Pontiac Phoenix

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Not to be confused with Dodge Phoenix.
Pontiac Phoenix
Manufacturer Pontiac (General Motors)
Model years 1977–1984
Assembly Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Tarrytown, New York, United States
Body and chassis
Class Compact
Platform X-body
Predecessor Pontiac Ventura
Successor Pontiac Grand Am

The Pontiac Phoenix is a compact car that was sold from 1977 to 1984 by Pontiac. There were two generations of the Phoenix, both based on popular Chevrolet models, and both using the GM X platform designation. It is named for the Phoenix bird in the mythologies of Persians, Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese, and Phoenicians that would live for about 500 to 1000 years, die in a self-inflicted fire and be reborn from the ashes. The rear drive GM X platform borrowed much from the earlier established GM F platform that was the basis of the Pontiac Firebird.

The Phoenix was replaced by the Grand Am in 1985.

1977–1979 Rear Wheel Drive[edit]

Main article: Chevrolet Nova
First generation
Model years 1977–1979
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
4-door sedan
Layout FR layout
Related Chevrolet Nova
Oldsmobile Omega
Buick Skylark
Engine 2.5 I4
3.8L V6
5.0L V8
Transmission 3-speed manual
3-speed automatic
4-speed manual
Wheelbase 111 in (2,819 mm)

The rear wheel drive Phoenix was introduced in 1977[1] as the top-level trim of the Pontiac Ventura, and replaced the Ventura entirely in 1978.[1] The Phoenix differed from the Ventura in only minor details such as the grille and its square headlights (first GM vehicle to use the 6054 aka 7x6 headlight bulbs) and yellow rear turn signal, not common in US made cars. It was available as a 2-door coupe or hatchback or a 4-door sedan. There were three trim-levels made for the first generation: base, LJ, and SJ. Available engines included 151 cubic inch Iron Duke I4, 110 hp (82 kW) Buick-built 3.8 L V6 and a 140 hp (104 kW) Chevy 305 CID 2 barrel & 350 CID 4 barrel V8,[1] mated to a 3 speed either manual or automatic and a 4 speed floor mounted manual transmission.

1980–1984 Front Wheel Drive[edit]

Main article: Chevrolet Citation
Second generation
'80 Pontiac Phoenix Hatchback.JPG
Model years 1980–1984
Body and chassis
Body style 2-door coupe
5-door hatchback
Layout Transverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
Related Chevrolet Citation
Oldsmobile Omega
Buick Skylark
Engine 2.5L I4
2.8L V6
Transmission 3-speed automatic
4-speed manual
Pontiac Phoenix

In 1980, the Phoenix was downsized and moved to front wheel drive, and was available as 2-door coupe or a 5-door hatchback. The base, LJ, and SJ models were still available for this generation.[1] There was a minor exterior refresh in 1983 (including a name change for the LJ and SJ to LE and SE, respectively).

Available engines were a 2.5 L 4 cylinder and a 2.8 L V6, mated to a 3 speed automatic or 4 speed manual transmission.

As with its sister cars (the Chevrolet Citation, Buick Skylark and Oldsmobile Omega), the Phoenix's image suffered because of poor workmanship[1] and two safety recalls for 1981.[2]

The car was replaced in 1985 by a revived Grand Am[1] on the FWD GM N-body platform.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Encyclopedia of American Cars (2006)
  2. ^ 1981 Pontiac Phoenix Recalls, http://www.carcomplaints.com/Pontiac/Phoenix/1981/recalls/ (retrieved 22 July 2015)


The Rear Wheel Drive portion of the article has been written and reviewed by Pontiac Phoenix owners of that generation. All information is based on personal research/work and information about other RWD X-body vehicles.