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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Southeast MI


    I have a 40th Anniversary of the Bonneville T-shirt that was given to workers at the Buick City Assembly plant in Flint MI. It's never been worn. These Bonnevilles never got the respect they deserved.

  2. #12


    17) I then came across the August 1990 issue of Smoke Signals magazine with Glenn Bappe's ’57 Bonneville on the cover after winning Best of Show at the 1990 POCI Convention in Kansas City, MO. I assume this car was one of the three ’57 Bonnevilles present at the milestone event? I have since been able to confirm this.

    use the link or click on any of the pictures of Glenn's Bonnevilles to view more pictures

    Here is another photo of Glenn's beautiful red '57 Bonneville

    18) I noticed in the October 2008 issue of Smoke Signals, in the Spearfish Convention article, there is a picture of a 1957 Bonneville and the caption "Glenn Bappe’s spectacular 1957 Bonneville was finished in a very rare charcoal gray. It took a Gold Award in Junior Stock."

    This has got to be the same Glenn Bappe that brought the red 1957 Bonneville to the 30 Millionth Pontic celebration 17 years ago. Very glad to see that Glenn is still active in the Pontiac hobby, and hope that he sees this topic, or if someone that reads this knows Glenn, could make sure he is aware of this topic, thanks.

    Here is another photo of Glenn's beautiful charcoal '57 Bonneville

    Last edited by aukc; March 5th, 2010 at 00:41.
    Mike Klassen - 1995 white Bonneville SSEi

  3. #13


    19) Next I found this article by Larry DeLay in the June 1997 issue of Pontiac Enthusiast magazine on Jeff Freed’s ’57 Bonneville. The article confirms this is the other ’57 Bonneville that was present at the milestone event. I believe that Jeff no longer owns this Bonneville.

    This is not the only article that Larry DeLay has written about '57 Bonnevilles. An article written by Larry on the charcoal '57 Bonneville of Don and Becki Felts appeared in the February 2004 issue of Pontiac Enthusiast magazine.

    And remeber that name, because as I was to discover later, Larry DeLay has more connections to the milestone event.

    Recently I was fortunate to speak with Jeff Freed, owner of one of the three 1957 Bonnevilles that were present at the celebration.

    Jeff confirmed that he no longer owns the Ivory white with Blue spear Bonneville that was present at the celebration. It was shipped out of Florida to a new owner in Sweden about 5 years ago. Jeff has another 1957 Bonneville which he already had at the time of the celebration, Ivory white with red spear with Ivory and charcoal interior. He bought it about 20 years ago from someone in Cincinnati and is undergoing restoration including a second repaint to get it just right. Jeff mentioned that 1957 Bonneville Ivory White is a very hard color to duplicate correctly and it needs to have just the right amount of blue and green that only shows in certainly lighting conditions. In his restoration efforts Jeff takes pride and has a lot of experience with paint mixing and color match and has worked in the paint industry for Sherwin-Williams. Whenever fellow owners of Ivory white 1957 Bonnevilles get together, there is a friendly competitiveness to see who has most perfectly matched the factory color.

    Regarding 1957 Bonnevilles with the main body color red. It is not my intention to offend anyone who owns one of these fine vehicles, but after discussing this issue with Jeff, it is my understanding the Pontiac factory did not produce any 1957 Bonnevilles with a main body color of red. The paint scheme on the 1957 Bonneville uses a color for the main body and then a complementary color for the side spears. One of the side spear color choices for the 1957 Bonneville was a certain red, which was introduced in the spring of 1957 and is identified as “Bonneville Red”. Since the side spears were always a different color than the main body color, all 1957 Bonnevilles have by definition a 2-tone paint scheme and for a specific vehicle the 3-character paint code on the body data plate indicates which combination was used. So for example paint code PPZ according to the 1957 Pontiac color chart - - is Kenya Ivory body with a Bonneville Red spear. There is no listing on the color chart for a 2-tone combination with Bonneville Red as the body color. But if a color was used by the factory for the main body or if a color was used by the factory for the side spears, all these colors must be considered colors that were used by the factory on 1957 Bonnevilles. And for each 1957 Bonneville, the 2 colors that were applied by the factory to that car must be considered the factory correct colors for that car. So if an Ivory white Bonneville with a red spear is repainted as red with an Ivory white spear, the vehicle is retaining the same colors it was born with.

    I mention this because around the same time Jeff bought the Bonneville he still has today, he was looking at another 1957 Bonneville (what’s the only thing better than one, is two. And what’s the only thing better than two, is three). This was an Ivory white one located in Fort Wayne Indiana. Unfortunately after a price had been agreed to but before money had changed hands, the vehicle suffered a serious engine failure (threw a rod). The dealer insisted on the full agreed price with no price reduction to allow for the engine rebuild that was now required. They eventually agreed the dealer would take care of the engine repairs and once those were completed Jeff would have first right of refusal to complete the purchase. Instead the next thing Jeff heard about the car it had been sold to John Fitzgerald and the next time Jeff saw the car it was no longer Ivory white, it was Bonneville Red.

    Jeff also mentioned the 30 Millionth Pontiac celebration a Wentzville was not his first invitation to a Pontiac factory. In 1953 when he was 12 years old he went on a tour of the Pontiac, Michigan assembly plant.

    Jeff recalls that when the 18-wheeler arrived in Chicago to pick up his Bonneville for the trip to Wentzville, he was concerned about the insurance coverage that was in place for the trip. A semi would probably win most road battles without serious damage to the cargo, but what if for example, another semi forced it off the road and the trailer flipped. When Jeff asked Reg Harris, Reg was not sure what the insurance arrangements were, so Jeff asked the driver. The driver replied not to worry, that Pontiac Number 1 was in the trailer and there was a few million dollars of insurance on it, if anything happened there would easily be enough extra to cover replacing a ’57 Bonneville.

    At the 30 Millionth celebration, Jeff recalls that the ’57 Bonnevilles were located separately. The Bonneville of Dick & Shirley Hoyt was placed in the factory, the Bonneville of Glenn Bappe was placed in a lobby that was very much like a showroom and Jeff’s Bonneville was place in a different showroom/lobby. Once his vehicle was in place there was a team of about 8 people that quickly detailed and polished the vehicle in preparation for the celebration. There were many automotive media journalists and photographers covering the event. Unfortunately Jeff did not see the 1926 Pontiac Number 1 at any time during the celebration. Possibly the Pontiac Number 1 was placed in some other location within the factory that Jeff never go to during the celebration.

    Jeff recalls there was already a large crowd gathered at the end of the line where the banner was set up, so Jeff avoided the crowd and went down the line a few hundred feet and then followed the milestone vehicle as it made its way up the final section of the assembly line. He took some pictures of the milestone vehicle as it progressed up the line. It was one of a sequence of about 8 identical white SSEi that were progressing up the line and there was nothing that distinguished it from the others in the sequence. He didn't notice any parts being added to the vehicle at this time, the vehicle seemed to be already fully assembled by the time he started following it. This makes sense because the final stage of the assembly line is the audit area where operations are performed like final check, wheel alignment, roll test, paint check, headlight aim, polishing, striping and prepare for shipping. Jeff is confident the pictures he took at Wentzville that day are still in his collection, when he gets the opportunity he will pull them from his collection and make a copy of them for me.

    At the reception afterwards there was a table full of the commemorative wine goblets which seemed like they were intended as souvenirs, but no one actually offered them. Also although many of the factory employees had the commemorative t-shirts on, they were not offered to the '57 Bonneville owners. Jeff was given a Pontiac belt buckle, but it was a generic item, it did not specifically mention the 30 Millionth Pontiac. Jeff was also given a poster of the 1992 Bonneville SSEi. Regarding the existence of a video tape record of the event, Jeff recalls at the end of the celebration there was a ceremonial drive-away of a fleet of white Bonnevilles. He remembers it being complete chaos like a scene out of a keystone cops movie with cars going evey which direction with no coordination. He vividly recalls watching that very scene when viewing a video tape sometime after the actual event, he is not sure who had the video tape but he does not.

    I have not confirmed this with Jeff yet, but I believe this is an example of the poster he received at the event

    Last edited by aukc; November 22nd, 2010 at 00:24.
    Mike Klassen - 1995 white Bonneville SSEi

  4. #14


    20) To make it easier to read, I transcribed the article from the May/June 1997 issue of Pontiac Enthusiast:

    1957 BONNEVILLE #125 - A true survivor - from the show circuit to Canada and back to the U.S.A., this fuel-injected beauty has lived a charmed life

    By Larry DeLay

    On October 29, 1991, a milestone in Pontiac history occured. The 30 millionth Pontiac Bonneville rolled off the assembly line in Wentzville, Missouri, amidst a gala celebration. In addition to the human dignitaries attending, there were also three proud ancestors of the present Bonneville. One of them was 1957 Bonneville #125, and this is its story.

    The 1957 Bonneville remains one of the most desirable and collectible Pontiacs of all time. It is considered to be of particular historical significance because it was "the car" that heralded what Pontiac Motor Division went on the become - the performance division. As well as being an engineering tour de force, it was also a styling masterpiece.

    The author was fortunate enough to have a chance meeting with this car's original owner, the late Doug Irwin, of Montreal, Canada, during the awards banquet at the 1987 Pontiac-Oakland Club International convention in Sturbridge, Massachusetts. There he revealed his intense interest in '57 Bonnevilles and that he still owned #125 of the 630 cars built. Irwin's primary reason for attending the convention was to gain some insight as to the value of the car, as he was considering selling it in the near future.

    (note: I believe that Doug had been at least considering selling this Bonneville since 1982, because the following classified ad appeared in the August 1982 issue of Smoke Signals "'57 Bonne conv. Magnificent stong running rare model. Kenya Ivory with Tahoe Blue spear. Matching top and leather trim. Chrome engine, factory continental kit wonderbar, trunk full of injection parts with all parts and shop manuals. Will deliver anywhere in North America. $20,000 D. Irwin, Box 310, Innisfail Alberta Canada")

    Although Doug briefly recounted some of the history of #125 as a PDM promotion car, most of the details of the Bonneville's story were obtained from or reinforced by conversations with the current owner, Jeff Freed, of St. Charles, Illinois.

    Irwin graduated from the General Motors Institute in the summer of 1957. He began work as a management trainee in the parts department of a Canadian Pontiac dealership. Doug was fascinated with the new Bonneville and wanted one badly. At his graduation, Irwin made his desire known to a PMD zone representative.

    Overwhelmed, the zone manager explained that this would be very difficult, as the Bonnevilles would be allotted one per dealership. In the late fall of 1957, however, presumably with the zone manager's assistance, Bonneville #125 arrived at the Canadian dealership earmarked for Doug. He became the first registered owner of the car. Prior to this, though, after being delivered somewhere in the United States during April of 1957, #125 was selected to served PMD as a promotional vehicle. It served in this capacity until the fall of 1957, when it was sent to Canada and purchased by Mr. Irwin.

    In order to focus the attention of performance-oriented showgoers toward the engine compartment (can you hear Bunkie Knudsen in this somewhere?), the decision was made to chrome the upper and lower fuel-injection shrouds, air cleaner, voltage regulator cover, valve covers, oil breather cap, power steering bracket and pulley, and horn relay cover.

    This, coupled with the already massive chrome bumper and stylish grille, riveted attention on the new powerplant under the hood of this Kenya Ivory and Fontaine Blue convertible.

    During its tour of duty, the Bonneville was taken by PMD from dealership to dealership, to local drag racing events, and to NASCAR tracks, where it attracted not only young speed enthusiasts but the attention of NASCAR mechanics and drivers. Though not as light as the racing Chieftains with Tri-Power or four-barrel carbs, the 4,285-lb. Bonneville with its Rochester fuel injection and four-speed Hydra-matic could click off a 0-60 sprint in less than 8 seconds and could jump from 50 to 80 mph in 8.2 seconds. A projected top speed in the range of 130+ mph has been estimated, provided that it be running on tires better suited to the task than the standard 8:50X14s.

    Sometime after receiving the car in late 1957, Doug began to campaign it on the drag strips near his home in Canada. At some point he sent the Bonneville to Royal Pontiac in Royal Oak, Michigan, where the fuel-injected 347 cubic inch engine was treated to a Royal Bobcat performance tune. This included the installation of solid lifters, heavy-duty valves and seats, and the popular "Isky" cam. An additional transmission cooler was added, as well as a steering-column-mounted tachometer, and a full set of Stewart-Warner gauges was added during the Bonneville's drag racing days. The stock dual exhaust system with resonaters was replaced with straight pipes. With approximately 15 additional horsepower, Bonneville #125 was now ready to go razzle, dazzle, and race!

    Jeff Freed was also in attendance at the 1987 POCI convention. He encountered Doug in a happenstance meeting at the swap meet. Common interest in a 1957 Bonneville part sparked a conversation, in which Jeff also became aware of Bonneville #125 and the possibility that Doug might soon want to part with it. The conversation ended with Jeff making an offer to buy the car sight unseen when Doug was ready to sell. Several months later, after a call from Doug, a meeting was arranged at O'Hare airport in Chicago near Jeff's home.

    At that meeting much information about the car was shared, and a trip was scheduled for Jeff to come and see it in Montreal. An overnight visit to Doug's home in late September resulted in a sale the following morning. Temporary plates were obtained from a Canadian dealership, and Jeff prepared to drive the car home to St. Charles. He had been advised that although he need not be concerned about the car making the trip he might encounter some problems at the border crossing.

    To avert this possible set-back, the Canadian dealership had also prepared numerous documents to validate the sale and the legitimacy of Jeff's ownership. Another concern was the large box of NOS parts nestled away in the cavernous trunk. Jeff did not want to convey the impression that he might be smuggling parts to the U.S. And then, of course, there was the issue of getting the car itself across without raising questions. Jeff knew that because the car had been built in the U.S., it would not be subject to any duty.

    Upon his arrival at Canadian customs, Jeff found himself allowed through quickly with a convoy of large trucks that he had been traveling alongside. On the American side, the agents were so excited to see the car that they hastily scanned the paperwork and waved the Bonneville through without asking to inspect the trunk. Perhaps the gorgeous rear end of this beautiful machine, complete with its continental kit, literally and figuratively "covered up" a gold mine of NOS parts!

    The continental kit and a set of fender skirts were dealer-installed items added after #125's racing days were over. Needless to say, another 300 lbs. cantilevered over the rear axle would not have improved performance, as there was already enough traction available. Jeff subsequently drove the car from the border to St. Charles without a hint of difficulty. Doug had previously driven it on at least two vacation round trips from Calgary, British Columbia (that should be Alberta) to Miami, Florida. This Bonnevile has seen a good bit of the United States over its lifetime.

    Today, similar jaunts involving distance see the Bonneville being trailered rather than driven, to avoid possible road construction mishaps or being stranded by the failure of a rare fuel injection part. Jeff does drive the '57 to local shows, however. For one such trip to an August show in Madison, Wisconsin, Jeff invited yours truly to ride shotgun on what turned out to be a beautiful top-down cruise in perfect 80-degree weather. Jeff prefers this type of early summer or early fall driving with the top down. As a result, #125 sees only a few hundred miles added to its odometer each year. It currently registers 61,800 miles. On cool evenings, which provide optimal conditions for the fuel injection system, Jeff can expect about 15 mpg.

    The convertible has spent the past 20 years in a heated garage and has not seen a drag strip for more than 35 years. Nevertheless, it has continued to play a role in Pontiac history. On October 29, 1991, Bonneville #125, along with two other 1957 Bonnevilles, one owned by Dick and Shirley Hoyt, the other by Glenn and Mary Ann Bappe, attended the celebration of the 30 millionth Bonneville at the invitation of PMD. This event was held at the Wentzville plant near St. Louis, where a white 1992 Bonneville SSEi was assembled to become the 30 millionth of the lineage.

    How fitting that survivors from amoung the original ancestors could be on hand. Jeff proudly displays a 16x20 inch poster from the photo shoot conducted by PMD. The other owners were given similar photos of their Bonnevilles as well, and all three were presented with videos and other memorabilia to commemorate the affair. All three Bonnevilles were trucked to and from the event compliments of Pontiac Motor Division.

    It is an 80-degree mid-October evening. The leaves are in full color and a whisper-like breeze cools the air. There is something approaching fast in the glow of the setting sun. Leaves on the ground rustle in the wake of a rushing white form with a blue, rocket-like spear on its side. You can hear strains of "Autumn Leaves" fad into the distance...and it is gone. It was Jeff and his magnificent Bonneville!
    Last edited by aukc; March 5th, 2010 at 00:39.
    Mike Klassen - 1995 white Bonneville SSEi

  5. #15


    21) A pair of commemorative wine glasses. As mentioned in the above article by Larry DeLay, there was a gala celebration which must have included a fancy meal. These wine glasses were possibly used at the dinner, then given to attendees as souviners.

    22) I purchased these from Carole Silpoch of Summerville SC. The wine glasses were from the memorabilia collection of her husband Gary and he had recently passed away. Gary Silpoch at one time operated Mid-Michigan Performance Pontiac in Stoneville NC. He was also a POCI member and his (at that time) 1970 GTO Judge convertible won 1st place in class JU1 at the Cleveland 1991 POCI Convention. Occasionally I chat with Gary's son Mike and I know he is interested to know where is the car his dad once owned.

    The Judge is green with a black top, when it was displayed in the early 1990's it had "thin white line" tires. I think there were a few different shades of green available, I'm not sure which shade it is, but I believe the car had a nickname - Emerald Mist.
    Last edited by aukc; February 22nd, 2013 at 17:20.
    Mike Klassen - 1995 white Bonneville SSEi

  6. #16


    As I mentioned, the car was at Cleveland 1991 POCI Convention, it was first in class, the 1969 GTO Judge convertible of Billy Tubbs placed second and the 1970 GTO Judge of Roger Barksdale placed third. The only other appearance the car made that I am aware of was at the Seventh Annual (1994) Eyes on the Classics design show at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe S****s, Michigan. This was a by invitation only show and a 2 page article by Jeff Denison appeared in Pontiac Enthusiast magazine volume 1 issue number 5. Jeff's 1967 GTO convertible was also invited to the show. In the page below, Gary's Judge is in the 2nd row of pictures on the left.

    Anyway, if any member knows where this car is today, or is aware of other appearances the car has made, maybe even a recent picture of the car, I would be very interested and I would pass this info on to Gary's son Mike, who of course would also appreciate this.

    Last edited by aukc; February 22nd, 2013 at 17:19.
    Mike Klassen - 1995 white Bonneville SSEi

  7. #17


    24) My most recent find is this article that appeared in the February 1992 issue of Smoke Signals magazine

    To make it easier to read, I transcribed the article from the February 1992 issue of Smoke Signals:

    PONTIAC - "We've Always Built Excitement"

    By Shirley Hoyt, Vista, CA

    Picture this: 1992 Bonnevilles everywhere you look - white ones, burgundy ones, forest green ones, ebony ones, and in the midst of all this, a beautiful 1957 white and blue Bonneville presiding over the new children. This was the sight Dick and I experienced recently when we flew to St. Louis for Pontiac's grand celebration of the 30 millionth Pontiac exiting the final assembly line in the Wentzville, Missouri Assembly center. As this was the 35th anniversary of the Bonneville, it was only fitting that the 30 millionth Pontiac was a gorgeous white Bonneville SSEi.

    This fantasy started back at the POCI convention last July when Reg Harris invited 1957 Bonneville owners to bring their treasures to St. Louis for this event. Fast forward to October when the fantasy became a reality as we bid our car good-bye as it was loaded onto an enclosed car carrier for its journey to St. Louis. We took the big silver bird for a fabulous whirlwind trip and arrived Saturday at the Stouffer Concourse Hotel (note: now Renaissance Hotel). Also displaying their "beautiful boats" were Glenn Bappe from Iowa with his dynamite all red Bonne - 1990 POCI Convention Best of Show winner and Doris and Jeff Freed from Illinois with their white and blue Bonne, complete with Continental kit. What a beautiful sight - three Bonnes together - all the same yet different. So much chrome the dazzle was blinding! Our friends Cherie and Larry DeLay, from the Illinois POCI chapter, drove down to join in the festivities.

    Sunday night we were entertained by the POCI St. Louis chapter at the home of president Jon Havens and wife, Marianne. Since our car arrived in St. Louis before we did, they were nice enough to babysit it until we arrived. Jon even moved his car outside in order to accommodate ours!

    Monday morning we trailered our car from Jon's house in the pouring rain, while Glenn and Jeff met their cars at the Wentzville plant - huddled together in an enclosed carrier (the cars - not the men). Despite waiting for a break in the weather to unload the cars, they still needed touching up before they regally took their place. Jeff and Glenn's cars graced the lobby like two spectacular bookends beneath a sign "We've Always Built Excitement". Dick's car took its place inside the plant, nose to nose with a new 1992 Bonneville SSEi. Monday night we POCIers enjoyed a delightful dinner with Reg Harris and Celeste Speier, Media Relations and other Indian Chiefs from PMD.

    Tuesday, October 29th was the "Big Day". We arrived at the plant along with the media, Pontiac dealers from the area and PMD dignitaries from Pontiac, Michigan. Everyone gathered for a reception, buffet breakfast and welcome speeches from John G. Middlebrook, Pontiac General Manager and a General Motors Vice President; and by Herb Stone, Wentzville Assembly Plant Manager.

    A fascinating tour of the plant followed. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, this center produces 75 cars per hour and is the sole source or Pontiac's full size Bonneville line. Approximately 3,500 people and 165 sophisticated robots work hand in hand on one shift.

    A media conference was next and then on to the main event. Pride of workmanship was apparent as the 30 millionth Pontiac - a white supercharged SSEi was driven off the final assembly line by John Middlebrook and Herb Stone. The production line was shut down so employees could witness this slice of Pontiac history.

    After the ceremony, a beautiful lunch was served, complete with ice carvings and souvenir wine glasses. After lunch everyone gathered outside for the promotional drive-away as 30 white SSEi's were released to the dealers and media for the first time. Our 57 looked on proudly as the new kids drove away single file, headlights sparkling, proving Pontiac Still Builds Excitement.

    What more is there to say; we saw the three old Bonnevilles loaded onto the transport (supervised by Glenn, Jeff and Dick), bid good-bye to all our friends and caught the plane home - proud to be part of Pontiac and all it stands for. We enjoyed the excitement!

    In her story, Shirley mentions "Our friends Cherie and Larry DeLay, from the Illinois POCI chapter, drove down to join in the festivities."

    Recently I chatted with Larry DeLay, and he confirmed that he "along with (his) wife Cherie, attended the event with our close friends, the Hoyt's. In fact the Freed's who also lived in Illinois at the time, and the Bappe's are friends as well - it's the Bonneville thing! If you check the Pontiac Enthusiast story again you will note that the article and photos of Jeff Freed's Bonneville were authored by me. I have also photographed both of Glenn Bappe's Bonnevilles's - Red and Charcoal; and have informal snapshots of Dick's Bonneville. Cherie and I were part owner's of that car."

    Larry DeLay and Dick Hoyt became friends when Dick purchased a '61 Pontiac parts car from Larry. When Dick picked up the solid black Bonneville, Larry was with him and help pull it out of a field. At the time of the 30 millionth Pontac celebration, the Freed's and the DeLay's lived just a couple miles apart just outside of Chicago. So after the celebration when Jeff's car was transported back home, there was space on the transporter so the Hoyt's car joined it for the trip to Chicago so that Larry could have it for a few months. In the spring of 1992 the Bonneville was shipped back to the Hoyt's in California. Not long after, the Bonneville was stolen. Dick took it out for a drive, parked it in a shopping mall parking lot and when he returned the car was gone. It was never recovered.

    I have also chatted with Dennis D. who at the time worked at a St. Louis Pontiac dealership. Dennis recalls that "John Middlebrook was in attendance and at that time he was Vice President General Motors Corporation and General Manager Pontiac Motor Division. Later he became General Manager of Chevrolet and Executive Vice President of North American Operations. As I recall, there was about 250 people in attendance. I recall two 1957 Bonnevilles were on display, both fuel injected. One was a red convertible with white leather interior while I cannot recall the other one. Luncheon was catered at the Wentzville plant, and a nice day was had by all."
    Last edited by aukc; January 7th, 2011 at 18:54.
    Mike Klassen - 1995 white Bonneville SSEi

  8. #18


    26) Planning for the October event was already in progress in July (the 1991 POCI convention in Cleveland). 3 rare and valuable Bonnevilles (and their owners) were brought to the event. Commemorative tshirts and wine glasses were prepared in advance, Posters and videos produced. There was a dinner, reception, breakfast, speeches, plant tour, media conference, shutdown of assembly line, formal lunch with ice carvings (the number 30,000,000). The General Manager came in from Pontiac, Michigan. Back in Pontiac, Michigan, the first pontiac was brought out from the historic collection.

    Who was the mastermind behind this event?

    Reg Harris is probably best known in the Pontiac community for his work throughout the 1990's promoting the very successful Firehawk as Marketing Director for SLP (Street Legal Performance) Engineering. But back in 1991 Reg was Pontiac Manager of Media Relations Sales & Marketing working out of One Pontiac Plaza in Pontiac Michigan.

    Recently, I had the honor, privilege and thrill of speaking with Reg about this event. Keep in mind we're talking about an event that happened almost 20 years ago. Reg is proud of what SLP accomplished (and rightly so) and is often asked about the Firehawk program, so he is much more comfortable taking about his SLP experiences.

    One story that Reg recalled about the event was regarding the commemorative tshirts. Of course, this is of great interest to me. Reg recalls that one day at lunch he went to get a hair cut at a barber about a block away from (what he called it) the "admin building". As he's getting his hair cut he notices a faint chemical smell and asks the barber what's making that smell. Barber says it's the printing shop next door. After his haircut Reg goes next door to check it out, it's a small "mom and pop" minority owned print shop, does things like custom signs for church sales, custom tshirts, etc. Reg asks them if they can do an order of 5,000 custom tshirts. He says they just about collapsed, in their total business to date they probably hadn't done that many tshirts. Reg says Pontiac provided the designs and the print shop went to work. Pontiac paid about $4 per shirt, so the deal was worth about $20,000 to the shop. It came down to the wire, but the shirts were completed and delivered to Wentzville Assembly the day before the event. And Reg commented this was probably just as well, because there was always a problem with "shrinkage" if something like this sat around at an assembly plant for too long, so it was for the best the shirts arrived just the day before they were needed.

    Here's a photo from June 1991 taken at the Long Lead Press Intro at Big Sky, Montana, with (from left to right) Ed Lechtzin (Director of Pontiac's Public Relations Staff), Reg Harris, Carl Sheffer (Manager of Western Regional PR Office) and Randy Fox (Manager of Media Relations Product & Engineering). For more on the Long Lead Press Intro, click on the link or the image.

    27) here is some info on the Wentzville Assembly Center, where the 30 millionth Pontiac was built

    On June 29, 1980, General Motors broke ground to begin construction of one of the most technologically advanced automobile assembly plants in the world. At first there was only a wheat field, but three years and $500 million later, the transformation was at last complete – the sparkling new WENTZVILL ASSEBMLY CENTER was the result.


    The WENTZVILLE ASSEMBLY CENTER is equipped with state-or-the-art technology. Sophisticated robots numbering 165 weld and paint the metal bodies of the vehicles produced at the Center. Over 1,000 programmable devices are used to monitor and control facilities, equipment, and processes. These computer systems have the capacity to process 20 billion bit of information per second.


    Employees receive at least three weeks of orientation and training before assuming their job. Skilled technicians who directly interface with the Center’s technology receive 1,100 hour of training in robotics, pneumatics, electronics, hydraulics, micro circuitry and more. Supervisory personnel complete a nine-week training program which includes instruction in interpersonal skills and statistical process control.


    The assembly building covers 78 acres and encompasses 3.15 million square feet. More than 20 miles of conveyors move material and parts through the five phase assembly process. A complete automobile emerges from these five phases – body, paint, trim, chassis, and final process – after about 36 hours in the system. Finished vehicles are produced at a rate of 75 cars per hour. Approximately 3,500 people are employed on one shift.
    Last edited by aukc; January 14th, 2011 at 17:12.
    Mike Klassen - 1995 white Bonneville SSEi

  9. #19



    Material for one shift arrives daily via 60 rail cars and 60 eighteen-wheel trucks. Automatic guided vehicles (driverless tuggers) assist material department employees in delivering parts from major receiving docks to the assembly line. Approximately 5,500 parts from over 2,100 suppliers are assembled into complete automobiles.


    The major body components – underbody, side frames, roof – are assembled and welded together by five automated systems comprised of 146 robots. At the robogate body framing station, these component parts are held in near perfect alignment while 8 robots perform critical spot welding operations. By using a single fixture for each body style produced, dimensional variations are controlled and accuracy is achieved within +- 1mm. Body fits are checked daily to determine whether tooling or engineering adjustments are needed to achieve desired dimensional relationships between parts. Weld placements, consistency and strength are also monitored and regulated to insure structural integrity of the vehicles produced.


    Following a thorough phosphate wash, the body is submerged in a tank of corrosion resistant pain, primed, and wet sanded, before receiving its final coats of paint. In the paint booth, nineteen numerically controlled robots apply two coasts of base color paint and two coasts of clear paint to each body. These robots act as mechanical arms, opening and closing doors, and spraying paint along the contours of the vehicle.


    After the wiring harness is attached to the instrument panel in the trim shop, electrical connections are checked to insure that indicator lights, headlamps, windshield wipers and other instruments are functioning properly. Before the carpet and seats are installed, each vehicle is tested for water leaks. As jets direct water at the vehicle from all angels, quality operators check seals on the inside. Leaks are detected under black lights that illuminate a special dye in the water.


    Wheel alignment is carefully calibrated through an interactive computer system to insure proper ride, handling, and tire wear. At the sift station, the camber machine automatically sets the four hubs at the proper camber angle and tightens eight bolts connecting the hub to the strut. At the end of the assembly line, operators adjust the “toe-in” of the wheels as they rotate in place. These two on-line stations are regulated by a third station off-line that monitors wheel alignment. When variations occur, the system automatically adjusts the on-line machines to maintain proper alignment.


    Before leaving the plant, every automobile is driven onto a set of dynamometers for a simulated road test. As the vehicle is taken to a speed of 55mph, it is computer and manually checked for functional operation. Among the items tested are the speedometer, transmission, cruise control and brakes. After meeting performance and safety requirements, an automobile is released for shipment to dealers across the country.


    Quality is everybody’s job at Wentzville. Along the production line, operators monitor the vehicles that pass through their area, and take action to insure that quality is passed from one job to the next. In addition to these and other assembly process controls, five vehicle are audited every day. Over 1,500 items are checked on each sample car. Employees gather at the daily audit review meeting to discuss quality achievements in light of specific goals.

    And here is an interesting article about automation of auto assembly that mentions Wentzville:

    The robots are looking

    At a sprawling GM C-car assembly plant in Wentzville, Mo., I watch a group of four body-welding robots connected to a vision system performing tasks that blind robots simply couldn’t do. As silvery “bodies in white” (car bodies minus doors, hoods, and trunk lids) move slowly down the assembly line, gleaming ruby-red cross-hair patterns appear at the tops of their door openings.

    “When a car comes into this station, 16 lasers detect shifts in the locations of the eight door-facing joints on each body,” explains Reini Osterloh, an electrician who monitors the system’s operation. “The vision system also checks the depth and width of each joint and tells the robot controller to offset each robot to the right location. Then the robots use silicon-bronze wire to weld the joints.” This is basically a cosmetic operation that affects the appearance of the car. The controller selects the best of three possible welding programs and automatically adjusts the welding voltage, amperage, and wire-feed rate. “It will also direct the robots to weave sideways to fill a wide joint with weld metal,” Osterloh adds.

    Art Pavlovick, a high-tech instructor at the plant, says: “Here we’re using the lasers as a structured light source. They project horizontal and vertical beams in a pattern that video cameras can see.”

    The cameras, which use charge-coupled devices as light-sensing elements (“Chips That See,” PS, Jan. ’82), digitize the visual information and send it to a specialized vision computer, which processes the data and generates movement and weld-operation command to the robots, Welding the door-facing joints is a job that used to be done by hand. “The robots will do good welds over and over again. No person can do that continually,” says Pavlovick.

    This vision-guided robot-welding system is an example of a new computer-intensive approach to improving manufacturing accuracy and efficiency, according to Thomas Reynolds, director of product marketing at Automatix Inc., Billerica, Mass., builders of the equipment. “We call it adaptive automation,” says Reynolds. “This means that you can adapt the manufacturing process to whatever parts you have. Instead of using expensive tooling to precisely locate parts, we do it with software. It’s a major change in the way factories are operated.”
    Last edited by aukc; January 14th, 2011 at 17:15.
    Mike Klassen - 1995 white Bonneville SSEi

  10. #20


    I believe this 1957 Bonneville that was for sale on eBay recently, is Dick Hoyt's first one

    use link or click on image to view an album of photos of the vehicle

    relisted -

    here is the description from the ebay listing -

    Spectacular ORIGINAL 36,000 Mile car from Palm Beach Museum"

    Exterior: Kenya Ivory with Blue Trim

    Interior: Blue & White Leather

    Convertible Top: White

    Serial Number: P857H36932

    Mileage: 36,204 (Actual Mileage)

    1957 is considered by millions of car collectors around the world as the crowning point in the American Car Manufacturing history.

    You can't buy originalty & mileage...this Bonneville has both!


    America was "KING" of the car making world...and sitting alone at the Top of the hill was General Motors...1 out of every two cars produced in the world was made by the General!

    Thanks to the incredible Harley Earle, GM's chief designer....GM was at the top of the world when it came to making really neat & cool cars.

    If you want to read all about Harley Earl...his Grandson, Richard Earle has created a memorable web site of Harley's to view it.

    1957 was no exception for GM'S Pontiac Division..... great things were happening at Pontiac. The changes had started the previous summer, when Semon E. "Bunkie" Knudsen became Pontiac's new general manager. Soon after that, he hired Pete Estes and John Z. DeLorean, in a move that would mean great things for the company for many years to come.
    Semon E. “Bunkie” Knudsen, at the age of 44, became the youngest general manager of a car division at General Motors on July of 1956. This tired GM division needed some excitement, and there were two areas that could be exploited to bring a more youthful feel to Pontiac: styling and performance. The process of designing and tooling up to produce an all-new car takes time, but introducing performance offered more immediate opportunities. Therefore, in about half a year into his tenure as division chief, Bunkie Knudsen was able to put the fuel-injected Bonneville convertible on the road.

    This injection system was similar to the one on '57 Corvettes, and it offered the same mystique. Simply put, it meant something to have a fuel injected engine in '57, and it really meant something if you were cruising around in a fuel injected Pontiac Bonneville convertible.

    Unfortunately, not too many people would get a chance to test drive this fine American machine. Pontiac built just 630 of these babies, ostensibly to be sold only to dealers to gain valuable field testing--and to earn some publicity along the way. With a base price of $5,782, the Bonneville came with virtually every accessory Pontiac manufactured; air conditioning and an externally mounted spare were the only options. I have been told that only 3 or 4 were built with factory AC.

    The Bonneville had its own version of the 347 CID engine, with something new: fuel injection. Its injection system was a mechanical continuous-flow type that directed fuel to each intake port. Conceived by GM Engineering, the unit was manufactured by Rochester Products. The setup was similar to the fuel-injection system used in 1957 Chevrolets and Corvettes. However, manifold designs and fuel-meter locations differed between the two makes. At 10.25:1, the compression ratio of the Bonneville engine was a quarter-point higher than the triple-carb engine available in other Pontiac models.
    The powerplant made 310 bhp at 4,800 rpm and a healthy 400 pound-feet of torque at 3,400 rpm. The Bonneville was available only with the Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. Motor Trend Magazine tested the new car, and found that at 8.1 seconds, the new Fuel Injected Pontiac was just one-tenth of a second quicker to 60 mph than another Pontiac with the 290-horsepower triple-carb engine, and it was more than a second slower in the quarter mile. However, the Bonneville makes a well-equipped convertible, and was Pontiac’s heaviest ‘57 model at 4,285 pounds.

    The 1957 Bonneville shared the Star Chief’s 124-inch-wheelbase chassis. Front-fender hash marks and a ribbed panel on each rear-quarter panel were other exclusive touches. “Fuel-Injection” badges on the front fenders announced the car’s special engine. Other standard equipment included power steering and brakes, power windows, an eight-way power seat adjuster, leather upholstery, a Wonderbar radio with electric antenna, padded dashboard, electric clock, tri-blade wheel covers, and whitewall tires. The price for a Bonneville came to $5782-a good $2677 more than a Star Chief Custom Convertible. Only 630 were built.

    Of the 630 total cars produced....about 20% are known to have survived or approx. 130 cars.

    However, of the 130 cars left in existence...there is one very special car that is different from the others...and it is this car. It is a True survivor with a little more than 36,000 actual miles. The paint is 85%-90% original!

    There are two things one can not "BUY" in a vintage & classic car...namely ORIGINALITY & MILEAGE...and this ultra rare Bonneville Convertible has them both.

    We have had collectors from throughout the world visit this car...because they have one that needs to be restored...and by looking and examining this car...they can determine exactly how their car should be restored.

    This EXACT car is featured in several car collecting hard bound color books which feature the best all time collectable cars from the 1950's. The 1957 Bonne License plate has been registered this car for almost 20 years and you can recognize it in the photos in all the books. It has a December/1990 decal on the license plates which was the last time this car was really driven on public has been in the hands of collectors or car museums since that time.

    I have driven this car approx. 20 runs flawless and everything works. It starts up the 1st time...every time with a turn of the key! It is pure joy to drive and draws a crowd and rave reviews everywhere and every time I drive it.

    If you want and can afford the very, very best unrestored 57 F.I. Bonneville Convertible left on Planet it is!

    Sales of restored examples of these cars have ranged between $180,000-$225,000 over the past two years...and typically the ONLY place you might have the opportunity to own one of these ultra rare cars is at an these auctions the typical commission you have to pay on top of the final bid price is 10%...and you don't have the chance to drive and really inspect the car prior to owning it.

    This car is proudly on display at the fabulous Cars From Dreams in North Palm Beach, Florida. We have an ultra modern shop with available lifts to inspect the flawless and original undercarriage...and a test drive is also offered to potential qualified purchases.

    Both license plates and the books will go with this car when sold.

    I can not think of anything negative to mention on this car...PLEASE come and inspect it for yourself in won't be disappointed!

    This car is 100% documented...."THE REAL THING!"

    This ultra rare Fuel Injected Pontiac will be on display in the annual "Shop With A Cop" car show to raise money for underprivileged kids" It is located at the corner of Northlake Blvd and U.S. Highway One in North Palm Beach.

    Every car is thoroughly inspected before it is released to the lucky buyer.

    Your personal inspection is most welcomed...only of course by appointment. If your flying in, the Palm Beach Airport is 15 miles to the South and Ft. Lauderdale approx. 50 miles to the South. Please have your financing in place prior to coming to inspect this car.

    Now...let me tell you about this incredible car!

    It still retains it's ORIGINAL FACTORY Fuel Injected V-8

    The Engine & engine compartment is unmolested as is the interior.

    Frankly speaking, they just don't come any better than this.

    I have had the pleasure to drive this car...WOW! Absolutely Amazing!

    I would be confident to drive this Bonneville Convertible anywhere and anytime with no drives that good! Just awesome!

    If your looking for a Museum quality, ORIGINAL example ...that drives as incredible as it is a unique opportunity to acquire one of the rarest and nicest cars ever offered on
    Last edited by aukc; November 22nd, 2010 at 00:17.
    Mike Klassen - 1995 white Bonneville SSEi

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