The 20th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will see swarms of valuable vehicles descend upon the quant Floridian town, including numerous cars from the ‘Orphan Concept Cars’ group the event organizers have amassed. This grouping will consist of concept vehicles created by the Big Three in the ‘50s and ‘60s that were sold off to private customers after they had served their purpose of looking pretty on an auto show stand.
Representing General Motors in the Orphaned Concept Cars section of the show will be the 1963 Pontiac X-400 convertible. The X-400 was essentially a modified Grand Prix., unlike many of the other concepts of the time, which were ‘clean sheet’ designs. Powered by a supercharged 421 Pontiac V8, the X-400 was intended from the very beginning to represent the ultimate Pontiac and helped establish the performance image the brand carried throughout the 60s and 70s.
The X-400 led an interesting life after being booted from GM’s auto show circuit. According to the current owner, who has set up a website dedicated to the history and restoration process of the ’63 X-400, the car was sold to E.C. Huber in 1965, the owner of Detroit-based Huber Pontiac. Huber then sold the car to its second owner, who it was repossessed from. The third owner drove the car for several years, but sent it to a wrecking yard after it began to rust out. The current owner bought the car off two men who saved it from the Springfield, Illinois scrapyard after thinking it might be something special. Little did they know.
After being left to rot in a shed somewhere in the Midwest for years, the X-400 will return in all of its Autorama glory to Amelia Island this year. The Bill Mitchell-built drop-top will be joined by other ‘orphaned’ concepts including the 1954 Desoto Adventurer and a 1954 Mercury XM-800, among others. If you want to know more about the X-400, the current owner’s website is chalk full of interesting photos from the GM archives and information provided to him by former GM employees such as Len Mclay, the project engineer for the car, and Chuck Jordan.