Those who have been around for a while might remember Special Interest Autos (SIA) — one of the premier classic car magazines that was around before being absorbed by Hemmings Classic Car in 2004. For 34 years, SIA “regularly road tested cars from the 1920s to the 1980s and accurately examined all aspects of their history and development.” Nowadays, Hemmings often revisits some of the features from SIA‘s past on its daily blog, and this week’s feature is a 1958 Pontiac Bonneville.
The Bonneville was introduced in February 1957 as a custom Star Chief convertible that was fully-equipped with all the bells and whistles, much like a Cadillac in Pontiac drag. What Cadillac didn’t offer was fuel injection, but the Bonneville’s 347ci (5.7-liter) had it standard, and only 630 units were built.
For 1958, Pontiac repositioned the Bonneville, significantly reducing its price and adding a hardtop coupe at the top of the Pontiac hierarchy. The standard motor was a 4-barrel 370 “Tempest 395” with 255 horsepower, but several options included Tri-Power and fuel injection with the top-end Tempest 395-A rated at 330 horsepower. Perhaps it wasn’t as special as the 1957 version, but the 1958 Bonneville didn’t lack in style — or horsepower.
SIA provided the following pros and cons of the 1958 Bonneville:
- Striking Fifties styling
- Responsive Pontiac V8 power
- Quality interior and exterior detailing
- Non-inspiring drum brakes
- Steering feels a little too numb
- Exterior trim parts getting hard to find
For 1959, the Bonneville graduated to full-line status by offering a four-door hardtop and a wagon. That was the year of the Wide Track Pontiac and the 389. From that point on, Pontiac would be the brand to watch… at least for a decade or two.
Do you own a Bonneville from the 1950s or are you looking to get your hands on one for a restoration project? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.