Exuberant and flamboyant cars were the hallmark of the 50s, but in many cases, the very best of those were, as they always are, very expensive. Pontiac, which was one of General Motor’s most popular divisions, decided to tackle this issue head-on by giving customers the luxury that they wanted, at a price they could afford: this is the story of the 1959 Pontiac Bonneville. To call it beautiful is not to do it justice: long, low and wide, it was available as a two-door coupe, a pillar-less four-door sedan and of course everybody’s favorite, the convertible. On the interior design aspect, it offered some of the luxury of much more expensive cars, without breaking the bank. It was an unmitigated success.
The Bonneville was Pontiac’s most powerful car, and it showed. Available was a 6.4-liter big block V8, developing up to 345 horsepower. You could get the Bonneville with a three-speed automatic transmission, or a four-speed manual, with syncromesh. Top speed was 125 miles per hour, and 0-60, 9 seconds.
Thanks to its wide stance and independent front suspension, the Bonneville actually handled pretty well, at least compared with the standard American cars being produced at the time. Big, fast and ravishingly stylish, the 1959 Pontiac Bonneville was an instant classic.