If youve got a little brother whos more successful than you, then maybe you can relate to the plight of this 1957 Pontiac Chieftain. For a fraction of the price of a comparable Chevy, you get similar styling in a bigger package, more horsepower from a 347 cubic inch V8 with Tri-Power, and a more mature look that might appeal to those of us with a bit of gray around the temples.
The Chieftain was the entry-level Pontiac in 1957, but it looks anything but basic. Lots of trim, a flashy hardtop profile, and enough familiar DNA to make it a handsome alternative to the more common Chevy. Restored a few years ago, the maroon paint isnt totally authentic, but it looks period-correct on the curvaceous sheetmetal and remains in great shape. There are a few signs of use, but thats the whole point-this car was built to drive. It fits together quite nicely, with good gaps and doors that close with reassuring solidity, and since there are practically zero reproduction pieces for this car, you know it has led a good life to look this good today. Trim and brightwork are somewhat more restrained than on the Chevy, with the trademark side panel painted a contrasting silver. A small fortune went to the chrome shop, where the bumper, grille, and other ornamentation were restored to show standards, especially those outrageous taillight housings.
OK, so the interior is more bordello than board room, but it certainly is well crafted and inviting-looking. The cloth upholstery with diamond-tufted inserts is a traditional luxury look that is still in use today by Bentley and it actually works quite well in the big Ponchos passenger compartment. GMs design staff was given pretty much free reign to do whatever they liked with the instrument panels, so the Pontiacs got big chrome housings with twin accessory pods flanking the steering wheel. A fat wood-rimmed Grant steering wheel lends an upscale tenor to the interior, and a powerful A/C unit lives under the dash and proves quite effective, even on the hottest days. An AM/FM/CD/iPod stereo has been stashed in the glove box to preserve the lines of the original dash, with speakers in the door panels. The trunk is finished to stock specs, complete with spatter-finish paint, a rubber mat, and a full-sized spare.
The Pontiac was only a little bigger than the Chevy, but the 347 cubic inch V8 was a lot bigger than Chevys 283, so performance is downright impressive. Add in the Tri-Power carburetor setup, which was optional in 57, and you have a low-profile cruiser that can run with the best of them. Its nicely finished with Pontiac Turquoise engine enamel, three restored carbs with GTO-style air cleaners, options like power steering and brakes, and a new Vintage A/C unit to keep you cool anytime. Its backed by the indestructible GM Hydra-Matic 4-speed automatic transmission whose crisp shifts are a true mechanical pleasure. It starts quickly and pulls hard through all four gears with only a whisper of V8 soundtrack from the single exhaust pipe out back. A sanitary frame undercarriage reinforce the idea that this has always been a solid car, and with chrome wire wheels and 235/75/15 whitewall radials, it rides and handles superbly.
Its hard to call a Pontiac unusual, but this Chieftain will stand apart from the vastly more common Chevys, and for all the right reasons. Call today!