1971-1976 PONTIAC full size


The ultimate GM full size in Pontiac sheet surely is the most attractive among its stablemates, due to its oval shaped wheel openings, and the minor elevation of the crease just before the C-pillar, under the beltline, which itself decently remained untouched, except at the convertible and Grand Ville 2-door.  Models with two-tone paint, upper crease striping and double whitewalls really are stunningly beautiful.  Pontiac had started this upwards sloping crease behind the front door ten years earlier, and as we know it soon was integrated with the beltline becoming more pronounced, and copied by the industry worldwide.

The Grand Prix, based on the extended intermediate platform, remained the most expensive Pontiac coupe, also after it stood on the 4-door wheelbase by 1973.  This was ‘corrected’ in 1975 at the arrival of the Grand Ville Brougham, and after an equipment relapse in 1976, making the Grand Prix some 500$ less expensive, all standard-size coupes became priced over the Grand Prix.

As usual, the Bonneville’s wheelbase initially was stretched some inches over that of the Catalina, but this now was in favor of the hood length, whereas at earlier models the extra space was in front of the rear wheels, without benefiting to the rear compartment.  This gave the Bonneville and Grand Ville the honor of the GM standard-sized cars with the longest hood/deck ratio (the smaller Grand Prix, categorized by Pontiac as full size, was champion of course with a hood twice as long as the deck), but the DeVille by Cadillac had a longer hood with another three inches before the cowl.  However, after two years, Pontiac chose to stick to the 124-inch wheelbase that was also used by the regular Buicks and Oldsmobiles.  At the same time, the Grand Ville adopted rear fender skirts to distinguish it from the Bonneville.

The Grand Ville used an exclusive formal roof for both hardtops, which in 2-door form created more room for the rear passengers.  By 1975 the roofs were changed, eliminating the hardtop appearance at the 2-door (though still labeled as Hardtop), and then shared with the Bonneville (which share had dwindled to under 12%), together with the fender skirts.  4-door hardtops were no longer offered for the other series.  Bonneville and Grand Ville (and Parisienne Brougham in Canada) became equipped with rectangular headlamps, which were part of the Catalina Custom package by 1976.  Grand Ville Brougham for 1975 and its 1976 successor Bonneville Brougham, as well Grand Safari for both years, received a hood ornament.

As at other divisions, the top Bonneville and Grand Ville could increase their share within the full-size line from one third to close to a half.  Eventually, Bonneville’s share would grow to 5 out of every 6 in 1980, due to its appealing looks with rear fender skirts, only shared by the Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight since that year.

Canada traditionally built full size Pontiacs starting on a lower level than in the USA, with the Laurentian now as the basic model, next to the Parisienne receiving the Brougham suffix, and made also models for the USA, which became available in Canada since 1970.

Under the skin:

Except for the 1971 and 1972 Canadian Pontiac Laurentian, all full-size Pontiacs used V8 engines.  In the USA, even the Pontiac V8 350 engine was skipped in 1972, and then released again for another year in 1974, confining to 400 and 455 V8s.  Canada, however would use Chevrolet V8 350 engines through the period, mostly with 2 or 4 barrels.  The 3-speed manual option was halted in the USA in March 1971, but would continue through 1972 for the 6-cylinder in Canada. 

Power front disc brakes were standard from the start, but power steering was optional in the first year.  Radial tires were used from 1975.  





American Cars 1962-1977