The Pontiac Club de Mer prototype was inspired by land speed record cars. Head of design Harley Earl – and studio leader Paul Gillian – were given the styling brief. It went without saying that ‘space-age’ imagery – pretty much ubiquitous in the ’50s – would get its foot in the design door, too!
The most obvious lift from LSR cars was the shark-like stabilising fin at the rear. The front-end featured retractable headlights. The low nose tapered into a blunt arrowhead. Two chrome bands flowed up to air scoops at the back of the hood. The Club de Mer was a shoo-in for the ’56 ‘Motorama’. It acquitted itself well – alongside GM’s other ‘dream car’ exotica.
Not that the Club de Mer was all style, and no substance! Beneath the aerodynamic hood was a 4,392cc 300bhp V8. First and foremost, though, the car was a trend-setter. ‘Club de Mer’ evoked Meditteranean panache. That was blended with all-American élan. A tad outlandish for some, perhaps … but then, the Pontiac Club de Mer was was in ‘show’ business!