Pontiac unveiled its very first two-seat sports car, the experimental Bonneville Special, at the 1954 Motorama. Along with the Strato-Streak, it was one of two different dream cars built by Pontiac for the show circuit that year. A souvenir brochure produced for its introduction described the Bonneville Special as a "low, racy sports car" that carried the traditional Silver Streak of Pontiac. The car’s name was inspired by the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, a place that GM Styling chief Harley Earl visited to see the annual speed trials.
The Bonneville Special’s length and the fact that its passenger compartment was set way back on the chassis gave the car the look of a powerful, competition-designed machine. The twin streaks and scoops on the elongated hood as well as the prominent grille opening added to this appearance. The rear of the vehicle was marked by a vertically mounted spare tire and wheel that was concealed save for the exposed chrome wheel treatment. The passenger area was covered by a "bubble" canopy that was hinged on the roof and counterbalanced for easy entry. Two Bonneville Specials were built in 1954, one finished in metallic red and one done in an emerald green.
Though the Bonneville Special was built only as a concept that was never intended for production, the Bonneville nameplate would find a home within the Pontiac model lineup starting in 1957. It was in production for almost 50 years when it was discontinued in 2005.