1971 Pontiac Grand Ville Convertible, series 268, body/style 26867
Original cost: $4,706.00
Previous owner: Owner from Omaha, 1989 – 90; Bernie and Janice Taulborg Collection
Number made: 1,784
Engine, etc.: 400 cu. in.,V-8, 325 hp; automatic; 126 in. wheelbase; 223.9 in. length; 4,266 lbs.
The Pontiac Grand Ville was produced from 1971 through 1975 and replaced the Bonneville as the top-trim level, full-size series in 1971. The Bonneville, demoted in status, replaced the Pontiac Executive.
In addition to a more luxurious interior, the Grand Ville had distinctive chrome in front and taillight trim that set it apart. The two-door layout made the Grand Ville appear even more massive than the Bonneville because the back two-thirds of the car was behind the doors. Federally mandated 5 mph bumpers added to its weighty appearance and looked tacked on – which they were. When the federal government dictated that all new cars be so equipped, rather than restyle the front and rear bumper clips, Pontiac (like everyone else) drilled a few holes and bolted the new bumpers on. The 1971’s were more visually appealing since the grille helped obscure the heavier bumper in front.
The 455 hp engine was completely necessary with the Grand Ville’s weight of 4,266 lbs. The 1971 was produced the year before GM stopped producing high compression engines and began the long slide into emission-control, reducing power options. The 325 hp engine in the 1971 Grand Ville had virtually the same output as that year’s Trans-Am in 455 HO form but in a more stately package.
Standard Grand Ville equipment included automatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. Options included air conditioning, power windows and driver’s seat, tilt steering wheel, cruise control, AM/FM stereo with tape deck, Carpathian Elm burl vinyl instrument panel trim, rear door dome lamp switches, and roof rail assist grips.
The Grand Ville enjoyed moderate success from 1971 to 1973 until the Arab oil embargo in 1973 led to gas shortages and high gas prices. Full-size cars sales fell as Americans opted for smaller more fuel-efficient cars.
Grand Ville convertibles were rare in their production years of 1971 – 75, never topping 5,000 produced per year. The rarest of the rare Grand Ville convertibles is the 1971 with just 1,800 built. The final year, 1975, saw the most built with 4,500. In 1971 – 72 the entry-level Catalina was also offered as a convertible. From 1973 – 75 the Grand Ville was Pontiac’s only full-size convertible.
The Grand Ville series was replaced in 1976 with the Bonneville Brougham.
Sources: Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946 – 1974. John Gunnell. Rev. 4th ed. Krause Publications, 2002.
http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/new/010211/1971%20Pontiac%20Full%20Line/dirindex.html (Original 1971 Pontiac full-line brochure)