Original Pontiac XP-833 Concept Up For Grabs


Pontiac’s beautiful 1964 prototype, unceremoniously dubbed XP-833 during its development, is one of our favorite concepts out of GM’s talented design department of the era. Just two were built, one with a retractable soft top, and one with a removable fastback hard top. The latter is currently up for sale with an asking price of $1.2 million.

We featured the soft-top XP-833 a few years ago and our author got to spend some time behind the wheel. Rather than a show car that was cobbled together to be a static sculpture, the prototypes, while rushed, were built to highlight how such a car could be affordably built using GM’s vast parts bin. As such, they’re quite well-built and roadworthy.


The car’s overall look is reminiscent of the C3 Corvette that debuted for the 1968 model year, and it also features a fiberglass body. However, some significant cues differ. Up front, its hidden headlights seemed to preview the Opel GT, which concealed its beams by rolling the housings longitudinally. The rear of the car transitions into a tail that more closely resembles the 1970 Firebird. The example up for sale is the hard-top version, featuring a sleek removable fastback, another detail that differs from the Stingray, which featured a tunneled backlight in coupe form and a removable hardtop that closely mimicked the convertible top. We must say, the fastback suits it.

Of the two prototypes, this is the only one powered by Pontiac’s OHC inline-six engine. The overhead cam architecture was still novel for an American car engine at the time, and Pontiac was the only GM division to use it. It made its production debut in the 1966 Tempest and was also used in the Firebird. Never as muscular as the V-8, the OHC engine was still capable, and Sprint versions produced more than 200 hp. It would have made an excellent base engine considering the XP-833 was expected to weigh less than 2500 pounds.

All too often, GM gets vehicles ironed out just before pulling the plug on production. In the case of the XP-833, its designers got the lines just right and it never even got the chance to hit showrooms. It’s easy to imagine a Pontiac lineup that included this shapely convertible as its halo car as a lighter, inline-six alternative to the more muscular Corvette, and of course a V-8 would have been optional as long as John DeLorean hat his way. This beautiful experiment would be the centerpiece of any Pontiac fan’s collection, or anyone who values mid-century American design. We hope it finds a proper home.


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    Just another example of how GM’s damaged culture let the divisions compete with each other vs working together as one against the competition.

    But we know the truth too that John D would have had a 421 in this before he was done.

    This car sold cheap at BJ auction a few years back. It has been for sale for a long time as it is way over priced. It is not even the one of the two you want. The convertible is a better car and has the 326 in it.

    The cool thing with these cars is that they are the only non Corvette to be invited to Bloomington Gold. Even the Corvette people are now embracing these cars.

    Note the hard top does come off here but it leaves no rear deck lid. The car is open from the seats back and it looks a bit odd. It hinges up from the front so you can remove it.

    I really believe GM could have managed these two cars at the same time The Six and small 8 would have complimented the Vette that was selling well at the time. A cheaper and a little less powerful would have made this a stepping stone to the Corvette. But then the Corvette would have needed to find a new C3 design.

    As with many concepts it did not go to waste as it was used in two cars much like the Silver Arrow was. The same on the 1990 Fiero Gt prototype styling was adapted to the Gen 4 F body after the Fiero was canceled.

    As Johns Schinella says some designs are too good to throw away.

    Also, in the same vein, the 1999 Pontiac GTO concept looks suspiciously like the 2009 Camaro design. Same side profile. Same very low greenhouse.

    Well there was a loose plan to do a GTO to replace the Trans and a New Canaronthstvwas still born. The Camaro came back with a lot of internal support.

    There was a new GTO pushed by Lutz to go with the new Camaro and it was a similar car yo the 1999 but less show car like. It died with Pontiac. I have seen drawings and it may have been cool.

    Pontiac died in 2009. My Holden made 2004 40th Anniversary GTO is a worthy carrier of that name. It was good with the LS1 5.7/6spd. With the aftermarket 7.0 LS7? Golden.

    Agree… “Just another example of how GM’s damaged culture let the divisions compete with each other vs working together as one against the competition.”… not to mention their brain-dead marketing and management!

    “Just another example of how GM’s damaged culture let the divisions compete with each other vs working together as one against the competition”.

    I respectfully disagree. This was peak GM. A time when GM was so strong, so prosperous and sold so many cars that each division could act with some autonomy. In my opinion it created a healthy competition that in many cases created great engineering advancements. In the 50’s Buick had the Dynaflow while Olds had the Hydramatic transmissions….Ultimately the better transmission, the Hydramatic, specifically the Turbo-Hydramatic would become the standard and best automatic in the world. Buick stubornly resisted disc brakes until the late 70’s but in the meantime created the best drum brakes in the industry with lightweight, finned aluminum drums that performed very well. Again the best technology did arrive with disc brakes. Unfortunately These days would end in the 80’s when the divisions lost their distinctiveness with shared engines, and other technologies

    Gary; indeed! In response to Brandan’s comment that the six was not as powerful as the V-8… duh. But how cool would the XP be with the badge-engineered Chevy inliner under the hood? My sis bought a brand-new Camaro in ’67 with the 250-six, and what a disappointment. The SOHC six provided good economy (potentially), very decent power — in a light two-seater — and was exciting to see when the hood went up! I knew of several in Firebirds, and the owners were very happy with the package.
    I did an article in Z-CAR Magazine, back when, where I showed the phantom profile drawings of this car and the original 240Z. The editor has asked we contributors what V-8 we’d substitute for the Nissan L-series SOHC-sixes, and I chose the Rover 3.5 crate engine (formerly Buick 215 aluminum engine) for the good balance it would maintain front-to-rear. But, it made me recall how much I wanted a Sprint-powered Banshee! Wick

    Banshee. The cars never had a name. Someone in the Pontiac studio had the emblems from another project so they put them on.

    These were very nice looking cars, but as usual gm won’t hang on to a good engine or nice looking cars.

    I wanted a ‘Banshee’ so badly in 1968!! I’d just sold my ’65 Tempest Custom hardtop (326 + three pedals) and entered the big green machine (US Army) when the designed was nixed by GM bean-counters. The Firebirdy was neat, but too much Camaro, really. So… In July of 1970 I got my surrogate OHC-6 GT two-seater, and it was Made in Japan. If America wouldn’t build the two-seat sporty car I longed for, Datsun would! Have had a Z ever since!
    I wrote the book HOW TO RESTORE YOUR DATSUN Z-CAR (now CarTech Publications) which is in a new revised edition after being in print since 1990 wit CA Bill’s Auto Handbooks. In 1995, NISSAN USA bought my ’70 restored Z back for a display car, until they had their two-dozen restored early Z’s done to be resold as new, warranted cars.
    Well, Pontiac’s loss… Still would have liked to ‘Buy American’ but like life, GM is some good and some evil. Wick

    I was 20 then .it was the advent of muscle. an amazing time
    Poncho tripower.. gm mystery engine…427 le fords and big hemi’s
    Dealer show room options built some pretty amazing rides before gm, ford or Chrysler caught on.

    three little pigs, shoe boxes , Ramchargers w 4 speed or typewriters, lead sleds were the Friday night specials…
    we were cowboys then ….built not bought
    that ride definitely deserved a 389 tri power, 4 speed and posi w headers —
    like the vettes of the era w 396 — steel cranks, forged pistons etc etc
    fantastic memories

    I see in the Hemmings listing it has a VIN, but is it street legal? Somebody in Hemmings said it sold at Mecom for 195k, darn if street legal I might have considered it….

    It’s beautiful but in a practical sense where in the house/garage/shed/yard would one stow that roof-decklid safely? Perhaps it would’ve been refined further before production. Yay four comments from me on the same day without getting blocked by the system!

    Ignore above comment, meant for your post on the Z cars and your book.

    The roof decklid could be stored vertically in a rack designed for it, as is the case for existing removable hardtop vehicles.

    A lot of Bronco and Jeep owners use a pulley system to lift the top straight up and store it above. Easier than taking it off by hand, rotating it and storing it on it’s side. Also frees up space that likely wouldn’t be used otherwise.

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