It was early fall in 1980. I was sitting at my work desk reading the daily newspaper, as I often did on my lunch hour. I usually skipped the classifieds, but on this day I still had time left, so I started reading the auto-dealer ads. I had a young family and no room for car payments in the budget, but when I saw a ’75 Pontiac Grand Ville Brougham convertible for sale, I had to see it anyway.
I jumped up from my desk, told the boss I had to run an errand, and took off. A few minutes later I arrived at Don Ayres Pontiac in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and saw the top-of-the-line ragtop with its top down in the used-car showroom. What a beautiful Pontiac. I couldn’t afford the Sandstone-colored stunner, but it was still great to see it and sit in it for a short time.
That weekend, an unexpected source offered me a loan that didn’t require a structured payback. I was ecstatic. The next Saturday I took a check for $3,500, and my ’70 Impala convertible, worth $1,200 in trade, to the dealership and drove the luxury land-yacht home. It’s been part of the family ever since.
The car’s first retail owner left the purchase receipt, window sticker, and other documents in the glovebox, which allowed me to learn that my “new” car was originally delivered to Village Pontiac in Naperville, Illinois, sometime early in 1975. The GM doorjamb sticker says it was built in March of that year. The dealership sold it in May 1975—presumably as a demo—with 1,650 miles on the odometer.
Its base price was $5,858 plus $134 for delivery. Power windows, steering, and disc brakes came standard, and there was a long list of extra-cost options: a 455/200hp engine, 60/40 notchback seats, an AM/FM stereo, remote sport mirrors, Rally IIs, body side moldings, door-edge guards, a digital clock, tilt steering, power door locks and seatback locks, a six-way power driver seat, cruise control, air conditioning, carpeted floormats, cornering lamps, a Rally gauge cluster with a fuel economy gauge, a litter container, front and rear bumper guards, a remote-control decklid release, and more, bringing the total price to $7,623.
My wife drove it for most of the first few years because I had a company car. Then we bought a used ’79 Bonneville station wagon for the family, and I got to drive the road-conquering ragtop whenever I wanted. By 1990, our Midwest winters were beginning to take a toll on it, so I bought an ’83 6000 SE for daily transportation and stored the Grand Ville during the cold months. (Can you tell I like Pontiacs?)
My Pontiac had 52,000 miles when I drove it home from the dealership that day.
It now has 156,000 miles on it and still runs like new. I drive it about 800 miles a year now, occasionally using it for my 50-mile commute to and from work, and for weekend errands.
In 1999 Dan T. Gratz Body Shop in Fort Wayne masterfully rebuilt the entire driver side after an unfortunate meeting with the lowered tailgate of a pickup truck. The rest of the finish is original, with only a few minor blemishes.
This Grand Ville was built for pleasurable cruising down the highway with the top down and the sun shining bright. It has provided that many times over for my family and me—for 31 years and counting.
In My Words spotlights reader experiences with their own Pontiacs in their own words. To be considered for publication, submit several high-quality digital color photographs (1 megabyte or larger in JPG format—no other formats, please), your own Pontiac story (typed, approximately 500 words), your name, address, and telephone number to:
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In My Words
c/o Christopher Phillip
9036 Brittany Way
Tampa, FL 33619
or christopher.phillip @sorc.com
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