Pontiac Phoenix

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Pontiac Phoenix
ManufacturerGeneral Motors
Model years1977-1984
Body and chassis
PredecessorPontiac Ventura
SuccessorPontiac Grand Am

The Pontiac Phoenix was 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 was named for the mythological Phoenix, which would die in a self-inflicted fire and be reborn from the ashes. The Phoenix was replaced by the Grand Am in 1985.

First generation (1977–1979)[edit]

First generation
Model years1977–1979
AssemblyNorth Tarrytown Assembly, Tarrytown, New York, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupe
3-door hatchback
4-door sedan
LayoutFront-engine, rear-wheel drive
RelatedChevrolet Nova
Oldsmobile Omega
Buick Skylark
Engine151 cu in (2.5 L) Iron Duke I4
231 cu in (3.8 L) Buick V6
305 cu in (5.0 L) Chevrolet LG3 V8
350 cu in (5.7 L) Chevrolet 350 V8
Transmission3-speed manual
4-speed manual
3-speed THM350 automatic
Wheelbase111.1 in (2,821.9 mm)
Length203.4 in (5,166.4 mm)
Width72.4 in (1,839.0 mm)

The rear-wheel drive Phoenix was introduced for 1977[1] as an upscale version of the Pontiac Ventura, and replaced the Ventura entirely for 1978.[1] The Phoenix differed from the Ventura in only minor details such as the grille and its square headlights and yellow rear turn signals. The Phoenix was available as a 2-door coupe or a 4-door sedan, with a 3-door hatchback available beginning in 1978. There were two trim levels available, the base and LJ, with a performance-oriented SJ package as an option.

Available engines included Pontiac's then-new 151 cu in (2.5 L) Iron Duke I4, a 110 hp (82 kW) 231 cu in (3.8 L) Buick V6, a 140 hp (104 kW) 305 cu in (5.0 L) Chevrolet LG3 V8, and a 350 cu in (5.7 L) Chevrolet V8. Transmission choices included a 3-speed manual (available with either column or floor shift), 4-speed manual, or a 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic.

1977-79 Pontiac Phoenix 4-Door Sedan

Second generation (1980–1984)[edit]

Second generation
'80 Pontiac Phoenix Hatchback.JPG
Model years1980–1984
AssemblyOklahoma City Assembly, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
North Tarrytown Assembly, Tarrytown, New York
Body and chassis
Body style2-door coupe
5-door hatchback
LayoutTransverse front-engine, front-wheel drive
RelatedChevrolet Citation
Oldsmobile Omega
Buick Skylark
Engine2.5 L Iron Duke I4
2.8 L LE2 V6
2.8 L LH7 V6
Transmission4-speed manual
3-speed TH125 automatic
Wheelbase104.9 in (2,664.5 mm)
Pontiac Phoenix

For 1980, the Phoenix was downsized and moved to the front-wheel drive X platform, and was available as a 2-door coupe or a 5-door hatchback. The base and LJ models were still available for this generation, as was the SJ trim package; the SJ package was made as a full trim level for 1982. [2] There was a minor exterior refresh and a new PJ model for 1983, followed by a name change for the LJ and SJ to LE and SE, respectively, for the 1984 model year.

Available engines were a 2.5 L Iron Duke 4-cylinder, carried over from the previous Phoenix, and a new 2.8 L LE2 V6, both of which were mated to a standard 4-speed manual transmission or optional 3-speed automatic. The high-output 2.8 L LH7 V6 was standard on the Phoenix SJ/SE for 1982[2] and was available as an option for all other Phoenix models.

As with its sister cars (the Chevrolet Citation, Buick Skylark and Oldsmobile Omega), the Phoenix's image suffered because of poor workmanship,[1] two recalls for 1981,[3] and a dangerous tendency for the car to lock the rear wheels upon braking.

The Phoenix was replaced for 1985 by a revived Grand Am[1] on the front-wheel drive GM N-body platform.


  1. ^ a b c d Encyclopedia of American Cars (2006)
  2. ^ a b Dunton, Pete. "1982-1984 Pontiac Phoenix SJ/SE – Pontiac's First Front-Wheel Drive Muscle Car". Pete Dunton's Old Car Memories. Retrieved 9 March 2018.
  3. ^ 1981 Pontiac Phoenix Recalls, http://www.carcomplaints.com/Pontiac/Phoenix/1981/recalls/ (retrieved 22 July 2015)

External links[edit]