By on July 7, 2017

Image: 1990 Pontiac 6000 SE AWD, image via Craigslist

Deep from the catacombs of General Motors history comes this all-wheel-drive Pontiac 6000. While the 6000 was a fairly pedestrian car, this SE example seems in great condition and has the added rarity of a drivetrain not found in other vehicles from the General.

It’s only a good idea to keep reading if you like gold-tone alloys, many identically shaped buttons, and copious amounts of ribbed cladding.

Image: 1990 Pontiac 6000 SE AWD, image via Craigslist

Yeah, I thought so! The Pontiac 6000 was the mid-size, front-wheel-drive offering from Pontiac, first offered all the way back in 1981.

The interesting stuff started happening in 1984, when the STE (Sport Touring Edition) trim was added as the pinnacle of the model range. Using a 2.8-liter carbureted V6, this trim of the 6000 was intended to compete directly with European offerings from BMW and Audi. I’m not joking. I wish I were.

Image: 1990 Pontiac 6000 SE AWD, image via Craigslist

1985 saw the replacement of the carb with actual fuel injection (the wonders!), with buyers offered the choice of a three-speed automatic or five-speed manual transmission. In 1988, all-wheel drive was added as an option, in STE trim only.

This sort of mechanical, transverse witchcraft was uncommon for the General Motors of 1988. This is doubly so when you consider the other (rather sedate) front-wheel-drive-only vehicles sharing the A-body platform: the Buick Century, Chevrolet Celebrity, and the Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera. If not for that “SE All Wheel Drive” logo up there, I’d be drifting off right now.

Image: 1990 Pontiac 6000 SE AWD, image via Craigslist

The 3.1-liter GM LHO V6 was made available in the STE AWD in 1988, and the 6000 was the first car with that particular engine under the hood. It would go on for the next few years to power Buick, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, and Chevrolet models without complaint.

Image: 1990 Pontiac 6000 SE AWD, image via Craigslist

In a quick changeup, 1989 6000 STE models had all-wheel drive as standard. The following year, STE was dropped in favor of the SE trim you see here. Pontiac had reserved the STE trim for the newer, more sporty successor in the wings — the 1990 Grand Prix.

Image: 1990 Pontiac 6000 SE AWD, image via Craigslist

This tidy example appears to have minimal rust and is available on the Minneapolis Craigslist site. I suspect it has not been exposed to many Minnesota winters. Those three-spoke gold-tone wheels are a lovely example of what Pontiac brought to the wheel design table — arguably better than wheels offered by any other GM division at the time.

Image: 1990 Pontiac 6000 SE AWD, image via Craigslist

Pontiac added these wheel-mounted audio controls to the 6000 for the 1986 model year, and they became a market first. The rest of the dash area is awash in tiny buttons, grey plastic, and small gauges with needle-thin… needles. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Somewhere in there, a little green display will show you just over 96,000 miles on the clock.

An AWD steal at just $3,500.

[Images via Craigslist]

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108 Comments on “Rare Rides: This Pontiac From 1990 Has All-Wheel Drive and 6000 Buttons...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Great.

    Horrific, but great.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Feel so wrong, but yet is so right…

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      That’s what happens when you’re looking at a serious Audi competitor.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        C3 > A-body AWD sorcery

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          Do you think they were aiming for the 5000, or more for the Audi 80, nee 4000?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            This model is very close to the footprint of 5000. A 4000 feels more N-body to me.

            On the C3 subject:
            http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2007/05/in-defense-of-the-audi-5000/

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            That’s fair enough, the 5000 seems bigger in my mind than it is, and the 80/90 smaller.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Well, so, yeah…the 5000 didn’t run off like it was possessed by demons. That turned out to be a lot of media hoopla. Who’d have thunk it?

            It was still a piece of crap, though. Good-looking, innovative crap…but crap nonetheless. Take it from the guy whose family owned one.

          • 0 avatar
            Corey Lewis

            We’ve all been there, this is the C3 VAG support group.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            My dad had the wagon version (it might have been a Turbo, don’t remember). Dynamite looking car, and it handled great.

            But you know the rest of the story.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            My C3 was good to me despite the inability to tell me how fast I was going.

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            I think they were shooting for the 5000, thus the name. Of course neither could touch the Saab 9000!

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    It’s hard to think of this now, but the 6000 STE was well-regarded when it was new. I seem to recall that the earlier examples even sported digital gauges. It was all heady stuff in the early 1980s.

    The power from the engine may be tepid by today’s perspective, but they were pretty quick by the standards of the day and I recall a really raspy exhaust note… I think they used some sort of special resonator… or maybe it was just a playing card in the wheel spokes?

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      To my mind, all Pontiac models from the ’80s and ’90s have a raspy exhaust note, intentionally.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I have copies of 30 year old car rags where the 6000 was compared against all manner of sport sedan…and fared well.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I don’t know if that speaks positively for the 6000 or poorly for “all manner of sport sedan.”

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          In hindsight they were all pretty garbage, comparatively. But it’s what was available.

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            Yep. I remember Car and Driver had some big comparison test they ran in Baja that included the 6000 STE…and a Dodge 600, as I recall.

            I’ll just let that “Dodge 600 included in sports sedan comparison” line hang out there for everyone to ponder for a moment.

            And people complain about the ATS, or turbo-fours in the 3-series. They have NO idea how good they have it.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            In 1984, the 6000 STE was in their 10 Best. I think it’s worth posting what they wrote about the car then.

            “The Pontiac 6000STE is still the nicest four-door sedan Detroit has to offer the enthusiast driver. We selected it as one of the Ten Best Cars last year, and here it is again. It is a car that we regularly recommend to those friends foolish enough to ask our advice, and generally their only complaint has been that it’s difficult to find a dealer with any STEs in stock. If we ran General Motors, we’d ask the Pontiac Division to breathe on the STE’s V-6 engine a bit, give it some more top-end power— perhaps through the use of a turbocharger—and a five-speed manual gearbox with beautifully staged ratios. Then we’d go home and tell our wives that today we’d made an excellent car almost perfect. Last year we complained that there was no tachometer in the STE’s otherwise first-class instrument panel, and now there is. So this year we want more power and a five- speed manual, and we’ll see what happens next year. A few years back, when people were wondering if there was even going to be a Pontiac Division anymore, Pontiac’s general manager announced that his division was going to start building excitement. Sneers from the audience. Now, by golly, Pontiac has gone and done exactly that. No more sneers. “

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “…nicest four-door sedan Detroit has to offer the enthusiast driver.”

            Faint praise, for sure…but, yeah, the 6000STE was the ne plus ultra of American performance sedans back then.

            Like I said…folks have NO idea how good they have it today.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          For the curious, you can read one of their tests here: http://www.caranddriver.com/comparisons/escape-from-baja-mexican-sports-sedan-torture-test-archived-comparison-test

          The Dodge 600 doesn’t do too well compared to the others, while the much loved Cressida gets a few knocks for discomfort/handling.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I Rememeber reading in Car & Driver’s 1986 first drive of the all-new Ford Taurus LX, they compared it to Audi and other imports of the like. The only American on the list was the Pontiac 6000 STE. Clearly, it was a decently-thought-of contender at the time.

    • 0 avatar
      roverv8i

      Yes, the STE’s had the digital gages. They also had pushbutton AC controls, but if you look close you will realize the buttons basically replaced the levers as they provided the same exact functions as the levers. Same was true in a Fiero. I believe the STE’s also had a bit blusher front seats.

      • 0 avatar
        la834

        The 1983 6000STE (yes, that was the first year of the STE trim level, not 1984 as this article states) had analog gauges – a strip speedometer and a cluster of fuel, oil pressure, voltmeter, and temperature gauges in the center of the dash; no tach. Unique to both this year and the STE trim, the dash was lit in a lovely red color. The 1984 and most (all?) later 6000 STEs got a digital speedometer and bar graph or analog other gauges including a tach. Another correction: the first 6000 arrived in about January 1982; there were no 1981 models.

        Suede upholstery was an option in the ’83 STE; don’t recall how long that remained available.

    • 0 avatar
      indi500fan

      You’re totally correct on that exhaust. The secretary in our department had one…she always seemed to be heading out of the parking lot for lunch just as I was walking out the door. I still remember the bark that thing had as she hammered the gas pedal.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave M.

      Yes, there was a lot of hoopla when the 6000 came out as hard as it is to imagine these days. What completely ruined the illusion was your first opening of the door and seeing the acres of hard, cheap plastic, millions of buttons, and a ribbon speedometer. I’m not sure if Pontiac was working the bordello red dash illumination yet.

      They tried so hard and yet landed so far away from the target.

      At least the Taurus SHO was in the neighborhood…

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “I’m not sure if Pontiac was working the bordello red dash illumination yet.”

        I do believe they were.

        • 0 avatar
          la834

          1982 6000 had standard GM pale-green dash lighting.

          1983 6000 base and LE had pale-green lighting IIRC. STE was lit in red. (All 2000 (J bodies) in 1983 also got red dash lighting, as did some special edition Firebirds up to and including this year).

          1984 6000 non-STE and many other Pontiacs get orange dash lighting; red discontinued. Some cars with digital gauges use vacuum fluorescent displays that are blue-green and either have matching or orange lighting; all STEs now have digital speedometer.

    • 0 avatar
      SPPPP

      I have driven the 6000 (not the STE version, but just the plain FWD one), and I actually found it to be a pleasant surprise. Yes, it had typical 80s GM flaws like poor interior trim fit, bad switchgear, and vaguely shaped seats, but it actually rode and handled well, and had decent pep. (I think it had the 3.1L V6.) When I say rode and handled well, yes, that is relative to the times, but it actually had road feel and gave the driver some confidence. Not a bad car at all.

      I would say that you could find many, many, far worse vehicles to choose from. If you decided to buy this instead of a 1990 Taurus, I wouldn’t blame you.

  • avatar
    spookiness

    Pontiac Excitement!

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I like it. A lot.

    Unfortunately, I’d have to dump those wheels for a set from a late model Grand Prix.

    I didn’t like the first FWD Grand Prix (I’d easily take a 6000 over it), but the redesigned model (mid-late 1990s) looks good even today.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I can’t believe they sold this with a center/shifter console only about 8 inches wide. Didn’t they know all consoles need to be 2ft at minimum?

    • 0 avatar
      Corey Lewis

      They skipped the Taurus Memo.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      If you want a narrow center console go with the Volvo 760, its maybe like 5-6 inches iirc, more narrow than most aftermarket radios!

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Yes look at all that room for nothing. Its amazingly wasteful.

      Cup holder? Arm rest? Storage? Who would want to use a console for all THAT? Insane. We need room so I can cross my leg over my knee at 80 mph and it’ll be unobstructed. That’s how you build a car.

      ;)

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Seems like an instant classic. Quite an investment for $3500 if everything works. Better than investing in NASCAR commemorative plates or lottery tickets.

    Sort of a beautiful thing. I have a soft spot for Pontiac cladding of the era. I love catching that Leathal Weapon installment when they have the clad laden Grand Am going against the big bruiser of a Mercedes. German engineering….please, this is a Grand Am!

  • avatar
    VW4motion

    Cory, great find !
    Even though I hate Pontiac’s ever since I’ve sold Pontiac’s. This is another great find.

  • avatar
    kefkafloyd

    I hear the 6000 really SUX.

    Jokes aside, this particular A-body really is a unicorn, or at least a barfing gnome in terms of rarity. The 6000 was the least popular of them all and these variants even less so.

    Hopefully some Pontiac collector will pick this up.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      In my neck of the woods, 6000s were almost as common as Celebritys in my younger years. Anymore all of the A-bodies I see are Olds or Buick variety.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        I knew exactly ONE person with an STE AWD. (Which is something given that I grew up in an area where roughly 50% of the population had to be eligible for special pricing given their relationships to the BIG 3.) He seemed to like his Pontiac except for the air suspension being problematic.

        6000s were rare in my area but maybe because the Cutlass Ciera and Celebrity were considered to be the better deal? Only blue hairs drove a Buick Century, even when they were brand new.

        • 0 avatar
          Corey Lewis

          The Cutlass Ciera wins the award for most boring car I’ve ever piloted.
          Second place goes to the Century from the 2000 era.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            My poor widowed grandmother ended up with a Buick Skylark with the “beak” nose. I never got to polish it, but the fuel injected 3.1 V6 was far more engine than she should have been trusted with in a fairly lightweight car.

          • 0 avatar
            CobraJet

            Back then some of us in my company were provided with cars. Our fleet manager mostly ordered GM rides.

            A co-worker ordered a new 88 Pontiac STE. I couldn’t decide between it or a loaded Ciera. When the STE came in the co-worker was out of town so I drove it home for the evening. It was sporty, firm handling and not bad looking. But it had the 60 degree V6 (probably 2.8) and didn’t seem overly peppy.

            So I ordered the Olds with the 3.8 90 degree V6, FE2 suspension, aluminum wheels and the brougham package. It was a powerhouse with that engine and would smoke the front tires. It handled well and rode somewhat smoother than the STE.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @CobraJet – oh god yes. Back when you could get a 3800 in the A body. Give me a Century wagon with di-noc vinyl wood and 3800.

            Just to see the looks on the kids faces when I win the burnout contest.

      • 0 avatar
        kefkafloyd

        It was all Celebrities, Cieras, and Centuries here. It didn’t help that the Buicks and Olds outlasted the Chevies and Pontiacs on the A-platform production line; they were still being made new until 1996!

        I’m not sure who in the 90s would buy a new A-body when there were N- and G-body options that were far better for a similar cost.

        The first car I ever wrenched was my brother’s 1986 Olds Ciera (he bought used off of our neighbors when they wanted rid of it in 1997). I learned how to rebuild a carburetor on that piece of crap 2.8L V6.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I found an earlier (sealed beam quad headlights) Cutlass Ciera coupe with pillow top seats, same console/shifter as this one, on craigslist out west. I liked it enough to put on my list.

      I also once drove a 3800-powered Buick Century T-Type.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      “I hear the 6000 really SUX.”

      does it get s**tty gas mileage and come with a Blaupunkt?

  • avatar

    My friend had one. It has an air compressor in the trunk.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    PONTIAC. RIBBED FOR HIS PLEASURE.™

    Say what you want about GMs of this era- lord knows I will. But they sure had some handsome designs. Fundamentally, this thing has a great shape. Nice low cowl, tidy details, everything is just right. Too bad it was such a turd

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    I’d rather have a lot of buttons than a lot of menus on a touch-screen. These were pretty cool back in the day and looked good in red and even better in blue. Would be very interested in the AWD for a winter car.

  • avatar
    ShoogyBee

    The original 6000 STE was much more cleanly styled than this garish beast. No gold-colored trim, no overdone wheels, no useless trunklid spoiler, etc.

    Even better was the 1988+ Bonneville SE (not SSE, which was also kind of overdone). Really sharp looking car. Those cars were everywhere in upper middle-class neighborhoods.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I remember when the new bodied 1992 Bonneville SSEi come out with the early 3.8L supercharged V6. I had an uncle that legitimately chose it over a 535i he’d been pining over. At the time, it was a nice car.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        I always had a thing for that vintage of Buick Park Avenues. With the supercharged V-6. Tasty.

        http://momentcar.com/buick/1992/buick-park-avenue/

        And I know 28’s down for it.

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Yes, I also craved an SSEi. In my neck of the woods the 6000 was far more common than its other GM brethren. Not sure why, perhaps because of all the positive press that it got back then?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I noticed many Pontiacs and GMCs in Canada vs their Chevrolet brethren. My guess is it had something to do with dealer network.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            Pontiac was comparatively more popular in Canada than the USA. It was for a while in the 60’s the top selling marque in Canada.

            There are a number of reasons, and one is that Canadian Pontiacs were for decades different from American ones. They were Pontiac bodies (and some interior trim) placed on Chevrolet underpinnings with Chev engines. This kept them relatively inexpensive while still being more ‘upmarket’ than a Chev (or Plymouth)

            They also had a number of Canadian only models and highly nationalistic/distinct nameplates. Pontiac even had its on sub-brand in Acadian/Beaumont which was Canadian only Pontiac versions of smaller Chevs.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus

            Arthur, you ever see any suspiciously-Corsica-looking Pontiac Tempest’ anymore?

            I would think a coupe version (rebadged Beretta) would have done well. Dare I say GTO version equivalent to the Z34/GT? Maybe that would have made the much-later reborn (Aussie) GTO seem less disappointing to the public.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          I must also submit to the alter of torque, for I too have lusted for a SuperCharged Bonnie. My favorite GM car of the era, along with its (later 90s) model Grand Prix brother.

          Working for a GM dealer in the early 2000s, the big Pontiacs were my favorite GM cars to drive. Grand Am? Not so much. Sunfire? I’d rather take a used Corsica or the Grand Am’s Olds brother.

          I really didn’t like period Century, but the Regal was nice. Among trucks, I liked the big GMCs a lot more lol. Didn’t care for the SUVs, unless it was a two door Jimmy, but being in the Dirty South, all were 2wd so non-starters for me. May have hurt my impression when a Blazer came in off the truck from the assembly plant needing to be pushed and dragged into the service bay because it wouldn’t run. I later was talked into a 1995 4wd Blazer, “it couldn’t be that bad”…oh yes it could. And was.

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            @JohnTaurus: Sorry can’t remember the last time that I saw a Tempest in the wild. And our local auto scrapyard recently burnt down.

            That is possibly another reason why Pontiac sold so well in Canada. As well as placing Pontiac bodies on Chevs, they also rebadged and added some trim pieces to a lot of Chevrolet product (Chevettes, Chevelles, Corsicas, etc) and sold them as Pontiacs.

    • 0 avatar
      roverv8i

      Agreed. The big problem with the A body refresh was the attempt at increased aerodynamics with the rounded and sloped back rear window. This did not change the trunk capacity but it sure reduced the trunk opening. They left the truck opening as is making it hard to get anything of any size in it. A body’s have the traditional top opening trunk that does not cut down the rear of the car. That’s fine with the original large lid but not when you change to one about the size of my TSX without the cut out down the rear. I know this from first hand experience with 90 Cutlass Ciera vs. an 86 6000.

      Yes, I’ve always had a secret liking for A body’s. I would Consider this one if I had a place to keep it inside.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Very interesting, I had never noticed.

        Seems to me that later models were decontented, a lot of the cool stuff went with the 6000.

        I don’t think the final revision versions of the A body Cutlass Ciera or Century could be had with anything other than column shift and no available tach. Like, rental fleet and people who just want a “car”, nothing that shows they consider it anything other than an appliance.

        • 0 avatar
          APaGttH

          @JohnTaurus

          …Seems to me that later models were decontented, a lot of the cool stuff went with the 6000…

          GM beancounters had fully taken over by that point, you know the rest of the story.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Worth pointing out in that era gold trim was the thing. Honda offered it, Toyota offered it, etc. etc. Heck go into a house built in the 90s with original bathroom fixtures. GOLD! I seem to remember you could pay extra for the goooooooooooooooooooold trim on some models.

      Trust me, 20 years from now, people are going to look at the blacked out fad going on (rims, trim, etc.) and it will be the gold trim or the all white fad of the 90s. What the Hell were people thinking?

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      I drove a ’95 Park Ave with the awesome Series II 3800 V6, same engine used in the Bonnie and 88/98 that year (though the LeSabre had to wait another year for some reason). The supercharged Series II 3800 arrived a year later in ’96. Both of these were leagues ahead of the already nice Series I engines – quieter, smoother, more powerful, more economical, more reliable.

  • avatar
    deanst

    From the c pillar treatment alone, we can conclude that GM was 25 years ahead of Toyota…..

  • avatar
    rcx141

    Hope someone buys it and preserves it.

  • avatar
    JMII

    So many buttons, so many ribs, such huge blocky bumpers. It looks my LEGO creations from the same time period. Hard to believe this passed as “sporty” back in the late 80s when wedge shaped cars ruled: Celicas, CRXs, RX-7s, Probe, etc.

  • avatar
    brandloyalty

    I’d be interested in a description of how the awd was implemented. Any traction control systems?

  • avatar
    MikeP20

    Actually the 1985 Pontiac 6000 came with a carburetor on a 2.8l v6 and a 4 speed auto with overdrive.

    I had one from Dad in college and after in the early to mid 90’s and drove it to 250k nearly trouble free before i sold it.

    Fastest car i ever owned.

    A 2 tone green 4 door family sedan, whitewalls with oldsmobile hubcaps and a useless chrome factory luggage rack on the trunk.

    It was completely, utterly invisible to cops for some reason. traveled all states for work east of the Mississippi and consistently cruise controlled it 15 -20 mph over the limit through speed traps and never once pulled over.

    Next car i had was a used 92 yellow corvette convertible for a bit. Not my brightest idea to take over the payments from a friend. It was not so invisible to cops. Didn’t have that very long.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Growing up in the 80s, I remember all of these GM cars with the 2.8L and 3.1L V6s and their gargling exhaust notes. I thought they sounded cool.

    My Dad had an 89 Celebrity wagon with the V6, it felt fast to me and sounded way more bad @ss than the Taurus wagon company car he got after the Celebrity.

    That Ford Vulcan V6 seemed like a dog compared to the GM 2.8-3.1L, and it was all because of the sound. The GM V6s sounded fast to my 13 year old ears.

    Now I think they sound like crap.

    • 0 avatar
      segxr7

      The 2.8 and 3.1 GMs that I’ve driven from that era also felt really powerful because they had hair-trigger throttles. You could chirp the tires just by looking at the gas pedal too hard.

      It was a pretty convincing, until you went to merge on the highway and realized there was basically no difference between 1/3rd and WOT.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Funny, I absolutely love the sound of my Vulcan(s). I removed the intake silencer on my Taurus, now it growls even more under acceleration. I love the deep, classic American sound it makes.

      I’ve even had people make (positive) comments about it.

      @segxr7, you’re 100% correct on that. The only quick cars with those engines were the smaller ones like Cavalier. My 2.8L Cavalier was not bad at all. A 3.1L Grand Prix or my 1998 Lumina was barely adequate by comparison.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that…
    But wow, that thing is ugly…

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      although the 6000 was (IMO) better looking without the fog lamps, it was pretty much universally regarded as a good looking car in the late ’80s.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I thought so. I had a crush on one in the late 1990s (I was in H.S., it was a teacher’s car, a base model, but I could picture it fixed up with alloys and such).

        But then my other love was the Ford Tempo, and I also really enjoyed the the driver’s ed. Corsica, though I didn’t look for one like I did a Tempo.

        You would think that given my rather economical taste in cars and my dad’s well-paying job at Boeing, I’d have no problem getting one. Well, I ended up having to buy cars myself and ended up with pure junk like a Tercel that refused to start and tried to kill me. This went on until after school was over and I got a full time job, then bought a 1994 Tempo with 81k on it.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    Nice, the ruby red paint with gold trim makes it a perfect time capsule.

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    A coworker told me that he used to own one of these AWD Pontiacs. His mechanic recommended that he get rid of it before anything breaks, because it was bound to be expensive.

    The steering wheel looks like it belongs in a different vehicle. The dashboard is all straight lines and wedges, but the steering wheel is very sculpted.

  • avatar
    epsilonkore

    This was my first car. I remember being a teenage brat and HATING it. I wanted a Saturn SC2 but my grandfather (wisely) intervened with this tank for my teenage antics. Looking back, I did love the insanely non ergonomic buttons. Any fan of sci-fi would, it had probably 50 tiny red illuminated buttons like an 1980’s spaceship. It was a safe tank, surviving one side crash (that totaled a 198X civic, a crash that would have seriously hurt or killed my friends had I obtained the SC2 instead) and drove on till probably 2004 when my parents finally tired of replacing alternators (NEVER turn on the fog lamps AND roll down the windows at the same time). Otherwise it was one of GM’s more reliable cars, relatively powerful for its time and comfortable with just a whif of “sporty” attitude. I haven’t owned a 4 door since (though my reservation for the Tesla 3 should change that) due to my hatred of this car. Guess its time I evolve and understand what my grandfather was trying to tell me 24 years ago?

  • avatar

    GM was probably better off producing cars like this, because back then they at least had market share and were much more profitable. In their time these GM cars were competitive and sold like hot cakes. Other interesting cars from this era include the Bonnville SSE, Trofeo, Feiro, and Grand National.

  • avatar
    KOKing

    I suspect very few people of a certain age didn’t spend a lot of time in and around A-bodies, as ubiquitous as they were. Maybe being in SoCal I didn’t even know about the AWD; there were LOTS of Eurosports, T-Types and Internationals around these parts, though.

  • avatar
    threeer

    So much plasticky (sp?) goodness! I’m a sucker for 80s time capsules from just about any manufacturer. Anybody who is willing to fork over money to well-preserve any car of that era (even if not a superstar collectible Ferrari/Porsche/whatever) has my admiration. Funny what I see out on CL and ebay that gets me thinking. I came across a near-as-mint MkII Golf four door in metallic blue that looked exactly like the one my mom nearly bought when we were stationed in Germany (long story, but the military sales dealership ruined the deal on that and my parents backed out of the deal. I was crushed as I, for some reason, rather loved that car…especially the fabric of the interior) and I was so friggin’ tempted. I’m not the biggest Pontiac fan, but props to this find for condition. I hope it goes to a good household.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    The peak of the A-Body and probably the best looking one with enough 80’s wedge and curves.
    I always thought Oldsmobile was the innovation division so they should have offered AWD on the Ciera. Or offer it on the W-Body Grand Prix STE. To engage the AWD there is a switch on the console. A neat project would be transplanting a 3800SC in one. 200+ HP and AWD. All hail the church.

    When the STE was introduced a couple of the auto magazines tested it against the Dodge 600ES Turbo. However Consumers Reports tested it against the Lancer ES Turbo. Both gave them favorable reviews but I forget which had the edge.

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    There is actually something very charming about this car: Maybe it’s just nostalgia. Having been city dwellers my parents didn’t own a car when I was a kid and when they would rent, literally every time it was a Cutlass Ciera or Century, usually in that burgundy color. Didn’t know there was a Pontiac version too, but doesn’t come as a surprise knowing GM…

  • avatar
    chiefmonkey

    Cool that it had AWD too…

  • avatar
    joeaverage

    Tell us more about the AWD system? Was it push button? Fancy clutches?

    I assume something a pushbutton or lever lock into AWD and then open diffs at both ends which improved snow/ice traction but guaranteed nothing? ;)

    Sort of like my 1st gen CR-V. It helps but not nearly as good as the newest AWD systems.

  • avatar

    When this car was in its prime GM was twice the size that it is now. GM was better off when their cars were mediocre to good. GM has now dropped to fourth in international sales. GM is becoming too small to succeed. Just remember that when it comes time for the next government bailout.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Crack pipe. But very interesting as a period piece.

  • avatar
    russification

    better to be dragged to death by radio control from a vehicle domestically produced than a foreign offerning. you cant really hit anybody back from across the atlantic


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