Does this 1964 Pontiac look familiar to you. It shouldn’t. Pontiac made only two of these 1964 Banshee XP-333 concepts. That’s right, two. This one and a white convertible. Now, a Kia dealer in Connecticut is selling the one-only coupe for $750,000. And that price is discounted according to the ad, which says the market price is $753,950. So the buyer will be getting almost $4,000 off list price.
But the fact this car exists at all is an anomaly. Virtually all of GM’s concept cars either end up in museums or at the crusher. The few that exist in private hands have done so mostly through flukes. We’ll get to that in a moment but first some background.
This 1964 Pontiac concept came about because of the Mustang
The Banshee came about as a result of Ford’s Mustang. When he was head of the Pontiac division John DeLorean-yes, that John Delorean, wanted to explore building something to compete with the Mustang. He gave his approval for this two-seater in late-1963.
At the time remember that the Mustang I concept was a two-seater. There must have been some thought that it would compete with the Corvette. Of course, we know better now. But that was what surrounded the idea behind the XP-333.
The idea behind the 1964 Banshee was to use parts bin stuff to keep the projected price down
Bill Collins was the lead engineer. He told Motor Trend that the idea for XP-333 was to build it using as many Pontiac production pieces as possible. This would keep the projected cost down to help it get approved by GM bean counters. That’s why the frame is similar to a 1964 Tempest; which itself became the first GTO. Both the front suspension and 10-bolt live rear-end are conventional Pontiac components.
The engine chosen was a production straight-six Pontiac overhead cam with a one-bbl carburetor. Again, nothing fancy but projected costs would be low. The convertible version did get a Pontiac 326 ci V8.
The fiberglass body panels were built around a steel frame
The body was fiberglass panels over a steel frame similar to the 1984 Pontiac Fiero’s construction. Its inspiration was said to be the 1963 Corvair Monza GT concept. The result is a lively body that also gets inspiration from the 1963 Stingray Corvette. There’s also a hint of 1968 Opel GT in that front end.
Both the coupe and convertible were shown to GM management in 1965 and both were rejected. Speculation is that Chevy did not like the idea of having Corvette competition from within the company. And with that, both Pontiac concepts were put into storage and forgotten. Until 1973, however.
Miraculously, in 1973 GM let Bill Collins purchase the Pontiac concept
In 1973 Bill Collins was leaving GM to help Delorean with what ultimately became the gull-wing DeLorean DMC-12 coupe. Before leaving he asked if he could buy the XP-333 and miraculously GM allowed him to. Collings saw some script badges from a Banshee internal concept and applied them to both XP-333 bodies. So, that’s how it got the Banshee name and how it got loose from GM.
It eventually was sold to former Pontiac dealer and collector Len Napoli. Because Napoli owns a Kia dealership today, that’s why it is being sold from it today. With about 1,500 miles on it, the condition is like new.
Being a concept it can’t be driven on the street. But it would make a great doorstop.