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Rough Start: 1977 Pontiac Bonneville – Last Call For Pontiac Power!


Rough Start: 1977 Pontiac Bonneville – Last Call For Pontiac Power!

When GM put the full-size B-body platform on a diet, there was no singling out a brand that would be spared the crash diet. Pontiac, Buick, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet…all of the full-sizers lost a significant amount of heft in the redesign. GM came out smelling like a rose with the redesign, with the Chevrolet Caprice and Impala sweeping the press off of their feet and buyers into showrooms. Over at Pontiac, things were much different…the land of the Firebird was in turmoil and the new guard was not about performance. The sales of the Bonneville and it’s virtually identical Catalina variation sucked, and that’s being nice about the situation. When a recession hit early in 1979, tanking what little sales there were, the Bonneville, Catalina and the Pontiac V8 engine all were cosigned to the history books. Pontiac would regain a B-body in the Parisienne, and the Bonneville would return, first as a four-door Malibu knockoff, then as a large front-driver.

So why does this Bonneville deserve a look as your next project car? Pontiac 400. The engine that made Burt Reynold’s Trans Am dance around is under the hood of this machine, and I speak from experience when I say that it works better than it should…one memorable car from my youth was a Catalina of this same vintage that wound up being converted to a demolition derby/cheap stock car. The grunt that yellow and blue monster had was unreal once the catalytic converters were hacked off, the timing was worked over and the carburetor was rebuilt. That plush whorehouse red interior will be nice and comfortable on long cruises and the B-body can handle better than most people would think. Give this car some guts back and get some paint repair done on that Texas-cooked surface and we’d call it good.

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