Who Doesn’t Like Hardtops? – 1968 Pontiac Bonneville

Continuing the fascination with older American sedans, here’s where GM really excelled in design – with its hardtop sedans. Who needs a silly b-pillar holding your roof up when style is in question? These cars really let you have it all – the style of a coupe, the practicality of a sedan, the power of a sports car, and the handling of Grandma’s chesterfield. They’ve become fairly unusual today, although many manufacturers strive to emulate the look of a pillarless sedan by blacking out the b-pillar. Today’s example of this body style is a 1968 Pontiac Bonneville, for sale in Turlock, CA (east of San Francisco) for $2800.

1968 Pontiac Bonneville hardtop left front

The prominent nose seen on late 1960s Pontiacs evolved out of a split grill with the red Pontiac arrow in the center. You can also see the Coke bottle lines of the period, as we saw on the 1967 Chevrolet on Friday. This car seems to be in good original shape, with the exception of a minor dent ahead of the front wheel and what looks to be an incorrect, later square door mirror. The wheel spats are removed, but included with the car – reinstalling them is the way to go if you want to emphasize the long, low look.

1968 Pontiac Bonneville hardtop right rear

Dual exhaust, California black plates, a trunk lid so big the springs can’t hold it all the way open, and boomerang tail lights that follow the contours of the car’s corners. Hmm, where else have we seen tail lights that shape? Scoop! Italdesign copies sixties Pontiac for their Maserati 3200 GT! There are definitely some more elegant touches in this thing, including the rear fender-mounted emblems, fender kick-up, and creasing in the roof lines that lends this car a hint of formality.

1968 Pontiac Bonneville hardtop engine

While the whole car is said to have 70,000 miles, the 400ci engine is rebuilt and ready to drive, which means the entire 340hp is at your disposal. Underhood, everything looks pretty immaculate, so it would be interesting to see if that perception holds up in reality. Check out that air conditioning compressor on the passenger side – from this angle, it looks nearly as big as the whole rotary engine in an RX7!

1968 Pontiac Bonneville hardtop interior

So the price did seem too good to be true, no? Well, here’s where you get to put in some elbow grease – the interior needs a full makeover. Check out the desert-like cracking of the dash top, the total absence of material on the top half of the sporty steering wheel, and you can imagine there’s similar patina on any other part of the interior that was exposed to sunlight. (Tangent: Plastics have come so far – when’s the last time you saw a cracked dash on a post-2000 car?) Put in some effort here, and you could end up with a stylish, powerful cruiser that might even turn you a small profit.

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One Response to “Who Doesn’t Like Hardtops? – 1968 Pontiac Bonneville”

  1. steve in podunk Says:

    Well, just about any of the last generation Grand Ams have shriveling up dashes. This seems a fair deal but I think this cars fate includes very large and expensive wheels and some sort of custom paint job with an unfortunate “Smurfs” reference.

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