If you’ve been reading CC for a while, you probably know that I absolutely love the 1977-86 B-body Pontiacs. Catalina, Bonneville, Grand Safari, Parisienne–I like ’em all. But I especially like the Bonnevilles, so I had to share this ’81 two-tone Brougham seen at a storage facility recently.
I was passing by when I saw those distinctive taillights out the corner of my eye. My first thought was it was a much more common 1985-86 Parisienne, but the color scheme suggested early ’80s, not mid ’80s.
It was sitting next to a similar-vintage Bronco, and a 1972 LeSabre/Centurion sedan was nearby as well, but I only had eyes for the Bonnie. While worn, and definitely needing a paint job, it looked solid and rust-free. Just how long has it been sitting here?
I was not about to hop the fence, but poking my camera through the chain-link resulted in some decent shots. What an odd color combination: Beige and maroon? You would think silver or white would have worked better for the lighter color. At any rate, seeing this car brightened my day. These are by far the rarest B-bodies. I only wish it had been a beautiful 1980-81 coupe instead of a sedan!
Rare? Am I unusually blessed? They are all over the place here in Central Florida. And everyone of them has the windows down even in August because the A/C “needs fixed” (actual slang that people here believe is propper grammar).
Oh, the irony! *Every one; *Proper.
That, I can forgive… but that “needs fixed” / “needs repaired” bullshit has got to go!! Reminds me of being in high school and cringing every time someone mentioned “going to prom”. It’s not even so much about what’s correct and what isn’t, just that the sound of a missing “the” is like hot baking grease being shot into my eardrums with pressure washer.
I work with some very skilled engineers, and I almost fall down everytime I hear “needs fixed” come out of their mouth…
“Needs fixed” is ok as long as the car has “good breaks”
Gotta have a firm break peddle.
When I was a kid, at least in Massachusetts, it was always “the prom”. 100 percent of the time. I never heard anyone say just “prom”. The phrase “go to prom” would have sounded like baby talk.
I can’t remember exactly when I first heard just “prom”, but it struck me as odd. Then I heard it more and more. Today, “prom” seems to have become by far the dominant form. But it still sounds weird to me.
I don’t really know what led to this, but I’m guessing that some parts of the country said “the prom” while others have always said “prom”, the national media/entertainment industry decided on “prom”, and it won out.
I checked Wikipedia. There is some discussion of this on the talk page, and a brief section in the article that appears to be trying to make note of the “prom”/”the prom” difference, but nothing really providing any explanation of the history behind this.
Here’s the difference. Going to THE prom involved renting a tux, borrowing your dad’s car, picking your date up at her house and going out to dinner, then to the prom.
Going to “Prom” involves renting a tux, but the girls spending a gazillion dollars on hair and makeup done by pros, then someone’s family renting a Hummer limo, then everybody going to a central meeting point like a park or a university where everyone’s parents have to go if they want pictures of their kid, but they will be perfect pictures because of the wonderful backdrop. It also matters not whether your kid has a date or not, as most of them go stag or with friends to a community meal at some hospitable parent’s house, then they go to the prom.
I liked the first one better.
Maybe they all retired down there…
That’s like the way you always hear “Needs restored”. Drives me nuts as well.
Yes, it should be “needs restoration”.
And “needs fixation”?
Rare may be a bit of an overstatement, at least based on how many were originally built. While these didn’t exactly set the world on fire sales-wise, few if any cars built by GM in this era were truly built in small enough quantities to be called “rare”. But the Pontiacs were clearly the slowest sellers of the GM B-bodies, and in parts of the country where there aren’t a whole lot of cars from this era still on the road, they aren’t a common sight today.
Was going to ask if you enjoyed the coupes, but your last line said it all. The coupes are beautiful!
The coupes were a rarity, at least around here. Only seen two of them in the past decade – one was part of the “crush pile” at a local junkyard, two tone brown/cream IIRC, which gave up its set of Rallye IIs and its one remaining fender skirt for my stockpile before taking one for the team. The other was a ’79, black with red pinstriping and an emissions-strangled 400. Too bad it was all Bondo… the lot that had it struggled for nearly a year to sell it.
If I am not mistaken, the Parisienne sold better than this refreshed version of the Bonneville. However, the market for large cars stalled in these years, while the drop in gas prices and subsequent interest in larger carsagain prompted the introduction of the Parisienne to US buyers.
The coupes of these years are nice, while the body is basically the same, I do prefer the dashes as well as the front ends of these years. However, I prefer the three spoke steering wheel that was used on premium RWD Pontiacs from 1982-1987.
Here’s some eye candy for ‘ya, Tom. My ’81 Bonneville Safari.. (or have I posted this link before?) https://www.facebook.com/marshall.loveday/media_set?set=a.472488122771134.114916.100000298509093&type=3
I feel a bit like I was invading your privacy poking around your Facebook page, but I couldn’t help but notice those pics of that mangled Dodge truck, what happened?
I do some auto damage appraisal occasionally. Was in a insurance auction yard one day and noticed it – not the vehicle I was looking at. Unfortunately I have no details on what happened, but it seems obvious it hit solid pole at maybe 50+mph or so.
My best friends dad had a 1981 Parisienne Brougham coupe…burgundy over silver totally loaded (except sunroof). Loved that car! The burgundy velvet seats…and it was so quiet, you honestly couldn’t hear or feel it running.
Nicer car than a Cadillac of the same vintage
Weird that the maroon portion of the paint comes up over the trunk, I don’t think I’ve ever seen that kinda treatment before. Is that some special Pontiac-only two-tone option or did they all come like that?
When I first glanced at the top picture, I thought it was wearing Mercury-style faux-woodgrain. Admittedly, my eyes are getting worse and worse… but now I can’t help but thinking that would actually look pretty cool on this – though not coming up over the rear, obviously!
GM Stying played around with some different types of 2 tone combos on the downsized cars, I imagine it was to add some visual length, I’ve seen this on a non-Pontiac A and B’s the other unusual 2 tone was sort of different color insert along the side of the car. Like this 79 GP.
Here’s a sweet 79 Riviera with the same 2 tone combo too
I have always liked the look of these Rivieras. Probably in my top 5 cars of the 80’s list. Looks neat in two tone also, but black with red or maroon interior would be nice too.
My reaction to the first pic was “what a cool lowered Bonneville!” Then I saw the other side and realized tires were all flat. Too bad because in good condition this would be a very collectible and valuable car.
These old geezers must have committed pretty horriffic crimes to be behind bars at this age. At least the locked-up old cars are not all painted orange. 🙂
Hmmmm…..do those little badges under the BONNEVILLE script say diesel?
If so, that could be the reason its sitting. At one of the Pontiac dealerships I worked at there used to be an older black lady in her early 70’s that would service an immaculate 1980 Bonneville sedan with the 5.7 diesel in it, I can imagine what she would spend on service there, but she brought it in whenever it needed anything, I remember it garbage truck like sounds when it would come down the service drive, “CRALA-CRALA-CRALA-CRALA-CRALA”
That’s funny. I think the sound of those things would keep me from ever owning one, even if they were very reliable! I’m not sure where the diesel badging would be on an ’81 Bonneville, but I know that the plate underneath the Bonneville badge on the rear deck says “Pontiac” — I just saw one last week.
Now that I rememer, I think the diesel emblems were bigger, this is still when they were boasting about the availability of “diesel power”.
It was one thing to have a Dodge/Cummins pickup that made the neighbors check their front windows for the UPS van when you drove up, but I don’t think many people wanted the Pontiac or Oldsmobile to sound like that.
…or to back through a cloud of diesel smoke either, for that matter.
The truck is an F-series pickup, not a Bronco.