Hagerty readers and Hagerty Drivers Club members share their cherished collector and enthusiast vehicles with us via our contact email, firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re showcasing some of our favorite stories among these submissions. To have your car featured, send complete photography and your story of ownership to the above email address.
Today’s featured vehicle is a 1984 Pontiac Bonneville. Despite its somewhat circuitous life cycle, the Bonneville nameplate lived a fairly uneventful life between 1982 and ’86. The seventh-generation car rode on the midsize, rear-wheel-drive G-body platform—hence its official title, “Pontiac Bonneville Model G.” This was the first generation in which Pontiac marketed the Bonneville in Canada, where it appeared as the Parisienne.
This particular Dark Briar Brown Bonneville belongs to Ronald Brown, whose family ordered it with a 5.0-liter V-8 and a custom Buckskin vinyl top—a contrasting color that, his father thought, helped distinguish the four-door from a police cruiser. The Bonneville fulfilled roles ranging from daily driver to plywood hauler, the sheets tied to its vinyl roof. “I still shudder to this day at that thought,” Brown writes. “But the Bonneville was always there, ready for its next adventure.” In 1999, the Bonneville fulfilled another role, that of private shuttle to and from hospitals and doctor’s offices after Brown’s father was diagnosed with cancer.
“They say when it rains, it pours,” Brown writes, “and I can attest to the truth of that statement.” He left work one rainy day to find water on the Bonneville’s steering wheel. Upon examining the car, he discovered that the leading edge of the roof had rotted; the entire roof would need to be removed, along the factory seams, and a new one welded on. As many of us can relate, the project started with the roof, but it didn’t end there. Two months later, the Bonneville boasted a new top and paint free of rust bubbles and blisters.
Unfortunately, Brown’s father never had the opportunity to drive the Bonneville again; he passed away in the summer of 2000. While some figured that Brown would sell the refreshed Bonneville, the thought never crossed his mind.
“All the time and effort that went into repairing it was for [my father], and not to get a better resale value,” he writes. “There are a lot of memories tied to this car and, while some are sad, I choose to focus on the good ones. I know that whether the Bonneville is turning heads at a car show or getting a compliment when stopped at a red light, my father is somewhere smiling becuase this Pontiac is providing me with as much pleasure as it did when he drove it.”