Thank you to Mike Hayes
I sure can’t help but think of Jackson Gleason having a car similar to this one in the movie “Smokey And The Bandit 2”, I also thought Pontiac did a better job with the 1980 restyle on the B-body cars than its contemporaries did.
S&tB did lead to Ertl making a 1/64 scale ’80 Pontiac B-body police car. Not a bad piece for its’ time, still reissued every so often but I think the dies are showing their age.
Mike’s dad in Stranger Things has a G-body Bonneville, one of my favorite recent pieces of car-casting since it suits Ted Wheeler perfectly even though he’s never been seen driving it, it’s only shown parked in the driveway, his by inference.
I had one of those Ertyl cruisers. I removed the light bar and painted it silver.
If you used the old-school Testors enamel model paint in the square bottle, it might even be almost dry by now.
I had the same die-cast car and did the exact same thing, only I painted mine a dark forest green, using one of those Testors rattle cans you could buy for like 5 bucks at your local hobby emporium. Then my 11 year old self simply pretended the gaping hole left behind was a sunroof. I had access to some killer tools as a kid, being his father was in construction. I used his drill and a small drill bit to drill out the rivets. The I used a strategically bent wire coat hanger to suspend the body for painting. (Joan Crawford would have been so proud.) The Testors paint kind of sucked so it took like 8 hours of drying and curing so you could handle the body without leaving fingerprints behind in the fresh paint. I performed this little act of customization to many of my die-cast cars back in the day, much to the chagrin of my mother, who hated the smell of paint and glue fumes with a fury that bordered on irrational.
Whooo-wee! I can just smell this car looking at these photos!
I was just thinking that this is a car that cigar smoking would improve the interior odor.
My grandmother, when I was growing up, was always waiting for a new model Pontiac so she could buy one if she had the money. A 1980 Bonneville in almost this exact color is what she got, but she only got to have it for three months before she passed. Damn shame.
It was a nice riding car, my grandfather thought the fact that it only had 120 horses from that Pontiac LS5 was “weak for GM” but I guess compared to his 1969 Catalina Coupe with the 6.6 400 that was a bit low. It wasn’t particularly fast, no, but it transported that tiny old woman around much better than her previous car, a 1977 Pinto wagon which EVERYBODY was iffy about.
Believe it or not the 4.3 liter LS5 was actually stronger than most all of the other small peanut sized V8’s of the time. The Olds 260 could only muster 105 horses for the same years, Chevy’s 267 was down to 115 and Ford’s 255 strayed between 111 and 115 in various applications. The little Poncho also made 210 torque which was the highest figure of the above engines. Note too that for 1980 Chrysler’s 318 was factory rated for 120 HP in the entire lineup when equipped with the 49 state tune 2BBL carburetor. A very unhappy time for power ratings but Pontiac’s 265 was far from worst in class at the time. I had this little gem of an engine in my 81 Grand Prix and it actually was reasonably snappy and much better choice than the Buick 231 V6.
Today on the “Beater Pontiacs” Channel! Wear your sunscreen, kids.
This car with its two tone paint and its luxurious velour interior was surely someone’s pride and joy in 1980. Someone splurged when the economy sucked and gas was expensive.
These look so much better without the rear fender skirts so many of them had.
Guaranteed this *had* them. Note the lack of chrome trim around the rear openings vs. the front
Fender skirts were standard equipment on the Bonneville from 1977-81; not available on the Catalina which would have had the chrome trim around the round wheel opening. In Canada, the Parisienne had standard skirts those years and they were unavailable on the Laurentian and Catalina. In 1982 full size Pontiacs were dropped in the US, but Canada got a Parisienne based on the Caprice/Impala, which later was sold in the US as well. These had Chevy rear fenders and no skirts since the flared wheelwells wouldn’t accept them. However when the 80-81 rear fenders were restored for the 85-86 models, the standard fender skirts returned with them. These seemed at the time to be the last GM cars with fender skirts, but they made a return on the Cadillac Fleetwood for a few years.
I will cancel out your vote 🙂 – I prefer them with the skirts, though I like the 77-79 version better.
Me too, looked way more elegant with the skirts. Without them it just looks like a Caprice.
Bring back fender skirts & whitewalls!
Agreed. I suppose this cancels JP’s canceling the vote! 🙂
I’m in the no skirts camp too although this one now seems to have a slight case of the high-waters in the rear at least.
The high water stance on this car is off factory spec as I see it, but the natural rear wheel cut-outs were also simply a bit too high on the ’80 and up Bonneville and Parisienne. I’ll go with JPC that the skirts help the look and the ’77-’79 version got the details right.
This ’81 is the last of the “real” Pontiac B-Bodies (later Parisiennes shared much with Caprice/Impala). The pointed prow was unmistakably Pontiac, and was the nicest aspect of the styling in my opinion.
As JPC notes, this loaded example was someone’s pride and joy in the early 1980s. My grandmother’s neighbor across the street had a similar model, though with light green vinyl roof over dark green, versus this car’s 2-tone. It had wire wheel covers and of course the rear fender skirts were in place, plus it was the slightly more upscale Brougham model. But very similar nonetheless, and a nice looking upmarket American car for the time period.
I’m impressed with the condition of the interior on this otherwise decrepit example–the velour seats have held up remarkably well!
Nice trip down memory lane, though replete with the ravages of time….
Man, that paint fade on the passenger side of the trunk looks like a Petri dish culture of some gnarly fungus. I really don’t like those serif-font Bonneville emblems either, they just look…. archaic.
Those sport mirrors never looked quite as out of place as they do on this application.
Just went back and looked at them, you’re right, they look too far back on the door. Funny, I don’t remember them like that. They do have an inside adjustment thing though.
I think it’s the two tone, the mirrors color match the top part of the paint but the pedestals mount in the darker lower color.
That was the standard mounting point for side mirrors way back when. There used to be vent windows that had to clear the mirrors when they swung out. After the vent windows went away it took about another 10 to15 years before the mirrors migrated to where the vent windows used to be.
Not all cars, my 1980 Audi 4000 had the mirrors in the corner like you see nowadays and it also had opening vent windows. Later 4000s got rid of the vents and the mirror was able to stay in the corner, obviously. The first pic in my below-linked COAL shows the passenger side that didn’t have a mirror but you can clearly see the window vent hinges but the driver side has both.
in reference to many of the comments and Tom Halter’s original thought… I do not think he at all meant the physical placement of the mirror, as much as he feels that the ‘sport’ styled mirror is just ‘out of place’ (styling/design-wise) on this body car. in that, i def agree. a classic GM chrome style outside mirror shoulda been.
The 77-79s looked better to me overall but I do like the 80-81 front end with the parking lights between the headlights. The highlight is the dashboard, Pontiac and Buick were my favorite of the Bs with nice designs and full array of analog gauges.
Nice job finding an older B-Body! Considering the patina and rusted out rear bumper I wonder if this car has been in the Pacific Northwest its whole life? I like that a first-generation Ford Explorer is in the background of one of these photos as is a second generation Dodge Intrepid.
Yeah, you don’t see a rusted-out bumper like that very often here in the Pacific Northwest. This is a car that has obviously lived a few years in the salt belt. It might be fun to own a car that *looked* like this one, as long it was mechanically sound. A sort of reverse status symbol.
I love the pic of the day, but man that subject line makes me cringe everytime I see it!
You don’t like the (k)? 🙂 Well, it’s staying in there! Cringe away or come up with a better title!
But thank you for voicing your appreciation; I, uh, appreciate it.
A friend of mine in college owned a Bonneville very similar to this one, though in maroon. Given that he was a messy college kid, it was in only slightly condition to this one… and that was 25 years ago.
I drove that car several times, and since I had grown up being brougham-deprived, I was anxious to do so. In fact, it was probably the first full-size, traditional domestic car that I’d ever driven. In any event, I loved the feel of a big car and squishy seats, and hoped that one day I’d buy a similar car. Never happened though.
I remember at some point, the Bonneville owner did me some kind of favor, which I returned by taking his car and washing it… which was probably the first time in years it had been washed.
I always liked the look of the 80/81 Bonnevilles fender skirts and all. I wish the 81 carried the 301 4BBL engine over tied to the 200R-4 transmission instead of the Olds 307 as the former always seemed snappier and more lively to drive. One thing that did surprise me was how many 81’s were equipped with 231 V6 engines and Pontiac 265’s. We used to see quite a few at auctions and as dealer trades back in the 90’s and early 00’s with these engines.
I always forget that the 1980 taillamp lenses were model year-specific!
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