1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special Motorama Concept Car

Courtesy of Barrett-Jackson Auction Company


It’s said that Harley Earl, director of GM styling, got the idea for a GM concept car while watching world speed records being set at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. It would be a sports racer called a Bonneville Special. That was when 1954 models were being readied for production, and no GM car had ever carried the Bonneville name.

Perhaps Harley Earl gave the assignment to Pontiac as the birth of its upcoming performance image. Under the direction of Earl, Homer LaGassey and Paul Gilland built two Bonneville Specials.

The bronze car would debut in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria in New York and the green one in the Pan Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles. The green model would later tour major dealerships around the country. The cars were showbiz and beyond production, but realistic enough for the public to identify with them and make them contenders for best-remembered Motorama cars.

Carl Bomstead

Carl Bomstead - SCM Senior Auction Analyst - %%page%%

Carl has been writing for SCM for 19 years. His first article appeared in the February 1997 issue, and at least one of his articles has appeared in every issue since. When he’s not writing, he serves as a National Director for the Classic Car Club of America and tends to his extensive collection of automobilia. He has been a judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for the past 20 years, and he also judges at Amelia Island and other major concours. An extensive number of collector cars have passed through his garage, and a 1947 Cadillac 62 Series convertible and a 1968 Intermeccanica Italia are current residents.

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