I took another stroll through the Cohort and was met with another submission by Mike HayEs (whose name I spelled correctly this time (says the red-faced author).
Anyone who has spent more than three weeks at this site knows that I am a sucker for the big original cars that are never seen at car shows because they were what the attendees were forced to drive because they did not have that cool GTO, 442 or Road Runner in the driveway. “Daaaaad, can I borrow the caaaaar?”
This car is every big GM car from my youth – and there were lots and lots of them. A big Bonneville 4 door hardtop was the car for every successful suburban Dad who didn’t want to look too self-important.
I love the skirts on these cars and find them perhaps the best-styled B body cars of their era. A set of the Pontiac 5 spoke wheels would look great here, but on this unit complete with vinyl roof, the fake wires don’t look bad – and this from someone who normally doesn’t care for fake wires. In truth, I don’t really remember many Pontiacs out on the streets with these.
And finding a cool old car in one of those paint colors that everyone forgot about but that were everywhere for a short time. Is it green? Is it gold? I didn’t know then and I still don’t. I think Pontiac called this one “Champagne”. Is there such a thing as green champagne? I am just happy to see one that is not red.
My one quibble is that I never really got the front end styling on these cars. Pontiac was the leader in the over/under headlight trend, but this car shows that they may have been running out of ideas. Stacked headlights and loop bumpers are difficult to combine. Perhaps I am in the minority here (like that ever happens?) and will be set straight by readers who consider these the best looking front ends ever.
But I think my favorite part about the car is the hood-mounted tach. Was there ever a single Bonneville built with one of these? Was it even available? Or did a guy who had to settle for something to satisfy the Mrs. make that one little attempt to make the car live up to its namesake when he had the dealership parts department order one in for installation before delivery. “Gee honey, they built it wrong. The dealer can order another, but it will take about 8 weeks.”
So we have a car named Bonneville after the high speed salt flats, and that wears the famous Pontiac hood tach. All on a seasick gold four door hardtop with a vinyl roof and fake wire wheel covers. The metaphors on this car may be mixed, but I find it a tasty combination.
I like the front end treatment on these! I think it looks dynamic, creative and cool – the integration of the loop bumpers and stacked quads, in this application, looks great to my eyes.
The sight of a Pontiac ad by Art Fitzpatrick (cars) and Van Kaufman (settings) brings back fond memories.
And, IMHO, all 1960s Pontiacs were beautiful. In 1967, the “compact” Tempest bested the full sized models in terms of looks, something not done earlier in the decade (see photo below).
Yes. All the ’66-’67 A bodies were gems, but the Poncho was the best. They’re all tauter than their overwrought full-size companions,basically what the B-body would become.
Hopefully he had the famous Pontiac teardrop console mounted vacuum gauge too.
I can’t decide if I love or hate that front end. I think I’ll settle on…interesting.
Yes, a weird year. Pontiac did stacked headlights better in 1966
…And they did the hoop bumper better in 1968.
The exterior was improved in 1968, especially in front, but they really messed up the inside. Many of the parts that were metal or woodgrain (real wood on some models?) were replaced with plastic, sometimes under the auspices of safety. The door armrests became these one-piece molded plastic atrocities that probably looked futuristic in 1968 but haven’t stood the test of time. These also left no place to put your hand if you tried to actually rest your arm on it.
Tempting though the 67 is, I think this is better for a long term relationship.
There’s something about the softly curved bumper ends of the looped bumper for the front end in ‘69 that makes me prefer it slightly to the ‘68. the ‘68 rear is better than ‘69, which got too simple.
Yes, overall a much better design. One of those rare cases where the re-style is better than the original. ’56 Chrysler and DeSoto are another example.
I remember seeing advertisements of these cars shown at the site of Expo 67 in Montreal. I was fascinated by the beaks. The taillights were interesting too with those downward swoops. One of the better looking cars of 67 to me.
Not a fan of the front, but the rest of it….wow!
I don’t recall Bonnevilles coming with hood mounted tachs, but could be wrong. 1965-66 2+2s maybe, but not 4dr Bonnies.
I cannot look at one of these and not think of Steve Douglas (Fred MacMurray) on My Three Sons in the late 1960’s.
This is a case where I really preferred the big Pontiac to the big Chevy… 1967.
That combination of loop bumper, Bat-mobile like eyebrows, Bunkie Beak (if I have that right… not sure who he was working for the year this car was designed), is just awesome to my eyes.
Dad had a ’66 Impala and then a ’68 Impala (glad he skipped the ’67… and no offense as I know that Supernatural mobile is well liked here), but I always kinda wished he would’ve just gotten one of these!
He wouldn’t get a Bonneville until 1980 though after years of Chevys and one Ford and a Dodge, too.
This is a rare case where I actually prefer the 4 door hardtop to the 2 door fastback (the other exception to my “too many doors rule” being the Big Mopars).
And I like the rear end treatment too, although I prefer the 1968 Bonneville’s back end.
For the ’67s I am the opposite of your Rick. I much prefer the Chevrolet and thought it was one of the most stylish Chevys of the decade. The ’67 Pontiac nose is just too strange and unappealing for me. Despite the fact the rest of the car is stylish, the front just ruins if for me. The ’67 Grand Prix though is much nicer looking and makes the front end acceptable in my eyes. I also agree the 4-door hardtops were very stylish though, maybe one of the best looking 4-doors of the era, but I like the fastback styling on the ’67 to 68 GM 2-doors just a bit more.
For Pontiacs, I thought the ’65 and ’66 were the peak ’60s Pontiacs. Just gorgeous cars. The ’68 Pontiac had an improved front end from the ’67s in my eyes, but they were still no where near as good looking as the ’65 and ’66s.
“A big Bonneville 4 door hardtop was the car for every successful suburban Dad who didn’t want to look too self-important.”
One of my favorite bits of car-casting is Mike’s dad’s G-body Bonneville in Stranger Things. Nice and plush but not flashy, not too big but by no means a small car. It’s nowhere near as cool as a ’67 so it adds a touch of “I used to be cool” to Ted Wheeler. I’d like to think the salesman showed him a 6000 STE but he wasn’t ready to move on from the Brougham Era.
He’s never seen driving it, it’s just in the driveway in a few scenes and establishing shots of the Wheelers’ house. At the rate they’re going Mike’s probably going to be shown actually driving it before Ted is.
The 1967s are my favorite full-size Pontiacs of this general era (65-70), not because of the somewhat odd front styling which isn’t as good as the ones that either preceded or followed it, but for the elegant sight that greets you upon opening the door. The dash in particular is all kinds of gorgeous, the most elegant in a GM car from this year (this one’s from a Grand Prix and includes a center console, but this is a rare time I prefer the look of the dash without one). The GP did have a better front treatment though, as the covered headlamps hide the odd headlamp above the loop bumper.
If that wall-like dash with the walnut grain trim wasn’t cool enough already, an Easter egg awaits you the first time you fire up the high beams. The red indicator light nestled in the speedometer is in the shape of a Pontiac logo – not the familiar arrowhead logo that Pontiac had used from the late 50s onward, but rather the *old* Chief Pontiac Indian head logo which was inexplicably retained in this single location through 1970.
The Grand Prix was the Belle of the Ball in 67.
I appreciate the correct spelling of my surname very much. (Though I don’t typically capitalize the letter E.). I spotted that car at a Dairy Queen get-together.
Thw color was known as “Aztec Gold” at least in 68, on my fathers then new Bonneville Brougham 2 dr hardtop. Same basic shell but horizontal headlights within the loop bumper sporting a large vertical prow. The taillights continued the hockey stick look but were larger and better integrated, the rear bimper was shaped to follow the shape of the taillights, with a body colored valance panel beneath the bumper instead of the body color strip above as in 67. His car had disc front brakes, so the 8 lug wheels were not mounted. instead it was the standard Pontiac wheel cover. Skirts, of course and a black vinyl top and black and aztec gold interior. (this was when one could get interiors that actually matched the exterior color. Dad finally traded off his 63 Bonneville for it. Kept the 68 until 72 when he went to a Buick Centurion. basically a LeSabre with a little more trim and some bit of Wildcat DNA, including the Buick Sport wheels.
The front is dramatic, but a step down from the gorgeous 1965 models. The front looks “angry” as opposed to “imposing and confident” (1965).
Interesting that Pontiac abandoned the stacked headlights on its full-size and intermediate cars for 1968…one year ahead of when Cadillac, Plymouth (Fury) and AMC (Ambassador) would do it. Pontiac still managed to stay one step ahead of the competition during those years.
As for the hood-mounted tachometer – it was available from the factory on the 1967 Catalina 2+2. I’m sure that a dealer would install one on a Bonneville if the buyer wanted it.
My friend as a 1967 Catalina convertible in the same color as the Bonneville convertible featured in the brochure. It’s quite a car.
This is one of my favorite interpretations of stacked headlights, the 66 is arguably the best, but the 67 blows away the ornate 65s, the blocky 64s and the clunky 63s. Truth be told I felt Pontiac’s 65-67 intermediates did stacked headlights better than their big brothers, but the the stacked/loop combo is one of the most interesting and creative front end designs of the decade.
My roommate in the Air Force owned of these for a short time; it was very much a (well) used car by that time. The Pontiac had belonged to another airman we worked with and had been flat towed from Alabama to California. The windshield had not been covered and the sand had done a number on it, with the sun at certain angles the view straight ahead was mostly a blur. I remember borrowing the beast once when I was between cars; when I started the Pontiac at least a half dozen red lights were illuminated on the instrument panel and stayed on. I asked my buddy about this and apparently the lights were a constant feature and he said not to worry. In any case the 400 CID V8 seemed to run fairly well, especially considering it was 10 years old by then and had travelled over 120k miles. The good old days of American iron, when under stressed engines would run for a long time with minimal (or no) maintenance.
I like this a lot. I have a set of those wire wheel covers on my garage wall from my ’72 Grand Ville.
The gold base color was certainly popular in that era, but that red top is a surprise. It looks like it may be vinyl, but I’m not sure.
From the 1967 Pontiac color brochure, Pontiac definitely offered two-tone combinations, but this pairing was not official in this brochure….
Wow, my brain was doing an auto-correct on that vinyl roof – I was seeing a black one that was a little faded. But I think you are right, dark red? And is that interior dark red as well? I sure never saw that combination before, but in that era of the ala carte special order, who’s to say it might not have come that way? Yoiks! Either way I would classify the combo as, let’s go with unfortunate.
Red was not a factory vinyl top color on a ’67 Pontiac.
This is the best front end.
The 1968 front end has a ginormous bulging nose.
The 1966 is pretty.
This is also the last year that the boomerang tail light design didn’t drag the rear end down like the 1968 design.
I grew up on the South Side of Chicago in a blue collar industrial neighborhood. Dutch neighbors, German neighbors, next door neighbor was Finnish, some hillbillies, lots of Hispanic. All clock punchers. Married. Lots of kids. Wife at home.
We drove Chevy, Ford, Pontiac, AMC, Beetles, and Plymouth. There were dozens of Pontiac cars of this era in our neighborhood. Good looking cars. We had a Galaxie 500. We got new cars every three years, thanks to road rust.
So this car, that brand, that color, and that era is like seeing a GI Joe, a Frisbee, striped flared jeans, and bad haircuts – very familiar.
My parents very nearly got a dark blue one just like this but wound up with a Wildcat. The Buick was OK but I really wished they had gone for the Bonnie. I have no complaints at all with the styling.
I LOVE 60’s Pontiacs, especially the 65-67 full sizers. This is an unusual one, kind of broughamy before brougham was big. I like it but can’t help thinking of all the great alternatives in models, body style, color and options the original purchaser passed up to get this one.
Perhaps it would look better in person. I’m not sure how well the gold color works with the red top and interior. Still super cool, though!
Hood tach was available but is extremely rare on 4dr hardtops.
But it also has the somewhat less rare cornering lights and the not-so-often-ordered vinyl roof. Maybe this is a rare case of a Bonneville that is “loaded to the nines”
New Pontiacs had almost gone as a brand i NZ when these were new I recall the odd one and they were probably privately imported NZ GM semi and CKD assembly of American cars had basically stopped with new cars only available via Aussie assembly and they were getting out of it too, I’m not a fan of the front end styling preferring the earlier efforts.
Yes, this front end was assembled here from Cheviac Canada bits as a Parisienne or Laurentian, maybe.
It turns out that it doesn’t bear lots of quiet contemplation, this face. Initially, it’s rather stylishly brash, in tune with some low and dramatic concrete buildings of the time, round eyes in squared tapered openings, all gaining tasteful shouty attention.
Then JPC suggests time for a good squint at it, and it’s suddenly too wide (and flat) to fit on anything but a freeway, the side front-facing wing-things look as if they stick out even wider again (but don’t, natch), there is, why yes, a loop bumper that hasn’t grown up yet under normal front upper, and in the end, there’s even two different fronts on top of eachother as if in a Lewis Carroll reflecting pool. In sum, it’s rather like many a modern – striking enough, but with lots of vaguely threatening busyness going on, and certainly no prettiness of any sort.
Thankyou, Counsellor. I though these were fine till ten minutes ago. Now I see too many issues, and only those!
Any article on a big 4 door hardtop is a good one imop! I think the styling of the 67 front end was intentional. It denoted that the base car up through to the Bonny got the stacked lamps, and the more upmarket GP got the hideaways. Let everyone know you paid more kind of thing. I still find that the GP front end is one of the nicest styles ever for the 60’s big Pontiacs.
But I might be kind of biased, Here it is on my Big block 67 Canadian Grande Parisienne,