Motor City

25 July 2015

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Lot 147

1960 Pontiac Bonneville Sport Coupe

  • Chassis no. 860P21034

Sold for $71,500

318 bhp, 389 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine, four-speed Hydra-Matic transmission, coil-spring independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel power hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 124 in.

  • One of the finest restored examples in existence
  • Factory-equipped with Tri-Power, bucket seats, and air conditioning
  • Original drivetrain
  • Meticulously finished; AACA Bomgardner Award winner

The Pontiac Bonneville became a full-fledged series for 1958, comprising a hardtop coupe and a convertible. Both were built on the 122-inch Chieftain wheelbase. The Bonnevilles were the most expensive Pontiacs, with distinctive trim and appointments and the Star Chief’s 255-brake horsepower V-8. “Tri-Power,” using three Rochester two-barrel carbs, became available, and its lower cost resulted in few orders for the still-available fuel injection.

All General Motors cars were redesigned for 1959, with Pontiac having the sole distinction of a “Wide Track” chassis. The series, now called Bonneville Custom, gained the new 389-cubic inch engine with a four-barrel carburetor. Hydra-Matic-equipped Bonnevilles had 10.0:1 compression, which resulted in 303 brake horsepower with four-barrel carburetion, and they were now on the 124-inch Star Chief wheelbase. With 24,015 built, the Bonneville Sport Coupe, Pontiac’s two-door hardtop, was popular but much less common than the 39,000 Vista hardtops produced in the series. The sport coupe offered here is rarer still, by far.

The car was purchased sight unseen by the current owner in the mid-1980s. It sat in storage for nearly two decades, until he realized how rare and unusual it was and embarked on a full restoration in 2004. As delivered from the factory, the car not only had the usual Hydra-Matic transmission, power steering, and brakes but also the coveted Tri-Power triple-carbureted engine. What sets it apart are the bucket seats, rare in coupes, as well as the sought-after eight-lug wheels, a style used in 1960 only, and factory air conditioning, which was still years from becoming ubiquitous. All factory air-conditioning components were present, even the special fuel pump used on Pontiacs that were so-equipped.

Approximately $150,000 was spent on the restoration, not counting labor performed by the owner and a friend, the latter a skilled body and paint craftsman. The drivetrain, air conditioning, and miscellaneous ancillaries were rebuilt by specialty shops. The car was painted Coronado Red and has all matching numbers, including the original Tri-Power 389 with correct vacuum carburetor linkage. Other equipment includes a Wonderbar signal-seeking radio with a power rear antenna, a padded dashboard with a low-fuel warning light, factory cruise control with a Speed Guard speedometer, two-speed electric wipers with washers, and power windows all around, which was unusual as most had power in the front only.

The quality of the restoration is attested by no fewer than seven AACA awards, beginning with First Junior and progressing through Senior, National, Grand National, Repeat Grand National, and Preservation awards. The car was selected from those participating in all National meets in 2007 as the best post-war restoration in the Southeast region of the country. For this, it received the Bomgardner Award at the AACA National Meeting at the end of the year in Philadelphia, as well as a special grille badge that sets it apart from the more common Senior and National badges. The car was also presented with a fine crystal trophy, of which there is one on permanent display at the AACA Museum in Hershey.

This outstanding Bonneville is almost certainly a one-of-a-kind car given its unusual equipment, and it represents a very rare opportunity to own a proven, high-quality prizewinner.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more