1981 Pontiac Parisienne from North America


The Pontiac Parisienne has to be one of the best cars Pontiac has ever made


Issues are to be expected with a car that is 26 years old, but none have been major. Besides regular maintenance, I've replaced the fuel pump, ball joints, and heater core.

My engine has been switched out so I am doing work on a 350 Chevy motor. (Probably a 1980 Chevy or Olds Motor). Still I have a good car!

General Comments:

I love my Parisienne! For the most part the car is reliable. It helps that I am mechanically inclined. I am only stranded if I can't work it out.

The ride is like a dream, especially on the highway.

I love my boat! I get offers to sell all the time. I just can't let it go.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th October, 2007

1981 Pontiac Parisienne 5.0L V8 4BBL from North America


Rode like a Lexus, looked like a tank!


Valve cover gaskets replaced at 381,000 km.

Radiator replaced at 381,000km.

Drivers side window track broke at 389,000 km.

All of the electronics (e.g. windows, locks) worked great.

General Comments:

This car is a great car if you can find one in good shape. The gas mileage is a little high, but if you are not worried about that, then have at it.

A very comfortable ride, especially on the highways. But like I said, find one that is in good shape. Mine was not, but it still drove like you were riding on a cloud (that must be a regular occurrence with large cars made in the 1980's).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th June, 2007

2nd Feb 2009, 10:29

Indeed, I have a 81 in mint shape, in the family since almost new, and I love it:)

13th Feb 2010, 16:17

I have an 81 Pontiac 2dr 112'000 kms, centre console and shift (auto), never had a better road car. Getting the half top redone this spring. 305cid, owned it for 12 years now. Getting around 24 miles per gal.

14th Feb 2010, 10:38

Yes, these were the pinnacle of comfortable driveability. Sure, not as powerful as what went before, but easier to drive and handle, while still big enough. Of course we need not comment on the sad garbage that has been sold since.

14th Feb 2010, 14:36

I had a 90 Bonneville; great ride handling and cool orange lit dash. And that was later. My engine was bulletproof. I have had Crown Vics since; great ride and very well made as well. I drove 70 mph last year in a new one getting over 30 mpg, and floated effortlessly across Florida 70 mph speed limit . I felt I could have driven across again with that great smooth quiet ride

8th Jun 2012, 22:46

I have an 81 2 door with bucket seats and floor shift. Yours is first I have heard of in 3 years of looking with the bucket seats and a console floor shift. We just rebuilt the cam on ours, redid valves and heads, should have it on the road this week I hope. Send me a picture of yours if you can johnstuart@sasktel.net

Thanks, John S.

1981 Pontiac Parisienne Brougham 5.0 Litre V-8 from North America


Fun to drive, comfortable, classic vehicle


New brake discs installed at 140,000 km.

Vinyl on the driver's side dash has cracked in the corner.

Headliner has fallen, and will be replaced this year.

Localized areas of rust on driver's door.

General Comments:

The car is a 17 foot boat that is very comfortable to drive. Pickup with the 4-speed automatic and the 305 c.i. V-8 is very good.

Recent gas mileage on the highway (at 60 mph) was approximately 24 MPG.

Power steering is easier to use than on my 2001 Pontiac Grand Am. A classic car for summer cruises for sure.

Tinted windows make it look like a hit-man's car.

For photos, go to www.cardomain.com and check out tormont1981.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th February, 2006

15th Feb 2006, 07:17

Sounds like a classic car owners dream. It is a Canadian made car as the American equivalent is the Catalina.

20th Nov 2006, 09:45

The last year Pontiac had a hood that ended at grille and not before the grille like the chevy caprice for 1981. The style was not repeated in 1982, which is sad.

4th Feb 2007, 15:35

I have a beautiful white 1981 Parisienne 2-door with power everything and is bone stock with a (under-powered) 267 v-8 2bbl. As mentioned by someone earlier, it DOES have dark tinted windows and is a total cruiser.

It has the "Automatic Temperature Control" on the car heater controls and I am having trouble with the heater kicking in far too late. It doesn't come on until about 30 miles down the road and sometimes not at all if the weather is really cold.

The dashboard control unit seems vacuum actuated. I have to assume it is coming on with some kind of engine temperature feed, but I need it to come on much sooner. It used to come on after only about 3 or 4 miles.

It worked fine until I had to replace the dashboard heater control unit because an inside copper connection jammed and broke. I rebuilt the unit and the problem arose. I have now replaced the controls from a wrecker car and the problem is still there. The 'defrost' works fine, but nothing else 'automatic' comes on until the day is warm and the car has driven many miles.

If anyone has any ideas on what may have gone wrong, I'd sure appreciate the help.