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Vehicle to be offered for Auction sale June 5th – 7th, 2015 at Russo and Steele’s 3rd Annual Newport Beach California Auction. Please contact us for more information.
While Pontiac was best known as a maker of solid but unexciting cars for much of its early history, that dull image changed forever with the all-new 1955 models and the appointment of Semon E. “Bunkie” Knudsen, who would soon engineer Pontiac’s stunning turnaround. The chassis was entirely redesigned, with the frame extended and cloaked with distinctively styled bodies. Performance was now emphasized, with the old straight eight replaced by an all-new, compact and very powerful overhead-valve V8 engine.
The top-line Star Chief series was available in four-door sedan and two-door convertible form, while the Star Chief Custom series included a four-door sedan and the very popular two-door Catalina hardtop. Record production followed, with Pontiac achieving sixth place in manufacturer rankings for 1955, holding that position through 1957 and ultimately becoming the third-place American marque for much of the 1960s, based on its focus on performance.
Soon, Pontiac released a number of high-performance engine and drivetrain options, specifically intended for victory in NASCAR competition. On the street, the 290-horsepower Tri-Power V-8 was capable of propelling the Star Chief from zero to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds, en route to 16.8-second quarter-mile times, an impressive performance for any era.
This 1957 Pontiac Star Chief Catalina hardtop is a great example of Pontiac’s early performance with its 347 cubic-inch V-8 engine upgraded with a period correct “Tri-Power” triple-carburetor intake system. Very clean and accompanied by complete documentation, it is finished in Kenyan Ivory and Fontaine Blue two-tone paint and retains the original engine, mated to a 4-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. Desirable upgrades include an Old Air A/C package, alternator conversion, and aftermarket gauges. The power-brake booster has been rebuilt, the front brake lines were replaced, the rear leaf springs have been rebuilt, and a new custom aluminum radiator with new hoses and belts provides improved cooling. Accident-free and always garaged, it delivers ice cold air conditioning and retains a very clean interior, with added front seat belts and rear shoulder belts, and the side windows have been tinted to cope with Arizona’s legendary sunlight. Accompanied by 1957 Pontiac Bonneville hub caps, a shop manual, and many original parts, this must-see Catalina’s maintenance records are also available for inspection. Maintained, reconditioned, and not restored, this great example of Pontiac performance and style marks an outstanding find for committed collectors and enthusiasts of GM’s legendary performance division.