Ask nearly any full-size Pontiac devotee and he or she will tell you that the line of X-400 show cars are hands-down the ultimate examples of B-body performance. Five examples were shown from 1959-1964 (there was no ’61 version that was released), and each had its own unique interpretations of some common customizing themes. For example, each version had a custom headlamp treatment, custom bucket-seat interior, parade boot, supercharged V-8, four-speed transmission, custom exhaust system, and 8-Lug wheels. Naturally, the details differed, but all five versions shared these traits. Interestingly, the ’63 and ’64 models were the same car, though it was radically modified for its second tour of duty.
Sadly, that ’64 would be the end of the line for the X-400s, though later versions are fantastic topics for our What If? column. We discussed the idea of creating an X-400 for ’66 with artist Ted Alexander and he ran with it, taking many of the design cues from the ’64 version, applying them to a ’66 B-Body convertible, and adding some unique details not seen before. The result is a car that is just begging to be built -- it’s just too much of a showstopper to ignore.
Why a ’66? This is a car that your author has dreamed about for decades. As the former owner of a ’66 Grand Prix, it just seemed like a convertible version would have been a stunning car in stock form and even better as an X-400. In my mind, this phantom always came through as Pearl Yellow, like the ’63. It is likely that Pontiac would have painted it some other color, but after describing my vision to Ted, he said, “Let’s do it like you’ve always imagined it.”
Up front, the X-400 uses mesh headlamp covers and custom call-outs on the leading edges of the front fenders, made up using the same font design as the production Grand Prix. Twin scoops are molded into the hood with Supercharged callouts on their sides, as was done in previous years. Hooded sport mirrors add a racy touch. The lower rocker panels are production units that feature 421 badges and dual exhaust ports on each side. Brake cooling vents are positioned above and below the crown of the quarters.
This is a car that your author has dreamed about for decades
The ’66 X-400 features red fender liners, like the production A-bodies received as optional equipment that year. This is a unique feature not seen in previous X-400s, but fits in perfectly with the model year. Redline tires are mounted on custom, chromed 8-Lug wheels with custom center caps. A body-color fiberglass parade boot adds an additional splash of color and provides low-speed seating for high-profile people.
Under the hood, the X-400 would be powered by an engine similar to what had been used in previous editions, a supercharged 421 Pontiac V-8. This time around, it would feature a 6-71 supercharger and a quartet of side-draft Weber two-barrels on a custom, low-profile manifold, while 421 H.O. exhaust manifolds would flow into a custom dual-exhaust system with console- actuated cutouts.
The engine compartment would have a liberal splash of chrome, including the brake booster, alternator, and fan shroud; and the engine would have chrome valve covers, upper and lower intake manifolds, front cover, and water pump. What isn’t chromed would be painted Pontiac engine blue and the firewall and inner fenders would be the same Pearl Yellow as the exterior.
Inside, the X-400 would have four custom matching bucket seats, with the fronts being mounted on locking swivels. Though most people would go with basic black, I think this one would be finished in pearlescent Parchment, with yellow Mouton carpeting, set off with the signature GM Styling waffle-pattern floormats. After all, this is a show car. The dash would also be finished pearl-escent Parchment.
The X-400 would also feature power windows, wing windows, seats and swivels, and a tilt column with a ’64 GTO wood wheel. The console would start at the dash and extend to the rear seating area and up between the seat backs. The console would house both a Hurst shifter for the Muncie four-speed and a matching lever for the exhaust cutouts. It would also feature a walnut top with chrome trim and locking storage compartments front and rear.
Though it would not be a cheap build today by any means, a ’66 X-400 would absolutely blow minds at a POCI Convention, or even a hometown show like the Detroit Autorama. The build would start with a Catalina convertible and Grand Prix parts car for the grilles, tail panel, and taillamps, as well as the interior pieces. A Cadillac parade boot would likely fit, whether one is found or fabricated.
A lot of other pieces would need to be fabricated, but the end result would be every bit the showstopper that the original X-400s were back in the ’60s. Who’s going to build it first?
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