Wide Track Project: 1965 Pontiac Bonneville Barn Find

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

This 1965 Pontiac Bonneville convertible former barn find actually might be worth taking a second look upon close examination. It’s being sold here on eBay with an opening bid of $2,900 $2,600 (it was reduced) and no reserve. The huge “wide track” Poncho is located in Fortville, Indiana and comes with some really interesting features! Just take a look below (tongue firmly in cheek).

For starters, check out that great two-tone paint job! I can’t say I’m familiar with a side by side two tone paint job before, and I couldn’t find any reference to them in the Pontiac brochures I found. Maybe it’s a one-off special edition? The seller explains in the auction listing that the previous owner sprayed the primer over what might be the original white paint.

Note the continued 2-tone (3-tone?) paint scheme with the different colored trunk lid. I do like the wide rear rim/plain black wheel look though. You can see there’s some rust, but not horrible rust, down on the lower body components of the car.

Now, look at this! I didn’t realize Pontiac perfected the completely see-through top back in 1965! Look at the 360 degree visibility! Yes, you’ll need a new top. And you can bet that there’s some issues with the frame or power system as well. But it’s a convertible! Who needs a top?

If you look on the right here, you can see how the manufacturer was portraying this car. I don’t think they could have made it look any wider, do you?

Back to this beauty! Look at those fancy ventilated seats! Another Pontiac innovation? At least they are here. You can get upholstery kits for this car, or you can have a local upholster re-do them. You do have a structure to start with. However, you’re going to have to figure out a way to attach them.

And look, the floor actually looks pretty solid–except for that right rear corner. I think you can patch that pretty easily, though. and it’s hidden under the seat as well.

Look, it’s magic–an engine that uses clear belts (must be the same technology as that top)! Not only that, it doesn’t even require a water pump! Obviously, the engine will need work, but at least it’s there and will turn over. The seller says they couldn’t get the timing right so they disassembled it to replace the timing gears and chain. Are you interested? It won’t take a lot of money to buy it, but it may take a lot more to make it driveable. What do you think, readers?


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  1. JW

    I’ve seen and rode in quite a few of these coming from a Pontiac family and have never seen a two tone version offered by our local dealer which were friends of my mom & dad. Interesting find if true but a lot of work to be done to this one.

    • grant

      I’m pretty sure he was being sarcastic…

      • Larry K

        Actually if you look at the brochure above, one side is blue and the other is black lol.

      • Alexander

        Larry, according to the brochure, the black and blue 2 tone ias also a 3 door!

  2. Roscoe Conway

    What a find! This was obviously part of Pontiac’s air-cooled V8 test program. Probably owned by a high level exec, maybe John DeLorean himself!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      I like the way you think, Roscoe 😉

  3. Joe Defelice

    I’ve started with less… lol They don’t make parking spaces big enough to accommodate barges like this anymore! If I had expendable cash, I’d consider it. Bet it needs more than a timing set to get running though.

    • cyclemikey

      They don’t? Boy, they sure sell a lot of Ford pickups every year – the same size as this.

      I wonder where their owners park them when they go out to the store.

      • Marshall

        They park them at the far end of the parking lot, deliberately taking up two spaces, when it’s not crowded. This is how they preserve a vintage classic from getting “parking lot” dings. It also affords the owner an opportunity for more walking exercise to and from the store.

  4. Terry J

    Had a pal who bought this car new. Pale yellow /white/white. 421 with a 3 speed on the floor no less. This condition is an example of what will have to be a mission of love. The massive amount of money and time it will take to put it into show room shape as it deserves has gotta be beyond it’s value. But if I owned a quality body/mechanics shop,……… Terry J

    • Marshall


      Above is a link to a Michigan man who is just finishing up doing a driver frame-on restoration on a 1960 Pontiac Catalina barn find with 25,000 miles. In this video, he details how he has spent (the equivalent of) just under $60,000, to buy the car ($950), plus parts (under $10,000) and his labor over four months (30 hours per week) at $100 an hour. He plans to sell it for 20,000 bucks. His point in this video is in full agreement with what you just said Terry J, that is, fixing up old cars, ain’t cheap! And considering that this was a frame-on driver restoration of a 25,000 mile original miler, just imagine what a full frame-off restoration would cost on a total basket case project car!

      • Marshall

        Edit on my last post:

        His parts was actually about $5300 plus $500 in shop supplies.

  5. Woodie Man

    cringe worthy

  6. Luke Fitzgerald

    Landfill – and im a poncho guy

  7. Sam

    There was another ’61 Bonneville vert on Indianapolis Craigslist a few days ago…a bit nicer but still a lot of work.

  8. ccrvtt

    I’ll stare at it for a moment imagining what it once was and could be again. Then I’ll move on…

  9. olddavid

    I was taking one of those trips where time was no object and came across a 1966 hardtop with 421 and tri-power added. Dark blue with buckets and a console. The four speed was in the trunk. In Naples, Idaho. I had visions of a Bonneville doing the Bonneville at full throttle. I was heading to an insurance auction in Lethbridge Alberta to buy an XJ6 and the accompanying 2002. Ended up paying almost double for the cars(IIRC about $4000) and passing on the Pontiac. How many times have we gearheads had to choose between our passion and paying the bills? As an aside, he was willing to help me install the new clutch and throwout and sell me the car for $800. Of course in 1982 this car wasn’t as old as the Lincoln I drive now.

  10. Jaygryph

    I like the character of this car. Has quite a look to it. the price isn’t outrageous. I’d say put it back in mechanical order and throw some foam and Mexican blankets on the seat and cruise the wheels off it. The reaction from purists would be amazing, but really who cares, you’re driving a big ratty convertible. That’s always fun.

    • Marshall

      Well, I’m a purist, but obviously not an absolute purist, As I (and anybody else who ain’t Donald Trump or Bill Gates) would probably do the same thing as what you would do with if you were to buy that same car. That thing needs a LOT of help!

      My “purest reactions” enter into play generally only when they make hot rods and rat rods out of perfectly restorable and rare cars, especially when they chop up body parts, or do any other irreversible abomination. But when they customize it, or modernize it, but save all the original parts for a future owner who may want to restore it fully original, I for one do not have a problem with that. But you know what, if I did, that would just simply be a manifestation of my controlling nature😁😤😣😬😉(YouKnowWhutIMeanVern?)

      A friend of mine had a 1965 Pontiac four-door sedan back around 1980 and junked it. It did not run well(if at all), but it had a good body with NO dents, no rust, good paint, and decent interior. What amazed me was that he said that the interior caught fire once, yet he found matching color original seats to replace the old burned out seats. Of course, he did this before it quit running. And of course, this car back in 1980 did not have any “vintage value” like it would today.

  11. JamieB

    His $2600 reserve [[insert grumble here about eBayers who claim “no reserve” but stipulate an opening bid]] is, to put it nicely, optimistic. If it had a 421 block, that might be worth the price of admission–not to save this Bonnie, but to put a 2+2 back to original specs. But as is…Not. A. Chance.

  12. cyclemikey

    Not a lot of love for this. A reasonably solid, reasonably complete and pretty rot-free classic Bonny convertible from the sixties.

    Seems funny, but when a car shows up here that actually, you know…….needs some work – everyone writes it off as a hopeless wreck. What kind of “Barn Finds” are we looking for, exactly?

  13. Oil Slick

    I dunno, what kind of parts support do these cats have?

  14. BillO BillO Member

    Not sure if you’re referring to the two tone as in a different color below the molding line. That was all chromed on the 1965 Bonneville where the Catalina and Star Chief had just a chrome molding on the molding line and body colored below it. My seventh grade teacher had a 1965 Bonneville convertible in dark blue. It was beautiful. She traded every two years and traded it for a 1967 Cadillac de Ville convertible.


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