a pic but Paul needs the bandwidth and this car has been repainted some awful color and has been hit in the front on top of that.
There’s a Starlight black ’73 GP in the garage and two ’73 Grand Ville parts cars behind the barn. One is Florentine red and the other Admiralty Blue.
There’s a Golden Olive GV convertible, Verdant Green Grand Prix, Starlight Black Grand Am, Ascot Silver Grand Am 4-door, & Florentine red GTO in Alabama that I’m trying to get back as well but they are deteriorating fast. The GV is probably the only one still worth saving at this point.
I have maybe one or two photos of the ex-beloved Bonneville somewhere but no scanner. It had a very odd option combo & was likely a 1 of 1. Oh well!
That’s awesome that you still have those brochures! When I bought my black GP, I was surprised to find a brochure that was an overview of the ’73 models — it didn’t go into as much detail as the ones you have but it does have the paint chips in the back. I still look at it every now & then 🙂
Man, what an awesome collection of ’73 Pontiacs! So funny that you have a Burnished Umber (or at least was at one time) Bonneville. Good luck getting the cars out of Alabama. They all sound sweet, even if they all aren’t worth saving. If the GTO was just a bit older, there’d be a huge market for that one. Not sure how many people want to pay up for the last of the “real” mid-size GTOs. I think the Grand Ams are cool too–how does the Endura nose hold up over time? I’ve always wondered about that…
Speaking of Verdant Green GPs, there was one in my neighborhood when I was a kid. White vinyl top, white buckets inside, rally wheels, sport mirrors. Sweet looking car. Another ’73 GP lived a few doors down, and it had a pretty unusual option mix. Regatta Blue, no vinyl roof, sport mirrors, finned wheel covers, bumper guards front and rear, inside was blue with a BENCH seat, but the car had all the power options, the gauge package with tachometer, rear defroster (in Louisiana!) and the top radio. What was the odd option mix on your ’73 Golden Olive Bonneville coupe? It’s so interesting how you could equip the cars back then any way you wanted, and I’m always curious about the really unique, strange combos.
I still have the invoice to the GO Bonneville somewhere but can’t find it, so this is from memory. Options were
Deluxe seat belts — note that white interior cars had black seat belts anyway, but this option was still available thank goodness. The receptacles were the much nicer stainless steel versions — not the cheap black plastic units that fail/crack with age.
body side moldings
door edge guards
front mats/rr mats — I think they were separate options
door-mounted courtesy lights
dome lamp w/reading lps*
white accent stripes
white cordova top
sport mirrors (LH remote)
pass visor mirror
driver visor mirror — a separate & rare $3 option 🙂
custom finned wheelcovers
whitewall tire option (forgot size)
AM/Stereo 8-track (no FM)
Deluxe bumper group
Front/RR bumper guards — I think they were separate options
The car had the base 400-2bbl engine with single exhaust. Its white vinyl interior was a much softer shinier vinyl than what was offered in the Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, & Buick cars of that period.
Oddly enough, it did was not ordered with a power seat, trunk, tilt, or cruise control. Also, instead of being ordered with the “lamp group” like my other two ’73 cars, the two interior light options were ordered separately which is weird.
Being built at the Doraville Georgia plant made it even sweeter because Doraville cars got the real stainless steel body side moldings with vinyl inserts and the paint stripes were actually painted on. Cars built at the Pontiac plant had all-vinyl stick-on body side moldings and pin striping — they look cheaper and don’t hold up as well. I do not know how the Fairfax-built Pontiacs came.
Wow, thank you Junqueboi! Sounds like a great car, and a perfect example of a totally unique option mix. It’s also amazing how they did everything in such small increments–like the driver’s side visor mirror for $3! Supply chain nightmare but sure makes for interesting cars.
The Pontiac “Morrokide” was very nice as I remember. My Pop’s ’72 GP had it, and it was soft and comfortable for vinyl. He got a ’73 LeSabre Custom as a company car, and I remember that the vinyl seats in that one were not as nice as in the Pontiac.
Very interesting to learn about the build quality and material variances between the plants. Growing up in New Orleans, I imagine most of the Pontiacs sold there would have come from the Georgia plant.
OK, everybody – this is the umpteenth time I have read “Morrokide” the last few days. Was there anything unique about Morrokide, or was it simply a Pontiac advertising name for the same vinyl that other GM divisions used. I do know that the vinyl seats in our 64 Cutlass and in the other 60s GM cars of my experience was tough and durable as could be, but that the stuff they started using in 1973 was less so. Ford and Chrysler also cheapened the quality of the vinyls that they used on seats later in the 60s too. Did Pontiac really use a different vinyl from the sister divisions? I’m betting no, but I am on record as having been wrong on more than one occasion here.
No no no Mr. Cavanaugh, LOL. The Pontiac stuff is definitely different than what was installed in its Buick & Olds cousins. All of my ’73 Buick intermediates have a “tougher”, more textured vinyl as is the white vinyl interior in my current & past ’73 Delta conv’ts.
The one car I had that had a very similar material was a black bench-seat-equipped ’73 442. The inner seating areas had a much shinier softer vinyl & I think I remembered advertisments touting its “wet-look” vinyl. I’m not sure if it was the same exact stuff that’s in my ’73 GP though.
The ’73 Chevrolets (in my opinion) had a vinyl softer than the Buick/Olds stuff but not as soft as the Pontiac stuff. I can only speak for the 1973 model year though.
Gotta go with Junqueboi on this. Granted it was many moons ago, so my memories are hazy … but the seat trim in the ’72 GP was fairly soft and had almost a slightly perforated appearance. The ’73 LeSabre Custom was a tougher textured vinyl that just wasn’t as soft. My mother’s ’71 Olds Ninety-Eight also had a tougher, textured vinyl, but I’d swear the “grain” was different. While I know GM was the absolute master at sharing components and materials, I do think the individual divisions got to specify their seat trim materials. Think of the cloth seating, for example. Each pattern was different (and usually had some grandiose name, at least in the early ’70s). I bet they allowed the divisions to pick their own vinyl material too, at least for the seating areas (side bolsters, etc. would probably be forced into commonality by The General).
What a stunningly beautiful car, great find Mr. um, Boi!?
I have to say, you would make a great addition to The Brougham Society over on Facebook 🙂
I am so intrigued by the Brougham Society but am so Facebook-averse! Maybe I’ll take the leap — it would be only reason I’d rejoin Facebook, that’s for sure.
In the real world “J” is for Joel 🙂
Thanks for highlighting this beauty. One of the unique features of the 77-79s was the two-tone paint scheme (not just a different color top -see pic below), which hadn’t been offered on a full sized GM car in about two decades.
My order of preference for the 77-79 B-bodies: #1 the Pontiac Bonnie (any roof style, but two tone -this is one of my ‘saved’ searches); the ’77 Caprice (w/that wrap-around rear window) -and I’d take the Buick Sport Coupe or Palm Beach.
This was really a high water mark for GM design on all the B-bodies: all of the dashboards were great; the paint schemes were so refreshing (although they oxidized early) and these cars rode nicely with reliable performance.
The Palm Beach brochure: two-tone inside and out.
Very interesting! I’ve never seen this car before. Was it a regional edition or available nationally? A lot of special modifications, such as the unique woodgrain. Any idea how many were built?
As far as I know It was available nationally, I have only seen one in person before, the door panels are from the Electra. I think about 2000 were made.
I read that the 1977-79 full-size Pontiacs and Buicks sold with California and high-altitude emissions had a different engine roster than the ones sold in the rest of the country. CA and high-alt. cars had either the Buick 3.8 V6, Oldsmobile 350 or 403 V8s.
Beautiful car. I last year had the chance to drive a nice 1979 2 door base coupe optioned with the 301 4BBL instead of the base 2 BBL engine and was not at all disappointed in the performance, even with 97k on the clock. I probably should have bought the car but the dealer wanted 6 grand for it and I only wanted to pay 4500. They are getting harder to find as the years pass.