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As automobile styling and mechanical innovations moved forward during the mid to late 1950’s, the Pontiac Motor Division opted to make a change in management. Semon “Bunkie” Knutson was appointed general manager, and his aim was to make changes that would hopefully advance the Pontiac to include a new “Star Flight” look, and to address advancement in performance. The distinctive chrome strips, recognized since they first appeared 1935, were removed from the hood and rear fenders, and then the performance issue was addressed with a larger block and a tri-power carburetion option. Further changes were the missile-shaped side trim, flatter, extended rear fenders, and a more massive bumper and grille.
The models for 1957 were as follows: the bottom-of-the-line Chieftain, next was the Super Chief, and then the Star Chief. Two wagons were also available; the two-door Custom Safari and the four-door Custom Safari Transcontinental. The new Pontiac Bonneville was introduced in February of 1957, and brought a message of performance and style to the public. Bonneville was a limited edition, convertible only, and the most expensive muscle car ever offered by Pontiac. The Bonneville listed at $5,282, while the next in line was the Star Chief at $3,105. The 1958 Bonneville convertible became very desirable for car collectors in more recent years, since with only 630 units produced, this Bonneville became very difficult to obtain.
- Styling that started in 1955 was refined for a more modern, elegant look
- Lack of performance in previous models was addressed with larger, more powerful engine
- 1957: Pontiac Pres. Bunkie Knudsen introduces Pontiac’s performance image
- First year without the chrome hood stripes
- Price new: $2,735