The Pontiac Phoenix is a compact car sold from 1977 to 1984 by the Pontiac division of General Motors. 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
The rear wheel drive Phoenix was introduced in 1977 as the top-level trim of the Pontiac Ventura, and replaced the Ventura entirely in 1978. 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). It was available as a 2-door coupe or a 4-door sedan, with a 2-door hatch offered in 1979 only. There were three trim-levels made for the first generation: base, LJ, and SJ. Available engines included a 110 hp (82 kW) Buick-built 3.8 L V6 and a 140 hp (104 kW) Chevy 305 cubic inc V8, mated to a 3 speed either manual or automatic and a 4 speed floor mounted manual transmission.
1980–1984 Front Wheel Drive
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. 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 quickly became known and reviled for its poor build quality and numerous recalls, especially in the earlier models.
The car was replaced in 1985 by a revived Grand Am on the FWD GM N-body platform.