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YAK Car Pic of the Day

’86 Pontiac Parisienne, Wheatfield, N.Y.

Looking back on some of Pontiac’s recent history, it’s no wonder they were relegated to GM’s dustbin. Take for instance this 1986 Pontiac Parisienne (formerly known as the Bonneville), which sat for the longest time — fittingly — in a field in Wheatfield. It was nothing more than a Chevy Caprice with a large dallop of Pontiac’s trademark plastic trim. And from looking at this photo you can see just how beautifully that plastic trim ages. Selling cars like this makes it a wonder that Pontiac lasted as long as it did.

— Jim Corbran, You Auto Know…

  • Max Planck

    It was cars like this one – and its cousins @ Buick & Oldsmobile – which led to the 
    hemorrhage of GM’s market share. If you talked to anybody who worked at GM’s Design Center in Warren during those years, you’d hear that they built theses cars because the market “wanted them.” Truth be told, GM’s managerial bureaucracy was so inwardly focused, they actually believed that no matter how mundane or uninteresting their cars were, they’d still sell. Also around that time, GM chose not to invest in its aging product line and bought Ross Perot’s EDS, which was a distracting and expensive fiasco.  Therein lies one of the principal reasons for GM’s plant and dealership closings as well as the subsequent bailout, despite what the political opportunists may claim.  

  • Bill Mitchell

    There is almost no plastic trim on these cars, that is all aluminum and similar trim was also on the upscale Caprices of this vintage.  These cars, the B-bodies, A/G-bodies were the cars that held GM together during the 80’s because they were profitable and generally reliable cars (built on what GM knew best RWD, V8’s).  Parisiennes were badge engineered Caprices made by GM Canada.  GM planned to downsize all fullsize cars to the A/G-car body, and Pontiac was the first to do this with the Bonneville.  GM in Canada still had a demand for a real fullsize car and so they made the 1982 Parisienne with the limited resources they had.  American dealers also wanted a true full size car and so in 1983 they started selling that same car in the US as well.  FYI, the Parisienne (as did the Caprice) had an excellent reliability record in it’s day.

    The FWD cars were they ones GM build poorly and lost money on.   In fact GM planned to downsize the entire B-car line to FWD in 1985 (like they did for Buick and Olds), but the popularity and profits from the B-car kept them going for many more years (eventually leading to the 1991 restyled cars and reintroducing a Buick sedan).   Although a few years later, the GM W-cars are widely know to be one of the most costly cars GM has ever produced. In my eyes, the beginning of the GM was the 1980 X-car.