Bonneville in Name Only for $25,000

Illustration for article titled Bonneville in Name Only for $25,000

When Pontiac decided to name one of their models after Bonneville, the home of many a land speed attempt, you'd think they'd have kept the car true to its name. Still, Nice Price or Crack Pipe likes big-ass boats too.


The General's B-bodies began to suffer from hypothyroidism in the late 1960s, and while they claimed it was glandular, or that they were just "big boned", there was no doubt that the top models from the General could be classified as full-figured.

These aircraft carrier-sized cars allowed a broad canvas upon which GM's designers brought seemingly annual reinterpretations of the brand's visual identity. While the cars did express each divisions unique personality, sometimes the names affixed to them were at odds with their appearance. In the wild, Impalas are both quick and agile, but by the Nixon era, the Chevy Impala had grown to be more porcine than gracile. Buick's LeSabre was now reminiscent of the axe wielded by a certain owner of a blue bull. And the Pontiac Bonneville - named after the venerated dry lake bed where for decades land speed records had been attempted, and men met their deaths in search of that elusive goal - had grown fat at the teat of corporate one-upsmanship.

Especially by 1970, the Bonny engendered images of top-down trips to Vegas rather than a balls-out record run, cosmopolitan evenings on the town, instead of competition days under the brutal sun, and salt-rimmed margaritas, not salt-crusted tires, grilles and bodies. But it wasn't always like that, and Pontiac earned the Bonneville name through its participation in runs at the Salt Flats, back in 1956. It was that year in which Salt Lake City mayor, and former Mormon Meteor driver Ab Jenkins, along with his son Marvin, shook the American unlimited and Class C stock car records with a 24-hour world speed record of 118.375 mph. They accomplished this feat in a Pontiac 860, and Pontiac commemorated the record by re-naming the Series 860 after the Bonneville Salt Flats.

By the time today's Bonneville oozed out of the factory, Ab was long gone as were the pretensions of record speed runs on anything but the macadam of the highway. The ad doesn't say anything about the engine in this be-donked bonny, but these mostly came with Pontiac's undersquare 455 that put out a dubiously claimed 370-bhp and a more realistic 500 ft/lbs of torque. A Turbo HydroMatic 400 escorted all that back to a live rear axle which, like the front suspension, was designed for comfort-not speed. At 4,365lbs, not counting the sound system additions, fuel economy will be in the single digits.

Also counter to the flat expanses of Utah's Great Salt Lake is the seller's decision to let his girlfriend - or maybe that's his sister - pose on the hood like Craigslist is Hot Block magazine, where he claims the car will soon be featured. The magazine's interest is probably due to the aforementioned sound system, as well as the custom two-tone leather upholstery and sun visor-mounter TV screens. Apart from these "upgrades" the car appears stock and while the paint is new, it's not freaky or anything.

So what does the seller and his sister want for this colossal convertible? Well, $25,000 is the asking, and for that you'll get to stare at sis' butt-print on the hood, as well as Pimp My Ride re-runs on your visor. How does that price sit with you for this Bonneville with the bodacious babe on the bonnet? Is $25,000 low enough that you'll set a speed record getting your check book out? Or, does that price mean this land yacht will never be docked in your driveway?


You decide!


Atlanta Craigslist or go here if the ad disappears. Hat tip to My X-type is too a real Jaguar!


Brian, The Life of

This why it is dangerous for white trash to have discretionary income.

It just rarely ends well.