Junkyard Gem: 1980 Pontiac Phoenix LJ Hatchback

The car or truck-creating planet was dashing headlong into entrance-wheel-drive by the late 1970s, eager to experience the bodyweight-saving and room-improving benefits of front-drive designs. Basic Motors developed an impressive FWD system to swap the embarrassingly out-of-date Chevrolet Nova and its siblings, and that finished up currently being the Chevrolet Citation. The other US-industry GM automobile divisions (other than Cadillac) obtained a piece of the X-System action, and the Pontiac model was named the Phoenix. This is a person of those people to start with-12 months Phoenixes, not carrying out a very great career of growing from its snow-coated ashes in a Colorado self-support garden.

Pontiac experienced utilised the Phoenix title on a luxed-up iteration of Pontiac’s model of the Chevy Nova through the 1977-1979 design years, and so it produced feeling to apply that name to the Pontiac-ized Citation. Phoenix production continued by means of the 1984 design calendar year (the Citation managed to hold on as a result of 1985). Just to confuse every person, the Nova title was revived in 1985, on a NUMMI-created Toyota Corolla.

The LJ trim degree was the nicest just one for the 1980 Phoenix, and it bundled tons of trim upgrades and ease features.

Having said that, even Phoenix LJ potential buyers had to fork out more for a three-pace computerized transmission rather of the base 4-on-the-flooring guide ($337, or about $1,291 in 2022 pounds). If you required air conditioning, that was another $564 and you experienced to get the $164 energy steering and the $76 ability brakes with it (total price in 2022 pounds: $3,080). Inexpensive cars and trucks were not so inexpensive back again then, not the moment you began adding essential choices.

Each generations of the Phoenix had grilles influenced by all those of the Pontiacs of earlier a long time.

The base engine was the chugging 2.5-liter Iron Duke four-cylinder, but a 2.8-liter V6 was optional. This car or truck has the V6, rated at 115 horsepower rather than the Duke’s depressing 90 horses. The cost tag: 225 bucks, or 862 inflation-altered 2022 bucks.

The Phoenix was readily available just as a two-doorway coupe and five-door hatchback. The MSRP on this vehicle would have started at $6,127, or close to $23,469 now.

That would have been a rather very good offer even following paying for the solutions, with the Phoenix’s excellent blend of excellent inside room and good gas economy… but the Citation and its kin (the Oldsmobile Omega and Buick Skylark as perfectly as the Phoenix) endured from seemingly endless, really publicized remembers and excellent challenges. A person of my higher education close friends had a almost-new ’84 Phoenix, and it was just about the worst lemon I have ever experienced. What really should have been an import-slaughtering triumph for The Standard ended up being a major disappointment. Revenue started out pretty solid, then fell off a cliff immediately after a pair of many years.

That is difficult to acquire, because right here was a compact front-wheel-generate sedan structure that was genuinely American. It drove like People preferred their sedans to push, held 5 grownups in realistic consolation, and stretched your fuel greenback. In the meantime, Chrysler roared up with its brand-new line of in the same way impressive K-Autos setting up in 1981, and Toyota started providing the American-sector-centric Camry in 1983. 

The X-Physique Phoenix has turn out to be all but extinct by now, so I was happy to obtain this saddening-but-essential piece of American automotive background. That is what will make it a Junkyard Gem.

The first Pontiac to get front-wheel-generate!

Similar video clip: