Pontiac Parisienne

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Pontiac Parisienne

1958 - 1986
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2 star
Pontiac Parisienne
Pontiac Parisienne
Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 2


For most of its life, the Parisienne was the Canadian nameplate for the Bonneville, sold in Pontiac's Canadian showrooms, while American Pontiac dealers sold the Catalina, Ventura, Star Chief and Bonneville (the Catalina and Ventura were also available in Canada).

Interestingly, Canadian Pontiacs were essentially Chevrolet platforms with Pontiac outer body panels installed. Therefore, the Parisienne used the same engines found in full-size Chevys, including the 283, 327, 350, 396, 409, 427, etc, as well as the Powerglide and Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmissions.

This was done due to import/export tariffs between the U.S. and Canada, which made the manufacture of uniquely Canadian Pontiac engines and chassis components too costly. During the mid- and late-1960s, the Grande Parisienne introduced, based on the US-market Grand Prix, a larger, more luxuriously trimmed offering. The Grande Parisienne became a standard Pontiac again in 1969, while the US-market Grand Prix became a "personal luxury" model.

In 1982, the Bonneville was downsized on the G-body while Pontiac's version of the B-body was dropped in the US, leaving the Canadian Parisienne the sole full-size rear wheel drive Pontiac.

Right-hand drive cars were manufactured in Canada for export to some countries such as Australia, U.K. etc., until 1969. Australians used a version of the 1965 Impala dash panel until 1969. Australian models were assembled in Australia from kits as this lessened tax on the cars. Parisiennes were produced in Australia from 1964 to 1969.

The Parisienne debuted (in earnest) in Australia in 1964 and was available as a 4 door sedan (pillared) with the 283 cubic inch engine.  In 1965 the 4 door  (pillarless) Sport Sedan Hardtop was introduced and two years later the (1967 Model) the pillared sedan ceased to be available. 1965 also saw the introduction of the 327 cubic inch V8 for the Pillarless versions and the 283 cubic engine remained as the power plant to the pillared versions.

In 1966 the Pontiac Parisienne Thin Pillar cost $5799-00 and $6099-00 for the Pillarless, or Sports Sedan version. In 1967, the Thin Pillar was no longer available and the  Pontiac Parisienne Sport Sedan (pillarless) cost $6,076-00. A small price reduction but a number of features were included as standard for the first time including a radio! (Australia converted to decimal currency on 14th February, 1966 with one Australian Pound being worth $2-00).

In early 1983, to gain back Pontiac customers who longed for a large rear wheel drive car, the Parisienne was imported from Oshawa, Ontario, Canada and sold in the United States. Externally, it was a rebadged Chevrolet Impala (1983-84 models had the Impala rear taillight panel fitted with Pontiac-spec taillight lenses, whereas the nose was borrowed from the Chevrolet Capricefitted with a Pontiac grille). The 1985 to 1986 models resumed use of the rear-end styling from the 1980 to 1981 Bonneville.

Two Parisienne ranges were sold - a base model (similar to the former Catalina and the then-current Oldsmobile Delta 88 Royale in four-door sedan and Safari station wagon form, and a more-luxurious Brougham four-door sedan (with velour upholstery that featured loose-pillow fitted seats). No two-door models were offered for the United States market, although a coupe version was available in Canada through 1983. The Pontiac Parisienne was a success, especially with customers who wanted a nicely appointed car at a reasonable price. The Parisienne still sold well when GM decided to drop the line after the 1986 model year. A front wheel drive model with the Bonneville name replaced the Parisienne; however, the wagon model (known just as "Safari") continued until 1989.

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