Barrett-Jackson 2014: Something a Little Different

For those of you looking for some BJA Scottsdale action that isn’t more of the same pro-touring muscle cars:

1977-81 Pontiac Bonneville Coupe

I really don’t understand what business GM’s “excitement” division had building large, luxurious, slow cars like this. Don’t get me wrong, I love the body style, and I’d love to have one, I’m just having trouble trying to come to terms with the reason for this car existing in the first place. It would have made a little more sense back in the 60’s when it was actually possible for a big car to have enough power to actually be exciting, but by the late 70’s, all the car makers were pumping out turd after (sometimes nice looking) turd and I don’t really see anything too exciting about that.

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Pontiac Bonneville SSE

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While it’s a shame that the 80s and early 90’s were the heyday of under powered front wheel drive cars, the limitations imposed on car designers at the time surely forced them to come up with cars that found other ways to be interesting. The eighth-generation Bonneville SSE is a great example of this. The SSE was the top of the line trim level for the Bonneville. It was essentially a handling/appearance/stereo package since the LN3 3800 was the only motor offered in the Bonneville starting in 1988.

The interior had some really interesting features. On one side of the dash was a driver information center screen that showed an overlay of the car and pointed out problems and maintenance information. On the other side of the dash was a similarly sized display that showed a really neat graphical compass, and the center of the steering wheel had controls for the stereo and a/c, which was a pretty advanced feature for the late 80’s.

Although the car wasn’t exactly fast, I’m sure it had enough power to keep up with most other cars from its time period, and with more style than most cars have today. It’s got just the slightest amount of body cladding to where it looks really sporty, but now with hindsight being 20/20 it’s pretty easy to see that it was the starting point for Pontiac’s plastic addiction that eventually spiraled way out of control in the late 90’s.

It may be just an outdated family sedan decorated like an 80’s sports car but I’d still drive one.