Project Pair: 1984 Pontiac Sunbird Convertibles

If you squint, it almost looks like there are two Ferrari Testarossas hiding out in the dimly lit garage. Sadly, that is pure fantasy, but the pair is still seemingly just as unlikely to find in the wild: a duo of Pontiac Sunbird convertibles, locked away in a barn, and seemingly almost identical in configuration. No information is provided about the history of the cars or their running condition, but it’s safe to say the next owner will need to make use of the trailer in the foreground to get the pair home. Find it here on Facebook Marketplace in Milwaukee for $1,250 or best offer.

The Sunbird was a thoroughly underwhelming specimen when new, and time hasn’t done much to improve the impression or desirability of this forgotten specimen. Now, the convertible version offered buyers a cheap top-down option and an alternative to a six-cylinder Mustang, but they were still relatively obscure compared to the Fox platform. The interior of this car has all the hallmarks of a long-standing vehicle, including what looks like rust on the exposed metal of the automatic transmission shift lever. The carpets are dirty and the steering wheel wears a wrap that appears to be disintegrating.

The Sunbird shared its platform with a bevvy of unexceptional cars like the Cavalier and Cimarron. Out of the whole lot of cars riding the J-platform, I’d say the Sunbird, Buick Skyhawk, and Oldsmobile Firenza are the ones we see least frequently today. Of course, finding any economy car from that era is an achievement considering how many have rotted out or just been abused to the point of being junked. They weren’t worth much even when still nearly new, so it’s not exactly a model that owners cherished for the long-term. It’s hard to tell just how bad these Sunbirds are, but there’s enough evidence to suggest they aren’t exactly time capsules – what exactly is covering the windshield?

The other Sunbird appears to wear the very early model hubcaps, and a variety of body damage to the driver’s door. I don’t have any particular grudge against the Sunbird, but I greatly prefer the later models, and especially in turbocharged form. I have fond memories of a friend who had a turbo Sunbird as his winter car in high school, and made it a daily habit to bury the boost gauge as deeply as it would go. I’m not sure who the seller is going to find to take these abandoned convertibles off of his hands other than the local scrap yard, but given the amount of half-dead cars I’ve dragged home, I’m in no position to judge anyone who wants to give these Sunbirds another shot at living.


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  1. Howard A Member

    Jeff, if you see Ferraris here, vision centers are opening up again,, :), Just reading the “Milwaukee” part, like the Opel GT, would make me run screaming into the night. If, and I say IF you are interested in something like this, which I consider the low(est) point for Pontiacs, DON’T buy one from the Badger. I’d have to think, a convertible in a rust free state would be a better choice. A low point for all US cars, these were good cars, but a ’63 Grand Prix, it ain’t.

    Like 8
    • Sherminator

      Based on the rusted metal on the transmission shift-lever, this looks to be a lost cause. Imagine what the frame, engine bay, and floors look like. Buy a Florida convertible since there are plenty of cheap and more solid versions available.

      Like 5
    • Superdessucke

      I was going to say. These look like two Ferraris, sure. If you’re standing 15 feet away, just did 9 shots of Jack Daniels, it’s dark out, and it’s raining.

      Like 12
  2. nycbjr Member

    I had an ’89 2 door se, 2 tone blue/silver 5speed as my college car, added 2 subwoofers amps and a CD player to it (in the lower console), wasn’t a bad car, miss it a bit, was quite peppy, you know slow car fast deal.

    Like 4
  3. Weasel

    Ahh sunbird season already. 12 gauge is ready, let’s go bag a couple…no wait…let’s not bother. The dog won’t even chase these.

    Like 7
  4. Dennis House

    The early versions of the Sunbird were cool and due to front wheel drive were good options over the Mustang for those of us who drive in snow. As they entered the 90s the plastic “chrome” nameplates were white and they had a less aggressive appearance. My 88 Sunbird was a great car and was profiled in a local paper

    Like 4
    • Jack M.

      That’s nice Dennis, but do you still have the 1965 Buick?

      Like 1
      • Dennis House

        I do not. Sold it three years ago. Keeping my eye out for something else though

  5. CCFisher

    I don’t think those are OEM wheel covers. My guess is that both of these rolled off the line with wire wheel covers in the trunk. Too bad they didn’t roll off the line with the turbo engine and 4-speed stick. I had an ’84 Turbo hatchback, and it was fun for the day, but horribly unreliable.

    These cars remind me of a woman in my old neighborhood who loved her ’86 Eldorado (probably the most “meh” Cadillac ever built) so much, she found a nearly identical one to save for “special occasions.” I guess that’s what you do when your special occasions aren’t really all that special.

    Like 3
  6. 370zpp

    artificial reef times 2

    Like 8
  7. RayT Member

    Jeff squints a lot better than I do!

    What I see are two clapped-out Sunbirds, which I didn’t think much of back in the day. Not fast, mediocre handling, typical GM quality (which, at best, wasn’t all that swell), and unexceptional styling.

    At $1250, they might be decent parts cars, if you can find a Sunbird fanatic to pass ’em off to.

    This was not GM’s Finest Hour.

    Like 4
  8. Stevieg

    It sure looks like these two are past their prime to me too, and I kinda like these cars. I wouldn’t go near them, especially since I (like HowardA) am very familiar with what happens to iron here in Milwaukee.
    If someone is actually interested in these & would like an unbiased opinion on them, I would be happy to go look at them.

    Like 2
    • Howard A Member

      I’d be more interested in the car dolly,,,

      Like 1
  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Buy these and you’ll have his ‘n hers piles of crap!

    Like 7
  10. Chris Londish Member

    Sunbird left a nasty taste in Australian motorists mouths in the late 70s GMH bought out the Torana Sunbird in two and four door versions with a 1900 cc 4cyl Opel engine in auto and manual shift what a piece of garbage they were most ended up being ejected for a 6cyl or V8 as it was a cheap way of getting a torana shell to build a decent car, I see GM were at it again inflicting the desaster on you guys

    Like 1
  11. Claudio

    5 years ago i bought a mostly original paint low kilometer 2000 sunfire for my girlfriends first convertible and only paid $1200.00
    It needed brakes and a rear window repair wich i did
    It hascost nothing in repairs ever since
    These are rare but still very cheap and it is a waste of time to buy anything in pieces

    Seriously, $1200 for 5 summers is hard to beat
    Will be giving it away as i have now bought a z3 and it will certainly cost more than the bird…

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