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Parked Since ’68: Rare 1958 Pontiac Bonneville

Yeah, its rusty and rough and in need of a complete restoration, but it’s still a desirable ‘58 Pontiac Bonneville Sport Coupe with three rare factory options: Air Conditioning, Air Suspension, and the Sportable Transistor Radio (that you could pull out of the dash and take with you). There are lots of questions that need to be answered for sure and you’d want to do a thorough rust inspection, but if it’s solid and if somebody has the resources (deep pockets), to restore it, then this turquoise and white Bonneville will be one stunning car. I know, those are two big “if’s.” This Performance/Luxury Pontiac is currently located in Norco, California and for sale here on craigslist for $17,900. Another shout out to our pal, T.J. for spotting this Poncho and sending it our way.

The Bonneville became a separate model in 1958 and many consider it to be Pontiac’s first muscle car. Pontiac was definitely going for something unique and had their brochure copy wizards proclaim, “Two automotive personalities – the performance car and the luxury car – fused into one…an exciting new car is born.” The seller doesn’t go into chapter and verse about this Bonnie’s background, but it sounds like it’s a California car that was parked in 1968 for some reason, perhaps mechanical. There’s obviously rust all around and there are no photos or mention of the condition of the trunk or floor pans or the undercarriage. It appears to have just about all of its trim (and there’s a lot of it), except for the rocker panel stainless and the Bonneville fender script on the passenger side. I like the cool wheel covers, which are not cheap to replace, and the whitewall tires look good. I’m not sure if the driver and passenger windows are just rolled down or if they’re damaged. Just add that to the long list of questions to ask the seller.

To set the Bonneville apart, Pontiac gave them special interiors that defined 1958 flair and fashion. Colorful fabrics along with that glistening chrome instrument panel made for one of the most gorgeous interiors ever created in Detroit. There aren’t many photos of the cabin, but I’m guessing that’s the original interior and it’s tired and worn out. You can see pitted chrome on the dash but you can also see the rare Sportable Transistor Radio. Pontiac’s brochure described this new gadget as, “It’s a full-fidelity car radio –  it’s a go-anywhere portable! Delivers beautiful sound reproduction…simply release the the safe-guard lock, grasp the hide-away handle, and a lightweight portable emerges with its own speaker and batteries ready to go!” And at $132 (and $11.50 for a leather carrying case), it was an expensive option on the already loaded Bonneville. I wonder how many of the 12,240 Bonnevilles built in 1958 (9,144 hardtops and 3,096 convertibles) had this option on the build sheet? I’m guessing not many. :

Mechanically, all that is said about the Bonneville’s power plant is, “Engine turns over…” This looks like the 370-cubic-inch, 4-barrel V8 that could generate 285 horsepower when paired with the optional Super Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. Addition horses could be added with the optional Tri-Power three 2-barrel carb set up or by ordering your Bonneville with Fuel Injection. Not many fuelies were ordered though, due to its then-astronomical price of $517. The seller shares that the Factory Air Suspension was turned into “regular suspension” in 1962 by the original owner and the Bonneville still has the Air Ride compressor on the engine. The seller ends the description by saying how you don’t find these anymore and that it’s a “nice start on a very rare car.” Hopefully this one can be saved, but based on the photos, it’ll take a lot of work and quite a bit of moolah.

Comments

  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Impressive cars when in good condition. The corrosion on the dash indicates to me a lot of time at the beach or the windows were down in a moist environment for a long time. Hope it’s good enough to save and I’m glad I won’t be the one to save it. Lots of work and money ahead for this one.

    Like 13
  2. Daral

    How do people arrive at the price for this car. Especially with no pictures ??

    Like 4
  3. Vance

    Rare car for sure, but there is much corrosion I get lockjaw just looking at it. It’s going to take someone with deep pockets and a lot of patience to bring this one back, but it needs to get restored. I like all of GM”s lineups in 1958 and this one is too tempting to let it go. 18 large is a lot of green, but somebody will snatch it up. Very cool ride.

    Like 4
  4. Paul D Jordan

    That air-ride suspension was not reliable even when new. I understand that it is VERY expensive to restore.

    Like 4
    • Rick

      My mom owned a ’71 Pontiac Grandville. It had a factory trailer towing package and a level ride air suspension in the rear. And, like the ’58s, that system was a pain. I converted the car to standard shocks, then disconnected and capped off the vacuum line which drove the system pump. She never had any problem after that.

      Like 2
  5. Moparman Member

    The amount of money that it’s going to take to return it to this stage will be a turn off to anyone, unless they had a sentimental attachment. GLWTS!! :-)

  6. mike

    I had an aftermarket AM radio like that in my first car in 1968.Used a key to release it from bracket.Wish I still had it.

    Like 2
  7. Kurt Member

    Wow, there’s a lot of metal on this car! Can’t tell if all the chrome trim is there but it seems to be; that and the plastic bits are always hard to find. I had a Chevy this same vintage and the three carb V8 set up sounds more promising than my straight 6.

    Like 1
  8. James A Martin

    17000 for what? To many people trying to get the most out of nothing. No way this thing is worth that money, no way!

    Like 4
  9. George Birth

    Again, Too much money for too little car.

    Like 3
  10. GTO MAN

    The money it would cost to bring it back to show quality. and if it needs any parts, you probably can’t get them. So, it makes this rare car questionable. just my view guys

  11. Lowell Peterson

    The radio is the best part! Thecrest? Not so hot! Just buy a nice one at an auction far away from home. Enjoy the ride home.

    Like 3
  12. Sam61

    What a shame…condition and $. I picture this Buick and the recent Olds Fiesta wagon sitting new in the late ’50’s garage of an upper middle class family.

  13. John

    In 58 this was a beautiful car truly from the rocket age. I love the green and white and all that chrome! Way to big a project for me though.

  14. Bill

    Though I’m a Pontiac lover never realized how much it looks like a 58 Chevy especially in picture 4 , I Must say this is a pretty cool car would love to have seen it brand new

    Like 1
  15. Gary

    I had a white 58 Bonneville convertible with the tri power when I was a kid. For a big barge it ran really well. Just a rusty beater then but I sure wish I had it back.

    Like 1
  16. doug edwards

    How many 58 Pontiacs do you want? 3 available low $.

    • Jerry Bramlett

      Actually, I’d like to know about these low dollar ’58 Pontiacs. Please post links. The only ones I’ve seen for sale this year at low prices have been non-running rust buckets.

      I agree that many ’58 Pontiac models SHOULD be low dollar, however.

      Like 1
  17. robert lewis

    barrett-jackson and mecum-itis

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