Before the ’64 (AKA, a tale of woe and a crispy 4dr Poncho)

Way back in 2012 my mate Brenden bought a sweet ’62 Pontiac from a bloke in Western Sydney. The Vista four-door hardtop was long, low and a very cool cruiser as it was a proper American-spec Bonneville (not a Canadian Parisienne, which was basically a Chevy with Pontiac panels), but had been converted to right-hand drive by Holden’s department in Adelaide.

As a bonus Old Mate had thrown in a spare car. Yes, you read that right, a complete US import ’62 Bonneville that was also a 4-door hardtop. This one was still left-hook and needed work. Lots and lots and lots and lots of work, but it was amazingly straight.

The biggest issue was it was brown and half pulled apart. Brenden drove his ’62 home and then set about trying to find somewhere for his parts car to live. My parents came to the rescue, offering Brenden somewhere to stash the huge brown barge for a few weeks while he found somewhere more permanent.

12 months later (March 2013) and Brenden was needing money so he could fit air suspension to his Bonneville, and so we came to an agreement that ended up with me owning his parts car. I wanted a cruiser so I figured I’d put this thing back together and build a sweet cruiser.

It had already been moved from my parent’s property (as it was sitting outside) before I owned it, but even though it was in my garage I didn’t touch it until September 2013. I’d just been retrenched from my dream job (Editor of a car magazine) and was feeling really, really low so I hooked in and started stripping the Bonneville.

What followed was pretty much 12 months of really hard slog where I stripped the ’62 to a bare frame, and started rebuilding it. With a little help from my friends I learned how to weld rust repair patches in and spray paint, I replaced all the suspension, painted the undercarriage and chassis in my garage, hand-stripped all the paint off the body, and basically had it almost ready for paint. And then the fridge motor burned out, starting a fire that destroyed my shed and my Pontiac.

That was 27 September, 2014. In October I wired Coby the money for the ’64 and tried to jump right back on the horse, despite my ex-wife’s protestations. Anyway, if you’d like to know more about the ’62 let me know by commenting or sending me an email!

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