1957 Pontiac Star ChiefStar Chief Custom Bonneville
To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION WITHOUT RESERVE at RM Sothebys' Miami event, 1 - 2 March 2024.
- The debut year for one of the first high-performance Pontiacs
- One of only 630 examples built; believed to be one of eight finished in Charcoal Grey
- Benefits from a well-maintained concours-quality restoration
- 315-hp, 347-cu.-in. fuel-injected V-8; three-speed automatic transmission
- Top-of-the-line example equipped with power steering, brakes, windows, antenna, and top; eight-way power seat; Wonderbar radio; and optional continental kit and rear fender skirts
Of all the great American cars produced during the 1950s, it would be difficult to find a more rare or more desirable example than the 1957 Pontiac Star Chief Custom Bonneville—better known simply as the Bonneville. Just 630 production examples of these cars were ever made: one per dealer in the United States, plus two prototypes.
The Bonneville was only offered as a convertible for 1957, which underscored its exclusive-by-design intentions. Further, the sole engine option was the Rochester fuel-injected 347-cubic-inch V-8; with a 10.25:1 compression ratio, it yielded an astonishing 315 horsepower. This amazing engine was mated to a Strato-Flight Hydra-Matic three-speed automatic transmission. Even without peering under the hood, these cars can be identified by the Bonneville name on the rear fenders, special trim on the lower quarter panels, and the “Fuel Injection” badges on the front fenders and on the center of the trunk lid.
Bonnevilles featured a long list of features, most included as standard equipment, and sold at a price up in the Cadillac range—$5,782 compared to $3,105 for an ordinary Star Chief convertible. Bonnevilles included power everything: steering, brakes, windows, top, antenna, and seats. Buyers also got Pontiac’s best Wonderbar radio, leather upholstery, a padded dash, automatic headlight dimmers, and special wheel covers.
This stunning 1957 Bonneville continues to benefit from a prior professional frame-off restoration by Don Felts, with the fuel injection unit rebuilt by noted early GM specialist, the late Gail Parsons. It is believed to be one of only eight cars finished in Charcoal Grey (of which three are known to exist) out of 630 total produced. Additionally, this car is also equipped with the optional continental kit and a set of rear fender skirts.
Formerly part of a museum collection and now offered out of enthusiast ownership, this Bonneville Convertible was featured in the book Fuelies by Robert Genat; a close look at its excellent restoration and rare, factory-correct color combination leaves little wonder as to why. It will no doubt continue to delight its next owner, whether on the boulevard or the show field. To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/mi24.