Pontiac Bonneville

The Pontiac Bonneville was presented to the general public in 1957, as a luxury convertible with all the best performance options of the era. Priced at $5782, Bonneville was competing directly with powerful brands like Cadillac, who produced top of the line models for wealthy American consumers.

The vehicle was named after Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, a popular location of numerous world land speed records and early car racing history development.

The name lived up to high expectations when Bonneville broke every record during NASCAR trials at Daytona, winning the Grand National Championship. Pontiac equipped it with a strong 300 hp fuel injected V8 engine that could achieve an impressive top speed of 101.6 mph.

To fully understand the origins of this remarkable model, one has to return to the very beginning. In the 1950s Pontiac was considered strong solid citizen car for the seniors, but failed to reach younger generations.

Semon E. Knudsen had a vision to change this, by inspiring the people with new style and performance features. He was Pontiac's general manager back in 1956 and with his trusted associates Pete Estes and John DeLorean made the high-performance image company which became the part of American automotive history.

It was the success of the Bonneville that eventually won Pontiac the Motor Trend Car of the Year award. Bonneville became a separate model in 1958 when the company removed many of the standard luxury equipment items to being options, in an attempt to lower the price and make the vehicle available for a wider range of consumers. The same 1957 Star Chief bodystyle was produced as a coupe or a convertible, with prices revolving around $3,000.

The model held its own place until 1965, when another generation was introduced. The 1965 Bonneville had four different designs: a four-door hardtop, a two-door hardtop, a convertible and a station wagon. Standard equipment included front and rear arm rests, courtesy lamps, a padded dash, as well as both cloth and vinyl interior.

Dealer options available for average buyer included Tri-comfort A/C, bucket seats, tinted glass for all windows, power steering and brakes, and a two-speed automatic transmission. Regular engine produced 325 hp, alongside which a factory on V8 engine with 376 hp could be obtained for another $376.

In 1965, total production numbers stayed at 6,460 station wagons, 21,050 convertibles, 44,030 two-door hardtops and 62,480 four-door hardtops. The most expensive model cost $3,557 and the cheapest was basic two-door hardtop with a price of $3,288. In comparison to the original idea, 1965 models never fully reached the popularity of 1957 models. Out of the genuine 630 Pontiac Bonneville 1957 dealership examples, only a few are left in operating condition today which makes them incredibly rare and highly collectable.

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