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Post Info TOPIC: A few American 69's you guys might like seeing


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A few American 69's you guys might like seeing


Given the season precluding use of our cars and how quiet it's been here lately I figured I'd update you guys on some of my big Pontiacs since they obviously share a lot with the Canadian cars...

First up is my first big poncho (bought in 2007), It's a Brougham (interior trim package, primarily a leather trim package and power windows) optioned Bonneville.  Got it from the second owner in central Oregon, but car spent most of it's life in Los Angeles.  Car is now the original color scheme but oddly it had a few color changes in it's life.  It started (and is again) Expresso Brown with gold leather innards and Ivory top.  First owner was the wife of the dealership owner, she didn't like the brown so they painted it Limelight Green when it was new.  Strangely they removed all the moldings and painted those areas green but they left the nose, rear bumper insert and all the door, trunk and fender jams brown.  The second owner bought it when it was a year old and in the 90's decided to paint it, this time an incorrect red.  He also left the bumper inserts and jams etc Brown but he didn't remove any moldings.  When I painted it in 2013 it looked pretty funny when the moldings were removed because the car was red, with original brown paint on the jams and bumper pieces with light green where the rocker moldings, door handles, side moldings and bumper blowout moldings were.  Sort of a candy cane but with an awful color combo.  Strangely despite these color changes the rest of the car was still untouched, 100% original interior, untouched mechanicals etc.  The top was still original but it wasn't savable.

Being ordered by the dealership owner he didn't hold back, it has just about every option.  390 horse 428, auto, Brougham, PDB, power steering, RII wheels, STT diff, cruise, climate control AC, power windows-seat-locks-trunk-antenna, stereo radio and 8 track, tilt, sport wheel, gauges, speed warning, deluxe belts including shoulder straps, corner lamps, air inflator pump, automatic level control etc.  Beauty to drive, very comfortable seats.  Car was big money in 69 because of all the options, The window sticker was $6,750 US or $8,200 Canadian based on the exchange rate in 1969.  

2017-05-17 071.JPG   

2022-09-14 126.JPG

2016-09-13 291.JPG

I finally gave in and did the leather seats over this year, too many cracks and splits, rest of the interior is original down to the carpet.

2022-09-14 121.JPG

 Only car I've ever seen with both gauges and speed warning factory installed.

2016-09-13 312.JPG

 



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26 1969 American Pontiacs

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Next up is a Ventura (actually a Catalina with the Ventura interior trim option) 2 seat wagon.  Another car with an interesting story, the original owner was a wealthy rancher in Central Oregon (funny how many of my cars come from there coincidentally).  His wife won a new car (a stripped down 69 Firebird coupe) on a "Good Morning America" TV show in December 68.  They had no interest in that car so ABC and Pontiac Motor Division sent him several letters (I have them) pestering him to come get the car at his local dealer.  He relented when they told him he could take any Pontiac he wanted and just pay the difference if it cost more.  So he took this wagon (standard 290 horse 400 2bbl premium fuel), TH400, AC, power steering and power drum brakes, AM radio, tinted glass, whitewalls, power tailgate, lamp group (cornering and reel out underhood), warning lights (belts, lamps and low fuel) and the Ventura trim (which gave you the interior from the Executive model and specific emblems).  The window sticker was $5,000 and the Firebird was $3,000 so he wrote them a check for $2,000.  Owning a lot of ranches he had his own plane with a climate controlled hanger. 

The car was kept there under blankets till I bought it in 2014 when the then 100 year old original owner died.  It has 20k odd miles but looks like 2k miles.  All the miles were him taking it out for a Sunday drive once a month.  Everything was 100% original right down to the paint, interior, everything.  All I did is replace the dry rotted tires with Coker replacements and I replaced the back half of the exhaust with NOS.  Carb and rad have never been touched, wires, plugs etc are still original along with belts and hoses etc.  Amazing time warp car.  The reason it has dogdish and no window moldings is apparently there was a misunderstanding, The Catalina did not come with a decor group unless you ordered it but the dealer assumed (mistakenly) that the Ventura trim group included decor but it did not.  So the car has dogdish, two spoke hard plastic steering wheel and painted side window moldings.  We call it the "US Forest Service" car because it looks like it comes out of a Lassie episode or something!

 

2023-09-18 042.JPG

Chrome exhaust tip was standard on wagons, probably to avoid shin cuts! 

2023-09-18 047.JPG   

Interesting that the factory engine paint is not at all like the silver-blue sold everywhere for 67-71 Pontiac engines 

2015-07-09 276.JPG

2015-02-28 004.JPG

2023-09-18 055.JPG



-- Edited by North on Monday 18th of December 2023 05:59:18 PM

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26 1969 American Pontiacs

and a 1969 Canadian 2+2 Hardtop



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These cars are the sort that you hear about covering 250,000+ miles and all it needs upon teardown are new gaskets & touch-up. Really that is the ultimate of the Big '69 Pontiacs. The car is loaded, not so unusual in the U.S. but uncharacteristic in Canada at the time. We hear about a Canadian '69 Pontiac Parisienne convertible and all it has is a Powerglide, whitewalls & AM radio (not that stripped cars don't have their charm).

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Next is a Catalina ragtop, nice original car, originally from Missouri but obviously never winter driven because she is absolutely rust free.  Don't know much about ownership history but seems to be two long term owners, first was a steel worker in a big steel mill outside of Saint Louis.  Paint looks nice in pics but is a 70's lacquer reshoot that is cracking like an old cue ball!  Interior is original except for carpets look repop and some dying was done here and there I assume to address fading.  Heavily optioned by Catalina standards with a 428 (the regular 360 horse version that was standard in Bonnevilles), AC, PDB, steering and all the power options.  Color is Cameo white, Ivory top and red bench interior.  Nice cruiser but the Catalina seat really can't compare to the heavy deep foam of the Brougham.  Being a late production car, it has the darker grille. 

2023-04-22 086.JPG 

2021-08-31 021.JPG

2021-09-16 002.JPG

2021-09-16 003.JPG

The white glob of paint on the snorkel is some kind of factory marking, I have a Grand Prix with the same thing.



-- Edited by North on Monday 18th of December 2023 06:00:20 PM

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Now another Brougham but this time a 4 door hardtop.  The Brougham option on this bodystyle got you a velour type interior with a biscuit pattern like the leather in the Brougham ragtop.  This one is still wearing it's original paint (a bit too far gone for my taste) and an untouched original interior (except for the seating surface of the front seat I just redid with NOS material as someone had had a pen blow in their pocket at some point).  Typical heavy option car for this model.   I'm the second owner, first had it until he died in 2016.  Interesting story (from the son) about the odd color scheme (Expresso Brown, back vinyl top and green guts), he saw the illustration of a 4 door bonnie (by AF-VK) in the main brochure and told the dealer to order that car.  It was Brown with a gold interior and brown top.  Despite being in the brochure there was no gold interior offered in the 4 door brougham.  So, the car was ordered like the brochure image (I have the dealer order form) but it came through built with the green interior and for some reason a black top.  Go Figure. 

I haven't done much to the car other than install a nice Waldron stock exhaust system, replaced the nosepiece and reseal the original 428-360 engine.  Very nice driving car.  First picture makes paint look nicer than actual.

2020-06-05 010.JPG

This pic shows the original seat material in front, has an ink stain and this guy was also a rancher (Near Denver) and wore those oiled great coats you saw out west back then. 

2020-06-05 022.JPG

Redone this year with some NOS material from SMS in Oregon 

2023-01-31 002.JPG

2023-10-30 132.JPG

Coincidently all three of my Bonnevilles were ordered with the Instant-Aire pump.  You can see the mounting bracket in front of the passenger head.  The pump unit mounts with a special spare tire hold down bracket in the trunk.  

2020-06-05 020.JPG

Interesting that the Bonneville used a standard two piece trunkmat in black fuzz (Catalina uses a smaller one piece gray plasticky mat) but the spare cover was gray for some reason.  The cardboard trunk side panels were standard on the Bonneville and optional (as part of decor group option) on Catalina.  Trunk light was standard on all fullsized US Pontiacs and the Grand Prix but optional on A and F bodies. 

2020-06-05 021.JPG 

  



-- Edited by North on Thursday 14th of December 2023 04:51:17 PM

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Next up is a 4 door sedan version of the Executive.  The Executive was a cheaper cousin of the Bonneville in that it shared the longer body (224" and 125" wheelbase versus 217 and 122" on the Catalina) but with the trim of the Ventura equipped Catalina.  Decor group was also standard.  This one came from an oil well company employee in South Dakota.  I also bought it from the son of the original owner.  Relatively well optioned with AC, power drum brakes and steering, AC and power seat, windows etc but it has the base 290-400 2bbl and single exhaust.  Mostly original paint and all original interior and mechanicals.  It does drive tighter than the hardtops and the interior is taller than the hardtops, sort of set up for the old Chrysler hat wearing people of lore!

2021-06-28 053.JPG

The fender and doors here are both original paint.  The fenders and hood were painted separately from the doghouse so you see the color difference here.  Every original paint car has a bit of this but it shows more on some cars than others.  Btw, this car and the green wagon I posted earlier are both Verdoro Green and both are original paint but from different plants.  There is a reason why there were several service bulletins about color matching Verdoro! 

2023-10-30 126.JPG

 2017-05-02 043.JPG 

2020-06-09 025.JPG



-- Edited by North on Monday 18th of December 2023 06:04:30 PM

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Another wagon, this one is a Bonneville three seater (all Bonnevilles wagons in 69 were three seaters, Catalina and Executive were 2 or 3 seat).  Antique gold with Gold interior and black Cordova top.  Paint and interior are all original but vinyl top was replaced (in same color as the original one).  Car is a really nice survivor with 50k miles and heavily optioned.  It has the standard equipment 428-360 (HO wasn't offered in wagons), TH400, AC and all the power stuff.  I'm the third owner and car was sold new in Ohio but obviously never saw winter or outdoor storage.  A few tidbits of trivia: Wagon versions of the Bonneville are built on the Catalina body with the 122" wheelbase but all wagons uses the longer rear overhang frame dimension from the Bonnie so overall length is half way between Catalina and Bonneville sedans.  69 was the first year for the two way tailgate at GM, it was standard on all Pontiac wagons except the Custom S where it was optional.  Wood grain panelling was surprisingly offered only on the Executive wagon (where it was standard), unlike most other brands that put it on their top models Pontiac chose to do so only on the midlevel wagon.  Probably a pricing concern?  Remember that in 69 only chevy and Pontiac offered fullsized wagons, Buick and Olds had those extended wheelbase A body wagons instead (Sport Wagon and Vista Cruiser).  Unlike the midsized wagons where dual exhaust was unavailable, it was offered optionally on these big wagons.   

2022-10-14 004.JPG  

2020-10-13 024.JPG

2020-10-13 027.JPG

Unlike my other Bonnevilles which are Broughams, this wagon shows how different the regular Bonneville seat pattern was.  Also the regular Bonneville used a woodgrain insert on the door panels but the brougham instead used that space for a panel that mimicked the Brougham seat pattern and material.    

2020-10-13 030.JPG

2020-10-13 026.JPG



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Last and in some ways least is another Bonneville convertible that I bought this summer. It came out of Ohio also and I'm the third owner. First owner drove it two years and then the second owner had it till this year. It is Midnight Green with Parchment guts and an Ivory top. First owner drove it year round so a bit scaly underneath but not long enough that any of the body panels have body work. It was repainted the original color many years ago and the interior and mechanicals are untouched. Top is original also but it has had it, will replace it this year. Option wise it is on the low side with base 428-360, single exhaust, TH400, no AC and only the basic stuff like Power disc brakes and steering and little stuff like STT diff and tinted glass etc.

It isn't in the condition I usually look for but I have a cottage on the ocean in Maine and I wanted a car I could keep in my garage there all summer.  And even though I have a garage the salt air is there regardless so I never bring my minty cars there.  This one is in the perfect condition for what I need, no major body work or worries about brake or gas lines etc but not so nice that I feel guilty using it there.  We can be slaves to our cars!  My plans for the car are just to get it running reliably, install a nice Waldron factory dual exhaust (can't stand that farm tractor tail pipe on it now!) and probably add a factory 8 track since AM is basically extinct in Southern Maine.

Pictures make it look nicer than it really is but it's a fine 10-20 footer.

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2023-09-08 489.JPG

 



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Beautiful cars John! I especially like the wagons. Where do you typically find them? Hemmings, POCI? 



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Thank-you John for posting these beautiful Pontiacs. Very informative as well.



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Nice collection,don't let Gord near them.

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John, there can never be enough 1969 Pontiac pictures on this site biggrin

The 4 door "dog legs" are particularly interesting.

The sedans are wider than the Canadian cars.

However, the wagon appears to be identical to the Canadian dog leg.

Is the Bonneville wagon actually shorter than the sedan ?

It looks like the Catallina wagon is the same lenth as a Bonneville wagon. 



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What a joy it is to behold your collection John. Thank you!



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Thanks guys! As for the dog legs here is the dope on body sizes:

All except wagons:

The Catalina (Ventura) uses a 122" wheelbase while all the Canadian models use the 119" chevy wheelbase chassis. Despite this they have identical body length (217.5"), and share doors and quarter panels. The way this happens is for two reasons, first the chevy chassis has the front axle one inch closer to the firewall than the Pontiac chassis. The Canadian front fender looks the same but the wheel opening is actually shifted one inch back within the fender. The other two inches difference in wheelbase is captured in back. The chevy chassis has the rear axle positioned two inches closer to the firewall than the Pontiac Catalina chassis. GM Canada chose to still use the Catalina quarter panel so the 2" difference results in the Canadian cars having the rear axle scrunched forward 2" instead of being centered in the wheel opening.

The Bonneville (Executive) uses a 125" wheelbase, the extra three inches is all in the back with the front of the quarter panels having three extra inches there compared to the Catalina. This is far more noticeable on 4 doors in the dog leg. They also have an extra three additional inches of rear overhang compared to the Catalina so the overall body length is six inches longer (223.5" and 224" on the Bonneville thanks to the 1/2" of rear bumper pad protruding past the bumper). Remember that the Bonneville is a B special, not a C body (like the 225, 98 and caddies) so interior dimensions and floor pan are identical on all B bodies from Impala to all Pontiac to LeSabre and 88.

Wagons:


The American wagons all use a hybrid of the Catalina and Bonneville chassis. The wheelbase is 122 like the Catalina but the rear frame overhang is from the Bonneville. This results in a 220.5" body dimension. All wagons, US and Canadian have the same overall length since the chevy frame used on Canadian poncho wagons is also three inches longer in terms of rear overhang. This is why there are three different lengths of the ribbed rocker moldings used on the Bonneville and the Grande Parisienne: One for the non-wagon Bonnevilles, another that is 3" shorter for a Bonneville wagon and finally the GP one is one inch shorter again (because of the different Canadian front fender wheel opening).

The US frame is quite a bit heftier than the chevy frame, the rails are deeper and wider than the chevy frame, it has an extra crossmember. The chassis is also quite different in terms of suspension with the chevy not using the front lower control A arm or the 4 control arm rear suspension seen on the Pontiac chassis.



-- Edited by North on Monday 18th of December 2023 05:55:01 PM



-- Edited by North on Monday 18th of December 2023 05:57:19 PM



-- Edited by North on Monday 18th of December 2023 05:57:52 PM

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North wrote:

 

The US frame is quite a bit heftier than the chevy frame, the rails are deeper and wider than the chevy frame, it has an extra crossmember. The chassis is also quite different in terms of suspension with the chevy not using the front lower control A arm or the 4 control arm rear suspension seen on the Pontiac chassis.

 


 Full size 69 Chevy doesn't use the 4 link rear suspension? The earlier years certainly do.

And I don't get what you mean about a Chevy not using a front lower control arm?



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I've found them in a variety of ways, mostly eBay but some were word of mouth, Craig List etc. The best place to get good deals is Facebook Marketplace but I hate using it because you can't easily search large areas at once. The people who sell on facebook tend to be doing it because they couldn't bother to pay for eBay or other national exposure sites. This is what creates the opportunities price wise.

Prices for these low value cars have doubled in the last five or so years but I think things are softening up a lot in the last six months.

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4SPEED427 wrote:
North wrote:

 

The US frame is quite a bit heftier than the chevy frame, the rails are deeper and wider than the chevy frame, it has an extra crossmember. The chassis is also quite different in terms of suspension with the chevy not using the front lower control A arm or the 4 control arm rear suspension seen on the Pontiac chassis.

 


 Full size 69 Chevy doesn't use the 4 link rear suspension? The earlier years certainly do.

And I don't get what you mean about a Chevy not using a front lower control arm?


 '69'S COULD BE HAD WITH THE 4 LINK, HAVE A COMPLETE 12BOLT POSI IN MY GARAGE FROM A '69 LAURENTIAN, IT HAS THE 4 ARMS STILL ATTACHED.



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All good, but did the USA car ever have the more advanced 3 link rear lol!



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Plenty of excellent photos and commentary on the US side of things.  Accessory documentations also.

Cliff

Just happened to be browsing.



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The Chevy full-size frame uses a straight lower arm with a separate stay rod up front and in the rear it uses two lower control arms and a single or double panhard bar up top. The US Pontiac frame uses a more typical lower A arm up front and 4 linear control arms for the rear, functionally the same suspension design as the A body set up on 68-72. Also the Chevy rear springs ride on the lower control arm while the US frame has the springs perched on the axle tubes. The Canadian and US cars drive very differently, the US models feel bigger and heavier, more solid. The Canadian models feel more like a mid sized car, not as rigid but nimbler, more responsive. One of these days I should weigh my 2+2 and my Catalina 2 door hardtops. Both are lowish option with standard engine and auto trans. Curious the weight difference? The 400 probably weighs 100-150 pounds more than a chev 350. Th400 is probably 30 pounds heavier than the th350. Body weight should be identical so any additional difference would be diff and frame.

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Great photo's and stories John. I had the privilege of seeing most of these cars when I visited John's shop 4 or 5 years ago, and yes they're as nice as they appear.

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Interesting perspective on the ride characteristics of the USA vs the Chevy chassis. Sounds about how I would imagine it to be.

Generally speaking, it's known that most Chevrolet B's 65-68 equipped with a V8 would have 4 arms in the rear, with the very most basic cars getting a single upper. But not always. Sometimes the base cars got the 4 arms AND a 12 bolt. Production parts availability likely dictated these builds.

 

Thanks again for the gallery!



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In regards to the rear arms I think the point John is trying to make is the US car has a Triangulated 4 bar rear, no Panhard bar, like an A body. Where as the Chev/Cdn Pont has 3 or 4 bar links and a Panhard bar.

 

And.. Beautiful cars John, and great stories too. Love that green wagon.



-- Edited by DANO65 on Tuesday 19th of December 2023 10:06:14 AM

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On the subject of the body differences, I ended up having two 4 doors in my home garage for the winter.  So here is an interesting look at the major differences between the 4 door hardtop and 4 door sedan.  While both are long wheelbase American models the roof lines and windows and doors etc are identical on all US and Canadian models.  Surprisingly they use different windshields (One for 4 door sedan and wagon, another for all other models including ragtops).  The difference is the 4 door sedan roof is an inch taller than the hardtop. 

The roofline is quite different with the hardtop having a sharp ridge line running the length of the roof and flowing into the quarter panel right to the rear bumper.  There is also a crisp vertical line at the front of the C pillar and the back door glass has a sharp corner.  The back glass has a pronounced ridge down the center, a precursor to the 71-76 B bodies.  This also required a 4 door hardtop specific filler panel between the back glass and trunk.

The Sedan as mentioned has a higher windshield, a more domed roof without any of the crisp feature lines on the side.  Instead of the leading edge line of the quarters flowing forward to the windshield it loops around the top of the back glass and then back down the otherside.  The back glass is also convex but without the center ridge, the filler panel is different also for that reason.

Hard to believe GM spent this kind of extra engineering and tooling rather than just have them the same with or without window frames and B pillars.  Generally a hardtop was about $150 US dollars more (about $1,200 or $1,600 2023 CAN $) than the equivalent post car so there was incentive to draw people to the higher profit hardtops. I like both but I think the 69-70 B body 4 door hardtop roof was one of the cleanest, crispest lithe roof lines of the era. 

BTW, when you sit in them you feel the difference, the sedan (and wagon) have an airier forward vision with the taller windshield while the hardtop has a more hunkered down feel from the drivers seat.  There is something extra pleasant about a 4 door hardtop with all the windows down though.  

 

2023-11-21 073.JPG

2023-11-21 072.JPG

2023-11-21 076.JPG



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Talking roof lines the 69-70 2 door hardtop B body roofline is pleasant to the eye but quite odd when you really look at it, especially compared to the beautiful 65-68 fastback roofs.  The first odd thing is the very tall and squared off roof above the windshield that continues down the sides.  It looks more like a roofline you'd see on a more formal car like say a Cadillac.  A bit out of character with the rest of the organic flowing 69 Pontiac body,

2018-06-28 167.JPG

 

2021-05-25 036.JPG

Similarly, the back glass has a very formal look, with a smallish glass area and the recessed bevel around the glass.  Almost like what you'd expect the back glass area would look like on a limousine if it didn't have a vinyl top.  Not unattractive but I suspect this roof was designed more for the LeSabre and 88 models than the Pontiac.  

2018-06-28 054.JPG  



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