American Car Spotters Guide - 1985

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American Car Spotters Guide - 1985


At the close of the 1985 model year on September 30, 10.9 million passenger cars had been sold in the United States. At the time that was the third highest total ever, topped only by 11.8 million in 1973 and 11.1 million in 1978. If you add the record 4.6 million trucks sold, 1985 was the best model year in U.S. history. There were a lot of smiles in executive offices and board rooms around Detroit.

Success of that magnitude feed upon itself. Huge sales meant huge profits, and when there was plenty of money in the bank, giant handfuls were thrown at engineering departments, styling staff and research and development departments. That resulted in better, more interesting automobiles that people bought in vast numbers, generating more investment cash. That's where the U.S. industry was in 1985. Showrooms were filled with the best cars the U.S. industry had ever built, with better ones on the way.

For 1986, however, there weren't many really "new" new cars. The wonderfulness in the showrooms that year was mostly the same wonderfulness that was there last year, with a handful of notable exceptions. With the introduction of a new front wheel drive Buick LeSabre/Oldsmobile Delta 88 (same mechanicals with slight skin variations), a new Cadillac Seville, and a new Buick Riviera/Oldsmobile Toronado/Cadillac Eldorado, General Motors had completed the downsizing program begun in 1977 with the Chevrolet Impala.

The big new-car news at the Ford Motor Co. were the Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable. Ford spent $3 billion bringing these replacements for the Ford L TD and Mercury Marquis to market. The new cars were very aerodynamic and unlike anything ever built in Detroit. After bringing out a new model just about every six months for the past few years, Chrysler Corp. was taking a breather. It started the new model year with exactly the same line-up as in 1985. However, during the next 12 months there were replacements for the ageing Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon, a new up market luxury car in the Eldorado tradition, and a new sports coupe.

Lee Iacocca's long-standing friendship with Maserati boss, De Tomaso, had led to a joint-venture that would produce the expensive ($30,000) Maserati-built sports car in 1986. Cadilllac's similar arrangement with Pininfarina would produce the Allante which was to debut late in 1986. American Motors Corp. continued to make money selling Jeeps and to loose money trying to sell Alliances and Encores. The only thing new from AMC was a Jeep pick-up that was larger than a mini truck and smaller than a full-size pick-up. AMC's continued weak showing was the only smudge on Deetroit's otherwise shiny face.

The biggest non-hardware story in Detroit was the industry's relationship with the Japaanese. Detroit knew it could not produce Japanese-quality products at Japanese prices, at least not immediately. So for several years U.S. manufacturers had been broadening their relationships with their Japanese partners in an effort to capture some of those small-car sales going to Nisssan and Toyota. In 1984 GM instituted some dramatic joint-ventures with the Japanese. A deal with Suzuki produced the tiny Chevrolet Sprint, and the slightly larger Spectrum came from Isuzu. Also in 1984 Chevrolet entered into a unique agreement with Toyota. The Japanese company operated a manufacturing plant in California where a version of the ever-popular Corolla was built exclusively for Chevrolet. The joint venture was called New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. (NUMMI) and set the pattern for similar ventures by Ford and Chrysler Corp. Ford already had a link with Toyo Kogyo (Mazda) for components, and Chrysler Corp. had its long-standing relationship with Mitsubishi.

General Motors' Saturn, one of the hottest stories of 1985, would continue to be big news in 1986. Saturn was a light efficient-to-build and efficient-to-operate small car. It was also the name of the separate company created to build it. Saturn (the company) would build a manufacturing facility in Tennessee to build Saturn (the car). The idea was to separate Saturn from the bureaucracy, paper work and built-in inefficiencies of the parent company. The new company was meant to be slim, trim and electronic from memo sending to engineering. Ultimately, it was predicted, all those efficiencies would enable Saturn to build a car that could compete in price and quality with the Japanese. Chrysler's Liberty and Ford's Alpha were similar programs but neither was as advanced as Saturn.

While the Japanese got more closely involved with the Big Three, they also continued to make themselves at home in the US. Honda Accords had been coming off a line in Ohio for some time, and in 1985 Nissan added Sentra production to its truck facility in Tennessee. Mazda was about to open a plant in Michigan, and Mttsubishi, Toyota, Daihatsu and Isuzu were very interested in opening their own plants in the US. This was the easiest way around the voluntary restrictions. The next big story would be the appearance of the South Koreans on the US automotive scene. Hyundai, by 1985 Canada's number-one auto importer, would begin selling cars in the U.S. late in 1986. With lower producction costs than in Japan, South Korea were about to become a serious competitor, not just in the US, but worldwide.
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1985 Buick Skyhawk Limited
USA

Buick Skyhawk Limited

  Also see: Buick Road Tests and Reviews | Buick Brochures
   
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1985 Buick Skyhawk T Type
USA

Buick Skyhawk T Type

  Also see: Buick Road Tests and Reviews | Buick Brochures
   
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1985 Buick Somerset
USA

Buick Somerset

  Also see: Buick Road Tests and Reviews | Buick Brochures
   
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1985 Cadillac Cimarron
USA

Cadillac Cimarron

  Also see: Cadillac Road Tests and Reviews | Cadillac Brochures
   
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1985 Cadillac Fleetwood
USA

Cadillac Fleetwood

  Also see: Cadillac Road Tests and Reviews | Cadillac Brochures
   
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1985 Chevrolet Caprice Estate
USA

Chevrolet Caprice Estate

  Also see: Chevrolet Road Tests and Reviews | Chevrolet Brochures
   
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1985 Chevrolet Caprice Landau Coupe
USA

Chevrolet Caprice Landau Coupe

  Also see: Chevrolet Road Tests and Reviews | Chevrolet Brochures
   
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1985 Chevrolet Cavalier Wagon
USA

Chevrolet Cavalier Wagon

  Also see: Chevrolet Road Tests and Reviews | Chevrolet Brochures
   
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1985 Chevrolet Chevette
USA

Chevrolet Chevette

  Also see: Chevrolet Road Tests and Reviews | Chevrolet Brochures
   
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1985 Chevrolet El Camino SS
USA

Chevrolet El Camino SS

  Also see: Chevrolet Road Tests and Reviews | Chevrolet Brochures
   
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1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
USA

Chevrolet Monte Carlo

  Also see: Chevrolet Road Tests and Reviews | Chevrolet Brochures
   
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1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo
USA

Chevrolet Monte Carlo

  Also see: Chevrolet Road Tests and Reviews | Chevrolet Brochures
   
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1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS
USA

Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS

  Also see: Chevrolet Road Tests and Reviews | Chevrolet Brochures
   
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1985 Chevrolet Monte Carlo T-Top
USA

Chevrolet Monte Carlo T-Top

  Also see: Chevrolet Road Tests and Reviews | Chevrolet Brochures
   
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1985 Chevrolet Spectrum
USA

Chevrolet Spectrum

  Also see: Chevrolet Road Tests and Reviews | Chevrolet Brochures
   
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1985 Chevrolet Suburban
USA

Chevrolet Suburban

  Also see: Chevrolet Road Tests and Reviews | Chevrolet Brochures
   
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1985 Chrysler Fifth Avenue 2
USA

Chrysler Fifth Avenue 2

  Also see: Chrysler Road Tests and Reviews | Chrysler Brochures
   
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1985 Chrysler Laser
USA

Chrysler Laser

  Also see: Chrysler Road Tests and Reviews | Chrysler Brochures
   
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1985 Chrysler Laser
USA

Chrysler Laser

  Also see: Chrysler Road Tests and Reviews | Chrysler Brochures
   
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1985 Chrysler LeBaron
USA

Chrysler LeBaron

  Also see: Chrysler Road Tests and Reviews | Chrysler Brochures
   
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1985 Chrysler LeBaron GTS
USA

Chrysler LeBaron GTS

  Also see: Chrysler Road Tests and Reviews | Chrysler Brochures
   
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1985 Chrysler Limousine
USA

Chrysler Limousine

  Also see: Chrysler Road Tests and Reviews | Chrysler Brochures
   
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1985 Chrysler Limousine
USA

Chrysler Limousine

  Also see: Chrysler Road Tests and Reviews | Chrysler Brochures
   
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1985 Dodge 600
USA

Dodge 600

  Also see: Dodge Road Tests and Reviews | Dodge Brochures
   
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1985 Dodge Colt
USA

Dodge Colt

  Also see: Dodge Road Tests and Reviews | Dodge Brochures
   
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1985 Dodge Colt
USA

Dodge Colt

  Also see: Dodge Road Tests and Reviews | Dodge Brochures
   
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1985 Dodge Colt Vista
USA

Dodge Colt Vista

  Also see: Dodge Road Tests and Reviews | Dodge Brochures
   
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1985 Dodge Daytona Turbo
USA

Dodge Daytona Turbo

  Also see: Dodge Road Tests and Reviews | Dodge Brochures
   
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1985 Dodge Diplomat
USA

Dodge Diplomat

  Also see: Dodge Road Tests and Reviews | Dodge Brochures
   
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1985 Dodge Diplomat
USA

Dodge Diplomat

  Also see: Dodge Road Tests and Reviews | Dodge Brochures
   
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1985 Dodge Diplomat SE
USA

Dodge Diplomat SE

  Also see: Dodge Road Tests and Reviews | Dodge Brochures
   
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1985 Dodge Omni
USA

Dodge Omni

  Also see: Dodge Road Tests and Reviews | Dodge Brochures
   
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1985 Dodge Ram 50 Sport
USA

Dodge Ram 50 Sport

  Also see: Dodge Road Tests and Reviews | Dodge Brochures
   
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1985 Ford Mustang GT
USA

Ford Mustang GT

  Also see: Ford Road Tests and Reviews | Ford Brochures
   
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1985 Ford Mustang SVO
USA

Ford Mustang SVO

  Also see: Ford Road Tests and Reviews | Ford Brochures
   
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1985 Ford Ranger
USA

Ford Ranger

  Also see: Ford Road Tests and Reviews | Ford Brochures
   
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1985 Ford Tempo
USA

Ford Tempo

  Also see: Ford Road Tests and Reviews | Ford Brochures
   
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1985 Ford Tempo GLX 4-Door
USA

Ford Tempo GLX 4-Door

  Also see: Ford Road Tests and Reviews | Ford Brochures
   
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1985 Ford Tempo GLX Coupe
USA

Ford Tempo GLX Coupe

  Also see: Ford Road Tests and Reviews | Ford Brochures
   
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1985 Ford Tempo Sport GL 2-Door
USA

Ford Tempo Sport GL 2-Door

  Also see: Ford Road Tests and Reviews | Ford Brochures
   
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1985 GMC Jimmy
USA

GMC Jimmy

 
   
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1985 GMC Jimmy S15
USA

GMC Jimmy S15

 
   
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1985 GMC Suburban
USA

GMC Suburban

 
   
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1985 GMC Suburban
USA

GMC Suburban

 
   
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1985 Jeep Cherokee
USA

Jeep Cherokee

  Also see: Jeep Road Tests and Reviews | Jeep Brochures
   
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1985 Jeep Cherokee Chief
USA

Jeep Cherokee Chief

  Also see: Jeep Road Tests and Reviews | Jeep Brochures
   
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1985 Jeep Cherokee Chief
USA

Jeep Cherokee Chief

  Also see: Jeep Road Tests and Reviews | Jeep Brochures
   
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1985 Jeep Cherokee Chief Pioneer
USA

Jeep Cherokee Chief Pioneer

  Also see: Jeep Road Tests and Reviews | Jeep Brochures
   
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1985 Jeep CJ
USA

Jeep CJ

  Also see: Jeep Road Tests and Reviews | Jeep Brochures
   
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1985 Jeep Comanche
USA

Jeep Comanche

  Also see: Jeep Road Tests and Reviews | Jeep Brochures
   
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1985 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
USA

Jeep Grand Wagoneer

  Also see: Jeep Road Tests and Reviews | Jeep Brochures
   
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1985 Lincoln Continental
USA

Lincoln Continental

  Also see: Lincoln Road Tests and Reviews | Lincoln Brochures
   
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1985 Lincoln Town Car
USA

Lincoln Town Car

  Also see: Lincoln Road Tests and Reviews | Lincoln Brochures
   
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1985 Mercury Capri 5.0 L
USA

Mercury Capri 5.0 L

  Also see: Mercury Road Tests and Reviews | Mercury Brochures
   
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1985 Mercury Cougar
USA

Mercury Cougar

  Also see: Mercury Road Tests and Reviews | Mercury Brochures
   
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1985 Oldsmobile 442
USA

Oldsmobile 442

  Also see: Oldsmobile Road Tests and Reviews | Oldsmobile Brochures
   
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1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Brougham Coupe
USA

Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera Brougham Coupe

  Also see: Oldsmobile Road Tests and Reviews | Oldsmobile Brochures
   
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1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera ES Sedan
USA

Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera ES Sedan

  Also see: Oldsmobile Road Tests and Reviews | Oldsmobile Brochures
   
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1985 Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon
USA

Oldsmobile Cutlass Salon

  Also see: Oldsmobile Road Tests and Reviews | Oldsmobile Brochures
   
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1985 Plymouth Caravelle
USA

Plymouth Caravelle

  Also see: Plymouth Road Tests and Reviews | Plymouth Brochures
   
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1985 Plymouth Gran Fury Salon
USA

Plymouth Gran Fury Salon

  Also see: Plymouth Road Tests and Reviews | Plymouth Brochures
   
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1985 Plymouth Reliant LE 2-Door
USA

Plymouth Reliant LE 2-Door

  Also see: Plymouth Road Tests and Reviews | Plymouth Brochures
   
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1985 Plymouth Reliant SE
USA

Plymouth Reliant SE

  Also see: Plymouth Road Tests and Reviews | Plymouth Brochures
   
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1985 Plymouth Voyager LE
USA

Plymouth Voyager LE

  Also see: Plymouth Road Tests and Reviews | Plymouth Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac 1000
USA

Pontiac 1000

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac 6000
USA

Pontiac 6000

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac 6000 STE
USA

Pontiac 6000 STE

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac 6000 STE
USA

Pontiac 6000 STE

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Acadian
USA

Pontiac Acadian

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Bonneville
USA

Pontiac Bonneville

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Fiero
USA

Pontiac Fiero

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Fiero
USA

Pontiac Fiero

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Firebird
USA

Pontiac Firebird

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
USA

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am
USA

Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Grand Am
USA

Pontiac Grand Am

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Grand Prix
USA

Pontiac Grand Prix

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac <a href=Grand Prix LE with T-Top Roof" width="270" class="img100" height="129" border="0">
USA

Pontiac Grand Prix LE with T-Top Roof

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Parisienne
USA

Pontiac Parisienne

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Parisienne Safari Wagon
USA

Pontiac Parisienne Safari Wagon

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Sunbird
USA

Pontiac Sunbird

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Sunbird SE Convertible
USA

Pontiac Sunbird SE Convertible

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Pontiac Sunbird SE Turbo
USA

Pontiac Sunbird SE Turbo

  Also see: Pontiac Road Tests and Reviews | Pontiac Brochures
   
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1985 Zimmer Golden Spirit
USA

Zimmer Golden Spirit

   
   
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1985 Zimmer Golden Spirit
USA

Zimmer Golden Spirit

   
   
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1985 Zimmer Quicksilver
USA

Zimmer Quicksilver

   
   
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1985 Zimmer Quicksilver
USA

Zimmer Quicksilver

   
   
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