1959 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible
Lot No. 5198
Auctioned on Saturday, August 31, 2013
Estimate: $110,000 - $130,000
- Tri-Powered version of Pontiac’s 389-cid V-8 engine with 315 hp and an amazing 425ft. pounds of torque
- Mated to a four-speed Strato-Flight Hydra-Matic transmission
- First year of the “Wide Track” wheelbase body
- Tri-color leather interior is complete with very rare bucket seats and a Wonder Bar signal-seeking AM radio with power antenna and rear seat speaker
- Factory air conditioning and power top, steering, brakes, and windows
- Restored and remains in excellent overall condition.
Pontiac’s major change for 1959 was the introduction of “Wide Track.” Both front and rear tread dimensions were increased by more than four inches, putting the wheels closer to the corners of the car. This was accomplished by reducing side overhang, so that the 1959 Pontiacs, although not as narrow as the ’58s, were no wider overall than the 1959 Cadillacs, Buicks, or Oldsmobiles. The common interpretation is that Wide Track was intended to improve handling, but those who worked on the design have a different story. Historians Jan Norbye and Jim Dunne have quoted Pontiac stylist Jack Humbert as saying that Wide Track was “to make it look right…it was a combination of having to put the wheels farther apart in order to give the car the right proportions.”
The styling harkened back to simpler themes than 1958’s gaudy cars. In common with other GM makes, the roofs were thinner and flatter and a panoramic windshield curved upwards into the roof. The front was characterized by a split grille, the first incarnation of an iconic theme seen, with few exceptions, until the make’s 2009 demise. The beltline was strictly horizontal, from front to rear.
Representing one of the top-of-the-line, most expensive offerings, this 1959 Bonneville Convertible is finished in beautiful Cameo Ivory with copper, silver, and white leather upholstery and glittering copper-hued carpets. The engine is the 315 brake horsepower Tri-Power version of Pontiac’s venerable and sturdy 389 cubic inch V-8, reportedly the original to this car. With 10.0:1 compression and three Rochester carburetors, it offers up an amazing 425 foot-pounds of torque, and it is coupled to a four-speed Strato-Flight Hydra-Matic transmission. Accessories include the very rare bucket seats, a power top, power steering, power brakes, power windows, factory air conditioning, tri-color leather interior, a day/night mirror, side view mirror, windshield washers, and a Wonder Bar signal-seeking AM radio with power antenna and rear seat speaker. Restored several years ago, the car remains in excellent overall condition.