Pontiac was decidedly sitting pretty in a number of ways by 1964. When it came to standard American Cars, Pontiac was setting the standard most aspired to. The stacked headlamps and voluptuous hips adoring the rear fenders would be features copied either in part or in whole by brands throughout the automotive spectrum starting in 1965.
In a rosy automotive market Pontiac found itself sitting pretty in the #3 Spot, having dispensed with Rambler and Plymouth and closing in on the three quarters of a million mark of Arrowhead Army members shuttling down American Interstates during the 1964 model year.
Of course the King of the Pontiac line-up was the Bonneville. A more bodacious butt greeted buyers wanting to taste the cream of the Pontiac crop. In Pontiac tradition stretching all the way back to the stretched Star Chiefs of the early 1950’s, it didn’t mean that you necessarily gained more in the way of passenger space. In the mid 60’s it still meant a great deal to have as much car for your money as possible.
The Bonneville did give a lot for the cash laid on the line as well. The well regarded 389 V8 could be paired with the tried and true 4 Speed Fluid Coupling Hydramatic instead of the somewhat more wonky Roto-Hydramatic found in the Catalina and Grand Prix.
In the step between the purity of the 1963 design and the growing girth of the 1965 models, the much loved ’64 Pontiac line-up wrapped up a remarkable resurgence chapter in the Pontiac Renaissance fable that would span for the rest of the 1960’s.
Pontiac had pulled hip credibility away from a number of rival brands from within General Motors. More youthful and playful than Chevrolet, more performance orientated than Oldsmobile and more stylish than Buick, only Cadillac carried the same swagger and clout that Pontiac projected during these years.
Interesting to think, within a short 10 years, the bedazzling Bonneville and its stable of siblings were desperately searching for identity. Perhaps had Pontiac not lost that peerless perfection, they would have survived further into the future. Too late to wish on chrome dreams, we stand and enjoy a General Motors brand at its peak.