The Bonneville name first appeared in 1954 on a pair of bubble-topped GM Motorama concept cars called the Bonneville Special. It entered the production lineup as a high-performance, fuel-injected luxury convertible in the 1957 model year and was loaded with every conceivable option as standard equipment with the exception of optional air conditioning. This put the Bonneville in a Cadillac-like price range of $5,000 - more than double the base price of a Chieftain four-door sedan. A fully equipped Bonneville could cost more than a Cadillac. Only 630 units were produced that first year, making it one of the most collectible Pontiacs of all time. The Bonneville endured until 2005 as the division's top-of-the-line model. The name was taken from the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, the site of much early auto racing and most of the world's land speed record runs, which was named in turn after U.S. Army officer Benjamin Bonneville.
The Pontiac Bonneville is an automobile built by the Pontiac division of General Motors from 1957 to 2005. It was introduced as a limited production performance convertible during the 1957 model year. The Bonneville (known as the Parisienne in Canada until 1981), and its platform partner, the Grand Ville, are some of the largest Pontiacs ever built; in station wagon body styles they reached just over 19 feet (5.8 m) long, and were also some of the heaviest produced cars at the time (2.5 short tons, 5,000 lb or 2,300 kg).
The Bonneville added a coupe in 1958, and it paced the Indianapolis 500 that year. This year's Bonneville had a significantly lower price tag of around $3,000 thanks to the demotion of most of the luxury items found on the '57 model from standard equipment to the option list. Also a 300 horsepower (220 kW) 370 cubic inches (6,100 cc) V8 with four-barrel carburetor and dual exhausts was now standard equipment. The fuel-injection system offered with the standard engine on the '57 model was now listed as an extra cost option but very few '58 Bonnevilles were so equipped due to a towering price tag of over $500 USD, which was not considered a very good value considering that for less than $100 USD, a Tri-Power option was available with three two-barrel carburetors and even more power.
The 2000 Bonneville was redesigned from the ground up with significant advancements in design, engineering and technology which Pontiac dubbed "luxury with attitude." It remained on the H-platform and true to its Wide Track heritage with the widest overall track in its competitive class at 62.6 inches up front and 62.1 inches in the rear. GM's StabiliTrak stability control system was introduced on the top-of-the-line supercharged SSEi model.
The Bonneville regained a V8 option on the GXP trim for 2004, its first since 1986, as a result of the discontinuation of the Oldsmobile Aurora. This opened up a "hole" in the GM lineup between Pontiac and Buick, allowing Pontiac to expand upmarket somewhat. The engine is Cadillac's 4.6 L (280 cu in) Northstar V8, producing 275 hp (205 kW), 300 lbf·ft (410 N·m) and giving 0–60 mph (0–97 km/h) in 6.5 seconds.
For the last year of production, Pontiac gave the mid-level SLE the new GXP styling. The 2005 SLE featured all GXP styling cues, except the wheels, badging, and muffler tips all remained unique to the GXP.
GM announced on February 8, 2005, that the Bonneville would be dropped from Pontiac's lineup for 2006. The last Bonneville left the assembly line on May 27, 2005. Only about 12,000 Bonnevilles were sold in 2005. With more than half of Pontiac dealers also selling Buick models, the Buick Lucerne (along with the Chevrolet Impala and Pontiac Grand Prix) continued as GM's only mainstream full-size cars until the introduction of the 2008 G8.