Q: 1964 Pontiac Banshee
How does the Banshee play into the history for the Firebird.
A: If I remember correctly, the 3rd generation Corvette was already on the drawing boards, and the Banshee borrowed styling cues from that car. A couple of things that distinquished the Banshee from the Corvette was that the Banshee used a solid rear axle (to keep costs down, and make the car more affordable than the Corvette), and a unique clamshell door design. This was John Delorean’s pet project, and he really wanted it in production.
Two functional cars were produced (built by an outside coach builder). One was a 6 cylinder engine, the other had a V8. One was a hardtop, the other a roadster.
There was even a 4 passenger version that was proposed.
This was John Delorean’s pet project, and he really wanted it in production. But GM wasn’t interested in erroding the Corvette’s marketshare, and the top dogs nixed the project. Delorean was handed the Camaro to build a Pontiac version as a consolation prize. This was also to be called the Banshee.
He wasn’t too happy about it all, but he lost the power struggle and gave in. By the time he relented, the Camaro was well under devel- opement, and his engineers had little time to make the Banshee distinquishable from the Camaro. Something less than 12 months. As it was, the car didn’t get to showrooms until Feb. 67. But they did suceed in creating a car that was much more than a copy of a Camaro. It’s styling and drivetrain differences made for a classic design that is timeless.
Sometime during all of this, someone looked up the word Banshee and found that one definition was that of a mythical demon-like figure who foretold of a death in the family. Banshee was dropped in favor of another Pontiac concept car dating back to the 50s, the Firebird. I’ve seen photos of prototypes bearing GM-X nameplates as well.
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Content last modified: January 19, 2014 at 5:09 pm