When it comes to cars, including the classics, we all have our prejudices. I certainly did during the years when I was active in motorsports and the import car community. I preferred small cars and sports cars, automobiles I could toss around by the seat of my pants. I had no love whatsoever for the big Detroit boats of the 50s and 60s with their imprecise handling and exaggerated chrome trim. The Pontiac Bonneville was not exactly on my wish list.
One summer during the mid-90s General Motors agreed to loan me a car for the drive from Toronto to Montreal and back, about 325 miles each way along Highway 401, a boring run on a road with few bends and curves. The purpose of this trip was to attend the Canadian Grand Prix and as a side benefit several hours in Montreal with the beautiful Dolores Duquette, an ex-girlfriend. I'd hoped that the car would be something compact and sporting. A Corvette, maybe, or a Pontiac Firebird. Instead I was presented with a Bonneville SSEi, a large 4-door sedan, albeit Pontiac's top-of-the-line model. Needless to say I was disappointed, although the SSEi was a handsome car with alloy wheels, a full leather interior, a powerful supercharged 3.8 liter V-6, 4-speed automatic, and modified suspension.
By the time I'd returned to Toronto I was in love with this automobile, having discovered that it was an honest grand touring car in the European tradition. I hated to give it back. In fact it was such a pleasure to drive that after leaving Montreal I took the long way home, traveling the old Highway 1, which did have some interesting turns and even a couple of ferry rides. So much for silly prejudices.
Several years will pass before an SSEi is classified as a collector car but beginning in 2020 I predict that these Bonneville grand tourers will attract real money. They have the style, the performance, and even a degree of scarcity since they weren't produced in great quantities. And as we regretfully know, Pontiac, as a marque, is history. Is an SSEi worth buying now and keeping as a future investment? I think so; just look at the prices older Bonnevilles bring at auctions, albeit as convertibles.