Pontiac Grand Ville
The Pontiac Grand Ville was the top-trim model in the division's full-sized line from 1971 to 1975. It displaced the Pontiac Bonneville which had served as Pontiac's top-trim model since 1958.
The Bonneville itself was not discontinued during this period, but was demoted in status, in effect replacing the discontinued Pontiac Executive. The Grand Ville and Bonneville shared a number of trim and design elements that distinguished them from the Catalina, but the 1971-72 Grand Villes were built on a stretched wheelbase version of the GM "B" platform that nevertheless had identical interior dimensions to all other full-size Pontiacs.
In addition to more luxurious interior trimmings, the Grand Ville had distinctive chrome up front and taillight trim at rear to set it apart. For 1974 only, the Grand Ville had its own parking lights, which wrapped around the corner of the front fender. The car was often seen with deluxe appearance options, such as sport wheels and vinyl tops. Rear fender skirts were featured on the 1973 to 1975 models.
Standard equipment on Grand Ville models included a 455 cubic-inch V8 engine (1971-74 models, 400 cubic-inch V8 standard and 455 optional for 1975), Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission, power steering and power front disc brakes. Popular options included air conditioning, power windows and driver's seat, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, AM/FM stereo with tape deck and much more. One of the rarest options available on Grand Villes and other full-sized Pontiacs during this period was the adjustable brake and accelerator pedals offered from 1974 to 1976.
Grand Ville enjoyed moderate success from 1971 to 1973. However, the Arab Oil Embargo of late 1973 and early 1974 led to gasoline shortages, long lines at filling stations, and skyrocketing pump prices. These factors would sharply cut into full-sized car sales in 1974 as Americans were shunning big gas guzzlers in favor of smaller more fuel-efficient cars. For 1975, the Grand Ville became the Grand Ville Brougham and included more standard equipment than in previous years, such as power windows and a carpeted trunk. This would be the final year for the Grand Ville series, which also included Pontiac's last convertible until 1983. For 1976, the Grand Ville nameplate was dropped and the lineup was renamed Bonneville Brougham, returning that nameplate back to its former flagship status.
Grand Ville convertibles were rare in the years from 1971 to 1975, never topping 5,000 per year during the model run. From 1973 to 1975 the Grand Ville was Pontiac's only full-size convertible offering, 1971 and 1972 full-size Pontiac convertibles were offered in both the entry level Catalina line and the posh Grand Ville line. There were no convertible Bonnevilles after the 1970 model year. The rarest of the rare Grand Ville convertibles was the 1971 model with just under 1800 examples built. The final year 1975 proved to be the most 'abundant' with just over 4500 models built, as word had gotten out that this would be the final year of production. The Grand Ville convertible had the lowest production amongst its corporate cousins, the Olds 88 Royale, Buick LeSabre/Centurion, Chevrolet Caprice Classic and Cadillac Eldorado convertible lines.
Source: Wikipedia, 2012
Photo Credits: David Newhardt courtesy of Mecum Auctions