Time Warp Hatch: 1980 Pontiac Sunbird

This listing is for an incredibly well preserved 1980 Pontiac Sunbird, a malaise-era survivor that is virtually extinct. The seller has owned the Pontiac since 1987 and is only selling due to difficulty getting into and out of the car, as he is 80 years old. The Sunbird sports some high-zoot factory options for such an entry-level car, and still looks to be in excellent condition. Find it here on craigslist for $5,100.

Thanks to Barn Finds reader Pat L. for the find. The Pontiac has clearly been in Maine since new, given the dealer badge on the deck lid and the current location in Vassalboro. That’s incredible for what could otherwise be considered a throwaway car in a snow belt state, given there’s no rust to speak of and the interior looks like it’s been treated with an upholstery conditioner since new.

The seller notes it comes with the venerable Iron Duke four-cylinder paired to an automatic transmission. When it rolled off the lot, the first owner optioned the Sunbird with dual outside mirrors, special equipment wheels, and rubber inserts on the bumpers. Not exactly extravagant, but likely some of the pricier options available for a Sunbird in 1980. Everything looks tidy under the hood.

I love this dealer badge, representing an era of new car sales we’re not likely to return to anytime soon. A Pontiac-Fiat-Mercedes-Benz specialist is a combination you’re not likely to find again, and I’d love to take a time machine back to Augusta, Maine in the 1980s to stroll around that dealer lot. This Sunbird is likely one of the best left, and the seller sounds like the kind of guy you’d want to buy such a car from.

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Comments

  1. Bob_in_TN Member

    Thanks Jeff. What a nice example of a car which, as you note, is “virtually extinct.” I love the period-correct colors. The owner’s write-up seems believable, he (or she) obviously took great care of the car and didn’t use it much. He (or she) will probably cry when it leaves home.

    I wonder if the Nichols dealership had three stores, and used the same sticker for each. Or, if all three makes were under one roof. That indeed would have been an unusual grouping.

    3
    • Charlie H

      All under 1 roof

  2. RedBaran

    The fact that this car is still surviving in this condition is astounding.

    That being said, I think it’s perhaps one of the ugliest cars every made (besides the Pontiac Aztek); it looks like someone put a Ford Pinto on a medieval torture rack and stretched it about 2 feet longer…

    3
    • Classic Steel

      Not every car is born a supermodel . 😏

      Okay.. one so ugly joke..
      This car is so ugly that even loading the pictures to this site that the computer anti virus software kept rejecting it.

      Okay enough jokes.

      It’s wonderful that all models get kept.

      I hope the next owner continues to carry the torch of preserving this car!

      3
  3. Rock On

    Thanks Jeff, now I have to listen to this inside my head all day long!
    https://youtu.be/umj0gu5nEGs

    1
  4. TimS Member

    If not for the headache red interior, this could be a fun little car. Great to see something from an era where different interior colors could still happen, though.

    2
    • Billieg

      Why do people order the same interior color as the exterior? Lack of imagination? I hate the same colors…..

      1
      • Mike H. Mike H. Member

        GM used to refer to this as “Color Keyed Interiors”. It wasn’t a lack of imagination so much as it was the prevailing style through the latter half of the 60’s and all through the 70’s and 80’s, and even into the 90’s.

  5. Will Fox

    One of those cars, like an AMC Concord, that will never reach collectible status, and never grow in value. It’s only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. It’s clean, rust-free, and has been cared for so it has that much going for it. This is a car I’d buy my daughter to go to college in. (If she was still that young.)

    2
  6. Fahrvergnugen

    I had the exact match of this car as a Chevy Monza but with a 4speed as my college commuter. Added louvers on back window and dual air horns from JCW becuz why not. Made speaker boxes which we’d prop up outside when listening to 8 tracks of BTO Aerosmith Boston Zep.

    Only way to smoke the tires was to set them on fire.

    Don’t miss it one bit.

    11
  7. Jim in FL

    Wow, I taught my friend Kelly to drive stick in one of these. Her mom gave it to her for her 16th but didn’t teach her how to drive it. Hers was heavily optioned as well with the cool wheels, but no air on hers either. Didn’t matter that much in Philly. Back then having a car at all put you above most kids.

    From a nostalgia standpoint I would love to buy this and teach my daughter to drive and wrench on it, but no air plus transport fees counts me out.

    When I worked at the dealer, I swear once a week one of these would come in for interior door pulls. They had a single screw into the plastic holding the door pull to the door card. They tore out constantly. We finally just ordered them in white and black and told people those are the only colors we could get.

    3
  8. jerry z

    That car is screaming for a LS swap! If I didn’t have so many cars in the yard now, it would be a nice addition.

    8
  9. CanuckCarGuy

    A buddy of mine drove one of these back in the early ’90s…finished in cream with tan interior. He paid less than $500 and it lasted him a few years despite the terrible treatment it received…his next car was a K-car, just as cheap and equally abused.

    2
  10. SteveMar

    I get more excited about cars like this than many of the restored specialty/sporty cars you usually see. Lots of Camaros and Firebirds make it, but far fewer cars like this that were always considered expendable. It’s not the best at anything, but it’s been cared for for nearly 40 years. I’d snap it up if I lived closer and had the money.

  11. James Schwartz

    I’ve got a ’76 Sunbird in pretty much the same color scheme (though mine is a bit darker of a red). And mine is the “notchback” with a trunk, not the hatchback.
    Mine is even more of a stripped down model with the 4 cylinder and 3 speed manual (yep 3 speed, not a 4 or 5). And in ’76, the 4 cylinder was the Vega aluminum 4.

    3
  12. Djjerme

    While these didn’t the platform did come with a factory V-8 option in the Monza (I had one.) It was a PITA to change spark plugs, and it was just one wheel peel EVERYWHERE!

    That being said, these are fun cars to toss around, I also had a Skylark of this body style with good ol Buick V-6. I think I got it for $500, but the interior was the same color as this one, except the steering wheel was loose. I recall pulling it off on the freeway heading home from fishing and freaking out the girl I had in the car at the time. 20 years later she still reminds me of that stunt when I chat with her.

    2
    • James Schwartz

      I’m sure you meant “Skyhawk”. That was the name of the Buick version.
      “Skylark” being the name of Buick’s version of the Nova.

      3
  13. Stevieg Member

    I had one almost identical to this except for a tan interior, V-6 & 4 speed. I think I would have preferred the 4 popper with a stick. That 6 popper was slow as molasses. I hated that car! A friend had a coupe like it with the 4 cylinder & automatic that was quicker than mine (how humiliating) and got better gas mileage. His had a factory vinyl top, which he didn’t like. He decided to peel that top off. There was a fuzzy underlay that wouldn’t come off, so then he had a head of hair on his Sunbird. So my 6 cylinder, stick shift “fastback” (hatchback) that looked decent would get blown away by a derelict “hairy” 4 cylinder automatic sibling. Very sad lol!

    1
  14. Eric B.

    Not in a snow belt state? I’m pretty sure they get a lot of a snow in Maine.

  15. KKW

    A Monza by any other name is still a Monza. And a turd by any other name is still a turd.

    1
  16. Charlie H

    This car was a regular at the Thurs night cruise in I attend. It is as advertised.

  17. Paul L Windish

    A truly nicely preserved example from 1980. I had a ’75 Monza Fastback and was surprised at how unchanged the car was through 5 years of production. The Monza’s interior was virtually the same as the Sunbird’s but in black. My Monza had the infamous 262 V-8 which gave it a lot of pep, but a son of a gun to change plugs in.

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