Cohort Classic/Auto-Biography: 1967 Pontiac Bonneville – I Almost Forgot I Had One

Nothing like seeing a car to jog the old memory banks. c5karl posted this ’67 Bonnie at the Cohort, and the lights flashed on: I “had” one of these. Not exactly owned, but an extended car sitting job, actually. Which is better than ownership anyway.

I can’t remember all the details, but a good old friend somehow needed me to babysit her boyfriend’s old ’67 Bonneville coupe while I was starting my tv career in the depths of the smog of San Bernardino in the summer of 1977. I was driving my rough-and-tumble Dodge A100 van at the time, and every Friday night I would head to Santa Monica to cool off in the fresh ocean breeze, as well as the Pacific’s water. I took the Bonnie one time, and what a contrast to the Dodge, even if it didn’t have AC. it became a regular weekend affair until it was broken up.

Unlike ten-year old cars today, the Pontiac was a bit geriatric already. No rust, of course, but the shocks were MIA, so a Dramamine was recommended before heading off. Slide-Tracking, not Wide-Tracking. But the 400 inch (6.6 L) Trophy V8 backed up by the Turbo-Hydramatic was still willing to impress with its classic GM smoothness and some decent hustle, when the secondaries were drafted for duty. Of course, it extracted its price at the pumps.

It was so wonderful to swoosh along I10 with all the windows down, and start feeling the first wafts of cool ocean air somewhere just east of downtown LA. The temperature would drop from 100 in San Bernardino down to the high sixties in Santa Monica, all within an hour’s drive (traffic permitting). One has to know the California climate to understand the phenomena. I can still feel that salt air in my nostrils, and the subtle throb of the big V8. What a way to start a weekend.