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1977 and 1979 Pontiac Grand Prix Commercial


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Thanks for posting, Ninety Eight.  Those commercials were duds, as were many from that era.

As for the '77, I thought the '76 was a nicer looking car.  The amber light in between the headlamps up front and the medallion on the rear lamps told me they weren't thinking clearly.  The one interesting thing to note is that it brought in the 4.9 (301) V8 as the base engine, dropping down from a base 350 V8.  If the car was a little trimmer and without the sharp fender tops, it could have given the Cutlass Supreme of the same years a run for its money.  However, in marketing lingo, that would have been "cannabalization" if composite sales of these coupes did not grow overall.

The '79 was the best looking of the quadruplets on the new platform.  The dashboard was the winner, too.  But, when they got cleaned up a little in '81, the Cutlass Supreme was again at the top of the heap, even though the Grand Prix improved a lot, too.  In "hip" markets, I didn't see many of them on the road.  People were already buying foreign iron.

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Sad that we were in the oil embargo years of sucky cars.

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I loved the '73-'77 A- and A-Special GMs.  As for the '77 Grand Prix, I felt it was the best of that run of years for the model, although the original '73 was hard to beat.  When the '78 Grand Prix first came out, it was like all the style had been shaved off the car, and what was left was a box.  But since then, I have come to appreciate the '78-'80 Grand Prix, gutless as they were.  A two-tone green tin top '79 with green velour buckets and a 4-barrel 301 would be the epitome of style for me if I could find one.

1979GrandPrixSM.jpg

s-l300.jpg

The two-tone really sets off the classic coke bottle shape.  I just think it's a great looking car.

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I liked the look of the '78-80 GP a lot, best looking of the midsize GM downsized PLCs I think...the Monte Carlo was the worst looking.  One thing that hurt the styling of most of them IMO were the two headlight setups--two big square lights look cheap compared to 4 smaller rectangular lights, which the GP was the only one with for 78-79 ..the other coupes got them in '80...

The two headlight setup problem goes further back, to '73 when all the redesigned A- and A-specials were stuck with them...just looked cheap compared to 4 lights...probably a cost-cutting decision made by the bean counters? 

Edited by Robert Hall
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The 1978 models, all of the GM intermediates, definitely were a shock to the system at first.  I was 14 that year, and car crazy.  I felt the Monte Carlo looked Opel-ish with that single headlight front end, and I liked it.  I liked all of them best without landau vinyl tops, they looked like heavy plops on the slimmer bodies, the tin tops looked cleaner.  The Grand Prix in the photo I posted looks good with the vinyl top because the color blends with the body, imo.

 

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21 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

I liked the look of the '78-80 GP a lot, best looking of the midsize GM downsized PLCs I think...the Monte Carlo was the worst looking.  One thing that hurt the styling of most of them IMO were the two headlight setups--two big square lights look cheap compared to 4 smaller rectangular lights, which the GP was the only one with for 78-79 ..the other coupes got them in '80...

I am glad to finally see someone sees what I have said for years about so many cars. It was not just those that had that issue, I could name so many cars that should have had a quad ( four) headlights and ended up with one headlight on each side of the grille. It made the cars look cheap.  I could name so many from the 1980's, 1990's and now. GMC fixed the Acadia recently. The Enclave and Traverse have that cheap one headlight look. It takes away from the vehicle. It looked bad on the trucks until their recent redesign. I could name so many GM and Ford products that have done this. It looked bad on the Roadmaster and Caprice in the 1990's. The Cadillacs looked bad with the one headlights too. XTS was one of the worst. 

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The dual vs quad light treatment went out in the late 80s for the most part when they switched to the plastic composite lighting... so many GMs had those big bland rectangular composites--the worst looking might have been the '90-92 Cadillac Brougham.   I do like the mini-oval rectangular lights (not sure what they were called) that some models got, like the early 4th gen Camaros and some years of the Grand Prix and Cutlass Supreme in the 90s. 

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2 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

The dual vs quad light treatment went out in the late 80s for the most part when they switched to the plastic composite lighting... so many GMs had those big bland rectangular composites--the worst looking might have been the '90-92 Cadillac Brougham.   I do like the mini-oval rectangular lights (not sure what they were called) that some models got, like the early 4th gen Camaros and some years of the Grand Prix and Cutlass Supreme in the 90s. 

In agreement.  I did not mind the switch to composite headlamps in the late 1980's ( 1987), but it was still two headlights on each side of the grille.  I am agreement about the Cadillac Brougham headlights. Ford did it too in the 1980's and 1990's. I was so glad when Lincoln switched Town Car in 2003 and Mark VIII in 1993.  Fleetwood was the only one to have quad headlights out of the Caprice and Roadmaster.  The last Buick LaCrosse had the one headlight on each side of the grille look. It did not look right on the front end. 

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I've never counted the bulbs behind the composite lights, but some did have two and some had four.  But now as old cars they are usually discolored and hazy. 

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4 minutes ago, Robert Hall said:

I've never counted the bulbs behind the composite lights, but some did have two and some had four.  But now as old cars they are usually discolored and hazy. 

I counted the bulbs and you could see when it was only one on each side of the grille. It just made for a cheap low end look. You are correct about the composites that were not glass. They haze and become discolored. 

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But in that period, the old glass rectangulars, even as quads, were passe'.
I did not care for the Brougham going with the composites either, mostly because they just looked like giant rectangles vs, molded, but this was where the industry was moving.
Lincoln pioneered production composites in the US, even tho GM showed numerous concepts with them in the '60s ('Euro' lights).

Screen Shot 2020-03-07 at 9.32.44 AM.png

Edited by balthazar
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4 hours ago, ocnblu said:

1979GrandPrixSM.jpg

s-l300.jpg

The two-tone really sets off the classic coke bottle shape.  I just think it's a great looking car.

I grew to like it.  Two tones were a bit much for me.  I believe they even ran with a 4.3 Pontiac version of the small V8, starting in 1979.  The winners on the car were the dash and console set up, the prevalence of bucket seats, and their alloy wheel options.

I still think that the 1981+ looked even better.  In fact, it could hold its own without a vinyl roof, owing to the slimmer opera window behind the frameless glass door.  I did get to rent some mid-'80s GPs and liked them.  True to Pontiac, they handled a tad better than their siblings, who had a vaguer ride.

pontiac-grand-prix-1982-1.jpg

The coke bottle shape remains.  My ideal GP - early '80s, LJ, 4.3 Pontiac V8, honeycomb wheels, cloth buckets with the perforated headrest (see photo), no sunroof or T-top (no leaks), and unsure about a vinyl roof.  Also, swap out the possibility of a THM 200 for a THM 350.  This, to me, was a big leap forward from 1978-1980.

2 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

I liked the look of the '78-80 GP a lot, best looking of the midsize GM downsized PLCs I think...the Monte Carlo was the worst looking.  One thing that hurt the styling of most of them IMO were the two headlight setups--two big square lights look cheap compared to 4 smaller rectangular lights, which the GP was the only one with for 78-79 ..the other coupes got them in '80...

I think they took some getting used to.  The GP, as you say, was probably the nicest and the Monte Carlo was definitely the worst, augmented by the fact that it had a bench seat with no armrest.  The MC improved in a small way for 1980, and improved a lot for 1981 through its final year.

Of the '73 to '77 group, the only one that could pull off the single round headlamps was the '75 Supreme/Salon, since it had so many other strong styling elements going for it.  Then, again, '76 got a lot better but they made it busier for '77 (and also screwed up the dash that year - 85 mph speedo and square passenger side A/C vents).

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Olds came back strong from 1981 onward and probably the best-selling of the GM PLCs.  Slightly "safer" styling than the GP.

CC-13-064-800.jpg

This is a 1982 Cutlass Supreme Brougham coupe. Rally wheels would have trumped the wire wheels on this one. My 1984 Brougham coupe, by far, had the most comfortable seating and cabin, and best visibility, of any car I've ever owned.

Edited by trinacriabob
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4 minutes ago, trinacriabob said:

Olds came back strong from 1981 onward and probably the best-selling of the GM PLCs.  Slightly "safer" styling than the GP.

CC-13-064-800.jpg

This is a 1982 Cutlass Supreme Brougham coupe. Rally wheels would have trumped the wire wheels on this one. My 1984 Brougham coupe, by far, had the most comfortable seating and cabin, and best visibility, of any car I've ever owned.

Those 80s G-body coupes, esp. the Regal and Cutlass were everywhere back in the day...I remember the mothers of several friends of mine in jr high having them...

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13 hours ago, Robert Hall said:

Those 80s G-body coupes, esp. the Regal and Cutlass were everywhere back in the day...I remember the mothers of several friends of mine in jr high having them...

I thought the Regal was sort of weak, until maybe the very end when it got spruced up some.  The Cutlass took a stance right from the start.

They could be for moms, execs who didn't to stash clients in their cars, sorority girls, guys starting a first job after college, retirees, etc.  Everyone liked them. What's not to like?  The car just made sense.

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