9,072 Original Miles! 1981 Pontiac Bonneville

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This spectacular time capsule is a 1981 Pontiac Bonneville with just over 9,000 original miles on it. It’s listed on eBay with bids approaching $6,000 and there are over five days left on the auction. It’s located in Youngstown, Ohio.

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According to the seller, this car has never even been driven in the rain. That’s a lot of garage time for a Midwest car, probably like 11.5 months a year worth of garage time! As you can see from the photos of the underside, this car has been pampered. 1981 was the last year of the “full-sized” sixth-generation Bonneville and in 1982 the car would shrink by almost 18-inches and use the midsized LeMans platform.

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This beauty is original down to the tires and exhaust and there has never been any kind of touch-up ever, not even under the hood. I know that it’s a 1981, not what most people here would consider a “classic”, but none the less, I think that this is a museum piece. This is the era when a lot of us started sinking our teeth into driving and into cars, so even though a 1981 luxury car isn’t going to be the choice of a lot of folks, it’s a piece of history, none the less.

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Incredible! I’m glad to see a few makers doing two-door luxury cars again, and it’s nice to see an older one like this Bonneville. I’ve always wondered who drove a car like this, since a full-sized luxury car seems like it automatically would have four doors, not just two. As you expected, the interior is like new.

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Speaking of like new, wow! They’re only original once, folks. There is no mention what this engine is, but the seller lists it as a V8 engine. The standard engine in the Bonneville for 1981 was Buick’s 231 V6. If it is a V8, it could be either a Pontiac 265 or 301 V8, or Oldsmobiles’s 350 diesel, which would really relegate it to museum duty! What do you think of this one? I would love to see cars from this era preserved, even though they aren’t from an era that a lot of folks would consider worthy of even being shown here. Is this car worth saving, since it’s probably the nicest one on the planet?

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. metalman

    Definitely not a diesel. My guess is a 301. Amazed at the fact it has a genuine bench seat. Full size GM cars of the era were predominantly split front bench seats. And the fact it is a non- tilt steering column. The color matched wheels are rather unique also. This was a standard option car for its trim level. Wouldn’t be a bad buy.

    Like 4
    • Kevin

      The brake booster gives it away, diesels had Hydroboost brakes. Totally needs to be parked in a museum.

      Like 2
  2. Kevin

    IMHO Pontiac products of this vintage were generally ugly as all hell. The dimensions and styling cues just didn’t make sense. Same story with the Grand Prix from this era as well. Granted, the Trans Am of this era is one of my favorites, but most of Pontiac’s other products just looked like cobbled together pieces of junk. I’ll admit this is a fantastically preserved example and no doubt somebody will love it, but it’s not for me.

    Like 0
  3. Alan (Michigan)

    Someone thought that the car was in need of new shock absorbers, and perhaps it was so. But geez, it sure looks like someone used those high-pressure gas types as replacements? I don’t think that the Bonnevilles ever rode this high, it looks comical. Riding that far up, you could fit a set of 22’s. (YOU could, but I wouldn’t, LOL) :-D

    Maybe the car was just stored on frame stands for a couple of decades, and the suspension has not yet settled back down?

    Anyway, I have a real soft spot for Bonnevilles. This is far from my favorite series, but still it is really nice. Not too far of a stretch to claim that is the nicest one of this vintage anywhere.

    I wonder if the documentation includes the invoice from Ziebart? It certainly looks like that company’s work underside, and then there are the telltale plugs seen in the door frame and door photos….

    Love the fact that it merits Historic plates in Ohio!
    But a dealer is selling it, my bet is “Reserve not met” when the auction ends.

    Like 2
  4. Kelly

    Honestly, I’d DD that. This is disturbingly close to one of my perfect DD machines, the 1983-1985 Park Avenue two-door

    B-body goodness!

    When whatever engine is in there grenades, throw an Olds 307 in it, and drive it until it’s dust.

    Like 1
  5. HoA Howard AMember

    My old man had a car like this for a short time. His had the 301 V-8 and I remember it got unusually good gas mileage for that type of car. Just a nightmare under the hood, but a nice cruiser. It wasn’t big enough for the old man, he liked big cars, and I believe a Caddy replaced it. Once again, THIS is what a low mileage car looks like. I bet there’s still a bunch of cars like this in garages around, waiting to be found once the owner passes on. Great find, very nice car.

    Like 3
  6. rmward194Member

    Those were the days when you could pick and choose each individual option. Really odd that this car has power windows, but no power locks, tilt wheel or cruise control. Nice find, even as an 80’s GM car.

    Like 1
    • Jeff Fossum

      I had an ’81 Broughm. Padded vinyl roof, wire wheel covers. Dark Brown with beige seats and trim. Salesman told me “this car says sex.” It was a real beauty

      Like 0
    • Glenn Weisel

      I always liked this era Bonneville coupes and had a black ’79 for a while. I had many other GM ’78-’84 coupes as well. This one undoubtably looks like a base level order with just a very short option list ie V8 engine upgrade. No power locks , tilt wheel, cruise, no padded vinyl half top or pillow type tufted velour interior. And that butt ugly paisley flat seat upholstery was just horrible. I remember the Bonneville Brougham with every option known to man in burgundy/ burgundy, or black/tan . SHARP CARS. Considering this time capsule find 42 years later, it is a true classic to be considered as a museum piece.

      Like 0
  7. DirtyHarry

    This was the “economical” version with enhanced fuel economy and the last to get Pontiac engines. The Bonneville and Catalina, already the smallest-selling of GM’s B-body line, suffered a serious drop in demand following the economic recession that began in the spring of 1979. With that, GM decided to pull the plug at the end of the 1981 model year. Along with them went the 301 engine, marking the end of Pontiac V8s. From now on, the division would use Chevrolet engines.

    Like 0
  8. Uncle Willie

    A simple check of the VIN (from the ebay listing) shows the engine is a 4.3l v8.

    Like 0
  9. nessy

    Nice car, nice color but a somewhat basic model. If this was the Brougham with those super plush seats and if it had the padded landau top, maybe the rare optional moonroof too? Oh, since I like the odd cars, make mine a diesel….

    Like 1
  10. DrinkinGasoline

    These were great riding vehicles regardless of the EPA restrained, poor MPG’s as were the Olds 98’s. Albeit, a little “boaty” when maneuvering, I still love these land based yachts. The feeling of driving around in your living room is long gone with the “jelly bean” cars of today. Given the choice when traveling, we still drive our ’90 Cadillac Brougham over my wife’s ’15 Taurus or our ’13 Flex.

    Like 2
  11. Reno Rick

    Big boxy fun car
    Piece of history
    Different summer cruiser and all that trunk room

    Like 1
  12. Ron

    Love the factory hand painted pinstripes.

    Like 2
  13. Mr. TKD

    I like it. The skirts are really nice, too.

    Like 4
  14. Carl

    Beautiful Bonneville! I’ve always loved these and want a 79 2 door black with the rare moonroof bucket seats, console and climate control. To me fullsize coupes are awesome. I wish they and for that matter true fullsize cars came back. You will never see me in a crossover or suv I blame them for the loss of these cars. Besides I hate trying to look through them in my Trans Am! I’d love to bring Pontiac back if only I could. Great find!

    Like 2
  15. Bill in Canada

    Very nice car save for sitting too high AND the wheels have been messed with; painted I think. They should be polished metal with red centres.

    Like 2
  16. Greg S

    Great car for someone. But unfortunately my only initial thought is “Man, that is an ugly car!” Really sorry guys. And I usually root for the underdog. 😟

    Like 0
  17. 68 custom

    man that Bonneville is perfect with the exception of the 265 pontiac motor though that motor may be rare. I would drop a 400 in there and enjoy power and a great ride.

    Like 0
  18. Dan Skopp

    What a beauty!!

    Like 0
  19. ScottyAuthor

    Auction update: this car went unsold with the highest bid at $8,081.81.

    Like 0
    • Alan (Michigan)

      ^^^ “But a dealer is selling it, my bet is “Reserve not met” when the auction ends.”^^^

      That was too easy to predict, heh.

      Like 0
  20. Philip

    Interesting car, a real time capsule. If that is truly a 265 V8 that’s the small Chevy 4.3 V8 and a 350 or 383 stroker could be slipped in with no one noticing. If you kept everything else on this motor stock to the 265 components the car would still have north of 300 Hp making it one sweet and fairly fast time capsule. I love the fact you could pick and choose options back then. The steering wheel and drive wheels are so evocative of many or the 70’s ponchos I owned 71 LeMans Sports, 79 Firebird with Chevy 350 and 4 speed, another true sleeper, cam a little head work and exhaust woke them right back up.I miss Pontiac, I was sorry to see them and Oldsmobile go.

    Like 0
  21. Duaney

    Ah, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve always thought that Pontiac did an amazing restyle of the good looking 1979 model. I love this car! It’s a good thing that we all have different tastes, or it would be a boring world. A interesting historical fact, this is the last full size American Pontiac rear wheel drive built. 1981. The 1982 Bonneville was the smaller G body, and the revived full size Pontiac was the Canadian Parisienne to come later. None of those came with a Pontiac engine.

    Like 1
  22. roy

    Would love to find the owner of this car.

    Like 0
  23. Ron Ripplinger

    I always thought these cars were gorgeous, along with the Olds and Buicks of the day. This one is definitely worthy of being shown but I would think it would be better off in the hands of a collector who will tend to its regular mechanical maintenance and operation rather than as a museum piece where the mechanics might deteriorate over time.

    Like 0
  24. Patrick Cameneti

    Bonneville rules, especially 76 Bonneville Brougham, that’s a great looking 81 Bonneville, sorry I disagree with some other comments,too each his own

    Like 1
  25. Julian González

    I’m looking for a 1978 to 1981 Pontiac bonneville

    Like 0

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