The Last Great American Luxury Cars - The GM B-Bodies like This Pontiac Bonneville Were Very Smooth

The Last Great American Luxury Cars - The GM B-Bodies like This Pontiac Bonneville Were Very Smooth

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00:06
good morning this is bill from curious cars and autohouse of naples on another balmy florida day you know i understand it may be snowing up north that's fine i feel for you guys i know it kind of sucks but that's not going to stop me from complaining about the humidity down here it's just not i mean i get that i can walk around in shorts that it's fairly mild weather and probably some of you would like to have it at least for the moment but again truck
00:37
on down here in july and august and see what you think see how it goes for you then i don't think you're gonna like it why am i here you know i ask myself that all the time i ended up here this is where i know i've tried to get away a few times but it's never happened so uh am i a fan of florida yeah in some ways you know i do like it here for a variety of reasons i do like fishing for instance although i understand uh somewhere up north you can fish but uh otherwise you know the weather is just
01:07
an absolute misery until the good stuff rolls around but in the sake of uh for the sake of keeping the peace i'm going to tone down the weather reports for the moment and move on to cars and birds and goats goats haven't seen anything of them they haven't been around i can't confirm their status as living or dead uh if i had to guess i'd say dead but yeah we'll see there hasn't been any goat meat on offer so that hasn't happened yet birds after
01:39
that woodpecker close call yesterday i've heard them around but um uh none have come too close so that's not a bad thing and today i have another low pressure car i have a 1979 pontiac bonneville four-door sedan i believe it's a brome although i get a little bit hazy on some of these things the broom may have been an option package that this didn't have but i don't think so i think this is very technically a broom so i'm going to continue that way uh it
02:09
is a bee body platform from gm uh probably the most successful of the original downsized platforms people did seem to like it uh for a variety of reasons and uh you know truly a rare success story it came out yeah the panther platform the world famous panther platform from ford came out uh at a similar time but was not as immediately beloved uh as these b body cars were uh they also did hearken of the misery that was to come because they went cross
02:40
platform uh you had bee bodies from you know basically this all pontiac bonneville was very much like the old bill 88 which was very much like the uh buick um and what the hell is it uh oh for the mother god you know i'm telling you it's just one of those uh one of those things uh what the hell was the buick i know the uh oldsmobile was the 88 uh them a saber you know they are a little bit forgetful and uh you know they were all basically
03:11
the same with some variations in styling uh was it enough to keep people uh loyal to their brands yeah probably not so much but uh this was still a pretty big car uh even if you know it's shorter than the car that it replaced by a significant amount and probably almost a thousand pounds less yeah it did weigh in at close to 000 pounds but that was a big uh difference over what had preceded it but look to set the stage and okay here's the deal i did a 78 pontiac bonneville broome the other day
03:43
maybe a few weeks ago and i went through the history of pontiac i got into the bee body stuff you know mostly it was focused on the coupes but yeah they're close enough so again the pressure is off i'm not gonna really have to get into it but what i'd like to do is set the stage for 1979 to understand what the world was facing because uh you know the other day i mentioned that 93 was kind of a really boring year and i think it was some poor guy in the comment section said hey i was born in 93 well
04:14
may you live in exciting times 79 was not boring at all in fact a lot of interest in happened and that set the stage for cars like this it was a very good year for dictators you've got the ayatollah khamenei he comes to power in iran uh you've got saddam hussein he comes to power at iraq and idia meanwhile maybe not such a good year for him he got booted out of uganda in a very unpleasant way so that was all going on oil prices were through the roof because of the
04:45
going on in iran uh gas was as much as like 86 cents a gallon so that really i'm sure it went up a little bit more than that but that still fruit people out mile island new york that's uh part of the scoop uh the russia ussr they invade afghanistan i'm telling you man a lot of crap went on the first british nudist colony was established and then when people got a glimpse of it they quickly ruled it now they didn't they let it stay but so the brits they're getting
05:16
together with their nudist colony uh china got their one child policy going something we should probably get going here skylab crashed earth mostly in the indian ocean because of a controlled reentry but a little bit of it made it into western australia a girl named brenda and spencer in san diego took her rifle and shot two teachers and eight kids the eight kids lived but they were wounded the two teachers died she shot them from a house across the street from the school
05:47
and when they arrested her she asked why she did it and frankly what i think is one of the great all-time answers for such things said she didn't like mondays and then of course that became a boomtown rat song it snowed in the sahara for uh 30 minutes and i guess that's not something that happens very often although i suppose we'll hear about it more and more and then the ymc ymca the ymca did sue the village people uh for that uh song which i guess they found unpleasant but by far
06:19
the most newsworthy item from 1979 jimmy carter president of the united states was attacked by a rabbit while fishing this vicious deranged rabbit went after him attacked him it was heroin for the poor guy it became a pretty big news story and even though people laughed at him a little bit i have to say i think this entirely proves my point and and makes the point of the things that i've been saying for quite some time so keep an eye peeled for those things they're not all friendly fuzzy furry you
06:51
know sometimes they're all teeth fangs and ears coming at you and uh you gotta be pretty careful uh anyway this was the last full-size bonneville until 2000 uh the bonneville went through pontiac went through all these weird changes uh of course before they were uh killed and i don't know what 09 2010 and real shame actually to see that happen i really don't think it had to but anyways this was the last full-size one for a long time it was replaced in 81 by a mid-sized bonneville
07:22
and then the parisienne which was basically a clone of the caprice classic even closer than this thing is took over from the bonneville and full-sized duties and that was essentially a canadian model in canada this bonneville was known as the laurentian for uh reasons then i don't know i'm saying that right i don't really care but it's for reasons that i don't entirely know uh you know it was only made for a few years four year model run for this uh 77 through 81 despite a really big investment
07:53
and uh you know other bee body sales kind of boomed but i don't think the bonneville did that well uh even smokey in the band of two with jackie gleason driving a bonneville police car uh didn't help him a whole lot uh you know to get into this specific one for a minute i bought this a while back it actually has taken a long time to get this car i bought it in colorado in a very remote location a sight unseen it was very difficult to get it shipped that took a very long time and when i saw it when i saw the photos
08:27
i thought that could be the ugliest car that i've ever seen and it's so i mean a quadruple green pontiac bonneville from 79 with fender skirts and and in some ways it's the most beautiful car that i've ever seen so i mean i don't know if it's like that thing i talked about with dalton with the weird little deranged and puppy that you know you sort of get used to seeing so you grow an attachment to it if i have something like that going with this car or if it is truly an attractive vehicle
08:57
it had a green bug screen on the front put on by its original 212 year old owner and you know i think it might look better without it but i didn't want to take it off i thought it just gave it that little bit of you know early 80s late 70s uh credibility that that it craved you could also get it in a coupe which again i'm going to link to that video in the description of this one we had a 78 coupe up until recently uh nice car and the coupes i thought were pretty interesting bee bodies
09:29
um you know again willow missed green on top over jade stone green metallic on the bottom uh with the two-tone going into the roof in a variety of ways lots of chrome trim lots of stainless trim belt molding down the side wire wheel covers you know i think i really wouldn't like this car if it had those pontiac rally two wheels it actually might have become clearly attractive at that point it might be the wire wheel covers that are making it sketchy for
10:04
me but either way i think they do look pretty nice and this thing is such a survivor so all right i've got my glasses fogging up again i can't see anything i can't even see the viewfinder so i'm going to pause it for a second and uh get my together here then we're going to keep going all right so that's a little better at least they can see again although i feel them fogging up and i mean i don't know if they need wipers on them or if they have some sort of a defrost spray i can put on them i know when we go uh diving once a year we go down to the keys and try and get
10:36
some lobsters which is getting harder and harder as a 50 year old guy with a smoking habit you know diving for those little bastards they're kind of fast i understand up in massachusetts you have to catch them by hand i couldn't even imagine that at least down here we get a little stick and a net which still seems next to impossible but uh catching them by hand and not a chance plus the ones up there have claws uh florida's are naturally declawed which is kind of nice but um anyway i digress uh without uh you know
11:07
again having done the history of this car with the uh uh that coupe a while back i got free to just jump right in so let's do that we're going to start inside the trunk this car i'm telling you so there's that weird pontiac flower emblem which frankly nobody has explained to me yet i don't know why they're using that maybe it's a sunburst or something but there goes peter to ostensibly feed the goats who knows if that's true obviously being a bee body it has a huge
11:40
trunk full frame body on frame this is a big sucker and you get a trunk to match i'm sure it came with the spare tire cover i don't know it for sure but it probably i can't believe pontiac was that much cheaper than cadamac but maybe who knows either way it's got a spare tire in there it's actually bolted down correctly with the jack behind it uh which is something of a miracle and uh the chances of dalton having actually checked pressure in the spare tire i would put it one in twelve thousand
12:09
so hopefully we don't get a flat anyway everything nice and proper under there very very clean very well kept when i first saw the car in colorado i thought colorado it's snowy it's rusty it's going to be a horrible place to buy a car and then discovered that colorado is not considered a rust state presumably they don't use salt on the roads or some such so underneath this thing is pretty spectacular and there's no rust in any of the jams or anything else it's all a very nice rust free car
12:41
they do have this flip down license plate for where you get the fuel which i think is quite cool there's the original jacking instructions we can all use those on the bottom and everything nice and lovely inside the trunk very spartan if you put any infants in there but i do guarantee they're not getting out this thing's even old enough there was no federal guideline that had to have a middle interior release for the trunk so this is one of the good ones you put someone in this trunk they're staying in
13:11
there there you see the bonneville script on the back and the uh bosh bash i don't even know how to pronounce it out of selita colorado original dealer sticker still on the back fighting mist this morning as well let's have a look under the hood okay so this was the last series of pontiacs that had pontiac motors although not in 79. uh up until 78 you could get pontiac uh 400 i think 77 might have been the
13:47
last year of the pontiac 350. then pontiac came out with a 301 engine which really wasn't a bad engine but it was considered pretty anemic and not really beloved by people because it just didn't have the horsepower the torque to really motivate the car uh frankly i thought it was good enough and i thought it suffered a little bit more than it needed to uh but um and then they turbocharged if you remember they put that in that um 81 trend they put a naturally aspirated four nine and the 79 uh trans am which
14:18
again people who like trans ams don't like that engine in that car but then they did turbo charge it for uh 81 and uh yeah mixed results on that one as well anyway in 79 from what i understand and it does get a little complex for 79 because everything was in a state of flux over this gas crunch and the ayatollah and the american hostages and jimmy carter and all that crap california with its weird emissions laws but i think they did away with the 400
14:49
and the 403 by 78 so 79 you had two engine options you had the pontiac 301 which i guess is technically a pontiac v8 uh so you know that's part of what continued them being in the car but not the v8 people wanted and then you had this a buick 350 which is distinguishable from the front mounted uh distributor cap and uh that's kind of a fascinating engine to make it into this car has about 160 horsepower uh 250 260 uh pound-feet of torque
15:22
and uh was the optional 5.7 engine for 1979 i'm glad this one has it because when i first got in this car fired it up drove it it ran like a rape tape it was it was actually really impressive i initially thought it had a pontiac 350 because i really hadn't researched 79s when i found out it was a buick i was pretty surprised but anyway very torquey very nice it's made into a turbo high dramatic 350 bulletproof transmission and that stuff is part of what makes these cars
15:53
you know really liked and beloved and not to mention the ride quality which is exceptional really really exceptional on this car but anyway there it is under the hood very nice very proper and befitting of a true 48 000 mile survivor see all the under hood padding and stuff is nice the air cleaner still looks pretty nice uh you know it's not perfect but it's uh it's obviously just a low mile well-kept original engine bay and that's kind of what you want to see in some of these things i like the hidden
16:24
wipers in this too and i do like the arrow shield i have to say the fender skirts you have to love it i mean on some of these cars especially the rusty ones up you know in restausets or ohio with rust belt cars those are often long gone i don't know if it's the tabs that hold them in get rusted away or people just do away with them out of tediousness but it's it's a little bit unusual to see them still on the car it's mostly just on the survivors now i also do like those stainless strips
16:57
down the bottom another thing lost to the world as are the chrome bumpers and before i get in i have to give a little bit of a nod to those compartmentalized tail pipes tail pipes tan lights which i think are exceedingly attractive i really do like the way those things look and of course that is a pontiac styling cue that continued on for many years uh from this rear window i don't know if you can see through there but the package shelf is a nice shape you can certainly tell this car wasn't in florida getting baked by the sun
17:29
here is my favorite part of the car and that is the green velour i mean i am a sucker for green cars i know some people hate them in fact i think most people hate them uh getting into green interiors you're even gonna generate more hate for me it generates more love i love the way this thing looks you can see the styling is terrific these very classic american design fits three across no issue your canadians are going to be extremely chipper
18:00
and because this was a laurentian up there they're already used to it so they're not going to have to get uh too uh accustomed to a new car uh it's shocked that this car had window cranks absolutely shocked because it's otherwise pretty loaded with options which we'll get into but there they are so manual windows in the car but you can see everything's kind of nice and tight and proper a little bit of wood trim in there you know basically 1970s gm drac i mean cars were getting smaller uh they were cutting a lot of corners to
18:30
try and uh save money and save weight to make them more economical uh but um you know i you know like the way they don't finish the ends of these things and stuff it's all kind of cheesy but it's still nice and tight and together on this car and you can't really blame it for you know manufacturer shortcuts back in the day when it was new and the weather strip is nice and original and tight so anyway very interesting color in this car i also like the pontiac arrow mirrors at
19:01
the time the green theme continues into the front of course uh absolutely stunning to me the green dashboard with the acres of fake wood trim this skinny little vinyl steering wheel with a mixture of fake wood and green on it the door panel again with the window crank a little bit of peeling of the chrome trim there around the door handle and a little bit of wear through on the handle right from where your hand would go so even in 48 000 miles if somebody's a
19:31
little bit rough on it which obviously this owner was it does show some wear but otherwise uh very nice mint original panel with that exception and the rest of the car shows none of that just a little bit over on the passenger side uh it does have a power six-way driver seat nice works good i love that old gm stuff i also like that when the door panel is closed you have to squeeze your hand in like it's a sheet of paper to get down there and move it uh you know real ergonomic stuff from
20:01
general motors at the time the passenger seat it's manual to move back and forth i think and double check it but it does have a manual recline which is nice so uh you know if you want to do a little bit of love making in your pontiac bonneville you can do it in the back seat or you can just recline the passenger seat put on a little bit of soothing country music and you know have at it sounds like peter's having a little trouble starting his 928
20:33
he's digging some of his old cars out of the garage so yeah once it's running it sounds smooth but getting there wasn't that easy let's hop then see what we got and i'm going to fire this thing up and get a little ac going so i'm not dripping anymore nice standard gm two key ignition system and look at that thing i've always liked the 928 a little bit of a redheaded stepchild but really coming that's the second porsche he's left in that's had a burnt out taillight uh that 993 from last week had the left
21:05
side burnt out this one has the right so a little bit of a theme going i love it there you hear that big buick 350 firing to life let me get a little bit of ac going here uh i can't believe what a survivor this car is i mean it's not mint it's not concourse it's got a few issues here and there in terms of cosmetics like the door handle we talked about but what a survivor i mean i hop in this car you see 48 000 miles on the clock you see how clean and nice and original everything is
21:39
i feel like i'm in a car lot in 1984 looking at a bonneville that i need to get to go to work in i mean it is just a time machine this thing the horn works nice big bee body horn uh pontiac i think historically always had some of the best instrument clusters get that fan real low uh they really did and this one has the full gauge package so you've got your fuel gauge your volt meter uh your oil pressure and zip around there and your water temp
22:11
and you see how nice the chrome is around the gauges a lot of times that's all scraped away or weird as is the chrome underneath the dash this is often all worn out and tired the vents are all flopping around even this uh you know 70s style clockworks the uh i don't know if it's digital what they call i think digital is when the if you remember those old clock radios where the numbers flipped they were cut in half and they flipped i think that was a true analog air quote digital clock i don't think this is called digital but
22:42
it's digital in the sense it has digits anyway um the condition of the car is just a lot of fun it also has a tilt wheel uh it's got cruise control uh it's got power locks and uh it's got uh you know a remote um driver side mirror and i wouldn't even begin to know how you set that obviously you're gonna have to have a kid or something uh move the mirror while you're sitting there i'm not even going to lean across roll the window down start adjusting the mirror move back lean over lean back i'll be out of shape
23:14
and out of breath in 10 minutes doing that so that's absolutely no good at all but you know again all the options in this thing uh air conditioning option uh he got an ashtray down here because everybody smoked in 79 you know going to the disco clubs they had plenty of room for plenty of cigarettes uh in am am radio and here's the exciting and interesting thing because i didn't even know this existed uh borrow this a tree it's an am radio
23:43
with an eight-trick and we enlisted the solid gold hits from 1973 but i don't know i mean doesn't frankly fm come before an eight track i mean it isn't the progression of options am and then am fm and then am fma trek so i this was new to me i had no concept that you could get an ama m radio uh with uh with an eight track in it but there it is so i presume it's not even stereo uh it does have four speakers but yeah
24:18
there's no am stereo i also do like the way uh you set the um let's see the am radio working and with atn on the board i would be really tempted to take him um okay that's fascinating and then you set the uh stations by pulling this out and pushing that in if you guys remember that so i don't know i just find this thing all very fascinating love the green sun visors the mirror is nice crisp and clear no big decay on any of it uh the radial tuned suspension
24:48
which pontiac's had on their cars for some time at this point uh all the uh the letters are still raised and nice as is the bonneville logo uh the thing's just a real survivor man all the illumination works uh it's uh it's just a really cool car to drive because it really transports you back in time unlike looking down the hood and seeing that uh proper hood ornament in front or sorry in back of from this angle the bug screen and the beauty uh trim right down the middle of the hood so [Music]
25:19
and that nice smooth 350 buick engine okay let me get my crap in the car and then we're gonna go for a spin all right let's do it uh you know i always say i'm bringing my crap with me i apologize for having the stuff everywhere uh people sometimes ask what the hell is you know what what are you carrying with you that you actually have to mention it and carry bags around you know it's a long story but the shortest version is this uh with new dalton and i i think i once described in a
25:51
uh buick headlight video which i'll link to below uh why we call him new dalton because when we hired him there was already a dalton there what are the chances two mothers who loved the movie roadhouse but um and anyway there's another story to old dalton but uh anyway when we hired him he was then becoming neutral to everybody listen to me ramble i'm telling you the covet whiskey everything else and now we're gonna see how bad his windshield is and i'm just gonna go with it to point it out to him
26:22
yeah somebody once said his windshields look like he cleans them with a raw chicken thigh and i think there is some truth to that um anyway uh when you have new dalton detailing your cars uh and you bring them home and you go to the photo and video site you essentially have to re-detail them to get them to some semblance of where you could actually photograph them so i have to carry a whole detailing kit with me shammies and sobs and potions and lotions and
26:52
you know all sorts of things to make up for the crap that he either misses or does in a substandard fashion and that's just why i do love him so much and now i find out he is not going to move to tennessee i knew this was gonna happen i told you when you get guys like this they're like herpes i mean they're not going away they're just gonna be with you forever uh you know they may flare up from time to time and you recognize what's going on but uh but anyway so he is staying so i have you know many many unpleasant windshields in my future
27:24
uh but um that is some of the crap that i have to carry with me in the bag uh in order to um you know to do what i do here so uh the rest of it i don't know i mean i have some sort of neurosis about being somewhere without that i probably think i should have so i definitely need to go to a therapist and get that sorted out uh this being that 350 option the 350 buick it does have a rochester four barrel carburetor and i was tempted to flip the uh cap on
27:56
the air cleaner when we had it open there before that was something i did as a kid you flip the cap it exposes the ear cleaner element and opens up the uh the sound of the carburetor and you play like you know new york city police cruiser or something or oklahoma state trooper and uh you get this real incredible secondary sound uh from the carbs when you nail it and i absolutely love it uh because this thing's so original and metered it's well
28:29
you get a little bit of it but man would that be a big howl uh if it was the um uh whatever the hell you call it if the air cleaner was flipping the secondaries were making their noise going down the road this car is incredible absolutely incredible and when you think about some poor bastard who decided he was loyal to bonnevilles started out in the 60s with these great big 400 plus engines and 70s and you know this thing came around and
28:59
that's smaller but god does it drive nice and it's got v8 power and then all of a sudden you get in the 80s you've got this weird little front drive thing but yeah the quality feels pretty high the engine's good then you get in the 90s i mean the poor dude by the time he's retiring uh he just doesn't want to be in a bonneville anymore i mean even get into the 2000s and maybe you get some re-badged australian muscle car i mean i don't know pontiac really went haywire
29:29
uh but uh this 77 bonneville was probably the last reasonable alternative to the guys who had grown up with uh with pontiacs in the 60s you know the pete estes and john demouri and pontiac you know where they were becoming hot rods and the performance division and you know you can kind of see that in the instrument cluster in this car that they kept with it but man what a driver you know and that's why the bee bodies did so well uh when gm did away with the bee body
30:01
all the taxi guys all the police cars everything had to move fully over to ford and the panther platform but uh while the bee bodies were going they really had it over ford they really did they were better than the panther play yeah you just have to give it to him this was a nice smooth monthly riding car that uh that really did perform the way people wanted it to anyway this one's gonna be for sale at auto house naples uh on the web at autohousenaples.com you can call them at
30:31
239 263 uh i don't know if i've got any other cars on the horizon for a video over the next couple of days if something pops up maybe maybe i'll do one for peter on one of his cars or something over the other channel and uh next week i'll be heading to uh north carolina to uh check out a few cars up there so uh we'll see how it goes but i'll try to get up something anyway uh over the next few days and before i take off so anyway thank you so much for
31:03
having a look really appreciate it and we will see you with the next one take care so you

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