It seems like there has been a spate of especially odd car sales in the first part of this especially odd year, from the numerous barn finds and homebrew specials to the time capsule cars — like the BMW wrapped in a protective bubble for 23 years. Napoli Kia in Milford, Connecticut, brings us another, via Motor1. Len Napoli is the dealership principal and die-hard Pontiac maven; his father opened Napoli Pontiac in 1958, and Len held onto the franchise until the early 2000s, just before GM shuttered the brand that built excitement. Napoli got hold of the 1964 Pontiac Banshee XP-333 coupe concept, and put the car up for sale through his Kia dealership for $750,000. The exceptional price comes from the fact that Pontiac built two Banshee concepts in 1964, one this silver coupe with a red interior, the other a white roadster, making each concept a one-of-one collector car.
Motor Trend wrote a detailed piece on this one in 2013, the editorial tour hosted by Bill Collins, the Banshee’s lead engineer. The short story is that GM exec John Z. DeLorean — yes, him — gave approval to a small crew at Pontiac to create a two-seater sports car to compete with the Mustang, because GM had nothing to fend off the four-seat coupe that would sell one million units in just 18 months on the market. Collins and his team took inspiration from the 1963 Corvair Monza GT concept, working up a fiberglass body over a steel frame, with a 230-cubic-inch overhead-cam straight-six producing 165 horsepower and 216 pound-feet of torque, a four-speed manual transmission, and 9.5-inch drum brakes at all corners. The idea was that the XP-333 would be “an affordable and fun two-seat sports car,” the concept demonstrating the base-model price leader offering a lengthy list of options for those who wanted more. The white roadster, in fact, fitted a 326 cubic-inch V8 under the hood.
Rumor says that Chevrolet execs didn’t like having another two-seater sports car in the GM fold, especially one with a fiberglass body that held weight down to 2,200 pounds. GM execs took one look at the two concepts in 1965 and shut the project down. The two XP-333s lived in a garage for years, Collins and his colleague Bill Killen getting permission to buy the cars from GM in 1973 before Collins left to help engineer the DeLorean DMC-12. It wasn’t until just before Collins departed that the XP-333 got the name Banshee.
The silver coupe hit the auction block for the first time in 2006 with Barrett-Jackson, selling for $214,500. Combing the web shows a few more attempts at a sale, including one in 2009 with a YouTube video, a tilt at an RM Sotheby’s auction in 2010 with a high bid of $325,000, and another auction run with Mecum that same year in Monterey that garnered a high bid of $400,000. The coupe didn’t sell after any of those efforts, and the Motor Trend piece from 2013 ended with the line, “As this issue goes to press, Len has the car listed for sale with an asking price of $750,000.”
If the Banshee ever went off the market, it’s back on the forecourt now and at the same price. The all-original, unrestored exclusive has less than 1,500 miles on the odometer, comes with an AM radio and Rally II wheels, and has lived a life of car shows and pampering since being pulled out of the garage all those years ago. Napoli’s even worked a bit of dealer sleight-of-hand, posting the Banshee with a “Market Price” of $753,950 and offering a $3,950 discount to hit that high round number. Who can resist a sale price, right? Anyone interested should hit up Motor Trend for insight on maintenance; the drivetrain bits are easy to find, but, “As a handbuilt concept car, replacement body panels, glass, and other items are non-existent.”