By on April 12, 2010

Yes, when it comes to GM, there were definitely more than seven deadly sins. Actually, there were tens of millions of them. And while this is perhaps one of the less conspicuous and pernicious ones (I didn’t label it as such until I put up the first picture and had to rewrite the title), it is one nevertheless. And what is the sin this innocuous sedan embodies? Thou shalt not take thy godly names in vain.

Undoubtedly, there are worse sins GM has committed. But no one destroyed names better and faster than the General. Nevertheless, slapping on the name of what once was a one of GM’s most exulted cars that embodied the golden decade of Pontiac in the sixties on this crappy little mid-sized corporate sedan typified GM’s death spiral of the eighties. It perfectly encapsulates the loss of direction Pontiac experienced during the mothership’s worst decade ever. How fast the mighty fall, given how twenty years earlier the ’63 Bonneville was the style leader of the whole industry.

Chalk it all up to the price of oil, both high and low, the fickle American consumer, and a loss of direction and styling inspiration. When GM successfully downsized its full-sized cars in 1977, the new Pontiacs utterly failed to ignite the buyers unlike its corporate siblings. Perhaps the restrained and more formal look of the boxier ’77s just didn’t work with Pontiac’s exuberant image, but the new Pontiacs really were rather lackluster. Anyway, big coupes were out, and the sedans were barely indistinguishable from its corporate siblings. The days when Pontiac could break away from the pack with a bold front end were over, and so was Pontiac.

With the new B-bodies lagging, and a nasty second energy crisis spiking gas to breathtaking heights, Pontiac made a crap-shoot move: kill the big cars entirely. Reminiscent of Chrysler’s disastrous 1962 great shrinkage, Pontiac’s move was at least based on the price of gas rather than a rumor. But it turned out almost as bad anyway, since oil prices are about an equally unreliable planning tool. At least in the eighties, as oil quickly began the most dramatic drop ever.

So for 1982, Pontiac slapped the Bonneville name, plus the enigmatic Model G surname, on its LeMans mid-sized sedan. Well, that didn’t turn out so well, and Pontiac probably saw it coming before it even played itself out, because by 1983 the Canadian-sourced full-sized Parisienne was back in the showrooms. The one-year gap to find a replacement for the old Bonnie was just a bit longer than it took Dodge to cobble together the full-size 880 in 1962. We covered the Parisienne story here.

This version of the downsized B-bodies came along a couple of years after the disastrous Aer0-back sedans that Buick and Olds was inflicted with. Pontiac was spared that sin, and the ’78 LeMans shared a slightly modified “normal” sedan body with the Chevy Malibu. But the quickly revised traditional four doors for Buick and Olds, which heavily aped the 1975 Seville, found its way across the board.

It certainly was innocuous enough; too much so, with the identity same problem as GM’s FWD clone-mobiles of the era. It takes a practiced eye to tell this car apart from its Buick, Olds and Malibu stablemates. Who cared anymore anyway? They were all the same.

Given that the bigger GM B-bodies of the times were quite successful with redeeming qualities, its disappointing that the downsized A-bodies were decidedly more modest in their ambitions. Some faulted me for giving the 1979 Malibu Coupe a rather glowing CC retrospective. I admit that my feelings were more about the potential of these cars than the the real thing. They were sized right, without the excessive overhangs and obesity of their predecessors, and had the potential benefit of GM’s engine and suspension prowess. Unfortunately, that potential was rarely fulfilled.

Most of them came with the enfeebled 231 CID (3.8 L) Buick V6, which was choked to 110 hp.  The Chevy 305 packing 150 hp gave the closest approximation of performance, given the fairly light weight. We’ll just avoid any mention of the Olds diesel V8. The Buick V6 and the Chevy V8 were fundamentally solid lumps, but quality issues were so rampant at GM during the eighties that even engines made for decades were suddenly suspect. The downsized THMD 200 automatics that backed them were well beyond suspect.

The general feel of the cars, especially by the mid eighties, was just deadly. As in deadly boring, or deadly unreliable, or at best, mortally modest. The fact that GM could screw up such a fundamentally simple car, with fairly clean lines, helps explain its plummeting market share during their production years. Taking the Bonneville name along for the ride into the muck of mediocrity was the final straw. Pontiac was finished, except for its protracted death march in the years to come as the Wal Mart BMW.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

46 Comments on “Curbside Classic: GM’s Deadly Sin #8 – 1984 Pontiac Bonneville Brougham...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    I prefer to pretend that this car never existed.

    Plus, the 7th and early 8th gen. Bonnevilles were decent, I’ve had one with me for most of my life.

  • avatar
    detlump

    Yes, this truly was a disaster. My parents had a bigger Bonneville from a couple of years prior, I recall really liking the big taillights, as I was responsible for cleaning them on car wash days. This car always sticks in my mind because of the frequency of Smokey and the Bandit reruns. To think this would be a sufficient police car is a huge joke. But I do applaud the producer for attempting continuity.

    I think GM used that landau lamp on many models, looks just like the ones on my mother’s 81 Olds 98.

  • avatar
    bmoredlj

    When Pontiac finally got around to making a sedan worthy of the Bonneville name (or at least having Holden make it for them), they went and named it G8. Is there no justice?!

  • avatar
    educatordan

    I still love my 1987 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Brougham reguardless of what you say Mr. Niedermeyer. Shiny white paint, miles of chrome, opera lights (but no vinyl top thank god) and a blue velor interior much like the Bonne pictured. Olds 307V8, four speed auto (with a three speed indicator, way to go GM) posi-trac rear, and E-Quadrajet carb. What did I love about it? The deluxe interior, the Olds locking wire wheel covers, CHROME CHROME CHROME, and lazy reving torquey V8 power. The dislikes? Poor fuel economy and the speed at which it rusted. The car had been my Dad’s and after he gave it to me at the tender age of 19 he replaced it with… http://usacars247.com/pictures/16790-6-1992-Pontiac-Bonneville-SE–for-sale-2009-09-24-15-52-03.jpg but ours actually had the spoiler, that generation of Bonneville didn’t look right without the spoiler.

    • 0 avatar
      trk2

      My first car was a 1986 Olds Cutlass Supreme with the Brougham interior. I still love that car and will occasionally browse Ebay to flirt with purchasing a restoration project. The interior of those cars were very nice and very wear resistant. Even at the end of it’s final 265k miles, when the 307 was sometime stumbling along on 7 cylinders, the interior was in great condition. A lock up torque converter on the transmission would have helped a great deal for the highway economy.

      I still love the fiber optic head lamp and turn signal indicators on the fenders that were shared with the caddies. A simple and practical solution for determining if you had any exterior lights out.

  • avatar

    I saw one of these (same exact color,roof etc) on the highway yesterday.
    With their characteristics it’s really no wonder why no one really cherishes these vehicles; Nor no surprise why they’re the kinds of vehicles in the lineups for Monster truck rallies/demo derbies.

  • avatar

    My friends owned this exact car in charcoal grey, but with a very exclusive owner installed accessory: fringe tacked around the rear window.

  • avatar

    Anyone else remember how, to save weight and money, GM fitted these with fixed glass in the rear doors? Only the vent portion rotated open. Somehow this failed to spread any further.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      Yeah that was the other thing I disliked about my G-Body Cutlass. The only option my Dad’s didn’t have was POWER vent windows. Since he bought the car used he considered trying to find a solid set of rear doors with power vents just so he could add them. Thank god he didn’t do that, I’m sure they would have gotten stuck in the open position or something like that.

    • 0 avatar
      trk2

      I actually loved the rear vent windows as a driver. They provided good ventilation and were quiet at highway speeds. You could use them in the rain without any worry of getting wet and they were great to leave open in summer to keep the car cool while parked.

    • 0 avatar
      Hank

      I do, because two of my friends’ mothers drove them. I *hated* getting stuck in the back seat of of these horrid cars in the summer in Texas (though season and location change would not really lessen my angst).

    • 0 avatar
      Stingray

      I was a kid in the rear seat when my father had an 83 Malibu with those vents being manual.

      In a tropical country it sucks. Period.

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      It wasn’t just to save weight and money; the fixed door glass allowed the doors to be thinner, since it wasn’t necessary to have a window regulator in the door.

      This allowed GM to state that the downsized ’78 midsize sedans had nearly the same amount of shoulder room as the ’77s.

    • 0 avatar

      I sure do remember those vent windows well, MK….my first car was Mom’s old two tone cream/gold 1980 Buick Century Limited, and by the time I inherited the 3.8 “Litre” sloth, the power rear vents had loosened up enough to be pried open easily from the outside with two fingers.

      I used to call it my personal “Keyless entry”…..lol

      Of course, it was fun amazing my friends with my skillful recognition of which of these cars had power windows even from 30 yards away….courtesy of the chrome latch visible on the non powered rear vent window cars….

  • avatar
    gottacook

    I think the “Model G” tag on the trunk lid of the first-year downsized “Bonnevilles” (it soon disappeared, which is why the trunklid here doesn’t have the tag) referred to the car’s basis in the previous Grand LeMans model – which included a two-door, whereas the “Bonneville” came only as a four-door sedan and wagon, both carrying over those godawful fixed rear door windows.

    Couldn’t it be argued that this development was analogous to what Chrysler did with its New Yorker name at the same time? The last rear-drive New Yorker (1979-81) was “replaced” by one based on the Aspen/Volare/LeBaron body and then became K-car-based, finally turning into a big car again in the early 1990s for its swan song. Of course Chrysler was committed to FWD and there was no Parisienne scenario, but the devaluation of the heritage-saturated name was the same – or worse.

  • avatar
    Stingray

    That dashboard and interior are surely more inviting than the Malibu’s.

    Tail lamps, bumper and front are easy swaps to Malibu also, as I have seen done in some (few) cars here.

    It seems that even in that “luxury” car the rear windows didn’t roll down too.

  • avatar
    rtt108

    This really is a GM unforgivable sin.

    What complete utter crap these cars were! The 1979 LeMans was the car that drove my father, a life long GM devotee, to buy his first Toyota Camry.

    The inconsistent, and huge, panel gaps made us kids laugh out loud when he brought it home. The hood alighnment was so bad, even when adjusted to the best of our ability … we had trouble opening and closing the hood due to metal on metal contact. The rear windows would not open by design, roasting any rear seat passengers. The fan motor ran constantly by design, and would burn out every 2-3 years. It didn’t start well, had a jittery jumpy ride, hard braking would make it stall 100% of the time, as would any attempt at quick acceleration. It leaked in the rain, the ceiling fabric hung down on us, the seat springs collapsed within 8 years … I could go on.

    My father REALLY tried to like the car, and get his money out of it. But after 2 engine rebuilds (the horrible v6), and 3 transmissions, he was done with GM. Even so, he kept it around as beater and station car for nearly 13 years. But with the money he flushed in repairs …

    As adults, of the 4 members of my family only my father tried another GM product. A top of the line 97 Olds Aurora. It too was a reliability disaster. Every member of my family now drives a Honda or a Toyota.

    GM was the best possible advertisement Honda or Toyota could have ever asked for.

    • 0 avatar
      texlovera

      Amen. My family was a Pontiac family in the 60′s – Bonneville wagon, Safari wagon, Firebird, even an early Ventura – all pretty decent cars. Then came the 70′s/80′s crapfest.

      Qouth the raven, “Nevermore”.

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    The owners might not be able to scrap this wretched little car in the fear that it might upset the delicate eco-system that has taken up residence in the vinyl top.

  • avatar
    relton

    Everything Paul says about this car is true. But I remember the dismay that greeted the successor to these cars, the A-body, and later H body cars. They were so unappealing that the sales of the G-body cars spiked up in the last few years.

    Other than the name travesty, these cars were among the better GM offerings os the time. My El Camino is based on the G platform. It came with a 229 V6, 3/4 of a 305 Chevy. It managed to combine the lousy performance fo a 6 with the miserable gas mileage of a big block. Now a nice 350 lives under the hood.

    Bob

  • avatar
    threeer

    I’ll have to dig back into my old archives, but didn’t one of the auto mags back in the day do a head-to-head of something along these lines compared to a 528i and proclaim that it was nearly as good as the Bimmer? Magazine credibility was already shrinking that long ago, I suppose. To put a name like “Bonneville” on such a blah vehicle should have caused GM major embarrassment…

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      While anything is possible, I’d be willing to bet that the Pontiac in question was either the 6000STE or the sportier versions of the first front-wheel-drive Bonnevilles. Not that those were BMW beaters, either, but they both did receive good reviews at the time, and they were a cut above the typical domestic fare.

      This car was pretty much recognized for what it was – a quick attempt to cash in on whatever magic remained in the Bonneville name and make it look as though Pontiac was serious about making smaller cars in the wake of the second fuel crunch.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    This name re-use isn’t nearly as wretched as the Korean LeMans from the 80′s-90′s. I knew that GM had officially stopped giving a damn when they did that.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      If you want to really be humiliated, try having a high school nemesis beat you hands down in a flat out race to the local golf course after school. His ride? A late 80s Korean LeMans Sedan with 4 guys and their golf bags in it. My ride? A 1982 Chevy Celebrity Sedan with the Iron Puke 4cyl, 4 guys and their golf bags. I actually made the Celebrity catch air on one of the undulating hills of our Ohio farm country.

  • avatar
    geeber

    Another great article, Paul. It’s almost painful to look at one of these after seeing a 1960s Bonneville.

    I never really thought to compare Pontiac’s move here with Chrysler’s 1962 downsizing fiasco, but both moves did serious damage to the respective divisions.

    At least the 1962 Mopars were very good cars hidden under bizarre styling.

    You should compile all of these stories in the “Deadly Sin” series and send them to GM’s new management. If the right people read them and take away the lessons contained therein, our tax dollars may not have been spent in vain.

  • avatar
    h82w8

    Back in the day, buddy of mine had a new ’84 Grand Prix at the same time I had a new ’84 T-Bird Turbo Coupe. The stark contrast between the two in overall build quality, fit and finish, performance and drivability couldn’t have been more apparent.

    GM had departed controlled flight and was in full flat spin mode by then. Or as we used to say in naval aviation, “Out of knots and out of ideas.”

  • avatar
    fincar1

    I suspect that the owner of this long-stationary “Bonneville” simply left it behind the motel, walked down the street to the nearest used car lot, bought an old Civic or Camry, and blew town. Can you blame him?

  • avatar
    jpcavanaugh

    Hold onto your seats, folks, because I am going to defend GM on this car. The name, at least.
    Let us not forget that by the early 80s, it was a foregone conclusion that the full sized American car was a goner. Two oil price spikes (1974 and 1979) followed by CAFE had us all ready to accept the unhappy reality that we were going to have to lower our expectations.
    In addition to the Bonneville, recall that Ford planned to axe the nearly-new Panther cars, and renamed the Fox body Granada and Cougar as the LTD and Marquis when they were freshened in 1983. Not a bad car, but it was no LTD or Marquis. Same story with the Fox body Continental.
    Ditto, Chrysler took the Fury name down to the Volare-based car so that Plymouth could sell what been the Dodge Diplomat, and the New Yorker name eventually made it onto the slightly fancier 5th Avenue.
    Only the confluence of lower fuel prices and an improving economy starting around 1983-84 saved the big rear drivers at GM and Ford, and it is only with hindsight that we can lambaste management for trying to save the grand old names for what they thought were going to be the flagships going forward.

    The car itself? Dishwater dull, but it wasn’t really that bad a car (certainly it was better than all of the newer fwd designs, like say, the X body Phoenix). I prefer the Fox body Fords of that era (if I have to make a choice from the early 80s at all), but the Little Bonny was a reasonable compromise for GM folks of that time.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      As with the Mustang II, the name this car carries is a big part of the problem. The Mustang II will always be compared to the classic Mustangs of the 1960s and found wanting, and this car will always be compared to the Bonnevilles of the 1950s and 1960s that made the name.

      If Pontiac had called this car the Parisienne, the reaction wouldn’t be quite as negative (at least, not in the U.S.), although there still isn’t much to get excited about here.

  • avatar
    Power6

    I am pretty sure the “Model G” designation is due to this being a G-body. This Bonneville was really just Pontiac’s Sedan version of the Grand Prix, Cutlass Supreme, Regal et al. Bonneville was just a convenient name to slap on it.

    The 4-door G-bodies were just sad. Funny since the 2-door G-bodies were so much more popular. From my perspective as a young’n I didn’t care about the great history of these names, I just knew the coupes were cool and the sedans were not notable. When I was in high school this was what you bought for your first car if you had little cash and wanted something reasonably cool. If you had some more cash you could pick up a 442 or a Monte SS and be cool kid. And if your parents really had the cash you could get the Grand National and be king of your class.

    As I have read the popularity of the coupes in this generation caused GM to invest heavily in the GM-10 coupe replacement to the detriment of the sedan version of that platform which came in way too late and too short while american tastes were trending away from coupes as family cars.

    The next try at the Bonneville was a late entry of the new FWD C-body(maybe H-body damn I am getting old…) and was easily the best flavor of that platform from GM.

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      My dad loved his 92 Bonneville and I loved the way it handled. It was my first introduction to the 3800V6 and the reason I seriously consider any 3800 equipped GM product when used car shopping. I loved how that BonnEVILle would take banked highway curves marked 35mph at 65 no problem. The only thing my Dad didn’t like is that the salesman kept talking about how great the fuel economy was on the 3800 but old Dad didn’t do much better on the highway with it than his 307 Olds V8.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Quote: Chalk it all up to the price of oil, both high and low, the fickle American consumer, and a loss of direction and styling inspiration.

    Wow doesn’t this statement sound terribly familiar. We are pushing well past $3.00 per gallon fuel prices and are months away from Summer. Cars are looking increasingly alike as if the same designers are working for every manufacturer with there same ol same ol boring drab unimaginative gray interiors. Engines are shrinking and mileage is number one priority to satisfy the out of control CAFE standards proposed by the king. Doesn’t it feel like the 80′s all over again?
    At least cars like this Bonneville had interior color choices other than gray and tan, the exterior had a touch of glamor with the chrome trim and flashy Pontiac rallye wheels that most of these came with and they drove and went down the road much better than is being stated here. How do I know this? Because I have owned and driven hundreds of G-body cars such as the Bonneville and know these cars inside out. To call this one a deadly sin isn’t really accurate, especially considering the 79 Malibu that was raved about is basically the same car but with 2 less doors and a plainer interior. By the mid 80′s the quality went up not down on these cars and the Bonny adopted the divisions sport steering wheel and superior split divided seats compared to the 70′s benches. The 231 V6 was an ok base engine but lacked pep as did 85% of all the cars of this time period including Toyotas and Hondas underpowered buzzy tiny 4 bangers when connected to an automatic tranny. The 305 was the way to go and anyone with half a brain back then knew to purchase these cars with that engine and the 200R4 overdrive tranny. That combo gave considerably more power and actually out did the 231 3 speed on the open road for mileage. This also came in a wagon bodystyle with more cargo space than several competitors including AMC’s Eagle wagon and the K-cars. This cars two areas of constant complaint centered around the rear windows that didn’t fold down (which is suspiciously absent in this writeup making me wonder if he actually ever drove one these cars) and the metric 200 3 speed tranny connected to some of the V8′s which was known for early failure. Also if you lived in the snow belt you will be well aware of the rear frame rail rust issues unless you developed a habit of hosing them out each spring which I did religiously and never had a problem. Sure I agree that Pontiac may have made a premature mistake downsizing the Bonny but the chassis it was used on was one of the industries better designs of the time and I still see numerous examples on the road which is testiment to a solid design. It was GM’s bean counters and the industry at the time that dicatated this cars existence. If I was given the choice of a 1984 K-car, a Bonny with a 305/4 speed or one of it’s sisters like a Cutlass, Dodge Diplomat or Ford LTD V6 I would take the Bonny every time!

  • avatar
    Runfromcheney

    The shame in this is that its replacement, the FWD Seventh generation Bonneville, was very good: It is among the few good cars Pontiac managed to squeeze out after it had fallen head-first into plastic cladding hell. The Eighth generation was good too, although GM let it languish for much past its shelf life, as with all the cars based on its platform in the 90s. It was a class topper in the early 90s, but by the end of the decade there was no reason to buy one over a second-generation Dodge Intrepid, for instance.

    Of course, neither of those lit up the sales charts, anyways, because of the damage done to both the Bonneville and Pontiac names by abominations by this.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Great writeup, Paul.

    The two door Grand Prix version of this is what I’m most familiar with, with 305 V8.

    I’m really impressed with the condition of the interior of the photo car — my friend’s 4 year old GP had the door-pulls torn out of the masonite door trim, stuff hanging out of the dash, and a clompity clomp ride. What a bag of you know what. After that, it had the frame rail corrosion problem.

    Going back to 1977 when the B bodies came out, I clearly remember Car and Driver being disappointed at how poor these things were compared to the year old A bodies, particularly in suspension travel and weight.

    Now, I know that surfing the internet says these things were anywhere from 3100 t0 3400 pounds, but C/D found that the Chev Malibu weighed almost 3800 pounds, or only about 200 less than an Impala.

    By comparison, the B’s were rubbish. In ride, handling and longevity. IMO. But people loved ‘em anyway round these parts and for years after they stopped making them, rusty cars with doors of piebald color, and sadly sagging rear springs were to be seen wandering the highways of this province. Front wheel drive just didn’t cut it for these folks.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    A friend had a Malibu station wagon of that era. It was astonishingly prone to getting stuck in snow. And one time on an otherwise bare stretch of road, we hit a patch of slush. Almost instantly the Malibu wagon swapped ends, and we were flying down the road backwards, silently contemplating how this was going to end up. Fortunately he had the presence of mind to brake to a stop, still backwards.

    My ’79 Impala wagon was extremely directionally stable, and with positraction, amazingly capable in snow. I recall it weighted 4000lb.

  • avatar
    Darrencardinal1

    These cars were such pieces of shit. They all looked alike, and you didn’t care enough to tell one from another.
    Everybody in high school wanted either a Honda or a VW. But usually your parents would saddle you with one of these crapheaps.

    GM ruined themselves in these years.

    I remember thinking that if GM is going to make these boring pieces of crap, they don’t deserve to survive.
    A friend had a Corolla and it just seemed like such a better car all around: better handling, better styling, better fit and finish, better everything.

  • avatar
    supremebrougham

    While it’s true that the name wasn’t a good choice for a Pontiac midsize, I know that I’d sure enjoy doing 5-600 miles at a time in that interior! The quality may have been questionable back then, but those up-level interiors were very nicely done. I wish they still did them up that way…

    • 0 avatar
      BOF

      Agreed. Button-tufted pillow seats, fake wood dashes, and a choice of interior color besides various boring shades of gray or beige!

    • 0 avatar
      Power6

      Only problem with comfort in all of these old RWD GMs is that the seats are down on the floor. Gotta make sure to get one with a power seat so you can adjust it.

      I love the old interior colors, I was always partial to blue. If you frequent the junkyards you’ll see those interiors were pretty durable.

  • avatar
    NoChryslers

    The thing that bothered me the most about these sedans was the fact that the rear windows didn’t roll down. I know that GM did that in the interest of preserving hip room, but I hated sitting in the back of these thing.

  • avatar
    d002

    Looks a bit like the Family Truckster.

    “You might think you hate this car now, but wait until you drive it”.

  • avatar
    Dr Lemming

    I don’t think Pontiac’s pulling out of the big car market was a bad move in theory. It just wasn’t handled properly.

    By the early 1980s GM had too many big car brands, particularly for a field that was in permanent decline. Pontiac’s mistake was to not do a lot better job of differentiating a mid-sized Bonneville from its sister brands. It made no sense for the Bonneville to slavishly copy the usual luxury memes, e.g., radiator grille, landau roof, etc. Something sportier and more international might have had a better chance (e.g., remember that by 1983 the jellybean T-bird was introduced and doing quite well). When the LeMans was first downsized in 1978 it was well positioned relative to the other GM mid-sized cars, with its sportier six-window notchback design. By the early 1980s Pontiac lost the thread.

    • 0 avatar
      big_gms

      I agree. If Pontiac had made this car essentially a 4 door version of the LeMans based 1978-1980 Grand Am, it would have stood apart from its GM cousins*. And it would have been more in line with Pontiac’s whole “We Build Excitement” theme. Pontiac was all over the map back then-luxury (Bonneville), sport (Firebird), economy (1000, Sunbird)-basically, Pontiac’s entire line was downright chaotic and this car was evidence of that. Later in the Eighties, Pontiac did get it together and focused mostly on being GM’s “performance” division, at least more so than before.

      Having said all that, I really don’t mind this Bonneville. I think in some ways, it and its GM cousins were superior to the midsize sedans Ford and especially Chrysler were offering at the time: Fox-based LTD/Marquis from the former, Diplomat and the craptastic 600/E-Class/Caravelle from the latter. The overall styling is decent enough, and as others have pointed out, the interior has some actual color, unlike today’s somber interiors. I like it. But I still prefer GM’s B and C body cars of this era, and for that matter, the H body cars of a few years later.

      *Edit: On the other hand, the 1978-1980 Grand Am didn’t sell worth a damn, so perhaps continuing that theme for this car wouldn’t have worked so well after all. It still would have provided some difference from the other GM mid-size sedans, though.

  • avatar
    slyall

    Even today, the horrible naming at GM continues, take the new Buick LaCrosse, not a half bad car but why name it LaCrosse, it’s either a sport played with little baskets held by the players or a lewd term in french. Makes you wonder with all the names GM has in the bin currently retired , why wouldn’t they give one to this decent car? Roadmaster, Century, Electra anyone?

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    Interesting to note that the 1982 downsized Bonny sold 80513 sedans and wagons which was a considerable jump over it’s 81 Lemans predecessor. That number raised to 83889 and held close for 1984. Compare the 82 Grand Fury which was also a downsized replacement for the old larger 1981 model at 18111 or 15739 for 1983. Dodge faired a little better at 23146 for it’s downsized Dimplomat and Mercury sold 56950 Cougar sedans and wagons in 1982 and 67358 downsized Marquis sedans and wagons for 1983. Only the Cutlass sedan, Malibu and Granada coupe, sedan and wagon managed to outsell the new downsized Bonneville which again doesn’t really derserve it’s deadly sin moniker.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India