1976 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham: Last Call For Full Size Broughamage!

1976 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham: Last Call For Full Size Broughamage!
1976 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham: Last Call For Full Size Broughamage!

The Bonneville Brougham. Most primo Pontiac of them all. And my buddy, The Brougham Whisperer, Jason Bagge, found one out in Spokane. He posted pics. He bought it. I got excited. So excited I did a preview post last month. Why? Simple. I love these. Absolutely. Love. Them. Let me tell you why.

Well. First of all, I have always loved the bigger is better 1971-1976 GM B- and C-body cars. It all started at the rod & custom show in Rock Island, IL, in 1991.

Bonneville Brougham 02

I was 11. My dad took myself and my brother to the show. It was January, so car show-wise it was the only game in town at that time. We checked out the classic cars and hot rods, and wandered around at the Expo Center. There were always a few vendors there out on the fringe, selling automobilia, and one guy had a bunch of old car brochures.

Bonneville Brougham 03

As a domestic luxury car connoisseur even then, I immediately zeroed in on the 1971 Cadillac and 1971 Lincoln brochures. What size! What Broughamage! What cars! What happened?

1971 Fleetwood 75

I mean, 1991 Cadillacs were nice and all, especially the Brougham and Brougham d’Elegance, but man, those ’71s! Wow!

Bonneville Brougham 04

Well, 1971 was kind of the last hurrah for bigger is better over at General Motors Corporation. 1971 biggies were brand new, Broughamtastic, and fully full sized. It was kind of the end of an era. Never again would an all-new GM full-size car be so large, in charge, and dimensionally extravagant.

1971 Catalina

Yes indeed, the 1971 B-body Pontiacs were smooth, comfortable and powerful. And unlike today when your choices are sedan combover and SUV, a variety of body styles were available!

1971 Grand Ville

Yep! Four door hardtop! Two door hardtop! Convertible, sedan, wagon! No combovers or truck versions. Trucks? Heck, those were for plumbers, farmers and tradesman. You needed a CAR! And a loaded, luxurious sedan coupe or convertible was just the ticket. And the bigger the better! Hey, gas was cheap, wages were great and the USA was the biggest, bestest place to live, bar none! Why not have a car to match?

Bonneville Brougham 05

From 1971 to 1975, the biggest, bestest Pontiac was the Grand Ville. So Broughamtastic, it even eclipsed the Bonneville, with its C-body roofline and spectacular interior and appointments. Of course it was the top of the line, it had ‘Grand’ right in its name, for Pete’s sake!

Grand Ville 01

But! For whatever reason, the Grand Ville name, despite its premium luxury, its velour, its power everything, just didn’t have the same brand recognition and familiarity as the vaunted Bonneville nameplate.

Grand Ville 02

And so, despite its beauty and sheer luxury, the Grand Ville disappeared after model year 1975, never to return.

Bonneville Brougham 06

But it didn’t, really. For the same car returned! Just with a Bonneville Brougham trim level, a model name that had last appeared in 1970.

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Yep, as had been the case from 1957, its inaugural year, through 1970, the Bonneville was once again the most premium Pontiac.

Bonneville Brougham 08

And it showed. From the button-tufted velour interior…

Bonneville Brougham 09

To its opera windows and Bonneville etched monograms…

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And the all-important cigar lighters in the backs of the front seats! If you lived through the 1970s, you know these conveniences were as important then as cupholders and charge points are in cars today!

Bonneville Brougham 11

And look at all that glass area! Yep, you could actually see all around you, and you didn’t need any backup sensors or backup cameras. By God, you looked behind you and judged for yourself that the coast was clear! And you could see, and use your brain to see the coast was clear. Unlike today’s man-bun dipsticks hoping for a fancy pants job while working as a ‘barrister’ (translation: coffee peon) and hoping they’ll pay off their ancient cheeses BA degree before they turn 60…but I digress. Onward!

Bonneville Brougham brochure

Yes, the Bonneville Brougham was back! And in 1976, it was your last chance to get it in full-blown, seriously full-size fashion!

Bonneville Brougham 12

As previously related here on RG, my buddy, The Brougham Whisperer himself Jason Bagge, snapped up this Buckskin Tan Bonnie Brougham back in July.

Bonneville Brougham 13

As is his usual MO, he planned to keep it a while. But then, he found more cool old cars, like a 1973 Imperial LeBaron, and priorities changed.

So, despite its magnificence, the Imperial and another new acquisition, a police package 1976 Catalina four door pillared sedan (more on that at a future date), so odds are that the Bonneville will need to find a new home soon.

Bonneville Brougham 14

So, we have here a most excellent 1976 Bonneville Brougham, mostly original, wit 400 CID V8 power, power windows, power locks, power steering, brakes and pretty much power everything else. And. It’s a Brougham. Velour. V8. Comfort.

Bonneville Brougham 15

Button tufted velour. And lots of stretch out room!

Bonneville Brougham 16

And after 42 years of attrition, you don’t exactly see these on every street corner. In 1976, 20,236 Bonneville Brougham four-door hardtops and 10,466 Bonneville Brougham two-door hardtops were built. No convertibles, as the final Grand Villes spelled the end of topless Broughamage the prior year.

Bonneville Brougham 17

Despite my efforts to talk Jason into keeping this fine example (he doesn’t care for the color, Buckskin Tan, go figure), he’s probably going to pass it on to its next owner, so if any of you fine ladies and gentleman have an interest, let me know, and you too can know the peace and immense conviviality of piloting a Brougham around your town! And as always, I shall keep you all apprised of Jason’s latest acqusitions. Like the Post Office, you know there will always be more! So until next time, stay Broughamy my friends!

Bonneville Brougham 18


  1. That ad copy is amazing. “Crisp road response”?! Uh huh. Sure. They should have called out the thick carpet and acres of velour, and left it at that.

    1. Radials really did make these cars better and tuning the suspension for it was vital as they tended to have more impact harshness and sound. GM went so far as to have RTS suspension and GM spec radials made by various name brand tire companies. Rolls Royce waited several years before adding radials as they were having a hard time matching the quiet ride with their unit construction, independent suspended Shadows,

  2. “Hey, gas was cheap, wages were great and the USA was the biggest, bestest place to live, bar none!”

    Weren’t the 70s basically terrible for everyone? I know the first gas crisis wasn’t until 1973, but was life really that good in 1971?

    And sorry man, I know these are your thing, but I can’t tell one from another, they all look like giant, ungainly, shoddily-built pieces of shit from where I sit.

    1. Everybody in 1971 thought they had it tough, mostly because they were comparing their world to 1955 instead of 2018.

      1. Hey, my S2000 has great visibility with the top down, and I just ordered a new Wrangler JLU which has great visibility too!

  3. I live in Spokane, and these cars are not all that uncommon, it would seem. I’ve often pondered buying a land yacht like one of these. Last one I had that came close in the 90s was a 94 Eldo and that was a comfy ride, although it depreciated as fast as I paid it off *shrug* These days I drive an old Passat wagon and a much older Corvette. One’s great in the snow and one stays in the garage all winter long. Your guess 🙂

    I wish I could find the early 60s Plymouth Fury my Dad had when I was a kid. I love fins!

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