For a brief five-year run, the Bonneville was replaced at the top of the Pontiac full-size line by the Grand Ville.
1973 Pontiac Grand Ville Hardtop Sedan
From its introduction in 1957, the Bonneville represented the top of the heap in Pontiac luxury and features—the flagship of the line. Initially an extension of the Star Chief Custom in ’57, the Bonneville became a stand-alone model in 1958 and a full product line in 1959 with the addition of a station wagon. And as the biggest, costliest, and most luxuriously equipped Pontiac, the Bonneville was a consistent earner for the second-largest General Motors brand.
But for reasons probably best known to the GM product planners themselves, for 1971 the Bonneville was knocked down one notch to the middle of the full-sized line, replacing the 1967-70 Executive, which was now discontinued. (The Executive, in turn, rode in the former Star Chief slot.) The new flagship at the Pontiac division for the next five model years was the Grand Ville, a less familiar name today than Bonneville, Catalina, or Star Chief.
1975 Pontiac Grand Ville Brougham
While the name Bonneville had at least implied performance, the new Grand Ville badge suggested… well, grandness. The Motor City’s full-sized cars were entering their Brougham period, and this latest Pontiac model followed right along with rich velour fabrics, deep-pile carpeting, and the full complement of power accessories and conveniences. A 455 CID V8 was standard, and while the Grand Ville rode on the standard GM B-body platform, its formal roofline was shared with the corporation’s larger C-body cars. On the 1973-75 cars, among the popular options were fender skirts, an interesting throwback to the ’50s land-yacht era.
The 1975 model year brought some significant changes to the Grand Ville. First, the standard V8 was now a 400-CID version of the familiar Pontiac V8 rather than the big 455. (See our feature on the Pontiac V8 here.) Next, the name was altered slightly from Grand Ville to Grand Ville Brougham (there was no non-Brougham Grand Ville). MY 1975 would prove to be the last for the Grand Ville name, as the Bonneville regained its flagship role at Pontiac. For 1976 there would be two Bonnevilles: Bonneville and Bonneville Brougham. As things turned out, the Bonneville name would be repurposed and repackaged several more times before it was finally retired in 2005.
1971 Pontiac Grand Ville
Article courtesy of Mac's Motor City Garage