Tuesday, November 11, 2014

1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special Concept

In the 1950s, Americans were fascinated by the future. Car companies were quick to capitalize on this trend and offered a dazzling variety of fantastic, futuristic show cars, some of which toured with the annual General Motors Motoramas. One of these special cars was the Pontiac Bonneville Special.

Renowned GM designer Harley Earl was inspired by a trip to the Bonneville salt flats. He wanted to create a car which captured the essence of the Bonneville racers and show the public that Pontiac was leading the industry in innovative thinking. The flashy 1954 Bonneville Special conveys a look of high speed. Designed as Pontiac's answer to the Chevrolet Corvette, the concept car was powered by a 4392 cc Inline-8 that could produce 230 bhp. 

Following the trend of jet-age styling, the Bonneville features a distinctive aircraft-style Plexiglas bubble top with gull-wing glass door tops over the cockpit and the a radical continental kit, designed to look like a jet turbine.

Only two of these cars were built so they could be displayed simultaneously at the Los Angeles and Detroit Auto Shows. After touring the country for spectators to see, Motorama concept cars were typically destroyed. However, these two Pontiacs somehow avoided their date with the crusher and survived. (supercars.net)

Pontiac Bonneville Special Concept #1

Debuted at the March 1954 Motorama, held at the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. This, one of the two Pontiac Bonneville Special concepts, was painted in metallic green. It carried a simpler interior with fewer gauges and minor design changes, but was a fully functional driver, equipped with the same inline-eight engine as the other Bonneville Special Concept.

Following its time on the Motorama show circuit, this car was sent on a nationwide dealership tour before heading into retirement. It is scheduled to cross the stage in Scottsdale, Arizona, in January 2015, as part of the Ron Pratte Collection. (blog.hemmings.com)

(Photos from barrett-jackson.com, supercars.net & blog.hemmings.com)

Pontiac Bonneville Special Concept #2

(Photos from conceptcarz.com, supercars.net, boldride.com & autowp.ru)

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