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’54 Bonneville Special, designed under the guidance of automotive styling legend Harley Earl, comes with unique history

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 Motor’s latest concept car offerings. The car will be auctioned at no reserve during the January event in Scottsdale, Ariz. running from January 14-22.

In the 1950s, Americans were fascinated by the future. Newspapers and magazines were full of stories about futuristic technology—rocket ships, jet airplanes, and even television. The science fiction genre exploded, with movies, television shows and radio programs devoted to alien invasions and tributes to the future. Car companies were quick to capitalize on the trend, offering a dazzling variety of fantastic, futuristic show cars, some of which toured with the annual General Motors Motoramas. During the Motoramas, GM cars were shipped from one city to another, and people would line up around the block for a glimpse of the latest chromed and finned creation.

One of these special cars was the Pontiac Bonneville Special. 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. 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. Plus, there's lots of chrome detailing to add flash.

“One discriminating car aficionado is going to have the opportunity to purchase a true piece of Americana here in Scottsdale,” said Craig Jackson, president of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company. “In the 1950s, people would come from all over the nation just to catch a glimpse of the Bonneville Special. In January, bidders, attendees and television viewers will get to see, with the opportunity to bid on this stunning car for themselves, in addition to an unprecedented collection of high-quality, desirable and rare automobiles.”

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 Motorama 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 Collector Car Auction with a winning bid of US$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.

The Barrett-Jackson Auction is being aired on the SPEED Channel Network live, and will consist of 32-hours of prime time coverage. This year’s banner event includes more than 1000 quality collector cars offered at no reserve. More information, including updated auction results, can be found at

Each year, Barrett-Jackson reaffirms its leadership position in the collector car market by elevating consignment standards, breaking annual records, and serving as the barometer for market trends. Last year, Barrett-Jackson announced its most successful car auction to date with record-breaking sales in numerous categories, including overall attendance, world-class street rods, muscle, sports and classic cars during the 34th annual Barrett-Jackson Classic Car Event.

About The Barrett-Jackson Auction Company
Established in 1971 and headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., Barrett-Jackson specializes in providing products and services to classic and collector car owners, astute collectors and automotive enthusiasts around the world. The company produces the “World’s Greatest Classic Car Event” in Scottsdale, Ariz., and has expanded to other venues, including Palm Beach, Fla. For more information about Barrett-Jackson, visit or call (480) 421-6694.