Henry Giambruno is the man who walked into the Di Gulio Pontiac dealership in Fresno, California, in May of 1964 and paid over $3500 for a brand spanking new Pontiac Bonneville sport coupe. I know this as I am incredibly lucky to still have this paperwork with my car!
I bought my ’64 Pontiac without ever inspecting it in person. I wired Coby the money, he dropped it at the shipping yard and, thanks to what I can only assume was witchcraft (or sea freight), it turned up on my door several months later. And boy was I in a rush to be excited.
After jumping around like a drugged-up idiot for the best part of two days, just looking over the car and getting it running, I remembered that the Pontiac had a glovebox, and I didn’t know what was inside. As it turns out, there was a vintage plastic pouch stuffed with paperwork.
After spending approximately 0.75 seconds looking at the pouch I stuffed it back into the glovebox and took my car for a drive. This was February 2015 and it was on that drive the gearbox failed and the whole project began, so I promptly forgot about the pouch.
Fast forward to December 2016 and I stripped the interior before sending the car to a mate’s shop to have some work done. The glovebox came out though I put it aside in a spare room at my parent’s house (where the car is kept), and I forgot about it again.
Finally, in April 2017 my father asked me what the pouch was as he and my mother had actually had a good look at it and realised it was a vintage dealer-supplied part from 1964, when the car was new.
Pulling the wads of paperwork out, I was shocked to realise this plain old pouch held absolute gold. It was a complete history of the car’s early life, from the original handwritten quote to the delivery slip, and even a stack of registration papers!
My ’64 Pontiac was ordered in late April 1964 through Di Gulio Pontiac & GMC in Fresno, California. Salesman “Bob” Leal wrote the initial quote to Clements Construction, a civil engineering company, later altered to one Henry Giambruno.
While Pontiac offered a huge range of options, from air conditioning, several levels of radios, power windows and seats, power disc brakes, plus several engine choices that included three carburettors (or even a thundering 421 cubic-inch monster V8), Henry got Bob to quote up a fairly basic Bonneville.
From the paperwork, which runs through the ’70s to 2004, the car spent its whole life in California and even held the same number plates it left Di Gulio Pontiac wearing back in June 1964.
I tried to look up both Di Gulio Pontiac and Henry Giambruno to see if they were still around. Unfortunately I couldn’t find them despite quite a bit of online sleuthing.
Read on below to see some of the cool history I managed to uncover by complete accident.
Bob Leal put together a pretty darn good quote – check out that fleet discount of $620 on a car totalling $4115! Bob also (helpfully) threw in some suggested options for Henry to go over.
Henry Giambruno took about a month to come back to Bob Leal and place the order for the car. It is interesting to note he didn’t opt for the power brakes!
Henry finally got to pick up his new Pontiac on the 18th of June, 1964. I can not imagine how excited I would have been to drive one of these amazing cars off the lot, brand new!
Details of the order…
The pouch also contained the original owner’s manuals for the car, complete with Idento-plates – a very rare find today.
The art in the manuals is amazing. Back when advertising and marketing had class.
I was also fortunate enough to get both the original 1964 Californian plates with my car, though I am not legally allowed to display them in Australia. I did look to see if I could get the same plate content (MES848) but it is unfortunately not available.