(first posted 9/19/2014) We’ve showcased our fair share of Broughamy eBay finds here on CC, and the B-body has been a perennial favorite, either as a CC in the wild or when listed for sale. Rarely chiming in, though, I’ve decided to go ahead and share one I find especially charming. My favorite ’77-’90 B-bodies have tended to be wagons, but it’s the early coupes that possess the greatest visual interest, and as far as the different divisions’ models go, the Buicks tend to be my first choice, owing to their ornate dashboards and restrained exterior trim. When I remember how attractive the initial Pontiac variants were, on the other hand, it becomes a toss up.
Though lacking the Buick’s sporty shovel-nose exterior styling, edging more toward Brougham classicism, the early Pontiac’s interiors were decidedly more modern and tasteful and in my opinion, the best offered on the ’77-’90 B-body. The three-spoker is entirely appropriate here, and note this example’s full instrumentation with fuel economy minder (a Pontiac specialty in those days), a voltmeter, and oil pressure and temperature gauges.
While the Pontiac didn’t get the Chevy’s snazzy backlight, it at least got the Buick’s faster C-pillar and not the Olds’s overly formal quarter window treatment. In fact, the Olds full-sizers, which I felt were the most attractive from 71-76, became the least attractive from 77 on, gaining a truckish bluntness about the front clip and dashboard.
But I digress. If my favorite B-bodies of this era are the Pontiac and the Buick, then this Landau coupe is right up my alley. As a loaded 49-state model with the optional 5.7, this car was given a Buick engine (Californians with a need for speed got an Olds 5.7, while those in high-altitude locales were given a Pontiac 5.7).
With Buick’s 350 having the smallest bore and longest stroke, it’s quite an appropriate engine for its mission in this Broughamy Pontiac. Many of us forget that the better Malaise era V8s still delivered torque in daily driving; sure, the cars weren’t fast, often not able to top 100 miles per hour, but they could waft about with the A/C on under a full load of passengers and cargo. With 155 horsepower and 280 lb-ft of torque at 1,800 rpm propelling about 3,800 pounds, take-offs in this Landau were most certainly brisk even if performance rapidly tapered off thereafter. Top speed runs aside, there was enough silent thrust to imbue this indulgent coupe with genuine character and an ability to lay down a bit of rubber (and this car can in fact crack 100).
No, these vinyl seats aren’t ideal and cloth would be preferable, but this interior is otherwise loaded and perfect. Best to just get some seat covers and preserve what’s there if vinyl isn’t your thing. The car comes with a full variety of toys, including a CB radio, power split bench seats and an Astroroof!
The personal nature of this top-end coupe screams “daddy’s car.” Ma, I imagine, went about her duties in a Olds Custom Cruiser, or maybe even a Cutlass Cruiser.
It’s really a shame GM got rid of this dashboard’s tooling. While the Buick, with its silver-backed gauge faces and large analog clock were opulent, it was Pontiac who managed to pull off some semblance of sleekness, with hidden air registers and more complex contours on the dash’s upper molding. The less said about the Cadillac’s or Olds’s blocky dashes, the better. And just how expensive would it have been to put it back into production for the Parisienne or even–gasp–share it with an updated Caprice?
Here we see the CB radio, a more obvious example of society’s change in the years since this Pontiac rolled off the line. Imagine wanting to communicate with–or at least be aware of–other motorists. Quite a far cry from these days of road rage, the primary interruption of today’s drivers’ sequestration courtesy of now-obligatory, omnipresent infotainment systems. Pardon my cynicism, but features like this show just how comfortable we’ve become with isolating ourselves. On a more positive note, this Landau boasts a rare-in-Pontiacs auto climate control.
Lest you think the passenger was left out, there are power seat adjustments on the right side as well. I remember this solid switchgear, the same as that used in my father’s Audi 5000, quite well. Who needs a Cadillac with all these electric assists?
Certainly not anyone who can appreciate the chrome rocker panel trim and fender skirts. It’s a very cohesive look, despite all the tacked on ornamentation; over-accessorization can work if all the pieces match.
Those color-keyed Rallye wheels add a sporty touch, along with the aero mirrors, keeping the otherwise effete styling flourishes in check. All in all, this is one of the best faces put forth by the newly downsized GM fullsize lineup. Next to the competition offered up by Ford and Chrysler, the case for this loaded coupe was obvious. No wonder so many successful heads-of-household decided to mark their arrival with cars like this. When considering the automotive landscape of 1979, B-body coupes like this Bonneville were definite standouts. I’d surely choose one over the equivalent Thunderbird.
If I’ve successfully piqued your interest in this fine machine, take a gander at the eBay listing. The current bid is $7,500 and the reserve has not yet been met. The car was pulled off of eBay last week and just recently re-listed (I assume because the buyer didn’t get the expected pay out). After seeing all these pictures, reading the ad and taking into account the car’s 37,000 miles, what would you pay?