1979 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham Sedan: My Favorite B-Body

I have always, and will always, have a soft spot for the B-body 1977-79 Pontiac Bonneville. Why? Simple. It was my first car memory.

Mom’s wagon, behind Dad’s 1951 Porsche 356, circa 1985.

I came home from the hospital in my mom’s dark blue 1977 Volvo 245DL wagon, but for some reason I was always drawn to my dad’s company car, a 1979 Bonneville sedan. And yes, of course I loved the 356! But before it was restored, Dad didn’t mind my crawling around in it and sitting in it while he was puttering around in the garage. So it was more easily accessible, ha ha!

Dad’s car was identical to this, except for the wire wheel covers.

Painted metallic brown with a beige top, beige interior and chrome wheel covers, it spelled solid, middle-class Midwestern prosperity. Perhaps because Dad mostly drove it to work, I seldom rode in it. We usually took the Volvo on excursions, at least as far as my then 2-3 year old memory serves.

Bonneville Brougham

Dad’s car had these wheel covers.

But one memorable time, he took me with him on a couple of errands, and when we were on the way home, he stopped at the Shell station and took it through the car wash. Sitting on a kid seat in the middle of the back seat and watching all these bright red and yellow scrubbers go over the car in the wash was my first car memory. I guess it made an impression!

Bonneville Brougham

That Bonneville was his primary company car, but on occasion he drove a different one, as the insurance company had 3-4 of them, all bought from Horst-Zimmerman Pontiac Cadillac, which was conveniently right across the street from the office.

Bonneville Brougham

I recall at least one excursion in the summertime, when Dad ran to pick up a pizza, and I wanted to go with. That day he had a silver ’79 Catalina with red interior. There was a third car he had sometimes, a blue one. But I don’t remember that car, and don’t know if it was a Bonneville or Catalina. But anyway, I always liked the big Pontiacs, and in particular, the Bonnevilles, because I would flash back to my early childhood whenever I saw one.

Bonneville Brougham

But on to the subject of today’s article. While Dad’s car was a standard Bonneville sedan, I like the Bonneville Broughams even better. Because they’re Broughamier, naturally.

Bonneville Brougham

With those super-cossetting overstuffed seats and dual pinstripes on each side, one skimming along the tops of the fenders, the others rolling over the front wheel well and across the rear fender skirt, on its way to the back of the car. And of course, the extra sound insulation, greater availability of options, and the fine feeling of owning the top of the line Pontiac!

Bonneville Brougham

And I have always loved these cars in deep, rich metallic colors, like burgundy, navy blue and emerald green. I originally saw this car on one of the 1970s Brougham groups on Facebook. I liked it so much I posted the link and photos myself, only to discover that a friend of a friend of mine in Boston knew the guy selling this car. Small world when you’re more into GM land yacht sedans than VWs or ’69 Camaros, huh?

Per the description: “One owner from new and only 76,000 miles! Original New Jersey title from 79. Loaded with options including power windows, seat, and locks. Factory air conditioning. Has the 301 V8, so its not a gas hog. Super clean car in and out. Solid as a rock. Runs and drives 100%. Beautiful interior, nice, shiny paint. A must see car.”

Power windows and locks, manual side view mirror.

So, if any of you fine folks are intrigued by this most excellent Bonneville, it is currently on Boston craigslist; check it out here. If this car was close to me, I could have had a real problem! At any rate, I surely hope whoever buys it will appreciate its fine original condition. And keep it that way!

Bonneville Brougham

5 Replies to “1979 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham Sedan: My Favorite B-Body”

  1. AvatarJohn C.

    You think of the suburban father progressing though a string of Bonnevilles. A 69 with its 428 V8 for ample power and wide track styling. This 79 that trades some power for a big dose of efficiency but now with such dignity and a big jump in quiet and comfort. Then the front drive 89 with its small size and six cylinder egad. If one can get over the shock they will find it surprisingly roomy, still relaxed and quiet, even more efficient and will be shocked to find the 3800 much more responsive than the 301. To my mind it is downhill from there. In 99, inches and weight have been added for no increase in performance or economy or interior room. The trim is notably less broughamy with generic plastic added inside and out. Performance improvements are tied to a supercharged engine a owner may doubt will make it the 10 years of ownership and will leave economy at V8 levels without the relaxed reserves. Your a loyal suburban father so you stick with them. By 2009, your getting older but Pontiac is winding down and all they have to show you is a rebadge of an Australian muscle car. Sad

    Reply
    • AvatarCarmine

      The 2000 was a really nice car, I sold them, probably the sportiest looking Bonneville in a long time, the 3800 laughs at supercharging and takes it like a champ with great fuel economy(owned a GTP Grand Prix for 11 years so fight me) my favorite generation FWD Bonneville though is the 1992-1999 generation, especially the SSEi with the compass and the articulating seats.

      Reply
  2. Avatar-Nate

    A seriously nice looking car ! .

    I’d want to have a close look underneath for rust as Mass. used to salt the living hell out of the roads but this looks like a deal at the price .

    -Nate

    Reply
  3. AvatarBlueovalDave

    my dad had a blue ’77 with white vinyl top. These cars had a polished or maybe chromed aluminum rear bumper with aluminum brackets. Around ’84 or so the rear bumper fell off. GM didn’t coat the brackets with anything and they corroded into what looks like a laminated piece of plywood. Otherwise a good car for him even with the 301 motor. I thought these were good looking but the Caprice was even better in my view.

    Reply

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