1986 Pontiac Parisienne Brougham: Brougham Est Où Le Coeur Est!

The Parisienne. The final big Pontiac. Though essentially a stopgap, they kept interest-and sales-up for those wanting something a little fancier than a Caprice Classic in the mid 1980s. So, how did the big Pontiac become a Parisienne and not a Bonneville? I’m glad you asked.

Bonneville Brougham

See, back in the early ’80s, the brain trust over at Pontiac Motor Division decided that full-size cars were on the way out. Historically, Pontiac had sold the least B-body cars of all the other divisions since about 1971-72, though they got a healthy bump when the fresh, downsized 1977 Bonneville, Catalina and Grand Safari appeared. But the ’74 and ’79 gas crises increased interest in smaller cars (for a while), and with sportier models like the Trans Am (aided and abetted by that ’70s classic, Smokey and the Bandit) selling at a rapid clip, it was decided that Pontiac would have a leaner, lighter model line.

83 Bonneville 02

And so, the midsize LeMans received a Mini-Me version of the 1980-81 Bonneville nose, got a much plusher interior, and was introduced in 1982 as the “Bonneville Model G.”

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1985 Dodge Diplomat Police Package: Plain White Wrapper

This car is the one that says ‘police car’ to me more than any other. Growing up in the 1980s, the Rock Island Police Department drove black and white Diplomats. And when Officer Friendly visited our school when I was in first or second grade, he was driving one of these.

1978 Diplomat

1978 Diplomat

The Dodge Diplomat initially appeared as a corporate cousin to the new, Seville-sized and very Seville-like 1977 Chrysler LeBaron. The car itself was essentially a 1976-80 Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volaré with fresh sheetmetal, plusher interiors, and more upscale aspirations.

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1985 Cadillac Eldorado Commemorative Edition: Class Act

The 1979 to 1985 Cadillac Eldorado was downsizing done right. So many times, when emission standards, fuel economy and plain, simple customer tastes change, the results can sometimes be…awkward. But in the late ’70s, GM had it down pat, thanks to Design VP Bill Mitchell.

Mitchell was one of the best. He took over as head of GM Design when Harley Earl retired in 1958. But Mitchell was an old hand by then. He’d been with GM for decades, and produced some great designs decades before he was awarded the helm.

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1985 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham Coupe: See You On The Dock, Senator!

One 1980s Cadillac you don’t see often is the Fleetwood Brougham coupe. Wait, you may be thinking. Fleetwood Broughams were always pillared sedans or four-door hardtops! At least until the downsized front wheel drive Cadillacs appeared for model year 1985! Au contraire. Mid-year in 1980, for the first time ever, a Fleetwood Brougham two-door entered stage left!

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