When is a G-Body not a G-Body?

Why, when its an A-Body of course!

Yeah, I know.  There’s always that guy.  “BUT ITS AN A BODY NOT A G BODY.”

Look.  Here’s the deal.  From 1978-1981, GM actually did call our beloved cars by two names.  Sometimes 3 if you really want to get picky about it.  So, in this post, I’m going to try to break it down for you.

In 1982, the A designation was put on the brand new front wheel drive platform, and all remaining RWD models became G cars.  That’s cars like the Cutlass Ciera, Buick Century, and Chevy Celebrity.  Recognize any of those names? Yep, the Century and the Cutlass got appropriated!

The thing is, though, that even if it technically was an “A” instead of a “G”….   its really just the same thing.  The distinction was made to distinguish between model variants under the same marque.  They really are mostly identical.  Mostly.

Let’s get started.


From what I can tell, ALL Chevrolet “G” bodies where actually A cars from 1978-1981.  The Monte Carlo bearing the “A-sp” or “A-special” label in 1981.  As far as I know this also applies to the GMC Caballero.


From 1978-1981, The red-headed stepchild Century and its longer-lasting partner the Regal were A body cars, with the Regal being called the “A-sp” or “A-special” in 1981.


As far as I know, the Olds Cutlass variants from 1978-1981 were really A cars.  No special here in 1981 (see image left)….





1976-1981 Pontiac Parts Manual Excerpt

From 1978-1981, the LeMans family was the A-body, and the Grand Prix was actually a G-body.  I suppose to continue the distinction from previous model years.  Sort of.  The Grand Prix gets called an “A” in several places as well.  Why they did this I literally have no clue.  Just to muddy the waters I suppose.

Wait, except like the Monte and Regal, in 1981 the Grand Prix designator was “A-sp” or “A-special.”  It’s true.  If you look in the body/service and parts manuals, this is how they’re listed. 

Also, in 1982, the Bonneville name switched from the big B-body car to the 4-door and wagon G-body variant.

I mean, if you REALLY want to get technical, back in 1969 Pontiac first used it on the new Grand Prix, and then in 1970 the Monte Carlo joined the platform until 1972.



I see far too often this topic come up, and people getting genuinely butthurt and being misinformed.  It’s not even worth getting upset about.  Yes your Malibu or LeMans might be an A body, but we still love you just the same.

I've been in a G-Body in one way or another since they were new. I got my own '79 Cutlass in 1990, and have been a fanatic ever since. In 2005 I started GBodyForum, and now GBodyNation.


  1. Bill Cardona

    27 April, 2018 at 12:25 PM

    I think the magazine is a great idea, I have a 79 Grand Lemans w/ a 455 bored 30 over,th400 behind and 3:73’s behind that. not too many of these around so as you can imagine parts are nearly impossible to find. if anyone out there has or knows where i can find anything for it, it would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Horace Lindon

    5 January, 2019 at 6:55 PM

    I have a 1981 Chevy Elcamino and in need of a full steering column! What other car or truck I can just pull one out and mount in mind! Need help!

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