In October 2014 I was shopping for a big, American cruiser from the 1960s. I feel they have a style all of their own from an era the world will never see again, and I see the “full size” cars are the best representation of that period in time.
Gigantic land whales like Chevy Impalas, Ford Galaxies, Cadillacs, Lincolns, and the Pontiac Bonneville, dripped in chrome and style. Every feature was carefully designed, and they showcase amazing care and thought behind simple things like heater controls. This was luxury motoring coming to the masses.
My car is a 1964 Pontiac Bonneville sport coupe, with a 389 cubic-inch (6.4-litre) V8, which came factory equipped with a radio, four-barrel carburettor and 303hp, a four-speed automatic, manual drum brakes, manual windows and a heater. It was the largest and most luxurious of Pontiac’s models from that year, though my car doesn’t have many luxury features.
Now, when I refer to my car as a barge, the first thing you need to know is that it weighs 4000lb (1800kg), but also that the ’64 Bonneville is 19 FEET / SIX METRES long and 6.5 FEET / TWO METRES wide, riding on an insane wheelbase that is over 3 METRES (nearly 10 FEET) long! You bet your sweet ass this thing is a land barge!
I found my car thanks to a friend tagging me in a post on a Facebook page, where the owner wanted to get rid of it. It had sat around for a number of years and he had other cars to spend time and money on, so it had to go.
This was the image that made me email Coby to buy his car.
In the early-to-mid 1960s you could actually order your Bonneville with electric power seats, electric windows and mirrors, power disc brakes, air conditioning and more. They were expensive machines, costing over $4000 back in the day, and came in 4dr sedan, 4dr hardtop, 2dr coupe, convertible and even a 9-seat station wagon.
I wanted a car that could take me back to the golden era of American automobiles, which I never experienced firsthand, but i was also keen to make improvements where I saw fit. I did not want a stock standard museum piece as I want to drive my car!
Coby and I chatted over email and he provided me photos and a lot of information about the car’s condition. I knew I was in for a project, and that was exactly what I wanted. I wanted something I could take and make my own.
The price was right, so in early November 2014 I bought the car (much to my ex-wife’s seething rage) and then waited for it to come across the Pacific Ocean from America to its new home near Sydney, Australia.
The day it landed in my front yard in Australia, a long way from California!