In 1964 Pontiac unveiled their newest concept car, which they dubbed the Banshee. During its development it was called
the XP-833 project. This car was a small two-seater with a long, sweeping hood and a short rear deck. Several different versions
were constructed, but only two drivable prototypes were ever built.
The Banshee was John DeLorean’s proposed
two-seater “Mustang fighter”, which most others in GM saw (probably correctly) as a threat to the Corvette’s
dominance. For a planned $2,500, or $200 less than a stripped Corvette of the day, you were to get sporty looks on a 90-inch
wheelbase and full production GM A-body suspension, from steering knuckles to the Salisbury live rear axle.
Engines were out of the Pontiac playbook as well, including the OHC straight-six and (naturally) a variety of increasingly
hairy V8’s. Curb weight on the fiberglass-bodied dream was a low 2,200 pounds with the six. DeLorean worked the corporate
system and exploited loopholes once to pull off the GTO, but GM wasn’t about to let him try it again with the Banshee,
and the project was killed early on.
Elements lived on in spirit, though. Save for the distinctive Pontiac split grille and a blatantly second-gen Firebird
tail panel, most angles on the Banshee scream ’68 Corvette. Even the rear, as viewed in profile, has a hint of soft-bumper
’74 Vette. There’s so much Corvette influence here that it was shown at Bloomington in 1990. The plastic-skin-bolted-onto-a-metal-chassis
idea resurfaced 20 years later at Pontiac, this time on the Fiero. So the powers that be apparently thought the Banshee might
have been a good idea, just not then.
Two exist: one is a silver hard-top with a straight six engine and the other is a white convertible with a V8. Both survive
today and are in the hands of private collectors.