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A full size car produced by Pontiac from 1960-1970 and a compact car from 1971-1977.

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Pontiac Ventura page on 4 August 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Pontiac Ventura is an automobile that was produced by Pontiac. The name was derived from Ventura, California. Until 1992, General Motors had an assembly plant that manufactured X-body models in the district of Van Nuys, Los Angeles at Van Nuys Assembly.

1960–1970 full-sized

The Ventura was first introduced for 1960 as a new higher priced model on Pontiac's standard full-size 122-inch B-body wheelbase, shared with the Pontiac Catalina. It was available as a four-door Vista sedan and two-door hardtop. It had unique exterior identification, deluxe wheel covers, a sport steering wheel, and distinctive tri-tone seats done in "Morrokide" (Pontiac's leather-like vinyl upholstery).

The Ventura continued for 1961 as a series, but for 1962 through 1965, it was a custom trim option on the Catalina. The Ventura series returned for 1966, continuing through 1969. It went back as an custom trim option on the Catalina for 1970. It was replaced by the Catalina Brougham series for 1971.

1971–1977 X-body compact

In 1971, Pontiac moved the name to their new X-body Nova clone, the Ventura II.

Ventura II production ran from 1971 to 1977. The "II" suffix was dropped after 1972, and the Phoenix name replaced Ventura in 1978. Engine offerings for the abbreviated 1971 model year included a 250 cu in. six cylinder or 307 cu in., only the 307 was available for the Sprint option in '71. For 1972, a Pontiac-built 350 cu in. V8 with two-barrel carburetor was added to the option list and became the base V8 for 1973 and 1974. Transmission offerings consisted of a standard column-shift three-speed manual with options including a four-speed manual, two-speed automatic (with six-cylinder) or three-speed Turbo Hydra-Matic automatic (with V8s). The 1973 six-cylinder Ventura was the last Pontiac model to offer the two-speed automatic, a badge-engineered Chevrolet Powerglide, which was dropped completely from all GM cars and trucks after this model year in favor of the Turbo Hydra-Matic.

A Ventura Sprint option package was offered on two-door models 1971 to 1975, including three-speed transmission with floor shift and optional 350 cu in. V8 equipped four-speed, body color mirrors, custom carpeting, all-vinyl upholstery with either the standard bench or optional Strato bucket seats, Custom Sport steering wheel, blackout-grille trim, special striping, blackout grille, and 14x6" (36 cm diameter, 15 cm wide) wheels.

In mid-1972, Pontiac introduced the limited production Ventura SD for the Southern California market as sort of a sporty-luxury compact to counter imported luxury sedans then taking the U.S. market by storm. The SD option added the high-back Strato bucket seats from the Firebird along with a Custom Sport steering wheel, Rally II wheels, uprated suspension and other items. Some 250 Ventura SD's were built for 1972, all at the GM Nova/Ventura assembly plant in Van Nuys, California plant.

In 1974, the Pontiac GTO name moved to the Ventura from the intermediate LeMans line. The GTO package gave the basic Ventura a 350 cu in. (5.7L) engine with a four-barrel carburetor of about 200 hp (149 kW). The package also came with a functional "shaker" hood scoop, tri-color GTO decals, Rally II wheels, and special grill-mounted driving lights. The GTO package could be ordered on the hatchback Ventura as well as the base and Custom coupes.

The GTO was dropped in 1975, along with the Pontiac 350. The Ventura could be optioned with the Buick 350 V8 instead.

The Ventura SJ was a new offering for 1975, when the Ventura and other GM compacts were restyled with new rooflines along with improved suspensions shared with the second generation F platform (Camaro/Firebird), plus standard front disc brakes. The Ventura SJ was marketed as an American rendition of a Euro-style luxury sport sedan that Pontiac created with the larger mid-sized Grand Am in 1973, as well as a competitor to the new-for-1975 Ford Granada and Mercury Monarch, both marketed as luxury compacts designed to compete with the more expensive imports such as Audi and Mercedes. As such the Ventura SJ included an upgraded interior with reclining bucket seats in either cloth or vinyl along with a center console, rally instrumentation and other items.

Only minor appearance changes were made to the Ventura for 1976 and 1977 including new grilles and revised taillights. 1976 saw the inclusion of the Oldsmobile 260 cubic inch V8. For 1977, the Chevy 250 six was replaced by Buick's 231 cu in V6 as the base powerplant and the Chevrolet 305 cubic-inch V8 was introduced as an option; the 2.5 liter "Iron Duke" 4-cylinder was also (and unusually) optional along with the 301 cu in V8. One unique feature for 1976 was the availability of a 5-speed manual transmission (Borg Warner T-50) with the 260 cubic inch V8; it was the standard transmission with the Iron Duke. Under 700 units total with this combination were built in 1976.

At the beginning of the 1977 model year, the Ventura SJ was the top-line model but at mid-year was replaced by the Phoenix, which featured a distinctive center grille and rectangular headlights and the most luxurious interior available in a Pontiac X-body car. Otherwise, the Phoenix was basically a plushed up Ventura much like the Chevrolet Concours was related to the more mundane Nova.

For 1978, the Ventura nameplate was retired and all X-body cars were sold under the Phoenix nameplate through that year and into 1979 with a top-line Phoenix SJ designated as the top-line series.


Images

1960 Pontiac Ventura Advertisement 1960 Advertisement
From National Geographic, January 1960
View 1960 Pontiac Ventura Advertisement - 2,494KB
1960 Pontiac Ventura 1960
1990's Pontiac teal paint
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Indian Uprising
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1960 Pontiac Ventura 1960
1990's Pontiac teal paint
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
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1960 Pontiac Ventura 1960
1990's Pontiac teal paint
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1960 Pontiac Ventura 1960
1990's Pontiac teal paint
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
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1960 Pontiac Ventura Tail Lights 1960
1990's Pontiac teal paint
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
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1960 Pontiac Ventura Tail Lights 1960
1990's Pontiac teal paint
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
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1960 Pontiac Ventura Wheel 1960
1990's Pontiac teal paint
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1960 Pontiac Ventura Interior 1960
1990's Pontiac teal paint
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1960 Pontiac Ventura Dashboard 1960
1990's Pontiac teal paint
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
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1960 Pontiac Ventura Speedometer 1960
1990's Pontiac teal paint
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1960 Pontiac Ventura Engine 1960
1990's Pontiac teal paint
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1960 Pontiac Ventura Trunk 1960
1990's Pontiac teal paint
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
Photo ©2016 Bill Crittenden
Woodstock Cruise Night: 2 August 2016
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
Photo ©2016 Bill Crittenden
Woodstock Cruise Night: 2 August 2016
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
Photo ©2016 Bill Crittenden
Woodstock Cruise Night: 2 August 2016
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
Photo ©2016 Bill Crittenden
Woodstock Cruise Night: 2 August 2016
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
Photo ©2016 Bill Crittenden
Woodstock Cruise Night: 2 August 2016
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1961 Pontiac Ventura 1961
Photo ©2016 Bill Crittenden
Woodstock Cruise Night: 2 August 2016
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1967 Pontiac Ventura 1967
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
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1967 Pontiac Ventura 1967
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
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1967 Pontiac Ventura 1967
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1967 Pontiac Ventura 1967
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1968 Pontiac Ventura 1968
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
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1968 Pontiac Ventura 1968
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1968 Pontiac Ventura 1968
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1973 Pontiac Ventura 1973
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
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1973 Pontiac Ventura 1973
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
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1973 Pontiac Ventura 1973
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1973 Pontiac Ventura 1973
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1973 Pontiac Ventura 1973
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1973 Pontiac Ventura 1973
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Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
2 September 1976NHTSA Recall 76V132000
1977 Buick Century, 1977 Buick LeSabre, 1977 Buick Regal, 1977 Buick Skylark, 1977 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1976 Chevrolet Camaro, 1977 Chevrolet Camaro, 1977 Chevrolet Caprice, 1977 Chevrolet Chevelle, 1977 Chevrolet El Camino, 1977 Chevrolet Impala, 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 1977 Chevrolet Nova, 1977 GMC Sprint, 1977 Oldsmobile 88, 1977 Oldsmobile 98, 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass, 1977 Oldsmobile Omega, 1977 Pontiac Bonneville, 1977 Pontiac Catalina, 1976 Pontiac Firebird, 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1977 Pontiac Le Mans, 1977 Pontiac Ventura
Steering:Wheel And Handle Bar
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page


Merchandise

Type & Item #NameDetails
Die Cast - Action 102059Dale Earnhardt #2 CokeDale Earnhardt Legendary Series, 1:24 scale, Coca-Cola 1979 Pontiac Ventura, production 64,836
Die Cast - Action 106844Dale Earnhardt #2 Mello YelloDale Earnhardt Legendary Series, 1:24 scale, 1979 Pontiac Ventura, production 600
QVC Version (also 106739)
Die Cast - Action 106739Dale Earnhardt #2 Mello YelloDale Earnhardt Legendary Series, 1:24 scale, 1979 Pontiac Ventura, production 11,664
ARC Version (also 106844)


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