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Simple Project: 1964 Pontiac Bonneville

When a car is in excess of 18′ long, it could never really be called small, and that is the case with this 1964 Pontiac Bonneville. It isn’t a small car by any means, but it is a big car that looks like it might only need a small amount of work to return it to its best. I have to say a huge thank you to Barn Finder local_sheriff for referring this great 1960s classic to us. The Pontiac is located in Hayward, California, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN of $10,000 for the Bonneville, but there is the option to make an offer.

The first thing that I noticed about the Pontiac is how straight and clean it is. The Cameo Ivory paint has a good look to it, and the panels all look to be nice and straight. The owner provides some pretty decent photos of the Pontiac’s underside, and this is a car that really does appear to be free of any real rust issues. The external trim and chrome all look great, and while the car might not be perfect, it is certainly of extremely good driver quality.

The owner tends to indicate that the vast majority of the financial outlay to return the Bonneville to its best will occur inside the car. The dash pad is cracked, and it would need replacing. The carpet and headliner will need to be replaced, while the wheel and the painted surfaces on the dash could all do with restoration. The door trims and rear seat actually look quite good, but it is hard to tell whether the front seat would respond to a clean, or whether a new cover will need to be added to the shopping list.

Powering the Pontiac is a 389ci V8, while you also get a Hydramatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. The owner says that the car runs and drives well, and supplies this YouTube video, in which the engine sounds really clean. The tires and brakes are said to be fairly new, and the most pressing issue to be addressed is the fact that the car requires a new heater core. Otherwise, he refers to the Pontiac as a Sunday driver. I can think of worse ways to spend a Sunday than behind the wheel of this gentle giant.

Project cars come in all shapes and sizes here at Barn Finds, and this Pontiac Bonneville looks like it would be one of the less complicated ones. It certainly appears as though there is no reason why the car couldn’t be driven and enjoyed as it is, with the restoration work being undertaken at the next owner’s leisure. With the abundant interior space, it is also a car that would be perfectly suited to the person with a growing family, or for someone who just desires a car that has an immense physical presence. The simplicity of the work required to return the car to a high standard of finish makes it a very tempting project car.


  1. art

    The third car of my youth was a 1964 black Bonneville coupe like this one.
    I loved that car and when you floored it, it roared and flew. Great memories.
    This car is in really nice original condition.

    Like 3
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      I concur Art and share a similar fond memory from back in the day, having traded my ‘66 ‘Stang 6cyl 3 spd stick coupe for the sister to this car-replete with the “Econometer”(?) that divulged gas mileage using the vacuum of the intake I believe. Yes, “Luxobarge” is an accurate description of the car in the verbiage of that time but what a great highway cruiser too. Too bad the little blonde HS hottie I was nuts about liked the ‘64 El Camino I swapped this for! (And none of them to be found now, unfortunately, except for the blonde hottie-and I really DON’T want her to know I know where she is!).

      Like 5
  2. local_sheriff

    As affordable cruisers are getting fewer every day we’ll have to search alternatives. For someone liking 60s Impalas but find them too expensive and common a 60s Poncho is a wise choice.

    This spring I aquired this one’s sibling however a Safari so I’m starting to know them. S in vin indicates it’s Cali built so it probably always lived there. Possible issues : check function of the ‘ancient’ Hydramatic, they are NOT TH-gen trannies.Locating a repair shop who know them can be a challenge(at least Bonnies didn’t come with the Roto!) Also rear main rope seal have a habit of leaking. Model specific repop trim can be hard to locate, but it’s getting there. It helps alot to locate an example with little/no pitting in the trim. Interior soft goods mostly available for 2dht/conv. Many non-model specific parts interchange with other 60s GM cars.

    With 303hp on tap as base engine a 64 Bonnie is shockingly responsive for such a road boat.10k? If things seem OK I’d give seller a reasonable offer and he’d probably take it, however I wouldn’t be surprised if it sells for BIN

    Like 4
    • Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

      Nice find yourself, local_sheriff, and in this case here too.
      FYI, some of the somewhat isolated little towns out west here have Old School garages with folks that know this old stuff inside and out, as its often easier to fix them or know a workable substitution than try to replace them with something newer…

      Like 2
      • local_sheriff

        Don’t you just love those small unknown towns with tumbleweed and weathered workshops…? ;-)

        Like 3
  3. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Absolutely-as long as I’m not there because I’ve broken down 😱….

    Like 4
  4. Rex Kahrs Member

    Nice PonPon. Indeed affordable cruisers are getting scarce, but I did find a ’67 Newport custom for just $1250 last month, and with some tinkering she runs and drives. Next comes the stopping part, but then I’ll have a reliable cruiser for about 2K, and the car looks good! Wish I could post a photo. Search 67 Newport Custom, and see the original Chrysler ad of the red car with black vinyl top, and that’s the car.

    Like 3
  5. JOHN Member

    Nice Bonneville… but I never understood white letter hubcaps with full wheel covers…

    Like 3
    • JOHN Member

      Uh, white letter tires with wheel covers that was supposed to say!

  6. Ken Carney

    Very nice indeed! Reminds me of the ’64 Catalina 2-door HT my FIL owned about a
    year or so before he passed away. His was gold with that ivory colored top. It also ran a 389 and Hydramatic tranny. Didn’t take him long to get it running either. By the time he became to ill to
    work on it, the mechanical work was done leaving only the cosmetic work left
    to do. I begged him to sell it to me but he
    refused. No matter what I said, he wouldn’t sell the car to an immediate family member. Maybe it was for the best as he sold the car just weeks before
    his death. Not long after that, I lost my
    wife to s massive stroke in 2003. While
    I could be wrong, but 10K seems a bit too
    much for this car. It isn’t a GTO or an Impala,. Yeah it’s desirable but it’s not worth what he”s asking. Pop bought his
    Catalina for $1500 and it was just as nice
    as this one. They smoke some good stuff in California, maybe this guy’s doin’
    some California dreamin”. $6500 and not
    a penny more!

    Like 3
    • local_sheriff

      Ken; your FILs Cat would have the Roto-Hydramatic 3(…and 1/2) spd rather than the 4 spd Hydramatic found in Bonnie. I have no personal experience with Rotos but owners’ opinions on them vary… The color combo on that Cat your describing sounds great and I’m sure it gave it a calm and understated look.

      I agree the price would be ‘negotiable’ on this 64, still I wouldn’t be surprised should someone push the BIN button…

  7. Bob C.

    Hi Local Sheriff, are you sure the Bonnies used the Roto? From what I’ve gathered, the longer wheelbased Star Chief and Bonneville still retained the 4 speed Hydramatic this year.

    • local_sheriff

      That is correct and also what I wrote above Bob. Star Chiefs and Bonnevilles (trim codes 26 and 28) came with the old 4spd Hydramatic, the shorter WB Cats and GPs (trim codes 23 and 29) the 3(and 1/2) spd Roto-Hydramatic.

      Though they are different trannies ,in 64 Pontiac doesn’t seem to do much to distinguish the two, and refers to both as Hydramatic only (how is that!?). You have to dig deeper to find out they identified the 4spd as the Hydramatic 315 and the Roto as Hydramatic 375 !

      Like 1
      • Robert L Roberge

        Hey local_, is the 375 what was known as the Jetaway?

      • local_sheriff

        Jetaway is an Olds nomenclature and was applied to more than just one transmission.

        The 4spd Hydramatic is also known as Controlled Coupling Hydramatic, P315(Cadillac),Strato-Flight and SuperHydramatic(Pontiac), and also the first Jetaway(Olds).Made 1956-64.Olds stopped using them 61.

        The 3spd,4range(!) Roto-Hydramatic goes by names like Slim-Jim and Hydramatic 375, but is ALSO a controlled coupling transmission! It is a lighter duty transmission than the 4spd, and was installed in Pontiacs (Cats and GPs) and Olds 88/98/Starfire/Jetstar1 61-64.Not sure what Olds called it then.It was destined to be a less complex and expensive design than the 4spd, but is known for being troublesome for owners not knowing them

      • Bob C.

        Sorry about that, I now realize Ken was talking about a Catalina and not a Bonnie.

  8. Tony B.

    I have a white on white example, with 58,000 miles. Trunk is actually longer than the hood, and i can stretch out on the front bench w/o touching either door! Truly a cruiser.

    Like 1
  9. TimM

    Beautiful car and the price is pretty good a little more than a $1000 a foot!!! But it drive it!!!

    Like 1
  10. Johnmloghry Johnmloghry

    Wow! Thar’s a lot of learnin to be read on these here comments.
    God bless America

  11. Glen Riddle

    My father had the 4-door hardtop version of this, in top-level Brougham trim, loaded with 421 tri-power, a/c, 8-lugs, and all the extras:
    It was his DD from new to 1970. It was then my DD for the next six years. Wasn’t a great car for OPEC oil embargo days, but luckily I typically worked out of my home office and didn’t have to drive a lot, so it was OK. Plus, the car was free to me and Dad had always meticulously maintained his cars. It was one of the best cars I ever had, and quite gutsy in terms of acceleration, despite its bulk.

    Like 1
  12. Terry

    Looks like this one has been restored earlier in it’s lifetime. I don’t think that’s all original.

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