HomeCar CulturePavilions Pick: 1968 Pontiac Bonneville

Pavilions Pick: 1968 Pontiac Bonneville

A learning moment to be had


Every car guy and gal who visits Scottsdale knows about it. During Barrett-Jackson’s Scottsdale auction in January, the number of cars and spectators is off the hook. We couldn’t be talking about anything other than the Pavilions Rock ‘n Roll Car Show, a weekly event where automotive enthusiasts bring their cars to be social and show off. Vehicles come and go throughout the day, so the mix of cars can change within minutes. It was at the Pavilions (or, as staffer Jalopy Jeff calls it, “The Pavs”) that we caught up with this very interesting 1968 Pontiac Bonneville.

To be honest, any full-size 1968 Pontiac is not the most collectible car out there. Some feel the snout echoes shades of Edsel, while others feel earlier (pre-1967) full-size Ponchos had more style. Plus, it’s a muscle car world out there, so most sporty and performance models garner more enthusiasm. However, 1968 Bonnevilles feature strong land yacht qualities, plus it’s the last full-size Pontiac available with a four-speed. A friend owns a Catalina two-door sedan with a factory 390-horsepower 428 HO and four-speed, so clearly there was someone out there who was attracted to the charms of full-size Pontiac performance in 1968.

This Bonneville convertible that pulled up to the Pavilions is a little different, but no less unique. Take a look and you’ll notice hidden headlights. Hey, who put a Grand Prix grille on a Bonneville? Looks cool but that’s a GP piece, right?

Well, yes and no. In a May 24, 1968 bulletin, Pontiac introduced T83 concealed headlights as an option for all Bonneville models. There is no information on how many Bonnevilles were built with this option, but I bet even the most knowledgeable Pontiac folks aren’t aware it was available. I myself didn’t learn until five years ago when one with documentation appeared on eBay.

Taking a look at this Poncho’s window sticker continues to impress — here’s the complete tally.

  • April Gold
  • L79 428/375
  • M40 Turbo Hydramatic transmission
  • J75 power antenna
  • U58 AM/FM Stereo
  • B93 Door edge guards
  • T83 Retractable headlamp covers
  • D34 Right-hand vanity mirror
  • D33 Left-hand remote mirror
  • A39 Custom seat belts
  • K30 Cruise control
  • N10 Dual exhaust
  • A90 Remote trunk release
  • N40 Power steering
  • N33 Tilt steering wheel
  • Y87 Brougham trim group
  • J52 Front disc brakes
  • A02 Tinted windshield
  • A93 Power door locks
  • A32 Power vent windows
  • A42 Power front bench seat
  • A53 Strato-bench seat
  • C75 Automatic temperature control
  • C60 Air conditioning
  • B32 Front floor mats
  • B33 Rear floor mats
  • T87 Cornering lamps
  • U41 Low fuel warning lamp
  • UA1 Heavy-duty battery
  • K45 Heavy-duty battery
  • P26 White sidewall 8.45 x 15 Rayon tires

Base price for a 1968 Bonneville convertible was $3,800. This one was originally ordered with $2,191.12 worth of options plus $65.99 destination fee, this Bonnie stickered at $6,057.11. That’s quite an expensive Pontiac at the time!

Even without the hidden headlights, this is quite a loaded Bonneville with many rare options. It also goes to show that you don’t need to be hung up with Hemi this and solid-lifter that in order to have a fun and interesting collectible.

Diego Rosenberg
Diego Rosenberg
Lead Writer Diego Rosenberg is a native of Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey, giving him plenty of exposure to the charms of Carlisle and Englishtown. Though his first love is Citroen, he fell for muscle cars after being seduced by 1950s finned flyers—in fact, he’s written two books on American muscle. But please don’t think there is a strong American bias because foreign weirdness is never far from his heart. With a penchant for underground music from the 1960-70s, Diego and his family reside in metropolitan Phoenix.


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