First Pontiac Banshee Prototype Is for Sale at a Kia Dealership

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First Pontiac Banshee Prototype Is for Sale at a Kia Dealership


Back in the day, General Motors wasn’t afraid to put out multiple versions of essentially the same vehicle across its lineup. Hence, the Pontiac Grand Prix, Chevy Monte Carlo, Buick Regal, and Olds Cutlass, along with the Chevy Camaro and Pontiac Firebird.

What if the General had allowed the Chevy Corvette to be morphed into an Olds or Pontiac version, too?

Well, back in 1964, GM executive John Delorean (yes, of the “Back to the Future” Delorean) pushed for such a Pontiac version of the Corvette. He even produced a one-off prototype coupe of the “Corvette killer” that he eventually dubbed the “Banshee.”

First Pontiac Banshee Prototype Is for Sale at a Kia Dealership


The Banshee, which looked a lot like the 1968 Corvette but with its own twists, had a straight-six engine and a light fiberglass body that meant it might have put the performance hurt on the Corvette. GM bosses quickly nixed the idea of having the Corvette one-upped, however, and quickly canceled any such notions.

That silver Banshee prototype, however, has survived for the past 56 years and believe it or not, it’s now up for sale at Napoli Kia in Milford, Connecticut. The good news is that the dealership is offering a discount of $3,950. The bad news is that still leaves the asking price at a whopping $750,000!

First Pontiac Banshee Prototype Is for Sale at a Kia Dealership


As to how the car wound up for sale at a Kia dealership, that’s a good story. It seems that Len Napoli’s father owned a Pontiac dealership starting in 1958, and Len eventually took over, holding the franchise through the early 2000s. Now Len is a Kia dealer. Just before Pontiac’s long and glorious history came to an end in the midst of GM’s financial troubles, Napoli was able to buy the one-and-only Banshee coupe. (A white convertible prototype also was produced, by the way.)

Delorean and his team originally got the green light to create the Banshee to compete with Ford’s radical and wildly successful new Mustang. Lead engineer Bill Collins used a 1963 Corvair Monza GT as inspiration for the Banshee, adding a new fiberglass body over a steel frame with a 165-horsepower straight-six under the hood, connected to a four-speed manual transmission.

The idea was really a sort of Pontiac Fiero/Solstice forerunner, a fun yet affordable two-seater that could be upgraded with multiple options to give each individual owner his own piece of paradise. In fact, the aforementioned white convertible Banshee packed a 326 V8 under the hood.

First Pontiac Banshee Prototype Is for Sale at a Kia Dealership


Speaking of the hood, we’re wondering what our readers think about that weird “dinosaur” bubble in the middle?

After Delorean’s idea was shot down by GM brass, the two historic Banshees (originally known as XP-833s) were relegated to a garage for years, with Collins and colleague Bill Killen eventually being allowed to buy them from GM in 1973.

This silver coupe eventually came back on the market in 2006, crossing the block at Barrett-Jackson for $214,500. Other subsequent attempts at selling the car have ended unsuccessfully, despite bids as high as $400,000 at Mecum in Monterey in 2013.

First Pontiac Banshee Prototype Is for Sale at a Kia Dealership


The unrestored car has covered less than 1,500 miles in the past 56 years, leading a very pampered life between trips to car shows. It’s interesting to note that the design elements of the Banshee eventually showed up in later Pontiacs, as we can see the production Firebird all over the rear end and rear roof line.

What do you think? Should there have been a Pontiac version of the Corvette?


Source:
Napoli Kia via motor1.com

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[VIDEO] Chevy Brings the Historic Mid-Engine Corvette Prototypes to Detroit Grand Prix

 



7 COMMENTS

  1. In 1968, I don’t think the Banshee was going to put the hurt on the Corvette..Performance wise…not with the 6 cylinder engine, unless it weighed 2000 lbs are less. If one of the 327’s couldn’t handle the Banshee, I’m sure the 427’s could.

  2. The Banshee was an Idea that only amounted to a a great OHC 6 for the LeMans Pontiac. The front looks like my Opel GT but it only had a 1900 Cam in head 4 cylinder. The interesting thing is I saw a example of a mid engine Camaro that was a lower performance version of the C8 based on 6 and 4 cylinder engines. They never made a 2 seat Camaro before and if it comes in under the 60k opening price of the C8 they will sell a million of them! Almost no one that buys a Camaro uses the back seat so it won’t be missed! When a Camaro can get around Nuremberg faster then any Corvette it is time to change the formula! The C8 ZO6 will set the new GM record for that track!

  3. Bid on the coupe at BJ in 06. Pulled out at around 140k. Wished I hadn’t the next day. Interesting cool car thats as rare as rare gets.

  4. I don’t mind the dinosaur bulge at all. The straight 6 looks like the Lemans Sprint motor which would create a pretty balanced vehicle. I agree the headlights resemble those of the Opel GT.

  5. I had an Opel GT as my first car (since Dad threatened to kick me out of the house if I bought a Corvette). It had a bubble in the hood- offset to the right closer to the firewall- to clear the carburetor. I wore Dad down and one year later bought my first Corvette- a red on red ’64 roadster. The headlight buckets on this car are similar but more egg-shaped than the Opel’s are.
    Anyway, back to the dinosaur bubble- undoubtedly required to clear the the OHC straight six. Many inline-engined cars had this, including the Mercedes 300SL’s hood bulge to clear that engine, and they put two on there for symmetry. The ’56 Corvette unabashedly copied this and used it on it’s hood, even though it wasn’t needed for clearance. That stayed on the Corvette through 1962. Chevrolet even went so far as to add hood budges to the 1957 pickups.
    No way could the Banshee compete with a Corvette performance wise either- even with a 326. I have a ’67 Firebird with a 326. Not a bad engine, and torquey off the line. But I also have a ’67 327 Corvette. The 327 Chevy will run all over that 326 Pontiac (even discounting the slight weight advantage of the ‘Vette vs the ‘Bird)- not even close!

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