(first posted 12/19/2015) We’ve recently had a deep immersion in the downsized for-1978 Malibu, both as a COAL and vintage review. The Malibu had an analogue over at Pontiac: the LeMans and Grand LeMans. The both shared the notchback coupe and sedan body style, while Olds and Buick had to suffer through a couple of embarrassing years with their Aeroback fastbacks. And although these sold better than the Aeroback coupes and sedans, they were utterly eclipsed by the mega-popular Olds Cutlass Supreme coupe. America was done with straight-forward coupes; thye had to be Broughams now, or else.
Of course Pontiac had the Grand Prix too, and Chevy had the very popular Monte Carlo. All of which made a LeMans coupe…almost invisible. The LeMans coupe had once been America’s sweetheart, but now it was an also ran. And except for a bit of a hip, and different front and rear ends, it was a lot like a Malibu. Misery loves company.
But at least it still had a distinctive genuine-Pontiac nose.
Which harked back a bit to more…exciting times. The excitement under the hood was a bit lacking, a reflection of the times. Standard power was Buick’s ubiquitous 231 V6, rated at 105 hp. The 301 Pontiac V8 had 140 horses on tap. A 150 hp version was optional, for the hard-core racers. My Encyclopedia also shows a 145 hp Chevy 305 available; maybe for CA only? At least Pontiac’s very weak-chested 265 V8 was still a couple of years away, as the engineers were hard at work figuring out how to make an engine both weaker and yet get the same mileage as a larger engine. Quite the trick. Fortunately, that only lasted two years.
At least the grille is has a certain appeal, seen close-up. These would soon be a thing of the past, thanks to the Aero Era.
Pontiac’s many-holed dashboard is present and accounted for. The weak metric THM is presumably too, unless it’s been swapped out for something sturdier (THM 350). Probably not.
That’s my shadow in the shot. And I’m covering up my eyes, as this car’s intense colors are a wee bit much. Not really; it beats the typical red, blue or green these usually came in. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one of these, and I’m guessing it might be a while until the next one shows up, if ever. In the meantime, savor this one.