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1960's Pontiacs

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  • blh7068blh7068 Posts: 376
    All that body cladding was a GM thing as I remember. Also, all the hard plastic on the interior( that only over the last 5 or 6 MY's has gotten better).
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    I don't think I've ever ridden in an X-car, but I've sat in a few. Compared to the N (Grand Am, Corsica, Beretta, etc), I think they were roomier and more comfortable. But then, I guess that would make sense, as the X-car went on to become GM's intermediate (Celebrity et al), whereas the N-car was just a slightly enlarged version of the J-car (Cavalier etc)

    Cars like the Celebrity were bigger overall than the Citation, as much as a foot longer, as I recall. But, most of that length went into the styling...longer front-end to make it look more impressive, and a longer rear, which did bump trunk space up from around 14 to 16 cubic feet. But interior-wise, I think they were close. I think the roof was a bit taller on the A-body from the B-pillar back, so perhaps there was a bit more head room in the back.

    The X-body could also be trimmed out pretty nicely inside. The Citation was really cheap in entry-level trim, but I don't think the upper trim levels were bad. And the Phoenix, Omega, and especially the Skylark could be quite luxurious in the top trim levels.

    In contrast, I don't think the Corsica, or Grand Am, ever looked that nice inside, no matter what the trim level. Just too much hard plastic, odd shapes, etc. But the Calais and Somerset Regal/N-body Skylark could be pretty nice.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,189
    My best friend had a 1980 Chevrolet Citation that lasted from his junior year in high school, college, graduate school, and into the first year of his marriage. Not only have I ridden in this car, but drove it many times. I thought one of it's most unusual features was the vertical radio on the right side of the instrument panel. He later put an aftermarket unit in the car, but bypassed the vertical radio and mounted it in the glovebox.

    His Citation was a rather dressed-up one with nice plush seats, full wheel covers, white stripe tires, and a two-tone green and cream paint job: cream on top with green below the side trim. He crimped the cream-colored hood in an accident at some point and replaced it with a green hood that matched the lower body making the car look like it was ordered with a deliberately weird two-tone scheme.

    He managed to put 195K miles on this car over and it looked like a fugitive from a Mad Max movie by the time he got rid of it.

    By the way, will you be at the Philly Auto Show this weekend? I heard back from grbeck, but he can't make it until the second Saturday. I think fezo will be there tomorrow.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,825
    It's funny, those really base cars don't seem to exist anymore. I don't recall any friend of the family having an X-car either, which is surprising as they were popular. I do remember my friend's mom had a Cavalier fastback that I thought was pretty cool when I was in about 2nd grade though.

    I remember when my grandmother's Olds got hit in 1996, the body shop that did the estimate had a dusty Citation sitting in it - the owner said the car had been sitting there since 1982 and had no miles on it. Just an oddity then, stuck in my mind.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    One of my relatives bought a new Citation in 1980 or '81, to replace her '73-74 Nova coupe. I'll never forget her freaking out one day, when one of my young cousins, who I guess was about 4 or 5 at the time, managed to drop the back seat, crawl into the hatch area, and pull the seat closed behind him. She hadn't seen him do it, so to her, one second she had put him in the car, and the next, he had disappeared!

    I don't know how long she had the car for, or any of its history, though. She currently drives her elderly mother's old 2002 or so Impala.

    The neighbors behind us bought a new Citation in 1981, a V-6 I think. However, they only had it a few months, until it was replaced by a 1981 Monte Carlo.

    Their previous car was a 1969 or 1970 Sedan DeVille, so I'm sure going to that tiny Citation was a shock! Also, my neighbor worked on cars and liked to do a lot of stuff himself, but when he saw how complex this Citation was, I think he knew it would be nothing but trouble. This guy used to put 350's in Vegas and race them, among other things. Also helped me paint my two Darts, put a leaf spring on the DeSoto, and the door off of a '79 LeMans onto my buddy's '78 Malibu when he snagged a guardrail. I had tried to put the door on myself, but had trouble getting it to align correctly.

    Every once in awhile, I'll see a Citation show up at a classic car show. They're old enough now that they're allowed in. Actually, at the fall show in Hershey PA, there's always a really nice white 1980 or so Skylark coupe that always shows up.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,825
    I remember last year I saw a Citation with "antique" plates on it - it was pretty immaculate looking, in a kind of yucky period light yellow.

    It must have really been an eye-opener in the malaise days to go from old land yachts to very downsized cars. Some people were probably never comfortable again...I am pretty sure that's one reason my mother held onto her old T-Bird until the mid 80s.

    Oh that reminds me, I once had a co-worker who had a Pontiac Phoenix as his first car. He claimed there were hills in Seattle it couldn't climb - he'd have to back down and turn around. I'd guess that old 4 wasn't the best unit.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,206
    I think he might be hyping it a bit. The Iron Duke was rather a pig, but we had a Citation as a rental years ago while visiting Seattle and went into the mountains and then up to Vancouver and never experienced that. It would complain and lose some speed, but it always made it. They were actually kind of roomy for a small car with a decent highway ride, but had awfully wide turning circles.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,825
    Of course, the Phoenix was about 15 years old at the time. Still, maybe an exaggeration.

    I had a friend with a Bronco II in high school that didn't like some of the steep hills in town, it would get down to a crawl. It was far from new then, too.
  • texasestexases Posts: 5,610
    :sick: I remember renting a Pontiac 4 cyl in San Francisco only 8 years ago, and it struggled to get up the steeper hills...
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited January 2012
    About the Citation--in '85 I had put a deposit on a new burgundy Monte Carlo SS to replace my '82 Monte V6. I was moving back to the Cleveland area, where my '81 Monte V8 had been stolen and never recovered, and my '82 had been broken into. I was 27 and decided to not get a third Monte and got my deposit back (they didn't want to give it back but I argued they could've sold the SS the next day). A couple months later, I ordered a Celebrity Eurosport, but I looked long and hard at the Citation X-11 they had in stock. I knew they were the same car underneath, and in an X-11 you could get a stick (although the car in stock didn't have one). I bailed on the idea thinking I'd take a resale bath, back when I was a bachelor and buying a new car every three years or so. I liked the '85 Citation dash too (no more vertical radio), but in a few years every one you saw had a big hump in the cover over the radio and HVAC controls.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,825
    edited January 2012
    Your Celebrity was a coupe, right? Those are pretty uncommon anymore. When I was a kid, I thought a black Eurosport wagon wasn't bad looking...been ages since I've seen one. I did see a pre-89 Pontiac 6000 the other day. I remember my 5th grade teacher had a Pontiac 6000 coupe.

    I bet resale on the final year Citations was pretty bad, it would have looked pretty old in just a couple years.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    My Eurosport was a two-door, although in hindsight it looked like a block of wood! It was a dark plum color, can't think of what GM called it, but my nephew called it 'purple'! It was monotone..a lot of them were silver underneath the side molding, which I didn't like. It was the only car I ordered. I wanted a cheaper 6000-STE so bought the 2.8 MFI V6, full gauges, and was forced to order the four-speed automatic which a friend's Dad, a GM Service Manager, told me to avoid, and I did have no 3rd or 4th gears at 37K miles but GM replaced for $100 as a goodwill gesture (powertrain warranty was 24K miles). The car had the most livable back seat of any two-door I'd owned, I think--well, other than the '77 Impala coupe my folks gave me when I graduated college in '80.

    When I ordered the car, the salesman told me the aluminum wheels (same style as Citation X-11) were on backorder. I said 'if they're not on the car, I'm not buying it.'. He made the mistake of telling me he got a status update on ordered units every Monday a.m. He also told me 'six to eight weeks'. It came in the twelfth week. When I picked it up, it didn't have the floor mats that I ordered and were on the window sticker. He acted like I was bothering him to ask! It was from Tim Timmers in Norcross, GA. Don't know if they're still there or not.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,206
    I once ordered a 71 Plymouth Sebring that also came different than its window sticker, but the dealer made it good without hassle when I pointed it out. Unfortunately, I should have walked away because it turned out to be a nice looking POC. Thankfully, I don't think that happens with today's technology and much smaller options list.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,825
    edited January 2012
    To me, a Citation hatch looks like a football from the beltline up, so pick your poison :shades:

    How did that Celebrity hold up? Unrelated, I know, but my dad had a S-10 Blazer of the same year, and it was pretty junky. An aunt had an 86 Celebrity, she was admittedly neglectful when it came to maintenance, but it was looking more than the worse for wear by the early 90s.

    Those "glass house" Impala/Caprice coupes were cool in their own way, unique styling trait anyway.

    Shame about that dealer...I think the internet has put an end to some of the ineptitude, now if you are wronged you can tell the world in just a few minutes. Cool you had a special order though, I don't remember anyone in my family doing that - always off the lot for us.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited January 2012
    The trans is the only thing I remember going on the Eurosport. It had 60K miles when I traded it for an '89 Beretta GT. One dumb design element: when the Celebrity was introduced, there wasn't a Eurosport variant with the thick steering wheel. I ordered mine without a tilt wheel. From where I sat (I'm only 5'8"), the top half of the wheel completely obliterated the view of the entire (ribbon) speedometer! Duh!

    It did corner very well...had Goodyear Eagles from the factory. I remember driving a friend's '84 Monte Carlo V6 and taking a corner like I would have in the Eurosport. The Monte felt like it was going to roll over!

    A couple small things I liked: the optional gauges looked like instruments on a high-end stereo receiver back then...very thin needles...and since I ordered the highest-end factory radio at the time, there was a little emblem on the dash that said "ERS" and underneath it said "Extended Range Sound System".
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,057
    Here's an interesting Pontiac question in our ANSWERS department. Can any of you help him out?

    http://answers.edmunds.com/question-Did-rear-windows-1974-Pontiac-Grandville-rol- l-part-way-146909.aspx

    Thanks! :)

    MODERATOR --Need help with anything? Click on my name!

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    I just popped over and left an answer. In short, for 1971-74, the Grand Ville coupe had roll-down windows, but in '75-76 they were stationary.

    I thought it was a bit odd that if you got the cheaper Catalina, you got roll down windows, but the more expensive Bonneville and Grand Ville (Bonneville Brougham for '76) were stationary. But, by that time, I think the attitude was starting to become who cares if the back windows roll down? It has air conditioning!

    I remember as a kid, I really didn't give a second thought to the stationary rear windows in Mom's '75 LeMans, '80 Malibu, or '86 Monte Carlo coupe, although my Grandparents' '82 Malibu Classic wagon always sticks out in my mind! Nor, did I pay any attention to the fact that they were stationary in my other grandparents' '77 and 81 Granada coupes. Their '75 Dart Swinger was a hardtop, but I don't remember it that well.

    Honestly, it wasn't until I bought an old '69 Dart GT hardtop, in 1989 when I was in college, that the memory of roll-down rear windows and true hardtop styling came back to me. Most of my friends, who weren't used to riding in something that old, thought it was pretty cool, too.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    The '75 Grand Ville hardtop coupe's rear windows were fixed and did not go down at all. The '74 was the last two-door hardtop Grand Ville where all four windows went down. The '75 Catalina hardtop coupe did have small quarter windows that rolled the whole way down, however.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    I remember when Dad and I first glimpsed a black-vinyl-top-over maroon '73 Chevelle Malibu coupe parked way out back of our Chevy dealer, before introduction day. We were both pretty shocked about the lack of rear-roll-down windows. I remember thinking, 'well, if it's OK for the Cadillac Eldorado, it's OK for a Chevelle I guess', some time later.

    The '78 Malibu sedans, with rear windows that didn't roll down--that, plus, the 'donut' spare tire--I had a hard time getting over though.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    The '78 Malibu sedans, with rear windows that didn't roll down--that, plus, the 'donut' spare tire--I had a hard time getting over though.

    When did the B and C-bodies go to compact spares? I know my grandmother's '85 LeSabre had a compact, but I guess they switched over sometime between '77 and then? Maybe 1980, when the B/C bodies went through another round of weight reduction?
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    When did the B and C-bodies go to compact spares? I know my grandmother's '85 LeSabre had a compact, but I guess they switched over sometime between '77 and then? Maybe 1980, when the B/C bodies went through another round of weight reduction?

    '80 is probably right, although I don't know for sure. My parents' '77 Impala had a full-size spare tire. Matter of fact, my '93 Caprice Classic had a full-size spare although it was optional at extra cost.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    I've thought about trying to find a compact spare for my '76 LeMans. The trunk isn't very big, as it is, but worse, where they put the spare tire, part of it ends up occupying the deepest part of the trunk! Whenever I put my beer cooler in there, I have to position it just right, and I put a towel over it to keep it from rubbing on the underside of the trunk.

    I guess it might be easier/cheaper to just get a cooler that's not quite as tall. :P
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    backed into a driveway in Linthicum Heights, MD. Couldn't tell the series, as I just saw it from a distance, and only for a split second. Looked like a hardtop coupe, and dark green.

    Also spotted, out on Interstate 97, a '76-79 Volare coupe rolling along. Silver with a burgundy landau top, which gave you those oddly shaped, square opera windows. It looked like it was in pretty good shape. No visible rust, paint still fairly shiny, top in good shape.

    One thing that really struck me as how odd this car looks, by today's standards. Normally, the 2-door looks better than its 4-door counterpart, but by this timeframe, often it was just the opposite. I thought the same thing with the Ford Granada/Mercury Monarch. The 4-doors have a handsome, somewhat modern look to them, but the coupe just seems more dated, with the opera window cliche.

    I think the difference is even greater with the Aspen/Volare, as the coupe rode a 4.7" shorter wheelbase, and was noticeably lower. Meanwhile, the 4-door version might have represented the birth of the trend towards taller, more upright cars that persists to this day. I think this coupe would have also looked a lot better if it didn't have that landau roof.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    "I had a new '90 Corsica 4-cyl. 5-speed for 108K miles and 6 1/2 years."

    I understand that the Chevy 2.0 4-cylinder was prone to head gasket failure, so you did well. What condition was your Corsica in at 108,000?
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    edited January 2012
    "My best friend had a 1980 Chevrolet Citation...He managed to put 195K miles on this car..."

    That's impressive! Did your friend's Citation have the Iron Duke 4 or the V6? Either way he beat the odds.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    I would guess the Iron Duke. I knew someone who had a Skylark or Somerset Regal coupe (can't remember the year now) with the Iron duke and a stick shift, and he and his wife got something like 190-200,000 miles out of it, before getting rid of it. I don't think anything actually failed on it, but they were just getting tired of it.

    I've known a few people with Cavalier Z-24's, with the 2.8 V-6, and those things tended to blow a head gasket by 80-90,000 miles, it seemed.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    edited January 2012
    As I think I've mentioned to you, I was the original owner of a '86 Grand Am with the Iron Duke and 5-speed. Contrary to the reputation of '80s domestics, this was a reliable, low maintenance car. It's demise came at 188,000, when the head gasket blew. The head gasket started to leak at about 185,000, but I managed to nurse it along for a while longer.

    It was a slam dunk decision to junk the car at that point because just a couple of nights before the engine died the friend of the teen ager who lived across the street backed into my driver's side door.
  • uplanderguyuplanderguy Kent, OHPosts: 7,494
    edited January 2012
    "I had a new '90 Corsica 4-cyl. 5-speed for 108K miles and 6 1/2 years."

    I understand that the Chevy 2.0 4-cylinder was prone to head gasket failure, so you did well. What condition was your Corsica in at 108,000?


    Worst thing about it was, the paint was beginning to look a little thin in one place on the car, below the left part of the rear window...maybe a fifty-cent piece size. People besides me wouldn't have even noticed it. But, no paint flaking off at all. A/C still cold. Ran fine. I wanted another car.

    I'm pretty sure it was a 2.2 liter four, not 2.0.

    Actually, I had '90, '97, '02, and now '08, 2.2 liters. The first three all had well over 100K miles. Never had head gasket issues in any of them.
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,189
    His car was the 4-cylinder
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,010
    Actually, I had '90, '97, '02, and now '08, 2.2 liters. The first three all had well over 100K miles. Never had head gasket issues in any of them.

    I know someone who had a Cavalier, although the year eludes me now. Late 90's, at least. I think it made it to around 120,000 miles, when something went bad in the engine. I think it was the head gasket, but not sure. The car was still driveable, IIRC. I remember the mechanic telling her that it was actually pretty rare for those engines to fail that early on. Usually, the rest of the car would fall apart around the engine. And, since they tended to have bad resale, if they got traded in, they were often wholesaled off or simply junked.
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