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Parked For 10 Years: 1959 Pontiac Bonneville

After sitting in storage for the past 10-years, this 1959 Pontiac Bonneville will require a full mechanical check before it will be ready to hit the road once again. The good news is that not only does the vehicle currently run and drive, but it is an incredibly solid old car that has all of the makings of a rewarding restoration project. The Bonneville is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and has been listed for sale here on eBay. At the time of writing, bidding has reached $8,200. The reserve hasn’t been met at this point, but the owner does indicate that the reserve has been lowered, which means that it might not take many more bids to see this 1950s classic head off to a new home.

When it comes to restoration projects, this Concord Blue Bonneville looks like it could be a real beauty. The paint is looking a little worn in places, but for the potential owner who is seeking instant gratification, it is a car that doesn’t have any immediate needs in the bodywork or rust departments. The panels appear to be nice and straight, with no major dings or dents. Rust really doesn’t appear to be an issue with the Pontiac. The panels look quite clean, with only some very minor visible rust spots at the trailing edge of the rear wheel arch on the driver’s side, and possibly, a small spot in the lower front fender on the same side. The owner provides some pretty reasonable photos of the floors and apart from the usual dry surface corrosion that you might expect to see in a car of this vintage from a drier climate, it looks to be rock solid. There are also a couple of shots of the trunk, and once again, surface corrosion is the only issue. The external trim and chrome appear to be really good, but the factory tinted glass might prove to be a bit of a sticking point. Whilst the majority of it looks to be free of major flaws, the rear window on the driver’s side, along with the windshield, both sport some significant cracks. Therefore, replacements for both will need to be sourced.

The Pontiac has been sitting idle for more than a decade, so you can guarantee that it will need a thorough mechanical check and at least a full service before it will be ready to hit the road once again. The good news is that the vehicle does run and drive, and this will give the next owner a pretty reasonable foundation upon which to build. What you find under the hood is a numbers-matching 389ci V8 engine, pumping out 300hp. This power finds its way to the rear wheels via a 4-speed Hydramatic transmission, while the Bonneville also scores power steering and power brakes. At 4,170lbs, there is no getting around the fact that the Pontiac is a relatively heavy luxury car. An engine producing 300hp is not going to result in a car that is a fire-breathing monster, but a ¼ mile ET of 16.8 really isn’t that shabby. When I look at this car, I would be so tempted to have it returned to a roadworthy state ASAP and get out on the road, because it looks like a car that would provide some pretty enjoyable motoring.

The interior of the Bonneville is a bit of a mixed bag, and it does have a few problems that will need to be addressed. The owner is candid enough to admit that it will require a new headliner and carpet set. The upholstery on the door trims and rear trims look reasonable but aren’t perfect. I can also see that it will require a new rear parcel tray, while the wheel sports some pretty nasty cracks. There are a few handles that are missing from around the vehicle’s interior, and while some of these are visible on the seats, it isn’t clear whether they are all present. I’ve left the seats until last because I’m really not that sure about them. The covers look to be fairly new, although the material isn’t correct. At first glance, they appear to be quite serviceable, but it looks like there might be a tear or some other damage on the front seat on the passenger side. It might be nothing, but it might also signal either a repair is required, or replacement could be the other option.

It’s always sad to see a classic car relegated to a barn or a shed somewhere, where it does nothing but slowly surrender to the ravages of time. This 1959 Bonneville has managed to avoid the worst of this form of deterioration, and it looks like restoring it to its former glory could be a pretty straightforward proposition. Today, our automotive industry is becoming very focused on the production of vehicles that will maximize the potential of every drop of fuel, and I’m one who believes that this is an admirable, worthwhile, and an essential pursuit. However, sometimes people just need to let their hair down and be a bit rebellious for a few moments. If you’re going to do that, then why not do it in the lap of luxury? That’s the sort of opportunity that this classic is offering to its next owner. So, are you feeling rebellious enough to consider making a bid on this one?


  1. Fred W

    If I didn’t already have my limit of one (1) classic, and lived nearby…

    I really miss the mid 70’s. Back then, I could have bought this for $150, found trim and other parts in the local junkyard starting at 75 cents, and walked in the local fabric store and found a very close to OEM fabric to recover the door panels.

    Like 10
  2. Rex Kahrs Member

    I would sell my mother for this car. Damn reserve!

    Like 8
  3. Mitchell Ross Member

    I’d buy that and head south to Old Mexico and get a nice paint job, and interior job and drive the heck out of it.

    Like 5
  4. Howard A Member

    Such beautiful cars. Nothing exemplified “Wide-Trackin” like the ’59 Poncho, although, it was always overstated in the ads. Lovers of these cars, like me, will be mortified at this story. Several( many?) years ago, while traveling through the UP of Michigan, I came across a farm with a car out front. The car was a black ’59 Poncho 2 door, either a convertible or they chopped the top off one of these, in what looked like decent shape, and made it into their rendition of a Batmobile. It was hideous, and ruined the car. It wasn’t even a bad Batmobile. This is a great car to cherry out, when Pontiac really was the “Chief” of cars.

    Like 5
  5. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    This old Pontiac is an impressive car and must have been a real beauty on the showroom floor. It looks like a good candidate for a full restoration, a solid project to start out with. If it is indeed rust-free, that’s a major plus and a huge money saver. Restoring this Bonneville to it’s former glory won’t be cheap but it looks like a great car to start with so a full restoration may not require a second mortgage.

    Like 1
  6. 370zpp 370zpp Member

    4-speed Hydramatic transmission? I am not a transmission expert, but a 4-speed automatic back in 1959 seems pretty cool, especially when coupled to a 389/300HP?
    Certainly worth the trip to Albuquerque, along with lunch. Red or green?

    • Howard A Member

      While I’m no expert on tranny’s either, I know enough that the 4 speed Hydramatic was no Muncie Rock Crusher. A bit before my time for driving, but riding in cars that had them, it was a slushy ordeal. A lot of hp was probably soaked up just spinning it, but it did eliminate shifting, and revolutionized auto travel.

      Like 1
  7. jerry

    funny ain’t it ?if this was a chrysler product such as a new yorker or desoto etc you guys would be calling it a barge, or tank or more! so what do you think this is? eh !why a big barge thats what!

  8. The one

    Yeah these trannies were famous after many miles of use, for the long shift between 2nd and third.

    I believe “Land Yacht” is the proper pseudonym.
    14 years of college, y’know.

    Like 1
  9. Bob McK Member

    Love this Land Yacht. Being from NM it seems to be rust free! Desert finds can save you a lot of money in body work.

  10. Del

    Lotta parts missing and a non runner.

    Take the 8 grand bid and run.

    In this condition its not worth 10 grand

  11. Arthur Jacobs

    The 4 speed Hydromatic, is the same one B&M used for their hi -po transmissions, back when they got started. They had 4 forward gears, and dual fluid couplings ,instead of a torque converter. They were a good heavy duty transmission. And that 389 Poncho, ain’t no slouch.

    Like 1

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