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Selling on Friday

From The Tom Haag Estate Collection

1957 Pontiac Bonneville ‘Fuelie’ Convertible

  • Beautiful body-off-the-frame restoration finished in two-tone Kenya Ivory and Fontaine Blue
  • 1 of just 630 fuel-injected Bonneville Convertibles built in 1957
  • Equipped with the 347/310 horsepower V-8 engine
  • Four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission
  • Thoroughly equipped with power steering, power brakes, power convertible top, power windows, power bench seat, tissue dispenser, factory clock, and Wonderbar AM radio

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During the 1950s, everyone wanted the latest and the greatest, and car companies were working hard to quench this unquenchable thirst for new. In 1955, Pontiac introduced its first overhead valve V-8 engine and, by 1957, it was already regarded as a pretty potent performer. But Pontiac had a reputation of designing cars for grandparents to drive. It was a step up from Chevrolet, but not quite to “Rocket 88” territory or as prestigious as a Buick or luxurious as a Cadillac. Semon E. “Bunkie” Knudson who took over the reins at Pontiac in the fall of 1957 wanted to change the brand’s image, often quoted as saying, “You can sell a young man’s car to an old man, you can’t sell an old man’s car to a young man!” Thus, work on a new showpiece was created. Initially, it was announced that only one Bonneville convertible would be offered to each dealer, a number around 1,500 at the time. In the end, just 630 of these superior Pontiacs came off the assembly line. Standard on each car were power steering, power brakes, power windows and power front seat, and as all Bonnevilles were to be convertibles, a power top. Fine materials would be used such as hand-buffed leather seats, plush carpets, deluxe wheel covers and special badging. Under the hood was the big news, as this was the first fuel-injection system offered on a Pontiac from the factory. Developed by Rochester, a GM subsidiary, this unit bore no resemblance to the injection unit they were producing for Chevrolet. Bonneville was to be limited in numbers built and in colors available. Apparently, the most popular color combination was Kenya Ivory with Bonneville Red. According to a 2012 Authenticity Manual for these cars, a little more than 100 examples of these highly sought-after Bonnevilles were known to exist.

Finished in Kenya Ivory with Fontaine Blue two-toning in the side spear, this is one of the finest examples of the remaining Bonneville convertibles. Matching the exterior color scheme, the hand-buffed leather seats are also in blue with white accents and most special was the blue folding soft top with matching boot. In addition to all of the power equipment which was standard, such as windows, seat, steering, brakes and the top, this example is also fitted with the Electra-Matic signal-seeking radio, often referred to as the Wonder Bar radio, optional color-coordinated seatbelts for front and rear seats, plus a nifty under-the-dash tissue dispenser.

This was one of the last cars to come to Thomas Haag’s Toy Box collection, acquiring it in early 2020. This sleek Bonneville appears to have been treated to a top-shelf body-off-the-frame restoration where no detail was overlooked, and no short cuts were allowed. The application of the paint appears to be flawless, and the interior looks fresh and new, down to the proper style of carpeting on the floor. All of Bonneville’s standard features are in place and the under-hood appearance is factory fresh. Upon hearing this car start up, that mighty V-8 comes to life. Pontiac Bonneville convertibles are truly legendary. As special as they were when new, most of the original factory documentation seems to have been lost to the ages. Pontiac never officially released any performance information on the Bonneville’s power output with all published records being based on independent tests. The Bonneville helped to transform Grandpa’s brand into a performance machine just as Knudsen had hoped and this car was part of an era when Pontiac started to build excitement.

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