1976 Pontiac Sunbird Reviews from North America

1976 Pontiac Sunbird 3.8 liter / 231 cid gas

Model year1976
Year of manufacture1976
First year of ownership1978
Most recent year of ownership1981
Engine and transmission 3.8 liter / 231 cid gas Manual
Performance marks 4 / 10
Reliability marks 4 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.3 / 10

Summary:

Sleeper hot rod. Great little car

Faults:

A major issue I had was the odd firing engine. Got to sounding like a diesel.

Had the car in the Detroit metro area, so it rusted all to hell. One of the bolts holding the cross member for the trans eventually broke, and I never got it replaced. Bottom of the doors rusted to the point that the passenger door would not close once opened.

General Comments:

Overall, considering where I had the car, it was a blast to drive and comfortable. I raced more than one Camaro, and blew their doors off. The V6 and the 5 speed made the car very quick. I went thru a couple of clutches, but had fun doing so.

I drove the car from Detroit to Miami several times, and the car was very comfortable for the long drive.

The car was pretty basic with no A/C or power steering or brakes. Even with the V6, it was pretty easy to park.

The trunk was small, and the back seat was good only for the rug rats, or in my car, a large German Shepherd.

I would love to find another 77 to 80 Sunbird, but they're next to impossible to find.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th November, 2012

17th Nov 2012, 20:59

There are a few of these hanging on, but most are heavily modified for racing.

I always liked these. Sadly, they had a lot of problems. I guess turning them into race cars is the only thing that has kept any of them alive. You pretty much had to tub them to prevent them from rusting.

I used to see a rusted hatchback in SE Michigan. I last saw it maybe 5 years ago at the side of the road with a "For Sale" sign. I wonder whatever happened to it. I saw it on the freeway once, and he was pushing that car hard. It could MOVE.

Don't give up. Keep looking and you might find one. It would be a very interesting collectible now.

1976 Pontiac Sunbird 231 V6

Model year1976
Year of manufacture1976
First year of ownership1980
Most recent year of ownership1988
Engine and transmission 231 V6 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.6 / 10
Distance when acquired59000 miles
Most recent distance187000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Biscayne

Summary:

Perfect mix of power and economy

Faults:

Front end needed to be rebuilt at 150,000 miles due to it not being redesigned for the added weight of the V6 (was originally designed for just the 4 cylinder motor).

Every 60,00 miles or so the clutch had to be replaced.

Vinyl seat on the drivers side had to be redone at about 170,000 miles.

Electrical system was finally at its demise with the third owner at 300,000 miles. New wiring harness fixed that, I was told.

General Comments:

They should still be making cars like this! A V6 that could get rubber in three gears, 35+ mpg, engine never needed rebuilding after 300,000 miles, 5 speed transmission was bullet proof. Rear wheel drive was the way all cars should still be built.

I liked my Pontiac Quad 4 Grand Am after this car, but it still didn't have the pop that this car had. It was a great replacement for the HD Super Glide when I had to grow up! Great car for young families or singles. I would still buy one if I could find one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th August, 2009

11th Aug 2009, 15:10

That is a really nice car you have there, they are definitely very hard to come by. I definitely agree with you that they need to go back making cars with RWD again, I always prefer RWD over FWD.

10th Jun 2011, 16:23

While I agree with the indestructibility of the 3.8 liter V6, methinks the original poster is a little too enthusiastic. The 5-speed was mated with the meanest clutch on the face of the planet, which, for me, never lasted more than 35K. Once the clutch cable actually ripped a hole in the firewall!

Mileage was more in the 25 mpg range, and required premium.

Seats were shot well before 100K, and the dash was split when we bought it. Shoddily built, with exposed roof welds, plastic molding strips flying off on the highway, rotting out window channels. Granted it stayed running for 26 years before it was totaled in a multi car pileup, and was still driveable even then.

Agree that the electrical was pretty amazing. I don't recall ever replacing the alternator, and we had it from 1984 to 2002, and I put over 130,000 miles on it (over and above what it already had on it).

13th Jun 2011, 00:36

The Buick 3.8 did not require premium fuel, unless it had a turbocharger or supercharger. All 3.8 Liter V6 engines 1975 or newer used 87 octane.

1976 Pontiac Sunbird 231 cu in V6

Year of manufacture1976
First year of ownership1980
Most recent year of ownership1991
Engine and transmission 231 cu in V6 Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.7 / 10
Distance when acquired55000 miles
Most recent distance130000 miles

Summary:

Fun car at the time, but no thanks unless it was next to 0 miles and close to 0 dollars

Faults:

The only thing I recall is the bottom of the right front shock broke through where it bolt to (2 bolts). Had a new piece of metal cut and fitted so it was as good as 12 years later new. Timing chain broke as a result of cheap nylon timing cam gear. As well this was a odd fire engine which are very hard on chains I found out later not to mention the Buick V6's were notorious for low oil pressure.

General Comments:

But it went like snot. TH 350 in a small car like this probably did not help acceleration, but then again it was never overworked and lasted until the end. Always started in -30 celsius weather without being plugged in. It was just worn out and rusty and time for the bone yard.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd November, 2007

Average review marks: 6.2 / 10, based on 3 reviews