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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1975 Pontiac Catalina Safari: When Wagons Ruled

Once upon a time in the 1970s, most moms hauled their kids around, not in silver silvermist combover pseudo-lux conveyances, but in large, ornate and oftentimes wood-sided station wagons. V8, rear wheel driven, glorious station wagons.

The 1971-76 GM ‘clamshell’ station wagons were the biggest around when they debuted in Autumn 1970.

So called due to their ‘disappearing’ tailgate and rear window glass, they were available in the expected Chevy, Pontiac, Olds and Buick versions. And as usual, were available in higher-trimmed versions with Di-Noc woodgrain appliques along the sides, further accentuating their road-going Chris-Craft image.

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1978 Pontiac Grand Safari: Maximum Massey

Note: Today’s post is by a friend of mine, Mike Massey. As a fellow member of The American Brougham Society on Facebook, he shares my love of full-sized, woodgrained station wagons, and owns a Roadmaster Estate Wagon, among other vintage GM rolling stock, today. I’ve always loved the 1977-79 B-body Pontiacs since my dad had a brown 1979 Bonneville sedan. That car was the subject of my first-ever car memory. Anyway, here’s the story of Mike’s dad’s special-ordered ’78 Grand Safari! -TK

OK I get lots of questions on comments about this car, so HERE is the long “novel” of our ’78 Pontiac Grand Safari, which we owned from 1978-1986, and how we came about owning it.

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1972 Pontiac Catalina: Middle Class Cruiser

For decades, folks stepping up to a Pontiac from a Chevrolet meant getting a genuinely nicer vehicle.  Unlike in later decades, from the 1940s through most of the 1970s, the differences went beyond the grille, taillights and trim. For example, the 1972 Pontiac Catalina. The most basic full-size 1972 Pontiac you could get, but it still came equipped with a standard V8, power steering and power brakes. For the miser’s special, you’d have to go across the street to the Chevy dealer for a Turbo-Thrift Six, three-on-the-tree Biscayne, because there was no such animal from Pontiac Motor Division-unless you were in Canada and snagged a Laurentian with the 250 CID six, that is!

1970 Bonneville

1970 Bonneville

The 1970 Pontiacs that preceded our featured Catalina were very different from the sleek Pontiacs of the early- to mid-’60s. They were all-around nice cars, despite a facelift that made them a bit baroque-looking in front view. A year later, they would be replaced by a super-sized version.

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Just Right: The 1965 Intermediates

If you’re in the market for a midsize car today, you have plenty of choices. Well, for now, as the ever present crossover is rapidly compelling the manufacturers to kill off the traditional midsize sedan. Several nameplates from which to choose–Camry, Impala, Fusion and Optima and of course Accord, to name a few. And they all come in the same flavor of competent albeit repetitive design and styling. Where’s the flair, man? Once upon a time, before safety standards, emissions and plain old public demand trumped style, a buyer could get virtually whatever their heart desired, right down to colors, options–and yes, Virginia, even a body style other than the now-ubiquitous four-door sedan. Want an aqua Skylark convertible with a white interior, V8 and four-speed? Done! How about a red Lark Wagonaire with a red interior, 350 McKinnon (nee GM) V8, power retractable roof over the cargo area, and automatic transmission? No problem. You could have those cars and everything in between–in 1965. Everything from cheapskate beige two-door post with manual everything to fully loaded sports convertible with a fire-breathing powerplant. So let’s set the way-back machine to Autumn 1964 and see what we can get.

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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.

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1978 Pontiac Grand Prix – A Dramatically New Car!

In 1978, the Pontiac Grand Prix was downsized, along with its corporate cousins, the Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and the Chevrolet Monte Carlo. And the Buick Regal, of course, which I covered previously here at RG.

78 Cutlass & 78 Monte Carlo

Phase II of General Motors’ downsizing had begun. The Colonnade midsizers of 1973-77 were but a memory, and Bill Mitchell’s Sheer Look, pioneered by the 1976 Cadillac Seville, was applied to all A-bodies, including the A-special GP and Monte.

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