62k Original Miles: 1964 Pontiac Bonneville 389 Tri-Power

The Bonneville was Pontiac’s range-topping model during the 1960s. While the company focused on luxury, buyers could order their new car with a drivetrain that offered performance to match its good looks. That is the case with this 1964 Bonneville 4-Door Hardtop. It has a genuine 62,250 miles showing on its odometer, and the V8 under the hood ensures it is no slug. It needs a new home, so the seller has listed it here on Craigslist in Godfrey, Illinois. You could drive off into the sunset once you have handed the seller $12,950. I must thank Barn Finder T.J, who has used a well-developed classic radar to spot this gem.

The history of this Bonneville is unclear. The seller indicates it had 58,000 miles on its odometer in 1980, suggesting it has covered a mere 4,250 miles in the past forty-two years. They offer no explanation why this is so, making it a question worth asking. Its Sunfire Red paint looks presentable for a survivor-grade car and has no immediate needs. It shines quite well but is short of what I would describe as a mirror finish. It has a few flaws and defects, but potential buyers should expect that in an unrestored vehicle of this vintage. They don’t mention rust problems, but I did notice a spot in the lower front fender on the driver’s side. It isn’t severe, and a simple patch should consign it to the pages of history. A good shop should be able to perform the work and match the existing paint for those focused on preservation. There are no other visible problems in the supplied photos. The trim and chrome are above average for a survivor, while there are no issues with the glass.

If this Bonneville has a highlight from a presentation perspective, that honor falls to its interior. Trimmed in Red two-tone vinyl, it is difficult to find any faults worth mentioning. The vinyl is free from wear and physical damage, while the dash and carpet continue that theme. The back seat looks like it has rarely been used, and there are no signs that its various owners have neglected this classic. There are no aftermarket additions, although creature comforts are limited to the factory AM radio.

The seller supplies no engine photos, which is disappointing considering it could be one of the highlights of this classic. Buyers could order their ’64 Bonneville with a wide range of engines, but this car’s original owner obviously wanted power to match its good looks. They selected the 389ci Tri-Power V8 that pumps out 330hp. A three-speed Hydramatic transmission feeds that power to the rear wheels, but it isn’t clear whether the buyer receives power assistance for the steering or brakes. At 3,960lbs, the Bonneville was not considered particularly heavy for its size. But nor was it a lightweight. If the owner pointed this classic at a ¼ mile, the journey would be a memory in 16.3 seconds. If the driver has the nerve to keep the pedal to the metal, the Tri-Power will run out of breath at 132mph. For a large car capable of seating six people in comfort, those figures still look impressive by today’s standards. We’ve previously discussed the odometer reading, although the seller doesn’t mention verifying evidence. They hold the original Window Sticker and Owner’s Manual, including them in the sale. The Bonneville runs and drives extremely well and rolls on new tires. There is nothing for the buyer to do but enjoy the power of that mighty Tri-Power V8.

The photos suggest that returning this 1964 Pontiac Bonneville to its former glory may be a straightforward process, and many readers will see that as an appropriate course of action. Others will argue why the next owner should address the seemingly minor rust issues while retaining the car’s survivor status. Differing opinions is one aspect of what makes the classic scene so engaging. I don’t feel there is a right or wrong answer in this case because either approach seems valid. What would you do if you found this beauty parked in your workshop?

Comments

  1. angliagt angliagt Member

    I had a ’64 Catalina in this color,with a white (non vinyl) top.
    I paid a little over $300 for in 1975.Not sure what that color’s called,
    but not too common.

    Like 3
    • JohnnyL.

      In high school my Pontiac Executive could haul 8 teenagers. Too bad today it won’t fit in my garage and I now drive alone in my Corvette.

      Like 2
    • 3Deuces

      That’s Code “N” Sunfire Red … looks great on a ’64 GTO!

      Like 1
  2. Howard A Member

    I can pretty much guarantee, if you grew up in the 60s, your parents or someones parents you knew had a car like this. Okay, not the tri-power, most were 2 barrels, but the Bonne showed all your neighbors in “Pressboard Estates”, you had a certain taste for cars. Many here, I bet, took their road tests on these cars. Pontiacs were too “sporty” for my old man, who went the “Oldsmobile” route, but Pontiacs had a definite following. Cars like this simply amaze me, they are still out there, in this condition. Just shows, after all these years, SOMEONE loved their Bonne enough to keep it like this. The tri-power is grossly not needed today, however, it runs on the center carb, and might get teens, if you could keep your foot out of it, that is. Kind of bums me out, someones pride and joy is being “disposed” of, however, the up side, someone is going to get a sweetheart of a car. Will find out what “Wide-Trackin” was all about, even though that moniker faded some after 1962, I believe. Amazing find.

    Like 18
  3. Don H

    I think it was more like 360hp .

    Like 2
    • Dennis Young

      In the 1965 GTO version tri-power, the 389 did to 360 HP but prior to that, it was less. The 1964 GTO version was only 345 HP. Pontiac was tinkering with the 389 for most of it’s lifespan and always coming up with a few more HP. In 1964 I believe the stated HP is about right.

      Like 1
  4. David Buswell

    They could have made the trunk a foot shorter.

    Like 2
    • Scott Williams

      If they did that, it would be a Catalina.

      Like 4
    • David G

      ..they did. It’s called a Catalina :o)
      Actually, think it was only about 8″ shorter in the trunk area but you get it..

      Like 2
  5. LMK Member

    In this well kept original condition it shouldn’t last very long…Somebody really cared for this car.

    Like 3
    • Old School Rebel

      But then you couldn’t smuggle as many kids into the Drive In.

      Like 3
      • Jon.in.Chico

        I could get at least four in the trunk of my ’59 Chevy … we’d get kicked out when all couldn’t show ticket stubs …

  6. Stacey Lee Frank

    Grew up when my father bought a 1964 bonneville 4 door hardtop without a/c but a posi rear axle. Loved that car and if I had a spot in my garage i would be a buyer. This one is a different color, but would not mind having one again.

    Like 1
  7. local_sheriff

    Now this is a survivor! It’s interesing to note that while the 3×2 setup on the 389 would bump hp to 330, it has the same peak torque as the base 303hp engine you got when combined with the Hydramatic. Talking about the auto; this is a 4spd not 3spd as mentioned in the write-up.

    That interior is nothing but outstanding to a point I almost wonder whether the seats have been recovered. Only thing I was hoping for was that they were cloth/Morrokide as I’ve never seen the Bonneville cloth material

    Like 2
  8. Mark Ruggiero Member

    You could set up housekeeping in that trunk!

    Like 2
  9. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    @ Howard

    I guess Pontiacs were too sporty for my old man also. We never had a Pontiac. All he bought were $100 cars. Last six months, get another $100 car. Guess you couldn’t get a Pontiac for $100.
    Aunt and uncle next door had a ’61 Safari then a ’63 Safari.
    Oldest brother had a ’67 GTO when he got out of the marines in ’67

    Like 3
  10. David G

    Whoever gets it, I hope they practice the respect it deserves *and don’t touch it*.
    This car is a fine candidate to leave alone since it’s so darn good as is. And where it’s not, just allow the poor thing to be 58 years old please!

    Pretty strange to see a Bonneville with only a Tilt-wheel option apparent (besides the Tri-power of course, and even that’s not 1-of-many available variants of the bigger 421), not even tinted glass that i can discern. These were usually a well-optioned model..

    Like 1
  11. PETER_W

    We had a 66 Catalina when I got my driver’s license. With the 389 and Turbo Hydramatic, that thing would leave a stripe a mile long without even trying. If my dad only knew what went on in that car.

    Like 1
  12. nlpnt

    IMO the Catalina’s better proportioned than the Bonneville, but this 4-door hardtop (and the post sedans) have a more elegant roof treatment than the frumpy faux-convertible 2 door hardtop.

  13. Michael Sayles Member

    When I worked with a DEA taskforce, I was State Police and the County Police used to call the 60’s Bonnie’s Jamacian Gun boats because of the frequency that they were used in drive by shootings!

    Like 1
  14. local_sheriff

    Also noteworthy (at least for us Pontiac geeks…) is that unlike the mundane Catalina the Bonne always seems to come equipped with ‘stuff’ in the dash. Never seen a clock delete plate nor the large clock in a ’64 Bonne; they’re either equipped with a trio of gauges (non-AC cars) or a center vent with a small clock (AC cars).

    Now while the 3xgauges are known as Rally Gauges, there’s nothing very ‘rally’ about the specific setup in this Bonne. Pontiac was apparently offering two different gauge setups for this cluster; the one seen here has fuel level -clock -batt which in turn includes a speedo cluster with idiot lights and the large indicator arrows. When the more ‘performance’ oriented Rally Gauge package was specified (oil press – clock – water temp) the speedo cluster is a different version with fuel level and batt gauges integrated into it and smaller indicator arrows.

    Since the 3x gauge cluster is installed where the center vent goes on AC cars it was not possible with a combination of factory AC and Rally Gauges – an issue that was adressed with the ’65 dash as it has the center vent integrated into its dash pad

    Like 1
  15. Scott D.

    Pontiacs of the 1960’s had beautiful interiors in my opinion. I wish the seller would have posted some pictures of the engine on this car. The 389 with the Tri-Power setup is a big selling point for this car. However, no pictures in the advertised sale? Puzzling.

    Like 1

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