1964 Pontiac Banshee prototype in Cars & Parts

Another Archetypal Prototype story from Cars & Parts (July 2010)!

I’ve already laid the foundation for the Archetypal Prototype story when I wrote earlier about Bob Stevens’ story on the 1954 Hudson Jet convertible prototype. In the very same issue, Cars & Parts published a variant on the story: the concept car.

Concept cars were often styling exercises created by enthusiastic designers, engineers, or both. Often, when the company is done with them, they’re forgotten, rescued by a heroic employee, used as a daily driver, sold to/restored by an avid collector, and admired/envied forever after.

In this case, writer Jon G. Robinson tells the tale of the 1964 Pontiac Banshee, a concept car with a lot of styling cues that later showed up on the 1967 Pontiac Firebird, the 1968 Corvette, and the 1968 Opal GT.

Along with nice, detailed photography, it really helps when you can talk to the guy who really helped to make the car happen. In this article, the Heroic Employee was Bill Collins. (I’ll say it again: direct quotes from the people who lived the story will always trump whatever historians write later about the subject. Robinson does right when he gets out of the way and lets Collins tell the story.”)

Although it’s not explicitly stated in the article, the Banshee that Robinson writes about is a convertible. There’s another one that’s for sale by Lenny Napoli. Check out the video below (and ignore the slightly scary female narrator).


Postwar Indy Pace Cars in Hemmings Classic Car

I really love the photos of the orphan Indianapolis 500 Pace Cars in the July 2010 issue of Hemmings Classic Car.

At Torq-O, I collect vintage motion picture film of orphan cars, and I’ve been looking for 16mm footage of the 1947 Nash Ambassador pace car for a long time. (I had an eBay opportunity to get a film about the ’47 race once, but my bid got clobbered.)

I’d also like to find some great color footage of the 1952 Studebaker Commander pace car, but I’ve never seen a thing. Maybe the Studebaker Museum in South Bend has some film.

DeSoto is a murky brand to me. No one ever writes about it with much excitement or enhusiasm. Maybe that’s why I’ve never found media associated with the 1956 DeSoto Pacesetter. Writer Jim Donnelly notes that this car represents maybe the first Big Three car to be marketed as a pace car replica in DeSoto dealerships.

Since Pontiac is a recent addition to the Torq-O Garage, I’ve never really searched for footage of the 1958 Pontiac Bonneville.

Now that there are many new marques to celebrate, I’ll have to keep an eagle eye out for the 1960 Oldsmobile 98, the 1965 Plymouth Sport Fury, the 1966 Mercury Comet Cyclone, the 1970 Oldsmobile 4-4-2, the 1972 Hurst Olds, the 1974 Hurst Olds, the 1977 Oldsmobile Delta 88, and the 1980 Pontiac Turbo Trans Am. (Oldsmobile owned Indy in the 1970’s!)

I left out one car on purpose. Last year, I bought a 16mm film about the 1962 Indy 500 called 33 Men. In it, you several great color shots of the 1962 Studebaker Lark Daytona. One down and a dozen (or more) to go.

Pontiac Milestones in Pontiac Enthusiast

I was just leafing through the July 2010 issue of Pontiac Enthusiast, and I really like the conversation-starting editorial by Jason Scott.

Scott lists his best-of-breed Pontiacs from the last 46 years.

It’s a good list, but since Pontiac has a beginning, middle, and end, could the list possibly include pre-1963 Pontiacs? Sure, they wouldn’t be muscle cars, but I’d like to believe that Pontiac’s history started before the GTO.

Still, it’s a good list. Hey, it got ME talking, and I’m no Pontiac expert.

Pontiac: End of the (Assembly) Line

Thus endeth Pontiac.