Sneak Peek: 1973 Pontiac Luxury LeMans

If you remember my buddy in Spokane, Jason Bagge, AKA The Brougham Whisperer, he’s just today acquired yet another ’70s era Detroit cruiser to refurbish and enjoy. A Florentine Red 1973 Luxury LeMans coupe.

As he told me, “I am actually looking forward to messing with this car soon. I was fully ready to have a different transmission put in it-but then learned it’s only missing the driveshaft. After looking at these online-I kind of like it actually. It’s basically a ’73 Pontiac GTO-with fender skirts.”

The damage to acquire this weathered, but rust free, specimen? Less than a grand.

Yup, Colonnades are a kinda love it or hate it deal, but I like them. Sure, the ’68-’72 GM intermediates got all the glory, and the values today, but I just like them. And they did pretty well for themselves in their time and place, particularly the Cutlass Supreme coupes.

These Luxury LeManses weren’t particularly popular, just 33,916 coupes and 9,377 sedans were built, with prices starting at $3,799 for the coupe. A plain Jane ’73 LeMans started at $3,579.

Best of all, this one has the most excellent 455 CID Pontiac V8, which produced 250 hp @ 4000 rpm. It was optional on the Grand Prix, Grand Ville, Catalina, Bonneville, GTO, LeMans and Formula Firebird.

Suffice it to say this car is going to be a lot prettier very soon, but I couldn’t wait and had to do a quick post on it! Until next time, keep calm and Brougham on! And always tip your bartender.

34 Replies to “Sneak Peek: 1973 Pontiac Luxury LeMans”

  1. Gianni

    I keep hoping I will run into Jason one day. I escaped from The Peoples Republic of Seattle to Spokane a couple of years ago.

    Reply
    • Jason

      Look for me. I live off of Highway 95 about a mile from I-90 on the Pullman/Colfax exit. You’ll see 70’s classics lined up against the fence. I have a brown 2 door ’73 454 Caprice there now.

      Reply
  2. John C.

    Understanding that stock, this car would not be fast in any modern sense, it is interesting how much value the 455 is adding to this car. I don’t think Mr. Bagge would be willing to put as much work as this example neeeds for a 250 or 350 Lemans. It is not what I thought in the 1980s, where big 70s engines couldn’t quote hp numbers comprable to the gross 60s numbers and thus did not garner the same respect. Now perhaps we just miss how over the top it was possible to go before the malaise.

    Reply
    • stingray65

      Two years ago when gas was $2 gallon, an 8 mpg 455 might bring a premium over the 12 mpg 350 or 15 mpg 250, but today with Biden gas coming up on $6 gallon I’m not so sure.

      Reply
      • CJinSD

        Gas pumps are being prepared for double digit gas prices. They’ve been the Democrats’ goal since before Al Gore was put on a national ticket. Who knew that Plagiarism Joe was the guy who could achieve their utopia of scarcity and slavery?

        Reply
        • John C.

          All the more reason for a car like this. Given the miles you would drive it, you probably would only need to fill it up a few times a year. Meanwhile, what a powerful indictement of sleepy Joe. He is old enough to remember the first owner and realize what a failure he was to those he served when a new Senator in 1973 and since.

          Reply
  3. Patrick King

    That’s a first for me. I can honestly say I’ve never seen one of those with fender skirts. Now I’m conjuring a ‘73 Grand Am with them retrofitted. That’d work great!

    Reply
    • CitationMan

      Back then we didn’t pay too much attention to cars like that, but now they seem to have so much style compared to today’s shapeless blobs.
      I had a friend with a Grand Am, you rarely even see them now at car shows.
      I used to not be a fan of the last Trans Ams with the big hood nostrils, but now I love how outlandish they look.

      Reply
  4. stingray65

    After a decade where they could do no wrong in the styling department, Pontiac apparently couldn’t decide what to do with the styling on this model. In keeping with the sporty Pontiac image established in the 1960s, this one has a pretty sporty roofline and the sloping trunk lid to make it “fast looking” (although it probably is not fast in the wind tunnel), but then they put fender skirts on it to try to give it a luxury vibe and it just doesn’t work. The vinyl roof also doesn’t work with this roof-line, because the whole point of a vinyl roof was to mimic a convertible, and clearly with this roofline and back side window the vinyl isn’t fooling anyone that this is a convertible. The only cliche that is missing is the continental kit, perhaps the original buyer after splurging on the 455 just couldn’t swing the extra $7.49 per month for the dealer installed connie kit?

    Reply
      • stingray65

        John – do you think the design elements fit together in any meaningful way? Do you really think Pontiac designers of the time were proud to have their names attached to a model equipped like this? I liked many of the original convertible mimicking vinyl roofs, and I think fender skirts looked fine on some “formal” look cars, and I even liked the Continental kit on the Edsel’s original, but just because these features work on some cars doesn’t mean you can mix and match them randomly to good aesthetic effect. So no I don’t loath the original buyer, in part because he probably bought it off the lot, which means it was almost certainly the dealer who ordered it and the Pontiac managers who approved it who truly have the bad taste.

        Reply
        • John C.

          You putting forward that the vinyl to can only be to mimic a convertable top. Not neccesarily. The purpose may just be to offer a contrasting color. Perhaps that coordinates with the soft side moldings before the 49 years of sunfading.

          As far as the integrated style. I understand that for practical reasons they raised the trunk lid height for 1974. Wouldn’t the low trunklid have worked well with the rectangular headlights that came for 1975, (the first year legal) and visually lowered the nose.

          I know that the styling touches were not what was done on your favorites from 1973. Everything does not have to be the same. Except now, when no matter how fast they go or how well they get around the racetrack or down the bumpy trail, blah. Pleny of people said yuck to this Lemans new, but nobody said blah.

          Reply
          • stingray65

            No, the vinyl roof was to give the look of a convertible, because it provides the same sort of texture as a ragtop, and there were certainly lots of cars in the 50s that had contrasting color painted roofs. I suspect the confused styling reflected some conflicts within management between those who wanted to maintain Pontiac’s sporty image, and those who wanted to join the brougham movement.

          • Trucky McTruckface

            “No, the vinyl roof was to give the look of the convertible…I suspect the confused styling reflected some conflicts within management between those who wanted to maintain Pontiac’s sporty image, and those who wanted to join the brougham movement.”

            Nevermind that Pontiac was selling Bonneville Broughams and full size wagons with vinyl tops in the ’60s when John Z was running the show.

            Pontiac blurring “sport” and “luxury” was nothing new.

          • John C.

            Remember, if something bad, which Stingray and his fellow travelers only get to define, happens, It was NOT John Delorean’s fault. As he explaned in his book, which he compared to the Bible, he was constantly surrounded by older guys wearing white shoes and laughing at his sideburns. Delorean was the hero, the one who came out and told how bad it all was, all except for him, who was an ethical genius, something that his followers were desperate to hear and ready to believe.

  5. Trucky McTruckface

    This Brougham looks like it’s going to need A LOT of whispering. I see rot around the back glass and the interior’s shot.

    The Colonnade LeMans was better looking than the dumpy Chevelle, but still awkward and odd. Not sure why anybody would have bought this in ’73 over a GP. Or the much more attractive Cutlass or Century. The ’74 is more cohesive-looking, with the smaller opera windows and redesigned rear quarters that better integrated the wheel skirts.

    Reply
    • Carmine

      The Colonnade Chevelle/Malibu and LeMans are the weakest of the whole lot, they did a lot to sell the Monte Carlo and Grand Prix. The Cutlass and Century, not having a dedicated PLC actually did better with their “standard” cars.

      The “inbetween” Grand Am and Laguna should have probably been what the regular Chevelle and LeMans should have been, the change from quadrabeams back to single headlights also seems a bit awkward, the LeMans did a little better in the later four headlight later versions, where I think the Chevelle looked best in its earlier versions.

      Reply
      • Tom Klockau Post author

        Yeah, I like these but if I was shopping in ’73 I’d have gone for a GP or Cutlass Supreme coupe.

        Reply
  6. drsmith

    With that old cb radio it kinda looks like Sheriff Buford T Justice’s Sunday going to church car. Sweet….

    Reply
  7. -Nate

    This car is not my cup of tea but it’s certainly striking to look at .

    I wonder the curb weight .

    -Nate

    Reply
  8. jc

    Strangely enough I like the styling of this. I can look at it and identify the ways it supposedly “isn’t right”, but yet to my eye the thing comes across as a harmonious whole.

    But goodness what a behemoth! I remember trying to get out of those cars with the enormous doors when parked facing uphill on a steep driveway.

    Reply
    • Carmine

      Yes and no, close to the same WB and size on the B body with differences, longer wheelbase and frame on the C body cars car chassis which makes it even less related to the A body chassis.

      Reply
  9. LynnG

    Tom,
    Dave got another winner with your name on it…. 1977 was a great year with the more fuel efficient 460, and it has the larger redesigned RR Grill, last year of fender skirts, and last year of Lincoln specific dash (non-LTD)…. plus this one has the very rare contrasting pipping on the leather seats…. If you need a place to keep it, my Florida house is only about 45 minutes from Dave’s warehouse… 🙂
    https://www.orlandoclassiccars.net/vehicles/788/1977-lincoln-town-car

    Reply

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