Pontiac Grand Ville

Pontiac Grand Ville Brougham
Pontiac Grand Ville
The Pontiac Grand Ville was a full-size vehicle, introduced in 1971, it was actually the only convertible for 1975. At the time, Pontiac was struggling, much like all of Detroit with a plethora of government rules and regulations that resulted in bulky 'crash' bumpers and poor-running, detuned engines. Partly due to threatened accident rollover standards, not many convertibles were to be found. After 1975, Pontiac abandoned droptops and introduced the open Grand Ville.

Though the 1975 Pontiac Grand Ville was not the 'Wide-Trackers' of the 1960's, it was still memorable. The Grand Ville replaced the Bonneville as the top-line series for 1971 and luxury took precedence over performance when Chevy decided to out-produce and 'out-price'. The Bonneville was never deleted completely during this period, but it was demoted to a dubious mid-line status between the lower price Pontiac Catalina and the super lux Grand Ville. The Bonneville and the Grand Ville always shared more trim and design elements than either did with Pontiac Catalina, and consumers found it difficult to tell them apart.

The Grand Ville featured 185 hp and 400 V8, or an optional 200 bhp 455. Standard equipment included Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission, power front disc brakes, and power steering. Various popular options included AC, power windows and driver's seat, cruise control, tilt steering wheel, AM/FM stereo with a tape deck, and much more. From 1974 through 1976, one of the rarest options available on Grand Villes was the adjustable brake and accelerator pedals.

Priced at $5,858, the Grand Ville was very aesthetically pleasing and even considered 'fairly tasteful' for the Disco Age. The Grand Ville incorporated the squared-off roofline of the Oldsmobile 98, the Cadillac DeVille, and the Buick Electra, which were the premium models of those divisions. There were also various unique chrome details on the front and taillight trim at the rear to set it apart. For one year only, 1974, the Grand Ville featured its own parking lights, which were wrapped around the corner of the front fender. Other deluxe appearance options included sport wheels and vinyl tops. From 1973 through 1975, the Grand Ville featured rear fender skirts.

Though moderate success was enjoyed from 1971 through 1973, the Arab Oil Embargo of late 1973 and early '74 led to gas shortages, skyrocketing pump prices, and long lines at filling stations. The Grand Ville became the Grand Ville Brougham in 1975 and now featured a bit more standard options than before. These included power windows and carpeted trunk.

Unfortunately, this would be the final year for the Grand Ville series, which also included Pontiac's final full-sized convertible, which would be Pontiacs final ragtop until 1984. The Grand Ville didn't achieve the expected success that Pontiac had envisioned and sales tanked at only 1,519 units sold. The Grand Ville nameplate was dropped for 1976 and the lineup was renamed the Bonneville Brougham.

By Jessica Donaldson