CC Capsule: 1979 Pontiac Parisienne – Soldiering On


(first posted 19/18/2015)   If there’s anything that is going to stand out among the plethora of modern cars, trucks and SUVs that fill the parking lots of shopping centres such as Cowichan Commons just north of Duncan, British Columbia, it’s going to be an olive-green-with-white-vinyl-top ’79 Parisienne. I spotted this one from quite a distance given it’s striking, vintage color scheme and pulled in for a closer look.


It’s hard to mistake the crisp lines of the early B-bodies, especially those of us in Canada who were offered the Parisienne, downsized for 1977, continuing on as Pontiac’s clone of the Chevrolet Caprice and a common sight on the streets of cities and towns across the country. I recall several of these in my hometown of Smithers, some of this particular era and others of later model years. It was during the early model years that US customers would scoop up the Catalina as Pontiac’s full sized offering, with that name plate disappearing after 1981. The Parisienne became available in the US market in 1983 and continued on until it’s production ended in 1986.


The fresh license plates hint that this particular car has likely traded hands once more and while it’s difficult to determine just how many owners it has had in it’s 36 years on the road, I would guess that it’s only switched owners a couple of times. It is in original form, weathered and worn, but still looking remarkably solid. This would indicate that it spent some (or much) time with a loving owner, surely keeping it in a garage or carport away from direct sunlight while ensuring it was cleaned and serviced regularly.


I would guess that today’s owner has picked up this classic late 70s sedan for a paltry sum and that it has entered regular service, though it is hard to say how long it has been doing just that. One can imagine a lighter duty in it’s prime, though it is adorned with a heavy duty receiver, reflecting back to a time where one could tow a sizable trailer with a sedan such as this, though it is hard to imagine that it has engaged in trailer towing duties as of late.


Cushy green seats are the obvious compliment to the exterior finishing, pointing back to the days where one could pick and choose from a healthy list of paint & upholstery colors when ordering a new car. The interior is well preserved and the seats all look like they would be a great place to kick back and enjoy the ride, if there’s anything I can remember about my times in a Caprice or Parisienne of this type is that it was a comfortable & spacious ride.


It turns out that the rustiest part of this car was it’s metal VIN tag in the left hand corner of the dash, visible through the windshield, making it difficult to decipher all of the digits, but yielding enough that I can confirm the 1979 model year and note it is equipped with the standard issue, 130 hp, 2 bbl Chevrolet 305 V8. It can be said that what this car will lack in terms of fuel economy and get-up-and-go, it will make up for in nostalgic character and charm.

I wish it well!