Information on Bob Crocker’s 1958 ex Pontiac Written by admin in Uncategorized No Comments »

What we are looking for is a 1958 Pontiac Parisienne Sports Coupe, in two tone colours of Burma Green lower and Calypso green top and side panels.
When this car was sold on 1962, in the east end of Toronto Canada to a person who was moving and driving it to the west, unfortunately I didn’t keep his name.

The 1962 Ontario plate had 9670 on it. These were a series of license plates that went on sale at Queens Park and if you went in early in January, you could get the four digit plate.
The car was equipped with a big block 348 motor with dual exhausts. I had the air cleaner and valve covers chrome plated along with the oil cap and some other small engine items.
It originally had a Turbo-Glide transmission, but it was changed by me to a Power-Glide unit when the Turbo-Glide needed major, expensive repairs!
The gear shift quadrant was changed from GR to L. The car had a wonder bar radio with a rear seat speaker, power windows, power steering and power brakes!
The seats were covered with clear plastic seat covers. Mileage on this car when sold in 1962 was approximate 50.000 original miles! Being the second owner, the first being an Executive, it was just like new inside and out.

I installed an auxiliary amp meter and oil pressure gauge discreetly under the dash as the two original instruments were idiot lights which I did not care for.
There was a custom trailer hitch on the car with a wiring harness in the trunk.
I obtained a pair of Foxcraft Fender Skirts from Canadian Tire and painted them using touchup spray paint, which unfortunately did not match 100%.
I had a large exterior mirror mounted on the driver’s door. Both doors had stainless edgings to protect them from paint chips.

 

 
1958 Buick Series 50 Super news, pictures, and information Written by admin in Uncategorized No Comments »

In 1903, the Buick Motor Car Company was formed by David Dunbar Buick. In 1907, over 725 vehicles were produced and one year later, it grew drastically to over 8,800 with the help of the ever-popular Model 10. By 1940, Buick had moved into the higher end and larger car range. Even though over 16,500,000 cars use the Buick name, Mr. Buick was only involved with 120 of them. In 1929, he passed away due to cancer in the motor city, Detroit.

The 1940′s Buick design, took a different turn than most of its competition. With fuller grilles having horizontal bars, the headlamps were set-back into the fenders, hoods that opened much differently, and more space throughout provided a different choice for consumers. Most Buicks of this time came with dual carburetors as standard options. The convertibles came with an automatic power top, which was a great luxury option of that era.

The early Super Series 50 were powered by an eight-cylinder engine and was distinguished by its three chrome ventiports on the sides of the hood. The term ‘Super’ was placed on the front fenders. The Supers were the same size as the Specials with their 121.5 inch wheelbase, unless the Super Series 50 LWB version was ordered. This extended the wheelbase by four inches and provided extra interior room for its passengers.

The three-speed manual gearbox was standard but a Dynaflow transmission could be ordered for an additional cost.

In 1955 the Buick Super Series 50 sat atop a 127-inch wheelbase and was powered by an eight-cylinder engine which produced just under 240 horsepower. There were three body-styles offered, a four-door sedan with seating for six cost $2,875. The two-door Riviera Hardtop had seating for six and cost $2,880. This was the most popular of the Super Series 50 with 85,656 examples being produced. The two-door convertible with seating for six cost the most, setting the buyer back $3,225. These were the fewest produced of the series with only 3,527 examples being created.

For 1956, the Series 50 continued to be a large vehicle in the Buick lineup, with features such as four ventiports per fender and a very vertical windshield as part of its distinguishable features. For 1956, a Riviera sedan was added to the lineup, which quickly became the most popular in the series, fetching $3345 for a base model. All bodystyles rested on the 122-inch wheelbase and power came from a overhead-valve V8 engine that displaced 322 cubic-inches. Horsepower was impressive at 255, and torque measured just over 340. Dynaflow drive was standard on the Series 50.

The lowest production series 50 for 1956, was the 56C, which demanded a price of $3,540. There was seating for six on this two-door convertible bodystyle, and a total of 2489 examples were produced during this year. This was Buick’s most ‘exclusive’ bodystyle in regards to it being the lowest produced bodystyle for all Buicks. The next bodystyle to have the fewest production figures, was the Buick Series 70 76C, which saw production reach 4,354.

For 1957 the Super and Roadmaster were Buicks were given unique roof treatments and a new C-body. The word ‘SUPER’ was spelled in block letters on the trunk. Three bodystyles were available, the ’53′ which was a four-door Riviera hardtop with seating for 6. This was the most popular of the Series 50, with a total of 41,665 examples being produced during this year. The ’56R’ 2-door hardtop Riviera also had seating for six and was the second most popular bodystyle in the Series 50 line-up. The two-door Convertible ’56C’ continued to lag in production figures, with a mere 2,056 examples being produced. It cost $3,980 which was a couple hundred dollars more than the other Series 50 bodystyles. Having only two-doors, it was less versatile and required a buyer who was interested in its convertible top and sporty persona. These were truly marvelous cars and have become highly sought after in modern times.

There were two bodystyles offered on the Series in 1958, the two- and four-door Riviera hardtop. The two-door version was the less example model of the two, costing $3640. Included with this price were standard power steering, power brakes, safety-cushion instrument panel, Dynaflow gearbox, carpeted floors, and courtesy lights.

The name ‘Series 50′ would continue until 1959, when new names and modified styling was introduced.

For a period in time, the Series 50 was Buick’s most popular model. They were elegant and stylish, and in a price range that many, in this price group, could afford. They were not an entry level vehicle, but one higher up the ladder . The early 1950s saw the unique ventiport design and ‘buck-tooth’ front-end grille. The round styling of the bodies were modern and flowed nicely with the one-piece windshield. Power was adequate and dependable, capable of carrying this prestigious cars to adequate speeds.

The name ‘Series 50′ had been with Buick since 1930, when it served as a replacement for the Series 121. At the time, they rested on a 124-inch wheelbase and powered by a six-cylinder engine that displaced 331 cubic-inches and produced just under 100 horsepower. The Great Depression was a difficult time for many marques, but Buick was able to weather the storm and came through with their Series 50 still intact.
By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2007

Buick’s best-selling vehicle of 1930, the Series 40 was the precursor to the Series 50. With a wheelbase that stretched to 124 inches, the Series 121 was renamed the Series 50. The large six engine was enlarged to 331.5 cubic inches and achieved 98 hp and 2,800 rpm. The Series 50 ranged in price from $1,510 to $1,540. The styling of the Series 50 was new and featured conservatively sporty lines and much less chrome than the public had grown used to.

The Buick Series 50 Convertible came with hydraulically operated top, front seat adjustments and door windows. The wheelbase was a total of 124 inches.

Buick faced a lot of pressure during the Great Depression, while Buicks were a substantial part of the medium-price range, almost the enter class was being squeezed out. Unfounded rumors were milling about that the Buick nameplate was about to cease, these obviously proved untrue. The Series 40 was introduced in May, 1934 by the new Buick GM, Harlow Curtice. The Series 40 was basically a Chevy body mounted on a Buick straight-8 chassis and featured 2 overhead-valve straight-8 engines. The Buick series were given names in 1935. The Series 40 became the Special and the Series 50 became the Super. The following year the three larger engines were all replaced by a 320 c.i.d. unit that would be the mainstay of Buick engines until 1953.

 
1958 Buick Limited Riviera coupe Written by admin in Uncategorized No Comments »

Only 1,026 1958 Limited Riviera coupes rolled off Buick’s assembly line and very few remain, few if any as pristine as this low mileage beauty. I purchased the car in 1991 with 19,000 original miles. As of January 2002, the odometer only showed a low, low 25,800 miles. With Laurel Mist and Polar Mist two tone paint, absolutely mint original black Mojave Cloth and silver leather interior, this Limited is loaded with luxury options. The plush original carpeting and extremely rare original Buick “Carpet Saver” floormats are like new. I spent countless hours meticulously and authentically restoring the engine compartment to show-winning perfection.The 1958 Buick Limited has more chrome and stainless steel trim than any car ever manufactured. The brightwork on this Limited was either restored by one of America’s finest chrome platers or replaced with brand new original parts. The powerful “B-12000″ 364 cu in. engine is unrestored and doesn’t need to be, however I did repaint the engine as part of the engine compartment restoration. The super-smooth Flight Pitch transmission was new for 1958 and standard equipment on the Limited. This triple-turbine wonder was the newest and most advanced version of Buick’s famous shiftless Dynaflow transmission. The Frigidaire factory air conditioner was completely restored and works perfectly. Other accessories include a Wonderbar signal-seeking radio with foot switch for changing stations, power antenna, tissue dispenser with its original Kleenex box, “Speedminder” speed warning buzzer, under-seat heaters, power windows that zip up and down, 6 way power seat, clock, and power brakes. Everything works as new.

 
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The first Pontiac car made it’s debut in 1926, but the Pontiac division’s history actually dates back to 1893, when Edward M. Murphy established the Pontiac Buggy Company in Pontiac, Michigan. This company produced horse drawn carriages. It wasn’t long before it became clear that motorcar sales were going to out distance the carriages. In 1907 Murphy started the Oakland Motor Car Company as an offshoot of the buggy company. In 1909 General Motors acquired half of Oakland Motor Car Company. GM’s founder William Durant, a friend of Murphy’s, was actually more interested in his talent and expertise than his Oakland cars. But before Durant could use these talents, Murphy died. Shortly after this GM purchased full control of Oakland. The Oakland was very successful car through 1920. Then, a minor economic depression combined with inefficient production weakened Oakland and GM.

General Motors was in disarray by 1920 and Durant who had founded the company 12 years earlier lost control of it again after loosing and regaining control several times before. The problem was that all the company’s seven divisions were fighting for the same customers, and none were trying to gain the Model T Fords customers, which had the largest market share. 
GM’s prices ranged from $795 for the lowest end Chevrolet, to $5,690 for the highest priced Cadillac. Since GM wasn’t in the position to go after the Model T, a committee of company executives led by the new GM President Alfred Sloan, decided to create a car to fill a long-standing price gap between Chevrolet and Oldsmobile. Besides being a gap filler this new car would serve as a platform to share vehicle components. This would improve volume efficiency.  
The Pontiac was created in 1926 as a replacement to the Oakland. 
The Pontiac had the distinction of being the first General Motors car to be designed to fit in a specific market slot. 
The first Pontiac was the Series 6-27, debuted at the 1926 New York Auto Show. It was built on a 110 inch wheelbase and it featured a Fisher designed body and a six cylinder Lead engine.

Demand soon outpaced capacity and by mid 1926, the division began plans to build a $15 million assembly plant in Pontiac, Michigan.

In 1927 Harley Earl created an Art & Color studio, which was an industry’s first. Earl first designed the highly successful LaSalle, and he later became head of GM Design. Art & Color and designed all GM models, including Pontiac.  
Harley Earl was with GM for many years and was responsible for such cars as the Corvette. 
He stayed with General Motors until his retirement in 1959. 
For a more detailed history of the Pontiac please visit


 
THE PONTIAC NEWS, INC Written by admin in Uncategorized No Comments »

The Pontiac News is dedicated to providing balanced news about the City of Pontiac and surrounding communities!

The Pontiac News was founded and established in February 2007 and will be published bi-weekly beginning in July 2007.  As a major community and the capitol of Oakland County we believe thatThe City of Pontiac should have a newspaper that is dedicated to providing information and news about this great and historical city.

 

The Pontiac News is a community minded newspaper, that will not only serve readers but also businesses and local organizations and will strive to be the paper of record for local municipal units including The City of Pontiac, and the Pontiac School District.

 

This bi-weekly newspaper, The Pontiac News, has been established to cover areas in our retail zone including Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Waterford, Bloomfield and other nearby communities (and other school districts).

 

The Pontiac News will be distributed to over 25,000 homes in The City of Pontiac and nearby communities and over 1,000 area businesses, organizations and agencies. We will create a computer database for all addresses in the zip codes in the basic Pontiac News circulation area. A computer program will be generated with labels for all households and businesses in those zip codes. The program will then generate labels for all residents and businesses in order to reach a total of more than 30,000 homes and businesses in our retail area by mail or by carrier.


In addition to better serving the business community with expanded circulation to cover the retail zone, The Pontiac News will have a great product for readers. We will often feature full 4 color pictures on the front page and occasionally elsewhere in the paper. We will also have the Associated Press wire for news features, local writers to augment our local news, and feature coverage.  TPN web site will be launched to expand and supplement our news coverage and advertising reach.

 
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!!!The search is on again!!! Let’s find Bob’s 58 Pontiac Written by admin in Uncategorized No Comments »

What we are looking for is a 1958 Pontiac Parisienne Sports Coupe, in two tone colours of Burma Green lower and Calypso green top and side panels.
When this car was sold on 1962, in the east end of Toronto Canada to a person who was moving and driving it to the west, unfortunately I didn’t keep his name.

The 1962 Ontario plate had 9670 on it. These were a series of license plates that went on sale at Queens Park and if you went in early in January, you could get the four digit plate.
The car was equipped with a big block 348 motor with dual exhausts. I had the air cleaner and valve covers chrome plated along with the oil cap and some other small engine items.
It originally had a Turbo-Glide transmission, but it was changed by me to a Power-Glide unit when the Turbo-Glide needed major, expensive repairs!
The gear shift quadrant was changed from GR to L. The car had a wonder bar radio with a rear seat speaker, power windows, power steering and power brakes!
The seats were covered with clear plastic seat covers. Mileage on this car when sold in 1962 was approximate 50.000 original miles! Being the second owner, the first being an Executive, it was just like new inside and out.

I installed an auxiliary amp meter and oil pressure gauge discreetly under the dash as the two original instruments were idiot lights which I did not care for.
There was a custom trailer hitch on the car with a wiring harness in the trunk.
I obtained a pair of Foxcraft Fender Skirts from Canadian Tire and painted them using touchup spray paint, which unfortunately did not match 100%.
I had a large exterior mirror mounted on the driver’s door. Both doors had stainless edgings to protect them from paint chips.

If anyone knows the whereabouts of this car I certainly would like to know about it.
The reason I sold the car was that I was getting married and needed the money for a down payment on a house which I succeeded in doing.

 
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A number of years ago I saw a one page calendar that showed all the Ford 
pickup trucks from the first one to the present day. I thought , what a nice idea.
I thought that I might try something similar with some of the car pictures I have collected.
I have been collecting pictures of Studebakers, Packards Nash, Hudson
and Jeeps and many more for some time now and I first wrote a web page on the Studebaker.
Then one on Jeeps  and Packard followed.
Since then I have many page on old cars and pickup trucks.
These pictures came for a number of sources including web pages of the manufacture, news groups and my own.
Since most of these pictures came from news groups there may be a chance that your car is shown here.

I would like to invite any one that has a favorite 
picture or a Web Page that they would like added to this page to E mail me a copy.

The first Pontiac car made it’s debut in 1926, but the Pontiac division’s history actually dates back to 1893, when Edward M. Murphy established the Pontiac Buggy Company in Pontiac, Michigan. This company produced horse drawn carriages. It wasn’t long before it became clear that motorcar sales were going to out distance the carriages. In 1907 Murphy started the Oakland Motor Car Company as an offshoot of the buggy company. 

In 1909 General Motors acquired half of Oakland Motor Car Company. GM’s founder William Durant, a friend of Murphy’s, was actually more interested in his talent and expertise than his Oakland cars. But before Durant could use these talents, Murphy died. Shortly after this GM purchased full control of Oakland. The Oakland was very successful car through 1920. Then, a minor economic depression combined with inefficient production weakened Oakland and GM.

General Motors was in disarray by 1920 and Durant who had founded the company 12 years earlier lost control of it again after loosing and regaining control several times before. The problem was that all the company’s seven divisions were fighting for the same customers, and none were trying to gain the Model T Fords customers, which had the largest market share.
GM’s prices ranged from $795 for the lowest end Chevrolet, to $5,690 for the highest priced Cadillac. Since GM wasn’t in the position to go after the Model T, a committee of company executives led by the new GM President Alfred Sloan, decided to create a car to fill a long-standing price gap between Chevrolet and Oldsmobile. Besides being a gap filler this new car would serve as a platform to share vehicle components. This would improve volume efficiency. 
The Pontiac was created in 1926 as a replacement to the Oakland.
The Pontiac had the distinction of being the first General Motors car to be designed to fit in a specific market slot.
The first Pontiac was the Series 6-27, debuted at the 1926 New York Auto Show. It was built on a 110 inch wheelbase and it featured a Fisher designed body and a six cylinder Lead engine.

Demand soon outpaced capacity and by mid 1926, the division began plans to build a $15 million assembly plant in Pontiac, Michigan.

In 1927 Harley Earl created an Art & Color studio, which was an industry’s first. Earl first designed the highly successful LaSalle, and he later became head of GM Design. Art & Color and designed all GM models, including Pontiac. 
Harley Earl was with GM for many years and was responsible for such cars as the Corvette.
He stayed with General Motors until his retirement in 1959.
For a more detailed history of the Pontiac please visit

 
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This is a beautiful driver. This car is in excellent mechanical condition and everything works. Good paint, fresh brakes, good wide whites of original bias ply construction, new head liner, good upholstry but not stock, new carpet, needs dome light. Great 54 located in Ninilchik, Alaska

 
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Feature Article from Hemmings Classic Car Written by admin in Uncategorized No Comments »

1954 Pontiac – Star Chief
Between 1954 and 1957,
the Star Chief was Pontiac’s prestige model.
The car was easily identified by its chrome trim
along its sides and three stars on the back fender.
Only offered with the straight 8 engine,
this new top-of-the-line model had new body styling
and an 11 inch longer frame from the preceding model,
the Chieftain.
When the storyline of I Love Lucy pointed towards
a Hollywood setting in the 1954-1955 season,
the characters “drove” (in episode 100) to the West Coast
in a 1955 Star Chief convertible.
The car offered for sale here,
“Uncle Herbie” as it was known to the children of
the original owners, is a superb original example of the model.
The car, with only 39,000 miles from new,
is a perfectly rust-free, excellent driving car,
which shows well with a good quality repaint in 1994
in its original black.
It still has great depth and shine.
The interior is all original is grey/ blue with
original headliner.
A new carpet set and interior detail would lift the car
to no end.
The original, matching numbers straight-8 cylinder,
4385 cc (267.589 cu in) 16 valve engine pulls strong
with 127 bhp and 234 ftlbs of torque at only 2200 rpm.
The transmission shifts smoothly and faultlessly.
The suspension rides perfectly, and
all electrical works, including the lovely warm amber glow
from the Indian hood ornament light.
With absolutely no evidence of body damage or rust,
the car has no bondo or filler in any of the panels.
The doors, trunk and hood all fit perfectly
with excellent gaps between the panels.
The car comes with some sundry spare parts.
The car comes with its original keys, owners manuals
and even has the original side-skirts!
Sitting inside the car feels like a trip to the past.
Between the 50′s style bench seating to
the 9″ wide speedometer,

 
Feature Article from Hemmings Classic Car Written by admin in Uncategorized No Comments »

If you’ve been following the collector car market during the last, say, two or three years, you’ve no doubt noticed a marked upswing in the popularity and prices of early post-war Pontiacs, particularly those from the late 1950s through the early 1970s. As a result, many of these models have gotten out of reach for the common man.

Fortunately, there are alternatives that can help you avoid paying those seemingly excessive prices: the early to mid-1950s Pontiacs. These distinctively styled cars boast simple, rock-solid mechanicals, meaning anyone with basic skills can do much of the work needed to keep the car on the road. We’re talking about the 1952 through 1954 Chieftains and Chieftain Catalinas. These sturdy, well-built Pontiacs were dependable family cars and, while body parts are getting tough to find today, most of the mechanical parts needed to rebuild one are widely available.

In 1952, Pontiac was number five in the sales race with 277,156 cars built. An examination of the mechanicals and other ins and outs of these cars shows that, just as these Chieftains were solid, reliable cars in their day, they’ve remained so through to the present. One expert we interviewed, Pete Woodruff, said the early ’50s Pontiacs were very reliable–possibly more reliable than any other car on the road at the time. “They were very good cars. The 1952s got the new Dual Range Hydra-Matic, which was a four-speed automatic transmission and a significant improvement over the older cars.

“Pontiac was the most popular family sedan for those willing to spend a few dollars more than the price of a Chevrolet, Ford or Plymouth in order to enjoy more comfort and power, plus a long list of optional accessories,” Pete continued. “The quality and reliability of Pontiac is clearly reflected in the road test reviews and resale value guides published at that time.”

ENGINES

These models were the last to use the flathead Pontiac engine; the new overhead-valve V-8 wouldn’t premiere until the 1955 model year. For 1952-’54, two engine versions were offered: either a straight-six or straight-eight. Both engines had an enviable reputation for reliability and longevity, thanks mainly to their use of full-pressure lubrication, including rifle-drilled connecting rods for positive wrist-pin lubrication.

Exclusive to Pontiac was the “oil cleaner” device on the suction side of the pump and mounted within the pan. This device forced oil to make a 180-degree turn above a sediment bowl of one-quart capacity, which caught any debris large enough to cause engine damage. Pete told us that this was designed to last the life of the car; it was recommended to mechanics that it be cleaned if the oil pan was ever removed. Pontiac made no provision for an accessory “add-on” filter and did not recommend that one be added.

The 20-quart cooling system featured full-length water jackets and a water distribution tube behind the water pump that ran the length of the block to direct coolant toward the exhaust ports and prevent hot spots.

The base engine was a 239.2-cu.in. L-head straight-six, with a 3-9/16-inch bore and a 4-inch stroke. With its Rochester BC one-barrel carburetor, it developed a whopping 100hp at 3,400 rpm when used with a manual transmission. When an automatic transmission was ordered, a 102hp-rated engine was fitted; the carburetor was either a Rochester or Carter single-barrel with automatic choke. When the compression ratio increased slightly for the 1953-’54 model years, power increased to 115hp/manual and 118hp/automatic.For the 1952-’54 model years, the larger available engine was a 268.4-cu.in. straight-eight with a 3 3/8-inch bore and a shorter 3 ¾-inch stroke. Two horsepower variations were offered each year: 1952-’53 had a 118hp version for the manual transmission and 122hp version with the automatic transmission. For 1954, it was 122hp/manual and 127hp/automatic. The carburetor was a Carter WCD-7205 two-barrel with automatic choke.

As was standard for the era, all engine blocks, cylinder heads and intake and exhaust manifolds were cast iron and the camshafts were solid-lifter types.

In 1953, the big news came in the form of aluminum pistons for the six-cylinder engine; surprisingly, the straight-eight continued on with iron pistons. The pistons’ oil rings were mounted below the wrist pins to retain oil when shut off and to provide better cylinder wall lubrication upon startup. The piston-to-wall clearance in these engines is very tight, since they both expanded at the same rate; thus, Pete does not recommend using any oil with a viscosity of more than 10W-30. The recommended oil in the 1953-’54 models was 20W-20, which is still available today.

TRANSMISSIONS

A three-speed column-shifted Muncie manual transmission served as the standard unit in all three model years. These manuals had synchronizers on second and third gear only. In 1952, a Dual-Range Hydra-Matic became available with both the six- and eight-cylinder engines. The Dual-Range was simplicity itself, merely preventing the shift from third to fourth gear if desired. The quadrant indicator continued to show “Dr” and “L,” but these were three distinct detent positions: “L” for low range and “Dr” flanked on either side by an arrow (hash mark). The arrow to the right of “Dr” was the city or traffic range, which kept the transmission in third gear for better acceleration and engine braking when driving in heavy traffic. The left arrow was the country or highway setting, and allowed the final shift into fourth gear for peak fuel economy and quieter cruising.

The Hydra-Matic is obviously a strong unit, as Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Lincoln, Nash, Hudson and Kaiser installed these same transmissions in their cars. Parts and service are available, but proper operation can be restored by careful adjustment of the throttle linkage, especially the relationship between the carburetor and transmission’s valve body. The Hydra-Matic used a fluid coupling and not a torque converter, so it did not need additional cooling. It also doesn’t “creep” when idling in gear.

A massive fire in August 1953 at GM’s Hydra-Matic plant in Livonia, Michigan, forced Pontiac to install Chevy Powerglides in about 18,000 cars until production could resume. According to Pete, these cars were equipped with transmission coolers and 3.70-geared differentials for good performance.

SUSPENSION

Like most big cars from this era, these Pontiacs did not steer with much precision or stop straight and quick. They featured a 120-inch wheelbase and had an overall length of 202.5 inches; station wagons were longer at 203.9 inches. The standard tire measured 7.10 x 15 inches and a special equipment tire was a wider 7.60 x 15. Both were tube types.

In 1953, Pontiac redesigned the front suspension with new geometry, involving A-arms and coil springs. Upper control arms were lengthened to reduce positive camber on the outside wheel when in a turn. It did not restrict roll, but rather reduced roll camber. The new suspension was advertised as the Curve Control suspension.

That same year, engineers improved the power steering; it had a hydraulically controlled power rack working on the Pitman arm shaft. The solid axle rear suspension was sprung from leaf springs and had a standard hypoid axle. The steering box was a worm and roller type.

BRAKES

Like most cars of the early 1950s, the Pontiacs utilized a Bendix Duo-Servo four-wheel drum system, together with a single master cylinder. The system can be somewhat tricky to work on, especially when bleeding the brakes, since the master cylinder is mounted under the floorboards. Power brakes were not offered until 1954; a retrofit kit was available from Pontiac for dealer installation on the 1953 models, if desired. All drums were 11 inches in diameter, made of steel with a centrifugally cast iron-alloy surface. The front shoes were 2 ¼ inches wide while the rears measured 1 ¾ inches wide.

INTERIOR

Extensive use of chrome made the Chieftain’s interior look more like a Wurlitzer organ than an automotive dashboard. A semicircular speedometer was placed in front of the driver, with four gauges below. On the right, a small panel housed the heater and radio controls.

The standard seat covers were made of wool cloth. The Deluxe models had wool and nylon fabric, while the top-of-the-line Catalina models were equipped with a nylon/leather combination or optional full-leather upholstery. Convertibles featured a cloth/leather combination. Pete said this was done to provide durability, in case the top was left down and the interior exposed to the elements “These fabrics were of very good quality and have survived remarkably well. I’m not aware that any of the original Deluxe fabrics are available today,” he said.

The front floors on most of these cars were equipped with synthetic rubber “carpet,” while the rear floors were covered in actual carpet. These synthetic rubber “carpets” were color-coordinated on the Deluxe models and molded with patterns. These are not reproduced today. The Catalina hardtops had traditional carpet in both front and rear.

Other optional equipment included a seven-tube Chieftain radio, Venti-Seat underseat heater, Venti-Shades, windshield sun visor, electric clock, compass, glove compartment light and leather utility pocket.

BODY/FRAME

The Chieftain featured a very strong steel perimeter frame with no fewer than eight mounting brackets to hold the body in place. It had an “X” in the middle for added stiffness. The fuel tanks in 1952 held 17.5 gallons; in 1953 its capacity was increased to 20 gallons.

There were a number of revisions for 1953; the most notable sheetmetal changes were with the rear quarter panel, which now sprouted small fins. The cars got a one-piece curved glass windshield and wraparound backlights. The wheelbase was increased two inches. There was a new spear-type side molding added, and a dual-streak decoration was introduced. This new streak consisted of parallel Silver Streaks instead of a single wide one. In 1953, all Pontiacs were Chieftains; the line was split into Specials, Deluxes and Customs.

RESTORATION PARTS

Despite most of the emphasis today being placed on Pontiacs from the 1960s and 1970s, the aftermarket is fairly strong for these workhorse cars. Some of the larger parts specialists include California Pontiac Restoration Parts in Santa Ana, which sells new weatherstripping, headliners, suspension and brake parts, and numerous other items. Kurt Kelsey has been selling what some consider unobtainable NOS parts for many years from his location in Iowa. One of the largest suppliers of Pontiac parts for these cars is Kanter Auto Products in Boonton, New Jersey.

 
1954 Pontiac Written by admin in Uncategorized No Comments »

Pontiac had big news for ’54, for the first time since 1948 they had a second model line of automobiles in addition to the standard and Deluxe Chieftain line. The Star Chief line was very reminiscent of the Torpedo Eight released in 1940, a luxury eight cylinder automobile available at a very low price. The Star Chiefs rode on a 124” wheelbase and featured an overall length of 213.7 inches, the additional 11 inches of length was all at the back and the trunk capacity was enormous. They were only available with Pontiac’s venerable straight eight engines, further improved for its final appearance with an increase in horsepower. The rear leaf springs were fully 5 feet long and had 6 leaves to carry the additional weight, another change standard on the Hydra-Matic equipped models was a 3.23 axle ratio to retain good performance. The Chieftain models carried over from 1953 with the exception of the convertible, which was only available in the Star Chief line, and the sedan delivery which was phased out of production. 
        The Star Chief line consisted of 3 body styles, a convertible, a 2-door hardtop and a 4- door sedan split into Deluxe and Custom trim levels. Visual clues to identify these models are the 3 “stars” on each rear fender “fin”, 5 slender “Silver Streaks” on the deck lid, and bright visors over the tail lamps that sweep forward along the rear fenders. 
        The Star Chief Custom Catalina hardtop was the top of the line model available in 6 exclusive color schemes, solid colors of Biloxi Beige, Coral Red or Maize Yellow, or two-tone combination of those colors with Winter White for the upper body color. The Catalina interiors were color-keyed to the exterior paint scheme and available as all-leather or a leather and nylon fabric combination. The Customs also featured deep pile carpeting front and rear plus molded armrests integral with the door panels. The new Star Chief Custom Sedan was a 4 door sedan version of the luxurious Catalina hardtop. It was offered in the same 6 exclusive color schemes and matching top quality interiors, even the doors offered the sleek molded armrests of the Catalina. The Custom sedan was distinguished from the Star Chief Deluxe sedan visually by the addition bright trim on the C-pillar just behind the rear quarter window. 
        The remaining 2 Star Chief models were the Deluxe convertible and Deluxe 4 door sedan. The convertible was available in 10 body colors, 4 different top colors and 4 two-tone interior combinations. New for ’54 was the use of Morrokide upholstery in place of leather, this material proved to be eminently durable and remained in use for years to come. The Deluxe sedan came in 17 body color combinations paired with 3 interior colors of patterned nylon upholstery. The rear floors featured deep pile carpet while the front floors were fitted with molded synthetic rubber “carpet”, the upholstery and floor coverings were color-keyed as you would expect. Full wheel covers were standard equipment, the Pontiac name appearing twice surrounded by a white band. 
        The Chieftain line was built on 4 body styles, 2 door versions of hardtop and sedan, a 4 door sedan and a station wagon. There were 3 trim levels, Special, Deluxe and Custom. The Special trim level was available on the 2 and 4 door sedans and as either a 2 or 3 seat station wagon. The Deluxe trim option could be applied to the hardtop, 2 and 4 door sedans and a 2 seat station wagon, while the Custom trim level was exclusive to the Custom Catalina 2 door hardtop. The Deluxe Chieftain trim basically carried over from 1953 with restyled emblems on the hood and deck lid, new rear fender medallions and a winged hood ornament. The full disc wheel covers also featured a white band as opposed to the red band of the previous model year. The Special trim was upgraded with stainless steel gravel guards on the rear fenders instead of the previously used black rubber. There was a staggering array of colors and interior upholstery options within the Chieftain line, depending upon the trim level and body style that you selected. New this year was the color-keyed steering wheels used in all Custom and Deluxe interiors, previously only the Super Deluxe or Custom Catalina models featured a color matched steering wheel. 
        Pontiac was known for having an extensive list of optional equipment to choose from and several important new options were added for 1954. Power brakes, electric front window lifts, a “Comfort-Control” front seat and air conditioning topped the list; minor new options included the “Safety-Cushion” instrument panel pad, courtesy lamps at both ends of the dashboard and a wide, brake pedal extension on Hydra-Matic cars without power brakes to comfortably permit left foot braking. Power steering was introduced the year before and the system was improved by a reduction in the steering gear ratio and the decision to use the quieter vane type hydraulic pump exclusively. A new horn button proclaiming Power Steering was installed on all Deluxe and Custom models so equipped. 
        Pontiac engineers could claim another first with the “packaging” of their air conditioning system. Prior to the availability of air conditioning on a Pontiac, the evaporator unit was housed in the trunk over the axle and ducted up through the parcel shelf to the interior. Pontiac engineers placed their evaporator on the engine side of the cowl and ducted the cool air through dashboard vents. This established a precedent that was copied by every other manufacturer within a few years and is still used today. 
        Optional equipment often requires specific additional equipment to function as it was intended, there can also be “packaging” issues that govern what is available. The air conditioning option was only available when paired with an eight cylinder engine and Hydra-Matic transmission; it also required the installation larger 7.60 x 15 tires and a host of other changes including a 3.42 axle ratio. Autronic Eye was not available on cars equipped with air conditioning and the padded instrument panel pad was not available with either air conditioning or Autronic Eye. Wire spoke wheel covers were available on Deluxe and Custom models except with fender skirts. 
        This would be the final year for both of the Pontiac “flathead” engines. The six had been extensively upgraded for 1953, but it was further improved with a new distributor and engine valves treated to the new Aldip process. This involved dipping the valves in a bath of molten aluminum; the thin coating was expected to double the life of the valves. The power output for the six remained the as it had been in 1953. The straight eights were fitted with a larger carburetor and matching intake manifold which resulted in a 5 horsepower increase, power output was now 127 @ 3,800 rpm and developed torque was 234 ft. lbs. @ 2,200 rpm. The noticeable change to the eight was the new upright spark plug wire bracket that “fanned” the wires out toward their respective cylinders. The increased distance between each of the cables meant it was far less likely to have electrical current loss before reaching the spark plug, more available voltage means longer plug life and increased resistance to carbon build-up. All 1954 models were fitted with the compound fuel / vacuum pump to insure satisfactory windshield wiper operation. 
        The most popular model remained the Chieftain Deluxe 4 door sedan, the vast majority of these were equipped with the straight eight and Hydra-Matic transmission. Pontiac had dominated the mid-priced family sedan market since the late 40’s by offering an eight cylinder sedan combined with an extensive list of options and accessories. Sales slipped from the previous year, most attribute this to the fact that Pontiac was still using inline flathead engines. While this is certainly true, road test data from ’53 and ’54 was very favorable for Pontiac with regard to overall performance, fuel economy and of course, durability. Excepting other General Motors’ products, Pontiac offered optional equipment unavailable by any of its competitors in the low mid-priced field. 1954 model year production tallied 287,744 automobiles. The Star Chief line was very successful with 115,088 cars sold, of these only 571 were Synchro-Mesh models. Chieftain Eights accounted for 149,986 units, of which 29,906 were manual transmission models. The Chieftain Six total was 22,670, with 19,666 manual shift cars. Pontiac sold 265,074 eight cylinder 1954 models and 234,597 of them were equipped with Hydra-Matic, right to the end of production, the straight eight with Hydra-Matic was a winner!

 
Feature Article from Hemmings Classic Car Written by admin in Uncategorized No Comments »

If you’ve been following the collector car market during the last, say, two or three years, you’ve no doubt noticed a marked upswing in the popularity and prices of early post-war Pontiacs, particularly those from the late 1950s through the early 1970s. As a result, many of these models have gotten out of reach for the common man.

 

Fortunately, there are alternatives that can help you avoid paying those seemingly excessive prices: the early to mid-1950s Pontiacs. These distinctively styled cars boast simple, rock-solid mechanicals, meaning anyone with basic skills can do much of the work needed to keep the car on the road. We’re talking about the 1952 through 1954 Chieftains and Chieftain Catalinas. These sturdy, well-built Pontiacs were dependable family cars and, while body parts are getting tough to find today, most of the mechanical parts needed to rebuild one are widely available.

 

In 1952, Pontiac was number five in the sales race with 277,156 cars built. An examination of the mechanicals and other ins and outs of these cars shows that, just as these Chieftains were solid, reliable cars in their day, they’ve remained so through to the present. One expert we interviewed, Pete Woodruff, said the early ’50s Pontiacs were very reliable–possibly more reliable than any other car on the road at the time. “They were very good cars. The 1952s got the new Dual Range Hydra-Matic, which was a four-speed automatic transmission and a significant improvement over the older cars.

 

“Pontiac was the most popular family sedan for those willing to spend a few dollars more than the price of a Chevrolet, Ford or Plymouth in order to enjoy more comfort and power, plus a long list of optional accessories,” Pete continued. “The quality and reliability of Pontiac is clearly reflected in the road test reviews and resale value guides published at that time.”

 


ENGINES
These models were the last to use the flathead Pontiac engine; the new overhead-valve V-8 wouldn’t premiere until the 1955 model year. For 1952-’54, two engine versions were offered: either a straight-six or straight-eight. Both engines had an enviable reputation for reliability and longevity, thanks mainly to their use of full-pressure lubrication, including rifle-drilled connecting rods for positive wrist-pin lubrication.

 

Exclusive to Pontiac was the “oil cleaner” device on the suction side of the pump and mounted within the pan. This device forced oil to make a 180-degree turn above a sediment bowl of one-quart capacity, which caught any debris large enough to cause engine damage. Pete told us that this was designed to last the life of the car; it was recommended to mechanics that it be cleaned if the oil pan was ever removed. Pontiac made no provision for an accessory “add-on” filter and did not recommend that one be added.

 

The 20-quart cooling system featured full-length water jackets and a water distribution tube behind the water pump that ran the length of the block to direct coolant toward the exhaust ports and prevent hot spots.

 

The base engine was a 239.2-cu.in. L-head straight-six, with a 3-9/16-inch bore and a 4-inch stroke. With its Rochester BC one-barrel carburetor, it developed a whopping 100hp at 3,400 rpm when used with a manual transmission. When an automatic transmission was ordered, a 102hp-rated engine was fitted; the carburetor was either a Rochester or Carter single-barrel with automatic choke. When the compression ratio increased slightly for the 1953-’54 model years, power increased to 115hp/manual and 118hp/automatic.For the 1952-’54 model years, the larger available engine was a 268.4-cu.in. straight-eight with a 3 3/8-inch bore and a shorter 3 ¾-inch stroke. Two horsepower variations were offered each year: 1952-’53 had a 118hp version for the manual transmission and 122hp version with the automatic transmission. For 1954, it was 122hp/manual and 127hp/automatic. The carburetor was a Carter WCD-7205 two-barrel with automatic choke.

 

As was standard for the era, all engine blocks, cylinder heads and intake and exhaust manifolds were cast iron and the camshafts were solid-lifter types.

 

In 1953, the big news came in the form of aluminum pistons for the six-cylinder engine; surprisingly, the straight-eight continued on with iron pistons. The pistons’ oil rings were mounted below the wrist pins to retain oil when shut off and to provide better cylinder wall lubrication upon startup. The piston-to-wall clearance in these engines is very tight, since they both expanded at the same rate; thus, Pete does not recommend using any oil with a viscosity of more than 10W-30. The recommended oil in the 1953-’54 models was 20W-20, which is still available today.

 


TRANSMISSIONS
A three-speed column-shifted Muncie manual transmission served as the standard unit in all three model years. These manuals had synchronizers on second and third gear only. In 1952, a Dual-Range Hydra-Matic became available with both the six- and eight-cylinder engines. The Dual-Range was simplicity itself, merely preventing the shift from third to fourth gear if desired. The quadrant indicator continued to show “Dr” and “L,” but these were three distinct detent positions: “L” for low range and “Dr” flanked on either side by an arrow (hash mark). The arrow to the right of “Dr” was the city or traffic range, which kept the transmission in third gear for better acceleration and engine braking when driving in heavy traffic. The left arrow was the country or highway setting, and allowed the final shift into fourth gear for peak fuel economy and quieter cruising.

 

The Hydra-Matic is obviously a strong unit, as Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Lincoln, Nash, Hudson and Kaiser installed these same transmissions in their cars. Parts and service are available, but proper operation can be restored by careful adjustment of the throttle linkage, especially the relationship between the carburetor and transmission’s valve body. The Hydra-Matic used a fluid coupling and not a torque converter, so it did not need additional cooling. It also doesn’t “creep” when idling in gear.

 

A massive fire in August 1953 at GM’s Hydra-Matic plant in Livonia, Michigan, forced Pontiac to install Chevy Powerglides in about 18,000 cars until production could resume. According to Pete, these cars were equipped with transmission coolers and 3.70-geared differentials for good performance.

 


SUSPENSION
Like most big cars from this era, these Pontiacs did not steer with much precision or stop straight and quick. They featured a 120-inch wheelbase and had an overall length of 202.5 inches; station wagons were longer at 203.9 inches. The standard tire measured 7.10 x 15 inches and a special equipment tire was a wider 7.60 x 15. Both were tube types.

 

In 1953, Pontiac redesigned the front suspension with new geometry, involving A-arms and coil springs. Upper control arms were lengthened to reduce positive camber on the outside wheel when in a turn. It did not restrict roll, but rather reduced roll camber. The new suspension was advertised as the Curve Control suspension.

 

That same year, engineers improved the power steering; it had a hydraulically controlled power rack working on the Pitman arm shaft. The solid axle rear suspension was sprung from leaf springs and had a standard hypoid axle. The steering box was a worm and roller type.

 


BRAKES
Like most cars of the early 1950s, the Pontiacs utilized a Bendix Duo-Servo four-wheel drum system, together with a single master cylinder. The system can be somewhat tricky to work on, especially when bleeding the brakes, since the master cylinder is mounted under the floorboards. Power brakes were not offered until 1954; a retrofit kit was available from Pontiac for dealer installation on the 1953 models, if desired. All drums were 11 inches in diameter, made of steel with a centrifugally cast iron-alloy surface. The front shoes were 2 ¼ inches wide while the rears measured 1 ¾ inches wide.

 


INTERIOR
Extensive use of chrome made the Chieftain’s interior look more like a Wurlitzer organ than an automotive dashboard. A semicircular speedometer was placed in front of the driver, with four gauges below. On the right, a small panel housed the heater and radio controls.

 

The standard seat covers were made of wool cloth. The Deluxe models had wool and nylon fabric, while the top-of-the-line Catalina models were equipped with a nylon/leather combination or optional full-leather upholstery. Convertibles featured a cloth/leather combination. Pete said this was done to provide durability, in case the top was left down and the interior exposed to the elements “These fabrics were of very good quality and have survived remarkably well. I’m not aware that any of the original Deluxe fabrics are available today,” he said.

 

The front floors on most of these cars were equipped with synthetic rubber “carpet,” while the rear floors were covered in actual carpet. These synthetic rubber “carpets” were color-coordinated on the Deluxe models and molded with patterns. These are not reproduced today. The Catalina hardtops had traditional carpet in both front and rear.

 

Other optional equipment included a seven-tube Chieftain radio, Venti-Seat underseat heater, Venti-Shades, windshield sun visor, electric clock, compass, glove compartment light and leather utility pocket.

 


BODY/FRAME
The Chieftain featured a very strong steel perimeter frame with no fewer than eight mounting brackets to hold the body in place. It had an “X” in the middle for added stiffness. The fuel tanks in 1952 held 17.5 gallons; in 1953 its capacity was increased to 20 gallons.

 

There were a number of revisions for 1953; the most notable sheetmetal changes were with the rear quarter panel, which now sprouted small fins. The cars got a one-piece curved glass windshield and wraparound backlights. The wheelbase was increased two inches. There was a new spear-type side molding added, and a dual-streak decoration was introduced. This new streak consisted of parallel Silver Streaks instead of a single wide one. In 1953, all Pontiacs were Chieftains; the line was split into Specials, Deluxes and Customs.

 


RESTORATION PARTS
Despite most of the emphasis today being placed on Pontiacs from the 1960s and 1970s, the aftermarket is fairly strong for these workhorse cars. Some of the larger parts specialists include California Pontiac Restoration Parts in Santa Ana, which sells new weatherstripping, headliners, suspension and brake parts, and numerous other items. Kurt Kelsey has been selling what some consider unobtainable NOS parts for many years from his location in Iowa. One of the largest suppliers of Pontiac parts for these cars is Kanter Auto Products in Boonton, New Jersey.

 
Feature Article from Hemmings Classic Car Written by admin in Uncategorized No Comments »

If you’ve been following the collector car market during the last, say, two or three years, you’ve no doubt noticed a marked upswing in the popularity and prices of early post-war Pontiacs, particularly those from the late 1950s through the early 1970s. As a result, many of these models have gotten out of reach for the common man.

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Fortunately, there are alternatives that can help you avoid paying those seemingly excessive prices: the early to mid-1950s Pontiac. These distinctively styled cars boast simple, rock-solid mechanical  meaning anyone with basic skills can do much of the work needed to keep the car on the road. We’re talking about the 1952 through 1954 Chieftains and Chieftain Catalinas. These sturdy, well-built Pontiacs were dependable family cars and, while body parts are getting tough to find today, most of the mechanical parts needed to rebuild one are widely available.

 

In 1952, Pontiac was number five in the sales race with 277,156 cars built. An examination of the mechanicals and other ins and outs of these cars shows that, just as these Chieftains were solid, reliable cars in their day, they’ve remained so through to the present. One expert we interviewed, Pete Woodruff, said the early ’50s Pontiacs were very reliable–possibly more reliable than any other car on the road at the time. “They were very good cars. The 1952s got the new Dual Range Hydra-Matic, which was a four-speed automatic transmission and a significant improvement over the older cars.

 

“Pontiac was the most popular family sedan for those willing to spend a few dollars more than the price of a Chevrolet, Ford or Plymouth in order to enjoy more comfort and power, plus a long list of optional accessories,” Pete continued. “The quality and reliability of Pontiac is clearly reflected in the road test reviews and resale value guides published at that time.”

 


ENGINES
These models were the last to use the flathead Pontiac engine; the new overhead-valve V-8 wouldn’t premiere until the 1955 model year. For 1952-’54, two engine versions were offered: either a straight-six or straight-eight. Both engines had an enviable reputation for reliability and longevity, thanks mainly to their use of full-pressure lubrication, including rifle-drilled connecting rods for positive wrist-pin lubrication.

 

Exclusive to Pontiac was the “oil cleaner” device on the suction side of the pump and mounted within the pan. This device forced oil to make a 180-degree turn above a sediment bowl of one-quart capacity, which caught any debris large enough to cause engine damage. Pete told us that this was designed to last the life of the car; it was recommended to mechanics that it be cleaned if the oil pan was ever removed. Pontiac made no provision for an accessory “add-on” filter and did not recommend that one be added.

 

The 20-quart cooling system featured full-length water jackets and a water distribution tube behind the water pump that ran the length of the block to direct coolant toward the exhaust ports and prevent hot spots.

 

The base engine was a 239.2-cu.in. L-head straight-six, with a 3-9/16-inch bore and a 4-inch stroke. With its Rochester BC one-barrel carburetor, it developed a whopping 100hp at 3,400 rpm when used with a manual transmission. When an automatic transmission was ordered, a 102hp-rated engine was fitted; the carburetor was either a Rochester or Carter single-barrel with automatic choke. When the compression ratio increased slightly for the 1953-’54 model years, power increased to 115hp/manual and 118hp/automatic.For the 1952-’54 model years, the larger available engine was a 268.4-cu.in. straight-eight with a 3 3/8-inch bore and a shorter 3 ¾-inch stroke. Two horsepower variations were offered each year: 1952-’53 had a 118hp version for the manual transmission and 122hp version with the automatic transmission. For 1954, it was 122hp/manual and 127hp/automatic. The carburetor was a Carter WCD-7205 two-barrel with automatic choke.

 

As was standard for the era, all engine blocks, cylinder heads and intake and exhaust manifolds were cast iron and the camshafts were solid-lifter types.

 

In 1953, the big news came in the form of aluminum pistons for the six-cylinder engine; surprisingly, the straight-eight continued on with iron pistons. The pistons’ oil rings were mounted below the wrist pins to retain oil when shut off and to provide better cylinder wall lubrication upon startup. The piston-to-wall clearance in these engines is very tight, since they both expanded at the same rate; thus, Pete does not recommend using any oil with a viscosity of more than 10W-30. The recommended oil in the 1953-’54 models was 20W-20, which is still available today.

 


TRANSMISSIONS
A three-speed column-shifted Muncie manual transmission served as the standard unit in all three model years. These manuals had synchronizers on second and third gear only. In 1952, a Dual-Range Hydra-Matic became available with both the six- and eight-cylinder engines. The Dual-Range was simplicity itself, merely preventing the shift from third to fourth gear if desired. The quadrant indicator continued to show “Dr” and “L,” but these were three distinct detent positions: “L” for low range and “Dr” flanked on either side by an arrow (hash mark). The arrow to the right of “Dr” was the city or traffic range, which kept the transmission in third gear for better acceleration and engine braking when driving in heavy traffic. The left arrow was the country or highway setting, and allowed the final shift into fourth gear for peak fuel economy and quieter cruising.

 

The Hydra-Matic is obviously a strong unit, as Oldsmobile, Cadillac, Lincoln, Nash, Hudson and Kaiser installed these same transmissions in their cars. Parts and service are available, but proper operation can be restored by careful adjustment of the throttle linkage, especially the relationship between the carburetor and transmission’s valve body. The Hydra-Matic used a fluid coupling and not a torque converter, so it did not need additional cooling. It also doesn’t “creep” when idling in gear.

 

A massive fire in August 1953 at GM’s Hydra-Matic plant in Livonia, Michigan, forced Pontiac to install Chevy Powerglides in about 18,000 cars until production could resume. According to Pete, these cars were equipped with transmission coolers and 3.70-geared differentials for good performance.

 


SUSPENSION
Like most big cars from this era, these Pontiacs did not steer with much precision or stop straight and quick. They featured a 120-inch wheelbase and had an overall length of 202.5 inches; station wagons were longer at 203.9 inches. The standard tire measured 7.10 x 15 inches and a special equipment tire was a wider 7.60 x 15. Both were tube types.

 

In 1953, Pontiac redesigned the front suspension with new geometry, involving A-arms and coil springs. Upper control arms were lengthened to reduce positive camber on the outside wheel when in a turn. It did not restrict roll, but rather reduced roll camber. The new suspension was advertised as the Curve Control suspension.

 

That same year, engineers improved the power steering; it had a hydraulically controlled power rack working on the Pitman arm shaft. The solid axle rear suspension was sprung from leaf springs and had a standard hypoid axle. The steering box was a worm and roller type.

 


BRAKES
Like most cars of the early 1950s, the Pontiacs utilized a Bendix Duo-Servo four-wheel drum system, together with a single master cylinder. The system can be somewhat tricky to work on, especially when bleeding the brakes, since the master cylinder is mounted under the floorboards. Power brakes were not offered until 1954; a retrofit kit was available from Pontiac for dealer installation on the 1953 models, if desired. All drums were 11 inches in diameter, made of steel with a centrifugally cast iron-alloy surface. The front shoes were 2 ¼ inches wide while the rears measured 1 ¾ inches wide.

 


INTERIOR
Extensive use of chrome made the Chieftain’s interior look more like a Wurlitzer organ than an automotive dashboard. A semicircular speedometer was placed in front of the driver, with four gauges below. On the right, a small panel housed the heater and radio controls.

 

The standard seat covers were made of wool cloth. The Deluxe models had wool and nylon fabric, while the top-of-the-line Catalina models were equipped with a nylon/leather combination or optional full-leather upholstery. Convertibles featured a cloth/leather combination. Pete said this was done to provide durability, in case the top was left down and the interior exposed to the elements “These fabrics were of very good quality and have survived remarkably well. I’m not aware that any of the original Deluxe fabrics are available today,” he said.

 

The front floors on most of these cars were equipped with synthetic rubber “carpet,” while the rear floors were covered in actual carpet. These synthetic rubber “carpets” were color-coordinated on the Deluxe models and molded with patterns. These are not reproduced today. The Catalina hardtops had traditional carpet in both front and rear.

 

Other optional equipment included a seven-tube Chieftain radio, Venti-Seat underseat heater, Venti-Shades, windshield sun visor, electric clock, compass, glove compartment light and leather utility pocket.

 


BODY/FRAME
The Chieftain featured a very strong steel perimeter frame with no fewer than eight mounting brackets to hold the body in place. It had an “X” in the middle for added stiffness. The fuel tanks in 1952 held 17.5 gallons; in 1953 its capacity was increased to 20 gallons.

 

There were a number of revisions for 1953; the most notable sheetmetal changes were with the rear quarter panel, which now sprouted small fins. The cars got a one-piece curved glass windshield and wraparound backlights. The wheelbase was increased two inches. There was a new spear-type side molding added, and a dual-streak decoration was introduced. This new streak consisted of parallel Silver Streaks instead of a single wide one. In 1953, all Pontiacs were Chieftains; the line was split into Specials, Deluxes and Customs.

 


RESTORATION PARTS
Despite most of the emphasis today being placed on Pontiacs from the 1960s and 1970s, the aftermarket is fairly strong for these workhorse cars. Some of the larger parts specialists include California Pontiac Restoration Parts in Santa Ana, which sells new weatherstripping, headliners, suspension and brake parts, and numerous other items. Kurt Kelsey has been selling what some consider unobtainable NOS parts for many years from his location in Iowa. One of the largest suppliers of Pontiac parts for these cars is Kanter Auto Products in Boonton, New Jersey.