1958 Pontiac Bonneville Series 25The 1958 Pontiac Bonneville was big, bold, and came with all the hot engine options a buyer could ever want. It was a vehicle that could only have come from America, and it had a price tag that made it an exclusive car, although the price and production were comparable to the Corvette and just 3,096 examples of the Bonneville Convertible were sold in 1958. A Tri-powered Bonneville Convertible was tasked with pacing the 1948 Indianapolis 500.
During the 1950s, the Pontiac evolved into a performance marque. By the close of the 1954 model year, Pontiac retired both its six- and straight-eight-cylinder engines. For 1955, all the cars in the lineup were powered by V8 overhead-valve power-plants that that shared some heritage with the small-block Chevy. In mid-year, a $35 Power Pack option added a four-barrel Rochester carburetor, which pushed horsepower to 200 on Hydra-Matic cars. For 1956, the engine was enlarged to 317 cubic inches, and a dual four-barrel carburetor option developed a hefty 285 brake horsepower. Only about 200 cars were so equipped. The 1957 model year brought another increase in displacement, this time to 347. A special Bonneville Convertible that used Rochester fuel injection was released in the Star Chief line. It was, however, not the most powerful 1957 Pontiac. In December 1956, a NASCAR Tri-Power option with three two-barrel carburetors was introduced.
For the 1958 cars, General Motors un-characteristically introduced new bodies and chassis. The Bonneville was made a separate series, one that was comprised of just two body styles - a convertible and a hardtop coupe. The standard engine was a 285–brake horsepower four-barrel V-8, but fuel injection and Tri-Power were still available. Performance enthusiasts generally opted for Tri-Power, which included three Rochester two-barrel carbs, 10.5:1 compression, and a high-lift camshaft.
Standard equipment included chrome wheel discs, special uphosltery, and Deluxe steering wheel.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2017
Chassis Num: K558H2145
For 1958, the Bonneville ceased the role of model designation and became its own line. It was offered in two bodystyles, a convertible and sport coupe. The name 'Bonneville' was originally used by GM on a pair of bubble-topped GM Motorama concept c....[continue reading]
Chassis Num: P558H1045
The Pontiac Bonneville measured 211 inches and weighed 4040 pounds of steel and chrome. In its first year of production, the Bonneville was invited to pace the 1958 Indianapolis 500. They were expensive, exclusive, and fitted with the largest engine ....[continue reading]
Pontiacs were an old man's dependable but somewhat boring low performance car. When young Bunkie Knudsen was put in as division head in 1956 he wanted a new direction. That direction was youth, performance and excitement. 1958 was the first full year....[continue reading]
Chassis Num: C558H3252
Pontiac retired both its six- and straight-eight-cylinder engines at the end of the 1954 model year. For 1955, all the Pontiacs were powered by V-8 overhead-valve engines. Mid-year, a $35 Power Pack option added a four-barrel Rochester carburetor, wh....[continue reading]
Chassis Num: K558H1951
In the late 1950s, fuel injection was still in its infancy. It was racing technology that General Motors was offering on its street cars. It was prohibitively expensive (a $500 option) for many. For the Bonneville, a top-of-the-line series, roughly 2....[continue reading]
Chassis Num: C558H1257
This Pontiac Bonneville Convertible was the winner of the Antique Automobile Club of America's Senior National First Prize in 2013 and Grand National First Prize in 2015. It has been driven just 143 miles since a nut-and-bolt rotisserie restoration t....[continue reading]
HistoryTo celebrate General Motors' 50th Anniversary 'Golden Jubilee', all stops were pulled out by the designers on the 1958 Pontiac Bonneville Sport Coupe, undoubtedly one of the flashiest of all 1950's vehicles. A one year only body was featured as a final staement by longtime GM styling chief Harley Earl before his retirement. The entire 1958 lineup litterly sparkled chrome. Unique two-tone exterior color combo's and delxue interiors were showcased on interiors on all 58 models from Chevrolet's, Pontiacs, Buick, Oldmobiles and Cadillacs. There motto for this year was ‘The Boldest Advance in Fifty Years!'
Semon E. 'Bunkie' Knudsen became Pontiac's new general manager in the summer of 1956 and soon after he hired Pete Estes and John DeLorean. Huge changes were in the works for Pontiac. First introduced as mainly a dealer promotion vehicle, that attempted to highlight Pontiac's new high performance image, the original Bonneville was a largy flashy convertible with a highly powered V8 engine generating 310 horsepower.
Originally introduced as a limited production performance convertible in the Pontiac Star Chief model range during the 1957 model year, the Bonneville eventually became its own series in 1958. Historically based of of the Cadillac DeVille, the Bonneville was built by the Pontiac division of General Motors from 1958 until 2005. Pontiac has been best known for its performance vehicles, especially since the introduction of the Bonneville I 1957. Perhaps a little flashier and faster than than a Chevrolet, it is still cheaper than an equivalent Oldsmobile or Buick. That has remained Pontiac's mission.
First appearing in 1954 on on a pair of bubble-topped GM Motorama concept vehicles called the Bonneville Special, the Bonneville name first entered the lineup as the Star Chief Custom Bonneville, which was a high-performance, fuel-injected luxury convertible late during the 57 model year. The very first Bonneville was a spectacular, chrome-laden convertible with a continental-style spare wheel mounting, fuel-injeted engine. It came with an eight-power front seat, underseat heater, degroster electric antenna, and many more unique and exclusive features.
During that first year, only a total of 630 units were produced. This small amount made it the most collectible Pontiac of all time, especially since it cost twice the amount of the star Chief convertible. The Bonneville has persisted, and remained as the division's top of the line model until 2005. Many speed records were being set at the Utah salt flats, and the name was created from the town of Bonneville, the place of much auto racing, and most of the world's land speed record runs.
The public must have liked both the car and its name became in 1958, a coupe was added into the lineup as Bonneville expanded into its own series. In this year it paced the Indianapolis 500. Offering 225 hp an 285 hp V8 engines, the Bonneville sat atop the Pontiac range, also offering a deluxe steering wheel, unique upholstery and chrome wheel covers. The Bonneville also featured wraparound windshields and rear window, two-toning on the roof and long striking sidespear plus chrome hash marks placed on the front fenders.
During its third year, the ‘59 Bonneville gained a 4-door bodystyle along with a nearly complete line in itself. The Pontiac Wide-Track was born in 1959, when all Pontiac makes and models received new chassis with ‘wide-track' stance. During this year, the introduction of two of Pontiac's greatest marketing inspirations were showcased, the split grille, and the Wide Track slogan, both are still part of Pontiac's image to this day.
Sales peaed in 1966 at 135,401 units sold. In 1969, the main highlight became the new V8 engine that provided 360 horesepower. Considered Pontiac's most expensive and most luxurious model throughout the 1960s, the Bonneville was extremely instrumental in moving Pontiac to third place in sales from 1962 until 1970. Bonneville's constantly received updates, changes and restyling, along with new features for all of its trim models throughout the 1970's.
During the early 1970's, the Grand Ville name was being used for Pontiac's highest-price model, and though the Bonneville was de-emphasized slightly, it never went away. In 1976, the Bonneville emerged in the top spot. This was the final year before the down-sized full-sized Pontiacs began to appear in 1977.
The Bonneville nameplate was quite abruptly moved from a full-size vehicle to the mid-sized car in 1982. The mid-sized car was previously known as the Pontiac LeMans. This change was not taken to very well by customers, so Pontiac was forced to reintroduce a full-sized vehicle. They brought over the Canadian-built Pontiac Parisienne, which was basically a re-styled Chevy Caprile that was powered by a Chevrolet V6 or V8 engine. Once again, Bonneville was placed one notch below the top of the line.
Just like the previous time, downsizing became the salvation that the Bonneville needed. The Parisienne was discontinued in 1987, and the Bonneville was redesigned completely as a front-wheel drive vehicle and once again rejoined in pre-1982 platmform buddies, the Buick LeSabre and the Oldsmobile Eighty-Eight. It again regained its status as the senior Pontiac and the SE Bonneville was placed on Car and Driver magazine's Ten Best list for that year.
The decision was made by Pontiac to change the Bonneville from rear wheel drive with a V8 engine to a more economical front wheel drive 3.8 V6 vehicle in 1987. The V6 that was installed was a 3.8L V6 with the RPO code of LG3. A dive in the performance market soon followed, as this engine only produced around 150 hp, though it had a kick of 210 ft-lbs of torque power.
The following model that was introduced in 1989, the Bonneville LE may have been Pontiac's attempt to add a bit more of pep and pizazz to the Bonneville line. This new model moved up to 15 hp and 10 ft-lbs of torque, and this engine has the RPO code of LN3. The Bonneville was once again redesigned in 1991, though it did remain as an H-body.
A total redesign was done in 1992 to the exterior of the Bonneville, though the interior experienced very few changes. The LE trim was also taken off the lineup. Available trims for 1992 were SE, SSE, and SSEi, and airbags now came as standard features in Bonnevilles. Nearly 100,000 Bonneville models were sold in 1992.
Things once again changed in 1993, though the exterior remained the same, the interior did go through a slight update. A sport Luxury Edition was made available for '93, which was basically a base SE, with an SSE exterior, an all of the same available options as an SE. Much remained unchanged for the 1994 model. Much of the vehicle has remained the same throughout the next few years, making way for a total redesign for the 2002 model year.
The Bonneville regained a V8 option on the GXP trim for 2004, which has been a first since 1986. On February 8, 2005, GM announced that the Bonneville would be dropped from Pontiac's lineup for 2006. The high-end Pontiac Grand Prix GXP trim replaced the Bonneville.
For many years, the vehicle fondly called the 'Bonne', the Pontiac Bonneville has showcased a mix of luxury, performance with the aid of a supercharged 3.8 liter engine.By Jessica Donaldson
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