Wide Track 4 Speed: 1968 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible

By Mitchell Gildea

Ever since I was a little kid, I have always been looking for rare and unique automobiles anywhere and everywhere. I remember taking Collector Car Trader magazines with me to elementary school and perusing through them before class started. Over the years, I found that full-size cars are the most unique and affordable way to experience the joy of owning and driving a big-block equipped car (I own a 1965 Dodge Custom 880 six-window sedan with a big-block 383). Though a little rough, this 1968 Pontiac Bonneville is not only unique because it is a convertible, it is also a factory big-bore motor and four speed transmission! Find it here on craigslist outside of Chicago, Illinois, with an asking price of $6,800. Thanks to Dave Culhane for the submission!

Though I usually prefer the 1959-1966 full-size Pontiacs, there is something unique about this prominent Edsel-like grille that you either love or hate (personally, I like it). For 1968, all of Pontiac’s full-size cars (the Bonneville included) gained a prominent grille with a wrap-around bumper; unfortunately for Pontiac, the car’s appearance was compared to the 1958-1959 Edsel, and was deemed a face only a mother could love. This Bonneville is a convertible, and though rough, does feature some spare parts: an extra pair of doors and a spare front bumper. The front fenders, trunklid, and quarter panels will need replacing, and the frame is an area I would inspect closely. The back bumper looks to be in good condition, and the car comes with 15 inch Heavy Duty wheels; I would source some 8-lug wheels to mount on the steel wheels. Additionally, I would source a hood tachometer for a visual upgrade (this car was not ordered with a hood tachometer from the factory). I like the color red that this car is painted, and with a black top should look sharp restored.

The desirable part of this rusty car is its drivetrain: a big-inch 428 backed by a four-speed transmission. Rated anywhere from 360 to 390 horsepower (I’m thinking this car has the 360-horsepower motor), the 428 featured four-bolt mains for 1968, and has a ton of torque. One of just 208 convertibles built with the 428 and four speed, the drivetrain is unusual for a Bonneville, and when you factor in the convertible body style, you have yourself here a rare and potentially fun car. The four speed is a Muncie (either a M20 or M21, maybe an M22? If you know, let me know in the comments section), and it, along with the engine, is numbers matching. The car was also ordered with a heavy-duty fan and heavy-duty battery (all of the options are PHS-documented, which is included with the purchase of the car). The engine looks a little weathered, and it, along with the rest of the drivetrain, will most likely need to be restored mechanically and cosmetically. Considering the rarity of the car, though, I personally would take the risk of restoring the drivetrain, along with the rest of the car.

Much like the rest of the car, the interior is rough and is going to need a total restoration. The shifter is an aftermarket Hurst T-handle, and the steering wheel appears to have been wrapped at some point. Aftermarket gauges underneath the dash were also installed during this car’s life. I’m a little worried about all of those exposed wires too. On the plus side, this car is loaded with factory options: custom gauge cluster, power windows, power front bench seat, AM/FM radio with stereo tape player, and power steering. Overall, this car is very rough and is going to need a full-blown concours restoration, but once restored will be a rare and valuable car; this car would be a great alternative to GM’s pony and mid-size muscle cars, as well as the more well-known full-size Chevrolet muscle cars. Would you take a risk on this rough but rare 1968 Bonneville convertible?

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Comments

  1. Jim Marston

    I don’t remember Pontiac ever offering a 428 cid engine in 1968 .

    1+
    • jw454

      In 1967 the 428 replaced the 421 that was introduced in 1961. The production run for the 428 was ’67~69. There were different versions offering between 360 to 390 H.P. They only came from the factory in the full size line but, dealers were installing them in G.T.O.s and Firebirds at a customer’s request. The 455 replaced it in 1970.

      10+
      • Angrymike

        EXACTLY, my father’s 67 2+2 had the 428, he traded it in on a 669 Road Runner. I was young, but I still remember it, to a ppoint…,

        2+
  2. Steve R

    Truly unique. Hopefully it’s not too far gone to be restored. It would have been a wise choice to include a picture of the PHS documentation in the ad.

    All those options, yet it has manual drum brakes.

    Steve R

    3+
  3. Jay M

    Highly optioned and quite rare. But you will really, really have to want this particular car as you will never get your money back out of it, even if you can do most of the work yourself.
    Regardless, it will be a very unique cruiser when completed, and deserves a factory correct restoration.

    15+
    • Lord Humungous

      Steep price of admission but it would be a labor of love.

      2+
  4. Mountainwoodie

    The fact that the owner is not restoring it and it looks like it has been marinated in a swimming pool kinda says it all. Nevertheless, if someone was willing to spend whatever it took, this would be a super cool convertible given the fo on da flo.

    3+
  5. Dan

    This is a car that would be fun to fix up. What a ride!

    2+
  6. Chebby

    What kind of person chooses a 428 Pontiac droptop AND puts schoolmarmish AAA safety stickers on the dashboard?

    2+
    • redwagon

      The second or third owner?

      0
    • Tom Member

      A schoolmarm with a need for speed!! for years was trying to buy a 70 Torino GT Convertible Super Cobra Jet car with a 428 or 429 driven daily by a local priest.

      0
    • Mitchell Gildea Member

      A wildcard?

      0
  7. redwagon

    Underside and rear quarters look better than I had imagined. This is doable but will require $$$ and effort. Red on red with a black or white top. Seats look pretty nice for a convertible wonder if they are leather or vinyl?

    0
  8. Dave at OldSchool Restorations Dave at OldSchool Restorations Member

    ” Would you take a risk on this rough but rare 1968 Bonneville convertible? ”
    .
    ……… yes, If I was younger, and could commit another 50k to the restoration,
    .
    ……and unlike most of my cars which I never see until they are delivered, I would have to fly up and look this one over closely, to make sure I thought 50k would be enough.

    4+
  9. Jim Benjaminson

    Anybody have a source for NOS or replacement quarter panels for this car? If so, who and where????

    0
    • 2+2=428

      Unfortunately there isn’t much out there for replacement parts when it comes to sheet metal for the 67-68 full size Poncho’s. Your best bet would be to find another Bonneville to use as a donor car. Occasionally you may find something on eBay but you better be willing to pay up for it.

      As previously stated this would be a labor of love. If you’re thinking you could buy this car and restore it and make money on it you will be sadly disappointed.

      0
  10. Tommy D

    I see it as a great donor for a Grand Prix, if you can get the price down

    2+
    • 2+2=428

      Why would you use this car as a donor? I’d be willing to bet that it is 1 of 1 given the options. And while being rare doesn’t mean desirable there are plenty of Grand Prix’s out there you could use rather than cutting up this car.

      0
      • Tommy D

        Personally, I don’t consider the Bonneville a muscle type car, like I do the Grand Prix, where a 428 and 4 speed would be more appreciated and valued. The donor comment was based on the condition of the Bonneville…I understand others will disagree 🙂

        0
  11. 68 custom

    nice car that has seen a fair amount of abuse, which is to bad! if I had a lot of money I would attempt a factory correct restoration, but add disc brakes and eight lugs.

    0
    • 2+2=428

      You would not be able to add both disc brakes and eight lugs. It would be one or the other.

      0
  12. lawrence

    I put wine labels on the dash/glove box of my 1969 SS 427 convertible Impala….it’s one way I ID’ed it at a swap meet where it was for sale….along with a few body mod’s….

    Like this drop top fun !

    0
  13. Road Runner

    I had a friend who his dad gave him a car like this. It was white inside, white top, dark green it looked black unless the light hit it right. The 428 sat around awhile. My buddy didn’t know how to get it running. I loved the car so I started cleaning things up under the hood with a simple tune up.
    She came alive. My buddy drove us around town for a couple hours. Cruzz’n real nice like.
    Then it was my turn to drive. First I said “Buckle up we going to run this thing we need to clean out the muffler bearing”.
    As Sammy Haggar says “One foot on the break and one on the gas. Go!” It started burning rubber on both side. “Oh shit yeah possie? You kidding me?”
    My buddy who’s never done this before was climbing up on the seat. He was getting ready to jump out or what? I don’t know? But I didn’t pay much attention to what he was doing at the time.
    I layed down a pair dark rubber marks for 20′. That I like to believe are still there 20 years later.
    I stopped and again started lighting them up. This time no break. The possie burn out seemed endless. As momentum cuaght up with us the tires started to grab, the smoke faded away and we were flying on a cloud. Top down of course.
    We then came to a freeway. Jumped on that i was going with the flow of traffic ?65?70? Saw my opening. I gassed it. Man it was like NASCAR. I was wrong through the cars untill there were none. I got it up to 130 mph pretty quick before more cars got in the way of doing more.
    All the while the car was comfy like sitting on a living room couch. Road over bumps like that weren’t there. Just sailing with the high winds. My friend loved it. Once he got accustomed to my driving.
    But he never like or appresate the car his dad gave him. He didn’t care for his dad much for leaving his mother. So he put it auto trader at $9000 in 1993. I offered $1500. I didn’t mean to low ball him its just what i had?
    A year went by and the car sat for most of that except when I would make him start it. Didn’t drive it just run it.
    Finally he sold it. I asked what he let it go for? He said $1000. I reminded him of my offer of $1500 I was so puzzled. He said he just didn’t want to see the car anymore. Reminds him of his father every time he looked at the car. So I couldn’t have it cuz he would still see it.
    Oh that pissed me off. Maybe the car is all that held that friendship because I don’t hang out with him anymore? Or we just moved on? But that could have been mine. Long story short a stick shift with that motor shoe horned into a Firebird. Oh my god! Pontiac builds excitement! They always did. How does this company go out of business? Yet Buick witch I have a story for too. Still makes cars.

    0
  14. JCW Jr. Member

    Why do a concourse restoration? Do a backyard restoration with a maaco paint job. Undercoat it. Do as much of the interior as you can yourself. You can buy carpet and seat covers off the net and put on yourself. Then instead of having 50k in a restoration that now you do not want to drive you have mayne 10k in the daily driver restoration. Then go drive it enjoy it smoke the tires drive it. Of course you did go through the mechanicals first. As the drivetrain monsters show up fix em as they happen. 8

    0

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