The General’s Pontiac Division introduced its first big-yet-affordable luxury sedan to the world in the 1926 model year, and continued selling such cars all the way through the marque’s demise in 2010. The last year for the “traditional” Pontiac rear-wheel-drive sedan, however, came in 1986. That’s when the last Parisiennes rolled out of Oshawa Assembly, and today’s Junkyard Treasure— found in a yard beneath Pikes Peak— is one of those final machines.
With a November 1986 build date, this car is one of the very last Parisiennes ever built by GM, and it’s fully loaded with two-tone paint, opera lights, air conditioning, the works. Based on the 1977 Chevy Caprice, a somewhat downsized (but still majestic) big sedan, the American version was the Bonneville and the Canadian one the Parisienne… at first. When the US-market Bonneville went onto the midsized G-Body platform for 1982, the Caprice-based big Pontiac stayed in production but got the Canadian name for all of North America. Just to confuse everyone, the Parisienne name had been used for big Pontiacs throughout the GM Empire in previous decades.
The base engine in the final-year Parisienne was a 4.3-liter Chevy V6 good for 130 horses. This car has the optional 305-cubic-inch (5.0-liter) Chevy small-block V8 rated at 15o horsepower.
This car is a 1977 Bonneville at heart, and I know just about exactly what it would have been like to drive. That’s because I drove my father’s Pontiac 301-powered ’78 Bonneville to my high school prom in 1983. Slow, stately, ocean-liner-like throttle response, but a super-comfy velour interior and complete isolation from the surrounding world. The nation lost something important after Parisienne production halted in 1986.
In my role as Chief Justice of the 24 Hours of Lemons Supreme Court, I’ve learned that a Parisienne makes a halfway decent endurance racer, provided that its main competition is a shortened Lincoln Mark V.
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