Bonneville Special Grabs Spotlight at Barrett-Jackson

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One lucky bidder at the 2006 Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Auction will drive away with one of the most unique concept cars ever designed: Harley Earl’s 1954 Pontiac Bonneville Special, Lot #1304. This car, one of only two built, was created to go on tour on the West Coast to help spread the excitement of General Motors’ latest concept car offerings.

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The car will be auctioned at no reserve during the January event in Scottsdale, Arizona.The renowned GM designer Harley Earl was inspired by a trip to the Bonneville salt flats. The car was never intended for production; the idea was to show the public that Pontiac was leading the industry in innovative thinking. Designed as Pontiac’s answer to the Chevrolet Corvette, the flashy 1954 Bonneville Special conveys a look of speed.

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Following the trend of jet-age styling, the Bonneville features a distinctive aircraft-style Plexiglas bubble top, with gull-wing glass door tops over the cockpit, and the world’s most radical-looking continental kit, designed to look like a jet turbine.

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Only two of these cars were built so they could be displayed simultaneously at the Los Angeles and Detroit auto shows. The car offered at Barrett-Jackson is the one that traveled to California. After touring the country for spectators to see, the concept cars were typically destroyed. This unique car, and its counterpart, somehow avoided its date with the crusher and survived. The odometer has logged less than 800 miles.

At last year’s Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, another Harley Earl creation, a 1954 Oldsmobile F-88 concept car, grabbed an all-time record at the Barrett-Jackson event with a winning bid of $3,240,000, including bidder’s fees. The General Motors concept car lasted through a fierce bidding war to become the highest-selling car ever at the Barrett-Jackson auction.

At this year’s event, some believe the Bonneville Special could easily top the record set by the Oldsmobile F-88 in 2005 by more than $1 to 2 million, thus bringing pre-sale estimates in the range of $4 to 5 million when the two-seat Pontiac show car crosses the block.

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