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1985 Pontiac Parisienne Brougham video


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Just read an interesting interview with Fred Simmons of Pontiac. He told how the dies for this cars were sent to a junk yard in Ohio and how when the new Lemans based Bonneville failed they brought back the dies to make this car. At the time they brought in the Canadian Caprice based car to fix the gaff till they could get this one back where it belonged.

This truly was one car with a bizarre history that is largely forgotten.

I remember the local Pontiac dealer down the street going through all of this back then. It really shows how screwed up Pontiac and GM was at the time. This is the kind of thinking that lead to the failure later on.

If it had not been for the bit of regained volume with the help of the Fiero, F body and the Grand Am Pontiac was targeted to go before Olds at one point. The places changed as Olds began to fail even more so after Pontiac came back for a bit.

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I appreciate that story.  This is one of the reasons I post the videos and stories I do on the website.  I would love to see that article.  That is why the 1985 -1986 Parisienne looks like the 1980-1981 Pontiac Bonneville. I had heard the 1982-1986 Pontiac Bonneville failed before. I found it hard to believe, but I guess it did.  They basically made the Pontiac Bonneville and Parisienne one car in 1987 moving forward.  The sad part is Oldsmobile did start suffering around that time frame in 1986-1987.  The books I read did say Pontiac was about to go in the 1982-1984 time frame. I heard and read Parisienne did quite well.  I think the fact they had downsized the C and H bodies  helped its cause.

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I appreciate that story.  This is one of the reasons I post the videos and stories I do on the website.  I would love to see that article.  That is why the 1985 -1986 Parisienne looks like the 1980-1981 Pontiac Bonneville. I had heard the 1982-1986 Pontiac Bonneville failed before. I found it hard to believe, but I guess it did.  They basically made the Pontiac Bonneville and Parisienne one car in 1987 moving forward.  The sad part is Oldsmobile did start suffering around that time frame in 1986-1987.  The books I read did say Pontiac was about to go in the 1982-1984 time frame. I heard and read Parisienne did quite well.  I think the fact they had downsized the C and H bodies  helped its cause.

What really happened was they took the Lemans and called it the Bonneville. They fooled no one and it failed in a big way.

Some dealers here went to Canada and brought the Caprice based Parisienne here. They sold them to supplant some of the losses. Well GM found out and started to ship them here. It helped but it was basically a rebadged Chevy. Then they retooled for 85 and put the original Bonnie body back on with some updates and fixed the issue.

This was a real cluster but GM really was not looking to save Pontiac while Pontiac was looking to save Pontiac.

To be honest I really believe they took the chance on the Fiero just because they felt it would bring people to the dealers. They knew it was a long shot for a long term model as most 2 seat cars have short runs. Just look at the MR2 and others. The key was to get people into the show rooms and sell more Firebirds and Grand Am's. Well from the Pontiac people I have spoken too they give the Fiero credit for bailing them out and selling a lot of Grand Am's.

But when Pontiac was folded over into Chevy and the Canadian division it lost most of their own engineering and their risk taking management. At that point they were just a rebadge Chevy for the most part. Still some tried with the GXP etc but GM as a whole did not understand how to use Pontiac.

I can see today they are setting Buick up as what Pontiac should have been. They will be the division to offer the special cars and the risk taking products. The global sales will take care of the volume so they can fill niches in the local markets.

I really do not think people understand just where Buick is going to go. They have laid down some really big hints with the White Space projects so we will get some of those cars we always ask why did we not get this! Most will be AWD and offer a good performance model.

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I appreciate that story.  This is one of the reasons I post the videos and stories I do on the website.  I would love to see that article.  That is why the 1985 -1986 Parisienne looks like the 1980-1981 Pontiac Bonneville. I had heard the 1982-1986 Pontiac Bonneville failed before. I found it hard to believe, but I guess it did.  They basically made the Pontiac Bonneville and Parisienne one car in 1987 moving forward.  The sad part is Oldsmobile did start suffering around that time frame in 1986-1987.  The books I read did say Pontiac was about to go in the 1982-1984 time frame. I heard and read Parisienne did quite well.  I think the fact they had downsized the C and H bodies  helped its cause.

What really happened was they took the Lemans and called it the Bonneville. They fooled no one and it failed in a big way.

Some dealers here went to Canada and brought the Caprice based Parisienne here. They sold them to supplant some of the losses. Well GM found out and started to ship them here. It helped but it was basically a rebadged Chevy. Then they retooled for 85 and put the original Bonnie body back on with some updates and fixed the issue.

This was a real cluster but GM really was not looking to save Pontiac while Pontiac was looking to save Pontiac.

To be honest I really believe they took the chance on the Fiero just because they felt it would bring people to the dealers. They knew it was a long shot for a long term model as most 2 seat cars have short runs. Just look at the MR2 and others. The key was to get people into the show rooms and sell more Firebirds and Grand Am's. Well from the Pontiac people I have spoken too they give the Fiero credit for bailing them out and selling a lot of Grand Am's.

But when Pontiac was folded over into Chevy and the Canadian division it lost most of their own engineering and their risk taking management. At that point they were just a rebadge Chevy for the most part. Still some tried with the GXP etc but GM as a whole did not understand how to use Pontiac.

I can see today they are setting Buick up as what Pontiac should have been. They will be the division to offer the special cars and the risk taking products. The global sales will take care of the volume so they can fill niches in the local markets.

I really do not think people understand just where Buick is going to go. They have laid down some really big hints with the White Space projects so we will get some of those cars we always ask why did we not get this! Most will be AWD and offer a good performance model.

 

 

 

 

They were still calling the G Body Bonneville  Grand LeMans in Canada until the Parisienne thing around 1983. We were calling it Bonneville here. 

 

 

I saw photos of it:

 

http://oldcarbrochures.org/NA/Pontiac/1983-Pontiac/1983-Pontiac-Grand-LeMans-Brochure-Cdn

 

 

 

I do recall the early Parisiennes as they had the Chevrolet Impala tail lamps with a different design.  It was basically a Chevrolet Caprice.  It came in two door form too. 

 

http://oldcarbrochures.org/NA/Pontiac/1983-Pontiac/1983-Pontiac-Parisienne-Brochure-Cdn/1983-Pontiac-Parisienne-Cdn--02-03

 

 

I did not know the dealers were bringing the cars in from Canada. GM followed the dealers lead.  I heard that this "fuel crisis"  that was supposed to happen is why Bonneville got smaller and and Pontiac became GM's small car brand.  That clearly did not work out that way.  Grand Prix did not offer a V8 for a year or so during the early 80's  as well.

 

That 1985-1986 Parisienne was a seller!   I liked the looks of it too.  It is so 1980-1981 Bonneville except for the Caprice front end and instrumentation cluster.

 

Pontiac like Oldsmobile and the other GM brands were victims of the great GM organization of 1984.  It was CPC (Chevrolet Pontiac Canada Group)  and BOC( Buick Oldsmobile Cadillac Group) groups.

 

CPC was responsible for small and midsized  cars and BOC  was responsible for large and luxury cars. This is when they lost identity and ability to control what the brands made. 

 

A disaster indeed.

 

 

1985 Grand Am was a hit!   They had predicted the Oldsmobile Calais was going to be the big seller of the N Bodies. It was Pontiac Grand Am.

 

You make some very strong points that are true.

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I always wondered why Pontiac went the with the Bonneville badged midsize for '82, when the other GM divisions kept their B-bodies.   Were the sales of the '80-81 Bonneville and Catalina really, really, bad?   

 

I've seen a couple of the late Canadian spec models years ago, an '80 Bonneville, an '80 Laurentian, and a '77 and 81 Chevy Bel Air...

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I always wondered why Pontiac went the with the Bonneville badged midsize for '82, when the other GM divisions kept their B-bodies.   Were the sales of the '80-81 Bonneville and Catalina really, really, bad?   

 

I've seen a couple of the late Canadian spec models years ago, an '80 Bonneville, an '80 Laurentian, and a '77 and 81 Chevy Bel Air...

 

 

I wondered that to until I learned GM decided that Pontiac was going to be the small car division under that reorganization plan.  It made no sense when you look back.  I know Pontiac sales as whole were bad in 1980 and or 1981. That is why GM was considering dropping Pontiac in the early 1980's.

 

1981 Pontiac Parisienne:

 

http://www.productioncars.com/gallery.php?car=17078&make=Pontiac&model=Parisienne

 

http://www.cyber-wizard.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Canadian_1981_Pontiac_Brochure_0012-0013.jpg

 

Same car we were calling Bonneville.

 

GM Canada did not drop their large car.  They did not want to. Pontiac in the United States did.   That is how they ended up with the Chevrolet Caprice clone.

 

You know the  front wheel drive 1987 H Body Bonneville was late to the design program. That is why there was no coupe unlike the Oldsmobile and Buick versions.

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You have to remember in this era GM was killing anything large. Nothing was sacred and it all was targeted.

The Fuel Mileage thing got them scared. They got burned in the 70's and someone at GM decided they were not going to get burned again.

GM's plan was to go all V6 and FWD accept for the Corvette. This is why we got all the small and crappy cars we did of the era. Even the V8 was expected to be gone from the Corvette and they were playing with other engines and combinations. There is a Citation yet in private hands today that had two 2.8 V6 engines one in front and one in back as a test mule for the Corvette to test twin engines for more power. Cadillac got the 8-6-4 and it was just looking pretty bleak.

Pontiac was not so much targeted as a small car division but all of GM was to become a company that made smaller more efficient cars.

I think the Lemans to Bonneville ploy was mostly to save money and avoid FWD till the later model arrived on the H body.

Keep in mind in this era the F body was set to be replaced with the GM-80 platform that was a V6 FWS/AWD that later was canceled when Ford canceled the Probe as the new Mustang.

We have to remember Pontiac dropped the 400 V8 in 1979 and that pissed a lot of Pontiac fans off. The division they knew had lost the soul of what made them Pontiac. The outcry at the time was worse than when they killed the division. The Turbo 301 was a dud and until we got the 3rd gen bird we were getting pretty worried. The new Bird and Fiero sparked some pride and excitement with a new customer base and helped the other cars like the Grand Am and others.

The other thing that helped Pontiac was that Olds really lost their way. They had the Cutlass Supreme that was one of the best selling cars of all time. Someone there got the wise idea that if yo names everything Cutlass it would sell. Well we know that did not work. The 88 was another strong seller that was reduced to a H body that few likes. In the end cars like the Aurora were just too late. Many of these people I think helped prop up Pontiac in the coming decade.

This era was an era of chaos pure and simple. From this point on GM really was a major jumbled mess as the slow decline just accelerated with increased competition and continued failed management. The Bad Culture just completely collapsed in on its self.

Even back them Chevy prevented Pontiac from having the tools they needed. Cars like the GP 2+2 even in limited numbers were not given the 305 HO engines like the Monte SS. Pontiac paid Chevy back later when they did not give Chevy 3800 SC Gen III for the Monte Csrlo.

As for dealers bring cars from Canada. It became something they did in the 80's. I own a Fiero from Canada as there was a truck strike in 85 and they drove 50 Fiero's from Toronto to Ohio for sale. My car has a rare metric dash. They did change the speedo but oil and temp are metric.

I had a dealer nearby that used to be Kanafel Pontiac the old home of the Tin Indian GTO race cars. It was called Pace and they brought these larger cars in with a couple other dealers and sold them quetly till GM made some changes. They were taking a hit and were not going to stand there not doing something about it.

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Great history lessons here guys!  I knew about the G-Body Bonneville's failure, but I learned a whole bunch more!  Cheers! This is what this site is about!


... and that dealer has a LOT of big '80s GM metal that I appreciate.... I might have to look him up next time I'm in Miami. 

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There is a lot of unknown history at GM that just never got out. Being a historian on the Fiero I can tell you a lot of what went on that was never reported. The Fiero was a crazy deal where up till today many will not speak in public about it and only to you in hushed tones for fear of retaliation from GM. Yes things were that tense there.

I got the story right from the people on the program and even have been invited to their homes to talk about it. The fighting that went on and even some of the actions taken by some that I even witnessed was amazing.

There was book put out about the Fiero years ago with GM's blessing but it told the story as GM wanted it. All the good stuff was left out of the book and today there are so mis information deals floating around on what all happened or went on.

This is how I found out how bad off Pontiac was.

Things you seldom hear about is are the

GM 80 program.

The 4th gen F body is really using the styling from the 1990 Fiero.

They were testing plastic wheels for the Fiero. I know where a set are and I have an agreement if the owner wants to sell them he will call me first. It is the only known set left with a few singles floating around.

The bad blood between Pontiac, GM and the UAW was on a scale you could not believe.

Pontiac has worked to install a IRS C4 suspension to the 4th gen but was never permitted to use it. The mounting structure was put in the car so if they got the go ahead they could add it to the car and put in the mounting points.

The Fiero program was canceled several times and farmed out to an Company called Entech Engineering to keep it alive and hidden.

The DOHC V6 FIero was faster than the Corvette. The 2.9 Turbo was even faster. There was one V8 built and tested at Mesa.

Aluminum Space frames were made and tested to cut weight from the 2600 pounds.

Many engineers left from the Delorean Era were still at Pontiac in the 80's and still tried to make cars that mattered. The Fiero the GTA TA and Turbo 3.8 Pace car were some of their attempts to make Pontiac count under the management that did not care.

I read the paperwork from the meeting that killed the Fiero and it had no chance when they walked into the room.

The Fiero was claimed falsely by some that Lotus did the suspension on the 88 model The truth is it was done in house per Tom Goad Pontiac engineer and SCCA champ. He was proud of it. But they did bring in Porsche engineering to tune the front suspension for turn in and feel. You can be sure the Corvette people were not pleased about that when Porsche was tearing down C4 models to find how to beat them in SCCA show room stock.

Digging for Fiero history has taught me lots about this era and how things really just were falling apart. Many who like the later Pontiac era look back and think things were good but in truth the end had already started at this time.

A good case study on how Pontiac tried to still matter was the STE AWD. Chevy never could have done it but Pontiac still had engineers that wanted to make a difference. Even the v6 in my Fiero uses the same heads and Cam from the GM performance catalog because they wanted more HP than what Chevy offered. My V6 used different cam, intake and bigger valve heads and even its own fuel injection system.

Pontiac was at its best when it broke rules and it is too bad they seldom got away with it. The 64 GTO was one of the best cases but too many times they were stopped. How many know the GTO was set to get 4 wheel disc brakes, Radial tires, composite headlamps and DOHC in the 60's before Delorean was stopped in 65-66.

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I appreciate all the comments and knowledge in this thread. This is why I post those videos I do. I like to see the conversations that happen like this.  It enlightens people. What you said about Oldsmobile Hyper is true about the Cutlass everything and the downsized Eighty Eight , Ninety Eight, and Toronado. The 1990-1992 Toronado fixed the problems, but that is what Toronado should have looked like in 1986.  What you said about Aurora is true.  Oldsmobile was begging GM to let it change and move forward and do what it needed to do. GM said no because Oldsmobile was still selling about 700,000 a year around 1987. It was selling a million a year from the early 1980's up until 1985 or so. Aurora arrived, but it was too late like you said. Pontiac did what they did with the side cladding and more in the 1980's to stand out from the other GM brands. It worked.  

 

I never understood why Buick Regal was the only W Body to have the 3800 V6 until 1997. I know Pontiac wanted to use the 3.8 Liter V6 in 6000 STE, but the Pontiac general manager at the time said no.   Oldsmobile was using it on the Ciera GT.

 

I remember the great fuel crisis that never happened and that is why they were killing everything large.  That is why we got the downsized C and H and E Bodies of 85 and 86.  That was a disaster. They were working on those cars in 1978-1979. There is proof in the 1986 Oldsmobile Toronado video under the Oldsmobile thread.

 

I heard the government went to GM and asked GM to lead the way in downsizing and for fuel economy and that is why those cars were downsized.

 

Do you know the E Bodies were huge sellers and bread winners?  When they downsized them, it hurt GM bad.  That is why GM went suv heavy.  The funny thing is Cadillac is short on crossovers and suvs now.

 

GM management was a huge part of the problem. It is also short sighted vision too.

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For me being around then and a strapping young GM fan, the "hybrid" Parisienne with the Caprice front half and Bonneville rear was an affront to my cherished Pontiac brand.  It was one of the things, along with sharing of engines, that led me to predict to myself at around age 21 that GM would someday consist of only Chevrolet and Cadillac in the U.S.

 

Sure, they're still number one here at home, but they are not the grand "car for every pocketbook" all-encompassing company they were up to the point right before the disastrous X-cars arrived in the spring of 1979.

 

The 1977 B, C, D, 1978 A, A-special, and 1979 E bodies were all successfully downsized up to that point.  The FWD X-cars signaled GM's slow, ponderous "collapse" as a supreme automotive force from that time forward to the bankruptcy, at least on the product side of things.

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For me being around then and a strapping young GM fan, the "hybrid" Parisienne with the Caprice front half and Bonneville rear was an affront to my cherished Pontiac brand.  It was one of the things, along with sharing of engines, that led me to predict to myself at around age 21 that GM would someday consist of only Chevrolet and Cadillac in the U.S.

 

Sure, they're still number one here at home, but they are not the grand "car for every pocketbook" all-encompassing company they were up to the point right before the disastrous X-cars arrived in the spring of 1979.

 

The 1977 B, C, D, 1978 A, A-special, and 1979 E bodies were all successfully downsized up to that point.  The FWD X-cars signaled GM's slow, ponderous "collapse" as a supreme automotive force from that time forward to the bankruptcy, at least on the product side of things.

 

 

You make some strong arguments because if you look back at recent Pontiacs , they have for the most part  have been Chevrolets.  At least Pontiac got the Holden Commodore before Chevrolet did.  Funny thing about the Holdens... Oldsmobile had worked with them in the 1960's.  That is why the original Monaro looks like a 1966 Toronado. Someone who worked on Toronado worked on the Holdens.  Then years later when John Rock was trying to revive Oldsmobile he wanted to import Holdens as Oldsmobiles as a part of the revival plan.  GM shot him down.  Then Holdens landed here as Pontiacs( Monaro and Commodore) and then as Chevrolets.  That statement you made about GM consisting Chevrolet and Cadillac almost happened. In a way it has. I do recall in the past that when you saw Pontiacs, they proudly put that "400" emblem on the front fenders.

The last unique Pontiacs were the G6 and Solstice.  Pontiac did get messed over in the end now I sit here and think on it..

 

Pontiac Torrent became GMC Terrain.  It was basically a Chevrolet Equinox.  Pontiac G8 was a Holden Commodore.  G5 was a Chevrolet Cobalt.  Vibe was a Toyota Matrix.  G3 was an Chevrolet Aveo.

 

You have made a strong point Ocnblu......

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I think the G6 (should have been a Grand Am, the G6 name was another attack on Pontiac, imo) had as strong a Pontiac identity as was possible at that point on a shared platform.  It certainly had a unique look, and it was built on the longer Epsilon wheelbase.  It came as a coupe and convertible, in addition to the sedan.  If only Pontiac had the chance to show us what they could have done with the Alpha platform... I know there were big plans for Pontiac on Alpha... and the Solstice was a gorgeous car, especially the hardtop coupe.  I would love to have a GXP manual coupe.

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I think the G6 (should have been a Grand Am, the G6 name was another attack on Pontiac, imo) had as strong a Pontiac identity as was possible at that point on a shared platform.  It certainly had a unique look, and it was built on the longer Epsilon wheelbase.  It came as a coupe and convertible, in addition to the sedan.  If only Pontiac had the chance to show us what they could have done with the Alpha platform... I know there were big plans for Pontiac on Alpha... and the Solstice was a gorgeous car, especially the hardtop coupe.  I would love to have a GXP manual coupe.

I thought that G6 should have been called Grand Am and G8  Grand Prix. I am glad I am not the only one.  I found that 1966 Holden commercial with Oldsmobile in the ad.

 

http://aso.gov.au/titles/ads/holdens-number-one/clip1/

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The First down size worked. These were great full size and mid sized cars that we still often see on the road today.

GM in the 80 went too far trying to make changes for something that never happened. It is like Global warming. What if like often Man is wrong and we crash all our MFG that we have left to find we are wrong again. But that is an argument for an other day.

GM realigned divisions several times and it just never worked. There was still infighting over who got what engines and who got the priority on a platform.

Then we brought in the marketing people outside the automotive fields and just crashed the whole thing.

98 The Toro you speak of was part of the big emergency fix where they took the cut down cars and tried to add more nose and tail to them to give them better appeal. It helped but these cars were already damaged. Cadillac and Buick did the same fixes as Olds and while they were better than the smaller cars they never measured up to the full size cars they replaces. GM lost many peoples interest.

As for Chevy and Pontiac. They were fraternal twins their entire lives. Chevy was the conservative one that presented value where Pontiac was the one who liked to party without the blessing of the parent GM.

Even back to the Oakland days they has some sharing going on.

The GTO was just an A body Chevelle under the skin but the engine and engineering changes are what made it a Pontiac with the styling. Same for the First F body as Delorean drug his feet on the F body so long [he wanted a 2 seat version} that they had little they could do to the sheet metal. But they did a good job hiding it with the nose bumper on the same Camaro fenders. The car sat lower by one inch for better handling. Different tire sizes and even two torque arms to keep the real single leafs from rolling up and wheel hopping on the Manual and single arm on the automatics.

Pontiac was the division that drew many engineers to it and Delorean let them play. Some of their tricks made it like Herb Adams Trans Am but many more never made it especially after John left. But that defiant spirit would rise up time to time like the SD TA, The Bandit Black and Gold TA [Nice story how Schinella sold this car to Mitchell because he hated the large bird. Well John painted it the John Player Black and Gold Mitchells Triumph was painted. Well he Liked it much better then} The Fiero and Turbo 3.8 TA were the last of the real Delorean renegade engineers projects.

I generally accept nearly all Pontiacs as Pontiac accept for the Torrent, the minivans and the G3.

In the late days Pontiac was pretty much a division with little performance outside the G8 and Solstice. The Lordstown plant even took it upon themselves to build a G4 Turbo. It was a G4 with all the Cobalt SS parts to make it a Turbo version. I saw the car and it was great. But GM was not interested as they were killing the brand and they knew it. The car was running parts at the plant and was expected to be crushed.

Lutz I feel could have saved GM and Pontiac if he had gotten there 10-15 years sooner but he was just way too late and there just was no money to do it. At least he fixed some key things that are continuing to make GM a better company today. The repair to the culture is the big key. He called it out after decades of insiders looking the other way. Lutz identified people who

would continue this work and they at today with the likes of Mark. Mary and others.

GM will be ok in the long run. They just need time to find the place for the three remaining car divisions and continue to grow GMC into things it can be away from Chevy. The globalization I think will transform Buick into a really neat place but we have yet to see much about the future yet. Smaller volumes, higher profits and more unique cars should really make them into something special like Pontiac had tried to be.

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I think the G6 (should have been a Grand Am, the G6 name was another attack on Pontiac, imo) had as strong a Pontiac identity as was possible at that point on a shared platform.  It certainly had a unique look, and it was built on the longer Epsilon wheelbase.  It came as a coupe and convertible, in addition to the sedan.  If only Pontiac had the chance to show us what they could have done with the Alpha platform... I know there were big plans for Pontiac on Alpha... and the Solstice was a gorgeous car, especially the hardtop coupe.  I would love to have a GXP manual coupe.

The name on the G6 would have done little to save it. The car was the first of that Gen and it did not get the extra development the Saturn and Malibu versions got. Pontiac wasted too much time on silly things like the blind like sun roof and did not address performance. That car should have gotten a LNF turbo but never did.

The issue was it was a performance car in name and nothing else. Much of Pontiac was becoming this.

The Solstice was sweet but the lack of money showed in development and it had it's run as most 2 seat sports car have a 5-10 year run at best and then volume drops. There was no plan to replace it and it was nearly dead at the end even with the coupe just arriving.

I agree I would have loved to see what Pontiac could have done with the Alpha but even with that said I would have liked to see what they could have done with the cars they had if GM had just left them alone. We got the watered down models and never really saw what they could have done.

I get the name arguments as it is an emotional issue for some but the trouble here was so much deeper a name was not going to save the products. We saw that already at Olds with the Cutlass name. I see it today with those arguing about Cadillacs number letter deal. Names are nice but it is all about the product. You make a Compelling car you can name it a Pagnani Huayra and people will hang posters up of it. Names are just frosting the cake is the car itself. A name no matter how good can not save a car that falls short. A name can enhance it at best but not save it.

When you build a car you can appeal to the emotions but you really need to address the Soul and Deire of the customer. When they see the car they need to feel it. That is how I feel when I see a Ferrari 250 Lusso or even the new C7 I feel it and the name means little to me.

It is kind of like a beautiful woman. You see here the first time you are not exactly thinking Hmm what is her name. That is what sells cars or gains their desire. This is what Cadillac needs to work on right now. The Elmirge brought that out and they need to find it in all their models.

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Powerful read Hyper.  There is passion for the old brands and the names on products.  I own a 1992 Oldsmobile Toronado a long with a 1995 Oldsmobile Ninety Eight.  The up sizing did address many issues.  You are right the 1985-1986 downsizing went way too far for the fuel crisis that did not happen.  I know the Chevrolet Pontiac ties are more evident in Canada than they were in the United States.  I have no issue with the 1985-1986 Pontiac Parisienne. It looks like a 1980-1981 Pontiac Bonneville except for the front end sheet metal.  You are correct the 77 -78 downsizing was quite successful. It did what it was supposed to do. They were all hits across every line. I read that in a book.

 

I read about the infighting and how marketing was out of touch with the brands. I read about how they tried to give each brand an image. It never worked like you said.

 

Lutz came in trying to fix Pontiac and GM.  The first thing he tried to fix was the front end styling on the 2000's( last Grand Prix). He fought to bring Holden to the United States as Pontiac ( GTO).  He said if he had time Pontiac and Oldsmobile would have lived.  They would have been boutique brands.

 

I do miss cars like Pontiac Bonneville.  The thing that made no sense at the end is why Bonneville and Grand Prix  became so close in size and features. I think that hurt them too.

 

You are right on the Cadillac El Miraj thing. That car and the CIel and Sixteen captured Cadillac.  It has not translated to the cars yet. The upcoming CT6 does not have that "it " factor.

 

GM has all that right heritage and history and does not know how to use it. 

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Well there is power in the names with the diehard enthusiast. You get outside the normal enthusiast circles and it becomes more the flavor of the day thinking. People buy cars more today on utility, looks and colors at times. Only a couple cars really hold power with a name. Models like Civic, Camry and Corvette still resonate but many who remember the old names just don't work well in all age groups. Most were too young to remember GM making a good car so the names like Fleetwood remind them of an large bloated Caprice based car not the real Fleetwood you years gone by.

I will not say names are not totally important as in some cases they still work but too often it really does not patter as if you look at some of the names today of the best sellers you can see the name had nothing to do with the sale.

Lutz came in and had to fix the GP as the original nose was more Aztek like and he refused to approve it. They did a fast fix to keep the car on time for release. The Lacrosse was so bad they killed it and redid the entire car. They had to use the same hard points but you never saw the mess they wanted. I did catch a glimps once of the GP and it was good they killed its changes.

The GTO was a Hail Mary. I think Lutz knew then Pontiac was dead division walking but he did what he could. Too much damage was done there that he could not outdo.

The only one so far is the Elmirage as it is the newest and the one closest do being production like. The other two are aging and were never production ready even in the closest way. The Elmiraj also has an issue as there is no platform that can supply the wheel base it needs. They were looking for a solution the last I was told and have not heard they found it.

The CT6 is not a Johann car. It is just a cleaned up continuation Mark saw through to production. It is a good car but it is still not a product of the present management. At this point we have yet to see anything of their own creation and that is why there is a delay in new products as they are making their own changes. I expect the CT8 to set the new path in a couple years as the rest will get updates and replacement in due time.

The CT6 is a good car but I expect they want a greater change in styling from the present A&S line.

From what I have seen I would watch for a showcase model in production that will be a sedan convertible. Large and elegant open sedan touring car that Cadillac was once known for and something no one else will do today. Johann has dreams of a car like this. Not sure how easy it would be to do but that is the halo car type he is looking for. He does not want to do a sports caras the first halo car or the like. If he does not do a sedan convertible I would expect something on the lines of another hallmark Cadillac of the past.

GM has the right heritage but much of it was so long ago few people living were alive to see it. Few even read about it or know it. GM has not been relevant to the no GM fan for way to long to expect some to remember some of the cars they built.

I have seen it first hand at some car shows where some of their great cars are on hand and people say I never knew?

GM for sure has history but when you have not done much relevant for so long and even what you did will not always translate well to today. Even the GN was a high point but it does not fit the Buick of today. Grand Narional was based on them in the NASCAR series. Well they are not in NASCAR and the series is not even known as Grand National for so long even some NASCAR fans do not know what it means. Also Buick going global has a hard time using the past as so few know any of their products from the last 60 years.

To use history you have to keep it timely.

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By the way my boss used to have the ultimate 77 Bonnie. Jade green with a green landau roof. Cadillac hubcaps on it in a two door. That car also had a real Pontiac 400 in it and it was just a sweet looking car for the time.

The Canadian Pontiac deal was crazy as Pontiac really was not a division in Canada till the early 70's. Many of their models were Chevys with the added Pontiac touches or they were Pontiac cars with Chevy chassis and engines under them. Note they did not get the wide track Pontiac chassis. They normally got the Chevy chassis under a Pontiac body and the wheels set in farther.

The later cars like a 70 Cat would have a 396 under the hood. Their Pontiac cars were real mutants. I see them here from time to time just being on the other side of the lakes from them. I sent time with a couple of guys at the Pontiac National with a Nova based Acadian. It was a Nova SS but with the Pontiac parts to make it a Canadian Pontiac. Try to find NOS dog dish caps for this one LOL!

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Hyper: Very good read in the previous two threads. You backed up stories I told.  I really enjoyed your explanation of CT6. It confirms what I was thinking too. Something about it is not right. It is around the C pillar and that window design. It is missing something.  It is serving a purpose. You made a strong point about history and heritage.  A lot of us here know the history and heritage and names, but most buyers out there do not know unless they attend a car show or hear it from someone who knows.

 

I read and know about the true "Canadian Pontiacs".  I have read about them in great detail. I know about Grande' Parisienne and the others with Chevrolet parts and they were not wide track and different from American Pontiacs in so many ways. It was not until the 70's it changed as you said. It is a fascinating read. I read it in two different books.

 

Bob Lutz did what he could. He tried. I can only imagine what he could have done.

 

I saw how bad that La Crosse was somewhere. It was supposed to be called "Regal", but it became LaCrosse and LaCrosse lives today.  The new one coming out has some of those styling cues from the first generation to me.

 

It has been informative too.  What is weird when I saw the 2000-2005 Pontiac Bonneville I said to myself this is going to be the last Bonneville.  It was.   I liked that body style because in some ways  it reminded me of a modern 1981 -1981 Pontiac Bonneville.  The only weak point was the interior. So much potential there.

 

The one thing I can say about Pontiac that it lost before it died was all the earlier Pontiacs had very strong grille design. It was very 3 dimensional. You saw it, you knew.

 

This has been great conversation.

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Hyper: Very good read in the previous two threads. You backed up stories I told.  I really enjoyed your explanation of CT6. It confirms what I was thinking too. Something about it is not right. It is around the C pillar and that window design. It is missing something.  It is serving a purpose. You made a strong point about history and heritage.  A lot of us here know the history and heritage and names, but most buyers out there do not know unless they attend a car show or hear it from someone who knows.

 

I read and know about the true "Canadian Pontiacs".  I have read about them in great detail. I know about Grande' Parisienne and the others with Chevrolet parts and they were not wide track and different from American Pontiacs in so many ways. It was not until the 70's it changed as you said. It is a fascinating read. I read it in two different books.

 

Bob Lutz did what he could. He tried. I can only imagine what he could have done.

 

I saw how bad that La Crosse was somewhere. It was supposed to be called "Regal", but it became LaCrosse and LaCrosse lives today.  The new one coming out has some of those styling cues from the first generation to me.

 

It has been informative too.  What is weird when I saw the 2000-2005 Pontiac Bonneville I said to myself this is going to be the last Bonneville.  It was.   I liked that body style because in some ways  it reminded me of a modern 1981 -1981 Pontiac Bonneville.  The only weak point was the interior. So much potential there.

 

The one thing I can say about Pontiac that it lost before it died was all the earlier Pontiacs had very strong grille design. It was very 3 dimensional. You saw it, you knew.

 

This has been great conversation.

I was just glad I could share. I have just been lucky to be in the right place at the right time and meet the right people to learn some things internally about GM they do not advertise.

That has been the frustrating thing about the web as so many have no idea how bad the internal Culture was damaged. Be it the bail out, Be it the killing of Pontiac or even the air bag issues. Many people are like how could this happen and no one at the top know. Well communication was either not given or in too many cases not permitted to up the chain. Many things over the years were covered over as many people figured they would be gone from GM by the time it came to light.

Anyways from what I have seen and heard things are much better now. There is still work to do as it takes time to fix decades of issues that have been in play. In the end I expect GM to be a major player in the future.

To be honest the bail out may have just saved GM as if things had continued as they were this whole thing would have collapsed in to a point a bail out would never have fixed them. If they were left to do this on their own much of the change would never have happened and they would have just withered away or parted out.

Look at FCM and their struggles today. Parts of them are doing well and other parts are struggling greatly due to poor management. They need volume and cash but yet pump money into Alfa vs. Chrysler where the Volume lies.

I expect if there are any economic issues in Europe it may take FCM down if they do not get to Chrysler and fund them for the new product they really need. And I do not mean rebodied Fiats.

Thanks for the conversation.

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I heard the culture and infighting was really bad.  I heard tibits that go back decades like certain brands did not want or allow other brands to walk in their factories and the like.  I personally think if they were building certain car lines in certain factories that belonged to other brands, what did they think was going to happen? 

 

The interesting thing was when they were semi independent brands for decades, they were the most successful.   I guess it all comes back to the management and leadership....

 

I hope you will have more to share in the future. I hope they can continue on the right path and lead in the future.  I thought they were going to be parted out.  That was really scary as things went down in 2009.

You know they still hold the rights to the names, models, designs for Pontiac and Oldsmobile?  They even put it on those sites too.

 

They have been using Jeep and Chrysler to fund the rest of the company. That seems short sighted....

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Well every division started out pretty much a independent company and was brought into GM. Most had their own engineering, sales, marketing, purchasing and mfg. That was ok long ago but it also created issues.

GM ended up with a lot of inefficient purchasing as one bearing MFG loved GM so much as he sold them the same bearing under 5 different part numbers and at 5 different prices. Not efficient by any means.

Also the infighting between divisions did not compliment the company and did more damage than Ford, Chrysler, Honda and Toyota ever did. The strong like Cadillac and Chevy had most the say and the rest fought based on their volumes.

Also internally you were expected to act a specific way, work a specific way and even dress a specific way. That again worked in the Sloan era but later on it did more damage than good. The staff was never permitted to speak up the line of management only could what they could do could come down from the top unless someone broke protocol. This is how things like the ignition issue could happen and no one upstairs know. Then add in those below that were pressured to meet numbers and if they made a change it could put them in trouble today while a cheap part failure would mean little 4 years from now when they moved on.

Lutz had a look at the last W body impala and asked the designer would it not look better with chrome around the windows. He said yes but it would put him over budget. Lutz said would it be better to get in trouble for a car that sold better a little over budget than one that was in budget that lost money due to poor sales? He told the guy do what is right and not worry about the number if it will sell more cars.

These are the things that are and have been changing inside GM. GM has some of the best engineers and designers and they are just now getting to show what they can do when permitted to do all they can. That is why cars like the Malibu are losing 300 pounds but are stiffer etc.

Sure things looked bleak in 08-09 but this was really a good thing. GM needed a come to Jesus moment and this is what they had. They faced their mortality and finally learned from it. I also believe the ignition thing was more a benefit than loss. Why? Well because it pointed out much of what was wrong with GM yet and it gave Mary Barra what she needed to clean that house. There were still some old school people fighting the changes but they were pretty much silenced with the ignition deal. I saw many changes come from it. Today I know GM is a much better company for it and much less likely to face a similar issue in the future. This is a good thing while Ford and FCA are both facing many issues yet.

I would not hold my breath for Olds or Pontiac in the near future as we still have billions of dollars to spend making what we have now right. Now that is not to say GM ever throws anything out. Many things do tend to come around from time to time. Case in point the Fiero name was nothing new. It was used on a Firebird show car in 1968. Same on many other things.

Also there is a lot of money in the Olds, Pontiac name in licensing and the simple fact you want to protect your history. Keeping the names registered you control them on how they are used. Also you do not want some nut job coming out with some odd ball car made in Mongolia called a Pontiac if you let the rights laps.

The way things are now GM is in good shape. They have the Chevy line in good order now. The Cadillac line is a little behind because GM did not give them power till about a year and a half ago to make their own way. Buick is doing ok due to China and now it may be the brand that will do the best globally with Opel and Holden. They took three weak divisions and found a way to make them relevant in lower numbers and special models. If it works great if not they had little to lose as China has been supporting the brand for a while.

GMC is also expendable to be creative with. The Denali game is pure profits and if they could give them some special products there is more money to be made.

Too few people understand where GM was or even yet where they are going. You have to look a the big picture of the Global market, the new products, the coming regulations and the time and spending it takes to make the changes. Add these all up and they are in pretty good shape compared to many today. Getting the debt off is a major advantage. Ford is still sitting on a big loan and FCA is no where at the volume they need to fix their issues.

In the auto market today we have not see the last of MFG deaths. We will see some more at some point or at least mergers because they need the help.

As long as GM pumps money into new products and technology they should be ok. If they make cuts there they are in trouble. Even today Ford came to them to partner on a Tranny. GM did most of the work and Ford paid for most of it. Funny to see a new Aluminum F150 coming from the GM Warren proving ground before it was released.

Look for Honda and GM to partner up on many things. They compliment each other well and Honda needs help to remain independent.

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