This is the first Grand Bill .
You can't buy a smoother more luxurious ride at any price .
It's pure Pontiac on the act many regard the 19 sixties era Pontiacs as the zenith of General Motors styling .
And in fact , it's hard to pick a bad looking Pontiac from that era , whether it's the Bonnevilles or the Catalina , the Tempus , the G T Os Firebirds or other vehicles in the lineup , they all were good lookers and generally well built vehicles .
However , as the 19 seventies approached Pontiac planners as well as leadership wanted something different .
They noticed a trend that more and more buyers were pushing into the luxury class and within the luxury class buyers were also purchasing more and more expensive vehicles .
Pontiac certainly had the Bonneville which was his range topping family car as well as the Grand Prix , which was its range topping personal luxury coupe .
However , product planners wanted something that would help Pontiac push even higher into the luxury class .
And interestingly , they combined the names of the Grand Prix and the Bonneville to come up with the new for 1971 .
Pontiac Grandville , Pontiac envisioned the Grandville as a true luxury vehicle that would help them create a halo effect across the entire model lineup .
It was to have more interior roominess , a formal roof line and quite humorously , Pontiac viewed it as having a long hood , short deck look , he could call this car just long overall , but that's how they marketed it to dealers and a great amount of interior roominess .
Thus , the vision was that a buyer could get a product that was unmistakably Pontiac but had different visual appeal from the Bonneville , particularly due to its formal roof line .
It was also the perfect time to implement this new vehicle as General Motors full size cars were all new for 1971 .
So not only would the Grandville be introduced but the new Bonneville , Catalina and a new Catalina Brome would also be introduced .
So Pontiac could appropriately position the Grandville across its entire line up at the same time that General Motors was reinventing all of its full size vehicles .
Strangely , while enhanced interior roominess was one of the features that Pontiac marketed to his dealers as an attribute of the Grandville really didn't have any more enhanced interior room over the Catalina and the Bonneville .
In the previous generation General Motors vehicles , the wheel base had been stretched by repositioning the rear wheel and providing greater passenger compartment space on the longer wheel base cars .
However , this approach was changed for 1971 and the increased wheel base came by moving the front wheel forward to give the car an overall longer hood than the shorter wheel based models .
However , interior roominess consequently was really no different across any of the General Motors full size vehicles because of this differing approach .
In any case , leading the design of the 1971 Pontiacs for two individuals , Bill Porter , the design chief for the exterior studio , and John Shetler , the design chief for the interior studio .
This is also one of the first vehicles where the interior and exterior studios tried to combine forces to come up with harmonious themes across both the exterior of the vehicle and the interior .
Something that typically wasn't done in previous years .
G M would later take this philosophy to the extreme in the two thousands period when it would combine the chief designers for interior and exterior studios to do one vehicle .
But this was not typically the case and is again not the case today on the exterior , Bill Porter who had been responsible for the 1968 G T O among other vehicles .
And his team devised a new riff on Pontiac's twin port grill theme with the grill spilling over underneath the headlights on all the full size Pontiacs for 1971 .
The cars also had a quite pronounced beak or front end nose .
A design team Ford would also employ in its Thunderbirds for 1971 as Bunky Nusen who was once in charge of Pontiac Motor Division migrated to Ford Motor Company as its president in 1968 outback , all full size Pontiacs also had a new separated horizontal tail light theme when it came to the interior , John Shetler and his team tried to create something that was more harmonious with the exterior and also a more sporting cockpit for the driver in a similar vein to what the Grand Prix interior had been from years prior .
The familiar horizontal speedometer , as well as instrument panel gave way to a more driver centric cockpit and round gauges for the speedometer and optional gauge package in the instrument cluster .
Without the gauge package , one just got a clock in the left pod , interior fabrics were all new and the Grandville buyer got the best of what Pontiac had to offer , particularly if the custom interior group was ordered , which provided the buyer with an even more up level style interior and cigarette lighters in the backs of the front seats essential for anyone who was driving these vehicles or riding as a passenger during this time period where most people smoked .
Unfortunately , while the materials were luxurious by General Motors , 1971 standards , they really weren't anything special if you compare them to Pontiacs , particularly from the mid sixties where real wood trim was used on the upper end Pontiacs and an extremely high level of detail and quality was put into the interiors .
The theme for the 1971 Grandville interior was quite good and interesting .
And as I previously mentioned , quite driver centric yet , it just didn't feel all that rich given the materials that General Motors was employing during this time period under hood , Grandville came standard in 1971 with Pontiacs top of the line 455 cubic inch V eight making 325 gross horsepower .
This was also the first year that GM , vehicles were designed to run on low lead or no lead .
Gasoline GM was taking up this charge and did so about a year ahead of Chrysler and Ford in an effort to reduce pollution and also allow the buyer to use regular gas in their vehicles .
Thus , the mighty 455 which made 360 gross horsepower in 1970 in the Bonneville was now down to 325 gross horsepower in 1971 .
However , Pontiac compensated a bit by giving the full size Pontiacs a shorter rear end ratio which was standard at now 3.8 to 1 .
In 1970 the standard rear end ratio for Pontis full size cars was generally a 256 to 1 ratio .
In some cases , a 2 93 Pontiac also continued a tradition of under hood innovation beyond their engines and transmissions and in 1971 introduced a new Delco maintenance free battery where you didn't have to add water across the entire line up .
This was a Pontiac exclusive for the 1971 model year .
And also in 1971 Pontiac introduced the self regulating alternator across its lineup .
An innovation that had first appeared across the industry in the 1968 Grand Prix chassis tuning was also significantly revised so that the body mounts were materially softer .
Versus the 1970 model spring rates were a bit softer as well .
And the overall ride was designed to be more compliant G M did introduce flush glass on these vehicles which contributed to significantly reduced wind noise .
And indeed the 1971 Pontiacs and the Grandville in particular are some of the quietest vehicles from the 19 seventies , even quieter than higher end Ford products and mow pars most certainly where the latter was really not known for overall quietness during this time period , unless a buyer checked the box and ordered an imperial .
So what's it like to own one of these early 19 seventies , Pontiacs ?
Well , I do own , in fact , a 1971 Pontiac Grandville that I just didn't have a chance to make a video this year of it , but I will say this , it is a supremely quiet and well riding automobile .
Although during the 1971 model year , as I mentioned , Pontiac did transition to softer body mounts in an overall softer frame than what was used in the 1970 models .
The goal was to endow the car with a softer ride .
And I can say that in my Grandville .
It works beautifully .
The car rides wonderfully and is very , very quiet at speed .
Freeway speed , 70 80 even 90 miles an hour is quiet on the inside and it will go that speed all day long .
So long as you want to burn a lot of gas on the downside , I have driven other vehicles from General Motors divisions , particularly the Cadillac of this era and they seem to suffer in terms of ride quality .
And I think that this new less rigid frame combined with softer body mounts just makes it harder from a build perspective to build the vehicle .
Exactly right and provide that ride that customers so desired , particularly in hard top form where there's less structural rigidity under hood .
Pontiac's 455 cubic inch V eight is indeed impressive in these vehicles despite the lower compression ratios and its ability to run on low lead or no lead gasoline .
However , I will say that one upgrade I did to my 1971 Grandville that provides it with at least by seat of the pants field .
Another 30 to 40 horsepower is the addition of dual exhaust .
These cars came standard from the factory with single exhausts .
And if you look at the Pontiac exhaust manifolds from this era , both banks of cylinders narrow down in their exhaust manifolds to something that is really small in diameter before going into the single pipe , putting dual exhaust on my Grandville just gave the car so much more top end performance performance that I never thought that it had .
Especially if I turn the air cleaner upside down and allow the big quadrajet four bra carburetor to breathe even more .
It's a surprisingly quick car after I've made these very , very minor modifications and the engine does it all while being extremely smooth and quiet and inoffensive under hood .
The Turbo hydrotic 400 transmission goes about its work absolutely effortlessly and almost undetectable and same with the rear end in these cars .
The 10 bolt that's in my car , non pasi rear end is extremely silent .
You don't hear anything and it just lends the overall vehicle a wonderful sense of drive ability .
I only wish the interior materials and overall fit and finish of these cars were a bit better , albeit Pontiacs did I would say generally have better fit and finish than other GM divisions during this time period .
I hope you enjoyed this spotlight on the 1971 Pontiac Grandville .
And if you want a special treat , I'll put a plug in for a vintage movie .
It's not a 71 Grandville , but if you want to see a 1973 Pontiac Grandville flying around at top speed , be sure to check out on youtube .
A car chase scene from the movie , The Seven Ups with Roy Scheider , the 73 Grandville is driven by stuntman Bill Hickman who also did the stunts in the French connection played a small bit part and he also engineered and drove the Dodge Charger in the movie Bullet with Steve mcqueen .
Thanks for watching this video .
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