It’s time once again to talk up my buddy Jason Bagge’s latest yacht, a handsome black over white 1972 Bonneville! As previously discussed in the posts on his 1976 Olds Ninety-Eight, 1976 Caprice Classic Sport Sedan and 1976 Caprice Classic Landau, he finds the nicest old land yachts. Or rather, they find him! The latest acquisition is my favorite. Let me tell you why.
First of all, I have a very strong connection with Pontiac Bonnevilles. The first car I remember riding in was my father’s company car, a 1979 Bonneville sedan, metallic brown with beige top and interior. I must have been two years old or so.
As best as I can recall, I was sitting in a booster seat in the middle of the rear seat of the car. The Bonneville was going through the Shell station’s car wash, just a few blocks from our house. I vividly remember the water splashing everywhere, and the bright red and yellow scrubbers spinning by-this was well before ‘touchless’ automatic car washes.
I am willing to guess that was the first time I went through a car wash, ever. Anyway, since then I’ve been very attached to Pontiac Bonnevilles, especially the 1977-79 sedans. But I like all of the Bonnevilles, from the first drop-top ’57 to the final ’05s. What’s not to like? With the exception of the 1971-75 Grand Villes, they were the finest, plushest Pontiacs of their time.
But I have digressed enough on 1977-79 Bonnevilles. If I’m not careful this will turn into a history of the Bonneville! So let’s get back to 1972. The ’72 Bonneville was introduced with the rest of the new Pontiacs on September 23, 1971. The Bonnie was entering its second model year as second fiddle. That was due to the introduction a year prior of the “Super Bonneville,” the Grand Ville.
Sporting even finer interior appointments than the Bonneville, and with an exclusive C-body formal roofline on two- and four-door hardtops, the Grand Ville was a sign of further movement of the division into Broughamage. As a result, the Bonneville lost its convertible body style to the Grand Ville as well, for the first time since 1957. Few would have suspected it at the time, but there would never again be a Bonneville convertible; the final jumbo-size Pontiac convertible was the 1975 Grand Ville Brougham.
1971 Pontiacs were all new, with an unforgettable, love-it-or-hate-it full width grille. All big Pontiacs shared it, though the grille bars varied depending on trim level. So for 1972, the biggest changes were a more formal grille, a heftier front bumper and redesigned taillights. While I personally love the ’71 nose, I must admit that the ’72 schnoz is more attractive, especially in Bonneville and Grand Ville form, with the vertically-patterned grille bars.
One change to ’72 big Pontiacs was that there were no more Bonneville station wagons. Top trim wagons were now moved to the Grand Ville series, with your choice of painted sides or woodgrain trim, and two- or three-seat iterations. Catalina wagons carried on in Bristol fashion, however. As was the case since the 1971 redesign, all wagons had a three inch longer wheelbase than other big Pontiacs.
All Bonnevilles had the 455 V8 as standard equipment, with a two-barrel carburetor, with 185 hp. Optional were a four-barrel 400 (250 hp @ 4000 rpm), four-barrel 455 (220 hp @3600 rpm) and two-barrel 455 (200 hp @ 4000 rpm). Turbo Hydra-Matic automatic transmission and front disc brakes were standard on all Bonnevilles.
Pontiac reached fifth place in 1972 sales, with 702,571 Pontiacs of all shapes and sizes built for the model year. The Series 2N Bonneville was available as a four-door pillared sedan, four-door hardtop, and two-door hardtop. The four-door hardtop, the model as seen here on these digital pages and owned by Jason for at least another couple of weeks (ha ha!) had a base price of $4,292. Curb weight was 4,369 pounds and it was the most popular Bonneville of the year, with 17,202 produced. The pillared sedan sold 15,830 units; the coupe, 13,866.
Of course, as was the case for all domestic yachts in the ’70s, you could personalize your Bonneville with a myriad of color, trim and optional accessories. Selected items you could add to your brand new Bonneville included automatic air conditioning ($507), automatic level control ($77), cruise control ($62-67, depending on model), remote deck lid release ($14) and for audiophiles like Jack, an AM/FM 8-track stereo, for $363.
I have always had a soft spot for the now-extinct four-door hardtop. They were so cool! Smooth, just as cool looking as the two-door hardtops, but without having to lean forward and flip the front seat back for rear passengers (and get the front seat belt wrapped around your neck as you tried to get into the back seat!). The best of both worlds. And the ’72 Bonneville had style in spades, especially when painted in Starlight Black with white Morrokide upholstery and a black vinyl roof, like Jason’s car.
Speaking of, Jason has been stalking this car for years! It lived a mere five-minute walk from his place, but was never for sale. He’d stop by, yak with the owner, and sometimes spiff up the car a little, just for fun. But lo and behold, a couple months back it appeared on craigslist! He realized he needed to snap the car up before someone else bought it. So he walked over, struck a deal, and went to work.
It’s amazing how some simple detailing can make a nice clean car look brand new! A borrowed power buffer, a new set of whitewall tires, and voila! He’s had this car about a month now, and has a hell of a great time just cruising with his dad in the shotgun seat, stopping off when a friend spots them. “Hey man! Cool car Jason!” And it’s time for another photo op.
So, before he even bought it, I told him that if he DID get it, I really, really REALLY wanted to write it up. And once the car was secured, Jason went above and beyond in getting me some cool pics! I mean, he’s in Spokane, I’m in the Midwest. It’s not like I was going to drive by and get my own set of pictures. But as you can see, the pictures are just terrific! With some of the locations used, I wondered if he had access to the Wayback machine.
This Bonneville is really something. I love the black paint and top combined with the white interior.
It’s not a very common combination, but it really pops! My grandmother once had a 1977 Thunderbird in black with white bucket seat interior and red dash and carpet, so I’ve always had a serious soft spot for that combination.
The really impressive thing about this car is that it is original. And it only has-wait for it-40,414 miles on the odometer. It certainly shows in the pictures!
Even the headliner is pristine.
While the interior is nice enough, you can see that the Bonneville was not quite as Broughamy as in, say, 1970, due to the Grand Ville’s appearance. But it was still a nice, quiet, comfortable place to be! Although Jason’s car is missing the optional power windows, it does have a power front bench seat.
As you can see in the pictures, this is clearly a low-mile car. All of the door panels, the seats, the carpeting, and hardware is all in exceptional shape.
About the only problem with the interior was that due to the car sitting outside for several years, portions of the black carpeting had faded to a tobacco brown hue. But as this is being typed, Jason is correcting that. He’s pretty persistent in making his cars look new!
Since I’ve known him, Jason has done his treatment to at least 25 cars. All Brougham-era yachts, with the exception of a couple of Dodge Darts and a 1975 Grand Am.
Back when he had the triple black 1976 Caprice Classic Landau, I told him-several times!-to keep that one. But it sold. Well, with this Bonneville, I am of the opinion that this one is even nicer, rarer, and more desirable than even that Landau.
Which probably means that when this article is published, it will be sold, ha ha! But that’s just Jason’s way. Find something cool, make it better, have fun with it, then sell it on and repeat the process. Spice is the variety of life, and Jason is just wired to move on. If I ever asked him what his favorite car was, he’d probably say, “The next one!”
But if he still has the pink slip for this Bonneville at the time of publication of this article, and if any readers happen to be so inclined to add this car to their stable, let me know, and I can get in touch with Jason. Wherever this car winds up, she definitely deserves to be preserved-and enjoyed! And Jason, thanks for saving so many ’70s yachts. You rock!