I can just imagine the howls that came from Pontiac dealers when GM announced that after 1981 it would stop making the large B-body Bonneville, and affix the Bonneville nameplate to a mid-size car. It took Pontiac just one model year to decide they’d made a bad move and to bring back the B. They turned to Canada for a fast fix, bringing that market’s Chevy-based Parisienne down south.
Were it not for the Pontiac-spear midgrille, you’d be forgiven for calling this a Caprice as it approached you. But only that Pontiac pimped out their “Caprice” with fender skirts and wire wheels. I wasn’t even remotely surprised to find this one in showroom shape. The high-pimp Parisiennes were well beloved and well maintained; I can only assume that lesser-trimmed Parisiennes were more readily thrashed and discarded. I haven’t seen a base Parisienne in I don’t know how long.
In ’83 and ‘84, Parisiennes wore a Caprice tail with one-piece tail lights. For ’85, in a stroke of frugal genius, Pontiac dug out the tooling for the B-body Bonneville tail to make their clone car more distinctive. The distinction was short lived; after ’86, the Parisienne was done for.
Ixnay on the hitewallswa
now that is a good looking car. swap in the lt-1 from a 90s caprice (same frame) and you would have an awesome highway cruiser.
My brother, a dried in the wool Poncho man called it the “Cheviac.” There were quite a few of them around back at that time, too. In Soviet Canuckistan, Pontiac was always a very popular brand. When I was a kid, going from Chevy to a Pontiac was a real step up in life, even if our Ponchos were a rather tranuncated version of Wide-Tracking until 1968.
In the Victoria Canucistani Federated Republic, these Cheviacs were mostly owned by older men buying their last cars. They were all Pontiac guys and many, correctly, saw this as their last chance to have a big Pontiac sled.
The interior was quite a bit different, too. The dash had the Pontiac signature round gauges and the materials all looked like Pontiac stuff, too.
By this vintage the dash was almost 99% the same as the Caprice/Impala, though I dont know if any of these had the base strip speedometer or if they all came with the round gauges from the uplevel cluster. The 1977-1981 full size Pontiacs had a full unique Pontiac only cluster.
’68? Is that because Canada finally got the US Grand Prix in ’69?
I lived in Niagara Falls ONT 1968-70…remember when someone smacked my mom’s ’65 Merc on Stanley Ave, in front of what is now the Casino Niagara. The insurance company gave us a new ’69 Laurentian to drive while the Mercury was in the shop…IIRC it was the same formula as other Canadian Pontiacs to that point: Chevy drivetrain and chassis.
’69 was the last year for the Beaumont as I remember, for 1970 Canada finally got Tempest/Le Mans.
1970 was the last year for full-size Canadian Pontiacs on the Chev chassis. The Laurentian and Parisienne names carried on, but beginning in ’71 they used the standard Ponitac chassis and body. with a mix of Chev and Pontiac engines.
I was about to have a broughgasm over this thing, but I looked closer and saw how much it really looked like every other GM-B from the day. Now you, me, and the other guy have a discerning eye, but…. everyone else probably sees that “badge-engineering” thing going on.
it seems as if the 91 up GM full-size cars are much more popular now than the 90 and back ones. kind of odd considering they weren’t at the time. I was kind of looking for a two door to make a hot rod out of, but all the support and internet attention seems to be about making “donks ” out of later ones.
Oh yes. My ex drove a white ’92 Caprice Classic, pristine, until someone T-boned it last year. My sons tell me she got frequent unsolicited offers to buy it.
Tacked-on fender skirts break up the line; if they must have skirts, do it the Bathtub Nash way & integrate them with the fender.
Otherwise B-bodies of this generation are fine by me, esp. in contrast to screwy modern designs.
Actually that is a base model. The ’85 and up Parisiennes all got the fender skirts. Broughams (of course there was a Brougham!) got a C-pillar opera light and Brougham emblem, while base models had the “sunburst” emblem you see on the featured car. Broughams also got standard button-tufted seating, with leather optional.
This one looks especially good with a steel top; most of the ones I’ve seen have the vinyl roof. You could get two-tone too, as shown in this brochure pic I found on productioncars.com.
Wooooow, fender skirts standard. Now, that’s living.
yes Tom I was waiting for someone to clarify these details….
I love these cars so much. Up north they are very numerous and many have tu-tone exteriors with the unique Pontiac styled brougham seats.
as usual I am still waiting to find a leather trimmed model like they show in the 1981 brochure
This was always the ugliest B-body of them all. Somewhere, somebody had the brilliant idea of making the car look like a 71-76 full sizer. This one screams “brougham” even without the brougham options. Ugleeeeeee!
Gawd that’s awful to look at glued on crap all over it rear wheel spats that don’t suit inappropriate wire wheels and I thought an Excaliber was bad taste this thing has it beaten hollow
Really? Other than the “look at me” wire wheels and whitewalls, this is a pretty smooth-looking sedan–for the ’80s at least.
Whoever owns this car pony’d up some serious cash to equip it with modern Vogue gold striped white walls. those aren’t cheap
Hmmm…1985…someone wifey knew had one of these Paris-Ponchos and she was impressed. I was more impressed with a friend’s 1984 Caprice in some sort of almond color with a dark brown interior. I liked that.
Meanwhile, I didn’t worry too much about those, as we had our 1981 Reliant and our 1976 Dart Lite. We were happy with our rides at that time.
IMO, Pontiac getting out of big broughams was a step in the right direction, back toward each GM division having its’ own focus and identity. Too bad they couldn’t make it stick and had to come up with this.
Notice too that these had seats from the Olds 88 Royale Brougham. 81 was the last year for the Parisienne/bonneville brougham seats. Too bad too, much nicer interior than the Olds
The Bonnie seats came back in ’85-’86, on the Brougham at least, as did the ’80-’81 rear quarters. They looked just like this:
yes beautiful!!!! I want one in leather so bad, I have only seen the leather in the brochure
I saw one in a junkyard ten or so years ago, an ’86 as I recall. An apparent engine-fire victim. It was white with beige leather.
I thought I’d be all alone in hating the skirts but three guys beat me to it. Yuck! My favorites off this platform were the early Caprice coupes and Buick sedans. When Cadillac gave the Brougham the Seville look in 1980 that became my new favorite.
Looks more like Olds/Buick B-Body parts in front/rear fenders, trunk and a roof/c-plliar.
I love it. I love it. I love it. I love it…
I’m lusting hard after this one. There’s no more I can say.
One more of GM’s Deadly Sins.
Why in Hades couldn’t they have just resurrected the old Bonneville? They goofed; it only took a year for them to realize it. They HAD the tooling; the drawings…obviously, even the taillights and end caps. JUST BUILD THE DAMN THING!
But, no. GM’s incompetence was only exceeded by its arrogance; and its contempt for its customers exceeded both.
The 1977 and up Bonneville was quickly turning into the slowest selling B-body, not as cheap as the Chevrolet and not as upscale as the Oldsmobile or Buick, really the Parisienne was not in keeping with the direction that Pontiac was going in the 80’s, but dealers wanted it, remember that big car sales were on the skids after 1979 and they really never recovered except for a few blips in the 80’s, Pontiac was changing its image, by the end of the decade all of the vinyl tops and bric-a-brac was gone Fiero, 6000 STE and the new SSE Bonneville were the direction Pontiac was going, if people wanted a big RWD, GM still sold one at one if its other 6 divisions for another 15 years.
Okay…that adds a factor in. In Canada, Pontiac Caprices (Caprii? Pontolet? ) were selling, as their market posture was somewhat different. And they had their own version, built in Canada to comply with local-content laws, pre-NAFTA. They did it cheap, because Pontiac there was cheap, on the lower rung.
Which should have told them, the Pontiac Caprice would flop in the States.
Not enough sales Stateside to make the Bonneville pay. But those pesky DEALERS WANT one! What to do?…what to do?
Howzabout…just set up the Canadian plant to build Bonnevilles? The Canadians get an upgrade. The dealers get the slow-selling car they want; and the cost is spread over both Canada and the States. And nobody’s guffawing over “Pontolets.”
I’m sure they had their reasons for what they did. But I’m equally sure their reasons fell along the lines of DILLIGAF.
NAFTA had little bearing on it. The Auto Pact of 1965 was the proto-NAFTA.
Beg to differ. It was Canadian protection laws, requiring local assembly or a heavy import duty, that led to all the weird Canuk cars that roamed the North. It was why Kaiser Jeep and Studebaker, two outfits with no cash to spare, opened Candadian plants. And it was why AMC had two Canadian plants, Brampton and Bramlea…that they could ill afford.
It was why the Pontolets, Canadian Pontiacs with Chevrolet parts, came to be. And how American Pontiac dealers were ultimately saddled with this…piece of work.
All that ended with NAFTA.
I like it, but the WW’s and wire rims must go. heres my 86 Base
What can I say…it looks as if Tom, Dan and myself will be fighting for who gets it first!
Perhaps we could go in and acquire it and have our own version of CC Car Sharing???
That’s fine guys — Tom, Dan and Richard. Just save me an ’84 creampuff Buick Park Avenue if you run across one. 🙂
When I was in elementary school, I would guess about the 4th or 5th grade (school years 1994-1995 and 1995-1996 respectively) I joined the “Safety Patrol” at my school but ONLY if I could be the one who opened the car doors for the kids who were picked up in carpool. I had no interest in doing any of the other jobs assigned to the Safety Patrol kids. I just wanted to check out the cars everyone was getting picked up in.
One of the cars I remember well was a Parisienne a girl’s grandmother always picked her up in. It was a mint green color with a vinyl top and the paint had lost every bit of it’s shine. It almost looked like a satin paint all over. I remember thinking that the paint was strange.
To this day, I can name many of the cars I saw each day back then…….
I’m lovin’ it! That baby is awesome! I mean really awesome to be in such outstanding condition for it’s age. We were recently talking about paint colors, and I’ll say that this looks very good in white.
Those pics bring back a few memories. Circa 2006 I was in need of some cheap temporary wheels, my truck being down with a bad tranny (4L60E, you know the story). An old friend had an ’81 that looked identical to the featured car which I knew he’d been unsuccessfully trying to sell for months, so I rang him up and bought it – having not seen it in a year – for $100.
Turns out that probably wasn’t the best decision I ever made. After failing to sell it, he parked it behind the barn several months prior. It was sitting in black dirt, on four flats, all windows open to the weather. I didn’t have a tow rig at the time, so I had to remove the wheels one at a time and bring them to town for repairs and air. After that, I got it running – barely – and drove it the 15 miles home.
The tired, smoky old 301 was a real dog, but tightening down the claw for the distributer made a big difference (it was free-spinning prior! never thought an engine could run that way – actually observed it turning many degrees back and forth on its own while idling!).
The interior was that ugly mustard color with a fleur-de-lis pattern… soaked from months of snow, and smelling overwhelmingly of mouse. It goes without saying that I discovered through first-hand comparison, multiple times, that ‘puke colored’ was a totally accurate description for it. After pop riveting new tin into the floors, I hit the boneyard and scored a totally Broughamtastic grey velour interior from a Caprice, every stitch of which got installed in the Poncho.
I drove the “Super-Pig”, as we called it, for three months (the length of time it takes to process a title here in MN), then promptly sold it on Craigslist for $600.
More than once in my ownership I though of swapping on a set of Rallye IIs – but the cost of mounting and balancing alone seemed not worth it.
This became the first of several “Pigs” I’d own over the years (’77 Monaco, “green pig”; ’95 Caprice, “purple pig”, etc) – but there can only be one Super-Pig!
A neighbor had one of these; 85 in tan with a brown vinyl top, iirc. I loved it; it ran great and had over a hundred thousand miles on it. It almost became my first car. The guy who owned it was a WW2 bet; I remember him taking me to the range in it to learn how to properly handle a rifle. Frickin smooth, light burble from what I guess was the 301? Wish Ida gotten it but wound up with my ’66 Galaxie instead…
Nice condition for around here. These always hit me as a panic reaction rather than ad a car. I had liked the real B Ponchos, but these were yawners. Cars Luke this separate the real brougham-lovers from the rest of us. 🙂
Leather, leather, leather. A lot of commenters are seeking “live” examples of seventies and eighties GM products with leather seats. For me, this begs the question:
Other than Cadillacs and Corvettes, how many GM products, with “Leather Seating Surfaces” available, actually had them equipped?
How many Buick Regals from the late seventies through early eighties? Cutlass Supreme Broughams? Pontiac Bonneville Broughams? Park Avenues? Ninety Eight Regencys (Regencies?)?
We’ve all seen the brochure pics. Where are the 3-D examples?
Leather was not the automatic choice in luxury cars as it is today, well really its the ONLY CHOICE today, but many manufacturers kept working on nicer versions of cloth interiors, where today cloth is usually the low end choice today, back then it was vinyl, then some sort of mid grade cloth-vinyl, THEN velour and maybe leather, but many people, older folks mostly, weren’t leather buyers, factor cold climate buyers in that equation too, remember even Mercedes-Benz and BMW had velour interiors back then.
Leather in a sub-Cadillac or senior series Buick or Oldsmobile is not that common, but I have seen leather interior equipped Cutlass Supreme Brougham, Regal Limited, etc etc.
Other than Cadillacs and Corvettes, how many GM products, with “Leather Seating Surfaces” available, actually had them equipped? – I have seen a couple 1977-1982 olds 98 regencies in leather, been looking for a pre-1981 Buick park avenue with leather for awhile….ditto on the Parisienne
here is an 1981 buick park avenue in leather – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1s5gyDMb39c
I don’t really know how far back in time Canadian Pontiacs were Chevies with Pontiac front clips, side trim, and taillights, but I do remember seeing a nice 1957 black 2-door hardtop on Craigslist that looked like a Chieftain and had a six and powerglide.
This basic formula ran from 1955-1970. They were known internally as the GM-7000 series.
My good friend Dave had one of these, either an ’85 or ’86. It was his father’s last car, I think, but he liked it a lot (his previous car was a Caprice Classic coupe). It was white w/blue vinyl roof & interior (cloth). It was a pretty comfortable car to ride around in. He had it until he got rear-ended, which damaged the front seat & the auto transmission went out.