CC Capsule: 1985 Pontiac Parisienne – A Caprice with Champagne Taste


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.