Bonneville Style! 1959 Pontiac Catalina Convertible

America closed out the 1950s riding high. Industry and business thrived, and the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System opened the nation to leisure travel like never before, putting the dark days of World War II in the rear view mirror. Bold and powerful, this 1959 Pontiac Catalina Convertible in Baraboo, Wisconsin embodies the spirit of adventure and optimism of those days. The wide-track cruiser features a well-preserved three-tone interior and a thorough conversion to the upscale Bonneville that includes a lengthened wheelbase and “all Bonneville stuff” from a donor car, according to the listing here on eBay. The hybrid nature of this project car should keep investors at bay, clearing the way for a new owner who wants a great-looking driver with Bonneville style. At least 12 bidders have taken the bait so far, to the tune of more than $6500, well below the $16,500 Buy It Now price.

General Motors styling of the era is hard to beat, and the Bonneville parts were top-shelf in the Pontiac lineup for ’59. If original, this extra-cost upholstery features “Jeweltone Maroon and Ivory top grain deep-dyed leathers,” according to original brochures. The end result offers movie-star glamour every time you slip behind the wheel.

Razor-edged fins dramatically stretch from the trailing edge of the doors, finally coming to a point far behind the wheel arches. Spacecraft styling abounds, with back-swept chrome bumper stabilizers and thruster-like reverse lights forming visual exclamation points at the gloriously exaggerated overhang.

Pontiac experts may comment on the details, but let’s assume the 280 HP two-barrel Catalina version of the “Tempest 420” V8 powers this Bonne-lina. The new owner might consider a dual-circuit brake master cylinder and other upgrades before hitting Route 66. Thanks to lov2xlr8 for some details.

Shiny trim dazzles the Bonnville-ized Catalina cockpit. Though not offered in ’59, a center console would compliment the bucket seats. Anyone driving this convertible Pontiac in the ’60s would have guessed we’d all have flying cars by now. What gives? Can you picture a more stylish cruiser than this space age ’59 Pontiac?


  1. Dusty Rider

    What nice lines, that thing looks like it’s going 100 mph just sitting on the trailer!

    Like 2
  2. Tbone

    I am a little concerned about the “lengthening” process. Is this a case of swapping vin tags? Not accusing anyone here – even if that’s the case current seller may not know. It just seems like an incredible amount of work to chassis and body with minimal potential payoff.

    Like 3
  3. Dave, Australia

    This beast the ultimate in cool, the colour not ideal that can be fixed

    Like 1
  4. CCFisher

    You can’t put a Catalina body on a Bonneville chassis – the Bonneville’s extra wheelbase is at the rear, so things wouldn’t line up properly. You can’t easily stretch a Catalina body to fit a Bonneville chassis – the rise of the fins would make that an enormously difficult task. You could mate a Bonneville rear clip with a Catalina body, but, again, that would be an enormous undertaking with little reward. So, what is this? It’s got a Bonneville body, a Bonneville chassis, a Bonneville interior, and a Catalina VIN. Hard, hard pass.

    Like 6
    • Chuck Simons

      Wheel base on the Catalina is 122 on the bonneville is 124. That is a lot of chop/grind/weld. Unless, as you suggest, the rear clip has been grafted on. I wonder if they extended the chassis with a chassis graft as well.


        Are you from Florida? Did you have a 60 chevy convertible?

  5. Tom

    I’m not a body/fender guy…but looking at the side pic it looks like the door(s) finish look a little rough compared to the rest of the car. Is it possible the 2-inch difference is made up by stretching the doors? Just a thought.

    • johnny

      all 59 GM 2 door skins interchanged, even Cadillac. They saved money by doing so. I seriously double doubt anyone would stretch a door to gain 2″.

      Like 1
  6. 59poncho

    9 inches is the body length difference and as stated AT THE REAR
    Should have left it a bucket seat Cat Vert

    Like 1
  7. PairsNPaint

    Looks like you could land a helicopter on that trunk lid!

  8. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    Don’t you just love all that chrome on the dashboard?

    Like 2
  9. Eric_13cars Eric_13cars Member

    I personally think that the Catalina is a much nice looking car than the Bonneville, much better proportioned. We had a 59 powder blue Catalina with top to match and a triple color interior in aqua marine, blue, and white. Did I love that car as a 17 year old tooling around with the top down. And it was wide for sure. Not sure why one would try and stretch a Catalina into a Bonneville, other than to prove that you can. The instance car is a project that would scare me, and a project it is at this point.

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