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History of the 1958 Pontiac Bonneville
The Pontiac Bonneville became its own line in 1958, having been promoted from a performance upgrade on the 1957 Star Chief. The 1958 Bonneville was built on the same chassis, but as a true performance model, many of the standard creature comforts of the luxurious Star Chief line were optional. This helped keep the base price of the Bonneville under control, yet the $3,481/$3,586 price tag on the two-door sport coupe and the two-door convertible made the Bonneville the most expensive Pontiac in its year.
With this model being a candidate for the first true Pontiac muscle car, Bonneville buyers got a lot of power for their money. The base engine was a 370-cid, 255-hp V-8 with a Carter four-barrel carburetor and standard 3-speed manual transmission — or 285 horsepower with the optional Super Hydramatic automatic. Upgrade opportunities included Rochester fuel injection or a Tri-Power setup consisting of three Carter two-barrel carburetors, 10.5:1 compression heads, and a performance camshaft. The fuelie option delivered 310 horses while the Tri-Power yielded 300 horsepower. Of the two upgrade options, the Tri-Power was far more popular because you could add it to your Bonneville for just $93.50, while the fuel injection cost was $500.
For the aspiring stock car racer, a few Bonnevilles were delivered sporting a special “PK” package that included the four-barrel carb, 10.5:1 heads, special dual exhaust, and a few other alterations that raised the horsepower to 315. The “PM” package added the same features to a Tri-Power induction system for 330 horsepower. Both of these options were approved by NASCAR for competition and cost $254 and $320 respectively, which was still far less than the fuel injection.
On the outside, the Pontiac Bonneville carries the same space-age styling as the rest of the 1958 Pontiac lineup. It’s an attractive car available in two-tone paint with plenty of chrome. Options are typical for a car of this era with amenities such as a foam seat, power everything, air conditioning, and so on. Unique to the Bonneville, buyers could order the car with bucket seats — another indicator of the proto-muscle car design.
Collectors considering the 1958 Pontiac Bonneville have a choice between the coupe and the convertible. Of the two, convertibles amounted to approximately a quarter of the total production of about 12,250 cars. Most of these cars were delivered with automatic transmission, although there is evidence that at least one car was built with a special four-on-the-floor transmission for Daytona racing. Collectors will want to search for well-optioned cars featuring Tri-Power or Rochester fuel injection. PK and PM package cars were sold for racing purposes, making true surviving examples vanishingly rare. Provenance for such cars should be carefully evaluated.
1958 Pontiac Bonneville Info
2dr Hardtop Coupe
8-cyl. 370cid/300hp 3x2bbl
8-cyl. 370cid/270hp 2bbl
8-cyl. 370cid/255hp 4bbl
8-cyl. 370cid/285hp 4bbl
8-cyl. 370cid/310hp FI
8-cyl. 370cid/315hp 4bbl
8-cyl. 370cid/330hp 3x2bbl
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