Junkyard Gem: 1980 Pontiac Phoenix LJ hatchback


In the late 1970s, the automotive world rushed headfirst into front-wheel drive to take advantage of the weight-saving and space-saving advantages of front-wheel drive. General Motors designed an innovative FWD platform substitute the embarrassingly outdated Chevrolet Nova and his siblingsand that was the end the Chevrolet citation. The other US market GM Auto departments (except Cadillac) got a slice of the X-Body action, and that pontiac Version was called Phoenix. Here is one of them Phoenix first yearnot doing a very good job rising out of its snowy ashes a self-service farm in Colorado.

Pontiac had continued to use the Phoenix name a luxurious iteration from Pontiac’s version of the Chevy Nova during the 1977-1979 model years, so applying that name to the Pontiac-ized Citation made sense. Phoenix production continued through the 1984 model year (the Citation managed to hold out until 1985). Just to confuse everyone, the Nova name was revived in 1985 a Toyota Corolla built by NUMMI.

The LJ trim level was the finest for the 1980 Phoenix and featured many trim upgrades and convenience features.

However, Phoenix LJ buyers also had to pay extra for a three-speed automatic transmission instead of the base Four-on-the-floor manual ($337 or about $1,291 in 2022). If you wanted air conditioning, that was another $564, and you had to get the power steering for $164 and the power for $76 brakes with it (total cost in 2022 dollars: $3,080). Affordable cars weren’t that affordable back then, not when you started adding basic options.

Both generations of the Phoenix featured grilles influenced by those of the Pontiacs of earlier years.

The base engine was the chugging 2.5-liter Iron Duke four-cylinder, but a 2.8-liter V6 was optional. This car has the 115 horsepower V6 and not the miserable 90 horses of the Duke. The price: $225, or $862 adjusted for inflation in 2022.

The Phoenix was only available as a two-door coupe and five-door hatchback. MSRP for this car would have started at $6,127, or currently around $23,469.

That would have been a pretty good deal even after paying for the options, with the Phoenix’s excellent mix of good interior space and solidity fuel consumption… but the Citation and its relatives (the Oldsmobile Omega and Buick Skylark as well as the phoenix) suffered from seemingly endless, heavily publicized recalls and quality problems. One of my college friends had a nearly new ’84 Phoenix, and It was pretty much the worst lemon I’ve ever experienced. What should have been an import battle triumph for The General ended up being a major disappointment. Selling started very strong, then ffall off a cliff after a few years.

That’s hard to take because here was a front-wheel drive compact sedan design that was real American. It drove how Americans liked to drive their sedans, kept five adults in reasonable comfort, and stretched your gas dollar. In the meantime, Chrysler roared with his brand new line of similarly innovative K-Cars from 1981 and Toyota started selling the American market Camry 1983.

The X-Body Phoenix is ​​all but extinct now, so I was glad to find this sad but important piece of American automotive history. That makes it one junkyard jewel.

The first front-wheel drive Pontiac!

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Hey, I am Sakib Hossain Sojib, an entrepreneur known as an SEO Specialist, Digital Marketer, Blogger, and Content Creator. I have a team of researchers who guide and review products for our audience to help them by providing valuable information to help our audience makes the best decisions for their needs. I love to take care of my cars. So, I like and enjoy car maintenance and automotive research. The provided content is based on my learning, research, and understanding of the topic and its concept. Our extensive experience in the industry allows us to offer unique insights and perspectives on the latest trends and products. We aim to educate and empower our readers by providing them with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions about their needs.

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