62K Mile True Survivor: 1961 Pontiac Bonneville

The top of the line Pontiac Bonneville was always a model that appealed to me. While it was not as nice as a Buick Electra 225 or Oldsmobile 98, it was headed in that direction. Yet it was nicer than the Buick Lesabre or Oldsmobile 88 models. It had a longer wheelbase than a Pontiac Catalina and was a step above a Pontiac Star Chief. Here is a 1961 Pontiac Bonneville Vista 4 door hardtop for sale here on Craigslist in Arroyo Grande, California. Thanks go out to Barn Finds reader Ikey H. for letting us know about this car.

The rear of a 1961 Bonneville had a little Chevrolet flavor to it with its triple unit taillights on each side, but Bonnevilles were quite a bit nicer than Impalas as well. The Bonneville is wearing its original Jadestone Green paint and shows no signs of rust. It has been a California car since new. The car comes with original documentation such as dealer bill of sale and owner’s manual. Original wheel covers are included and about the only exterior flaw is the missing “O” in Bonneville from the left front fender.

Inside the only thing wrong with this Bonneville is its front seat bottom. It’s been covered with duct tape to apparently keep rips from tearing further. The car has deep loop pile carpeting that extends onto the bottoms of the doors. There is a padded hand assist rail on the passenger side of the instrument panel for when the driver takes a corner a little fast because there are no seatbelts to keep you planted. The Morrokide (vinyl) seats have aluminum seat ends and you will find a custom steering wheel in front of the driver. The rear seat provides a center fold-down armrest. My father had a 1960 Bonneville with very similar seats and I used to ride on the rear armrest to see out a little better.

Under the hood, you will find a 389 cubic inch V-8 with 4 barrel carburetor mated to an automatic Hydra-Matic transmission. This Bonneville has only been driven 62,000 miles since new. The seller says it runs and drives like new. The asking price is $9,500 or best offer, but no low offers or trades will be considered. Are you ready for an early sixties GM survivor?

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Comments

  1. TimS Member

    What a color. Bolt some seatbelts in there and it’s time to take the kids/friends out to dinner. If I’m a classic car rental place or a TV/movie car provider, I’m snapping this up like, yesterday.

    7
  2. Beatnik Bedouin

    I’d want to see proof that the car has only done 62K miles before handing over money.

    I does look like a nice example, but I’m unsure about current pricing for a more-door HT for a ’61 Bonneville in this condition. The last time I bought a similar car (in 1972), albeit a ’62, I only paid $75 for it. (LOL)

    I’m digging the Tri-Power manifold in the trunk…

  3. Cncbny

    http://www.californiaclassix.com/garage/c1091.html, check this unrestored ‘61 out.! 1961 is my favorite automotive year. Everyone was trying to look ahead, and they weren’t all looking in the same direction!

    3
    • JNRINDIAN

      Those tail lights on this Plymouth always remind me that they were an after thought.

      1
    • Rich

      Wow. I wonder how much that one brought. Thanks for sharing it here.

  4. Camaro Joe

    You’re right about the mileage, the driver’s seat is pretty torn up for a 62K mile survivor. I had to give up and replace the seat covers in my 77,000 original mile 62 Impala, but that was because the thread was starting to let go where the cloth attached to the leatherette. The cloth didn’t show any wear at all like this one.

    The only blemish on the whole interior was some white paint on the rear parcel shelf that rubbed off a piece of University of Toronto goal post that we hauled back to Kingston ON after we tore it down in 1974. I only had one rag and used it to protect the dash. I still blame U of T for that.

    Now the thread in the sun visors is starting to fray, so it’s going to get them and a headliner next summer. I hate to do it, but I’d rather look at good replacement stuff than seams coming apart.

    3
    • PatrickM

      I agree with the mileage. I just think that someone got a little careless getting out once or twice. Things happen. I really like this car. I just wish I had the money for it…It would be here NOW!!! If I’m reading the pic of the 3 deuces manifold in the trunk correctly, this could have been an original tri-power Poncho. WOW! What a kick that would have been…or could be. Oh, well…dream on, Patrick, says I to me

      1
  5. Mountainwoodie

    Nit picking aside this is sweet……As I pointed out in earlier threads I had a ’61 Pontiac Limo that I actually lived in on switchbacks when I was……ummm….homeless. More like an adventure for a kid out west. So I have a soft spot for these early sixties Ponchos. They have really nice lines and while I don’t know what the values are on these I’m surprised at the ask (as I always am :).

    If I was to spend that coin on an old car I would certainly want one that was original as possible. This one fits the bill.

    2
  6. kenneth TILLY

    Some great comments about a great car and nobody has yet commented that it has FOUR doors! Just goes to show that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    2
    • Tort Member

      I’m not normally a 4door fan but this Pontiac is an exception. Great styling and color and the interiors in those years were beautiful.

      1
  7. Kenneth Carney

    Tim, these cars did have seat belts in them. By ’61, Congress made them manditory on all cars–only for the front
    seat passengers though. My BIL’s ’61
    Ford had them and so did my ’62 Rambler
    Classic. You could get the units for the
    rear seats for a few dollars more. Sadly
    though, not everyone used them. Even
    today, I use mine wherever I go–even
    that 2-mile trip to the store for my mornin’
    Moutain Dew!

    1
    • Patrick Kelly

      My dad had a 62 impala convertible without seatbelts. I think they were available but not mandatory.

      3
    • ThisGuy

      Knew a guy with a 65 Mustang. Never had seatbelts. Belts became mandatory in ’66.

      2
    • Ken Member

      You are incorrect on the date, Kenneth. I had a ’62 Buick Electra 225, and it had no seat belts and never did. Because it was built before 1964, it was exempt from the seat belt law.

      1
  8. 65mpala

    My 65 Impala had an interesting option. It had a $14.00 seat belt delete credit. (I have the actual window sticker.)

    5
  9. Rex Kahrs Member

    I just noticed that the bright-light indicator, right above the odo, is the chief’s head. Now that’s cool.

    7
    • Matt

      The high beam indicator was the last thing to use the Indian head as I recall.

  10. Alfred

    Very cool

  11. Chuck F

    My favorite 60’s car, love the waterfall grill, had a 61 Catalina convertible that I traded off, then regretted it. Got real lucky and found a bubbletop Ventura in Thrifty Nickel for a steal, it has original paint, add on AC, seat belts and Texas plates, originally from Lethco Sales in Ava Missouri, dealer badge still on back, plan to clean up, get it running, replace brakes, install 8 lug wheels I have and drive it like I stole it.

    7
  12. Gloin

    No mention of the tri-power manifold in the trunk?

    1
  13. Jim Benjaminson

    Last “Chief’s head” high-beam indicator light was on the 1968 Pontiacs,

    1

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