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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Well, if I am not allowed to post pics of my Pontiac, I am sorry..no harm intended. Call it a rookie mistake. I have been haning out recently on this site, as I have found it with alot of info, and since the 55 Poncho and Tri Five do share some parts and are similar, jsut seemed like the place to be (that plus trying to find a forum with such knowledge on teh Chieftain itself, well, no luck on my end)

So, here is my project:
'55 Ponitac Chieftain, 287/3 speed manual car. Looks like it spent it's life in El Paso, TX, and ended up in East Texas, and was last registered in 1974.
Car is VERY solid...only surface rust, with the occassional pin hole here and there.
I have pulled body off the frame, and am building my own frame (2x3, .188 wall), along with 2" drop spindles (Must II), GM disc brakes, Air Bags, Triangulated 4 bar (my own).
Have not decided on a motor/tranny combo, but probaly doing something modern. However, if I DO something a little less modern, would go 1st gen Hemi (probaly 331 or 354" or 392")
But I have tossed around ideas from plain old SBC/700R4 (everyone does that though), to LS1/T56, to Ford 429" BOSS (using Jon Kaase's new released heads on standard BBF block), to 455 Poncho/Turbo 400 with a gear vendors OD.
So, as you can see, VERY open on motor/tranny combo.

I AM going whitewalls/steel wheels, and PROBALY Candy Apple red metalflake over white....Tuck and roll ineterior...basically car will be "modern", with modern frame/suspension/brakes, etc..but have the '50's vibe to it, paint/interior, etc..

I really wanted a 57 Nomad for a number of reason...1)My Dad and Mom owned one for a number of years, and I was brought home from hospital when I was born in a 57 Nomad. 2)My Dad and I were SUPPOSED to have restored one together a number of years ago, but he passed away, so that part can't happen.

Now, reason I DIDN'T go that route is simple, $$$$$$$

So, hoping to build this car, enjoy it for awhile, take family cruising, sell it off one day, and take that money, and use it towards purchase of either a 57 Nomad, or a just a "regular" old 2 door Bel Air will work in a pinch as well!:D

So, some pics will follow (well, will at least TRY and post some pics)
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here are some pics of my project:

Car will be blasted soon enough and stripped AL teh way down:









IMG]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv282/Gen414/DSCN2978.jpg[/IMG]
















IMG]http://i692.photobucket.com/albums/vv282/Gen414/DSCN3269.jpg[/IMG]






 

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Looks like a good solid start..:tu.And what a hill climber!!!(pic #1):happy0030:
 

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Hey Peepaw, That,s a great looking project. Nice solid car with a lot of potential. Looks to have a lot of similarities with the Chevy line. That frame is massive. It looks similiar to the tri -five convertible frames.
Did you make a deciscion on the rear end issue? I am of the same opinion as a few other members that feel the original is plenty strong and if you can find the parts, well worth investing in. Keep us posted and as for the pic,s
WE LOVE PIC,S:wavey:
 

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Good project ahead of you. I grew up with Rods in my family.

My Dad's Toys, 1941 Chevy Biz Coupe, 1955 Chevy HT

And one of my favorites 1955 Pontiac Sarfari 2 door HT Wagon.


Good Luck,

Michael....
 
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parents had a chieftain (think it was a 1953) when i was a kid, cool car. thanks for pics and upate. nice work. :tu
 

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Neat car!

I love the old Poncho's. My dad had a 56 that I can remember to this day. I wonder if that hood can be modified to fit a 55 chevy? That might look kinda cool. Good Luck with the project. :anim_25: JIM.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks guys.

Yes, have found that the Pontiac shares alot of the same stuff...doors, floorpan (well, I know that the seats are supposed to be a direct fit anyways) glass, trim, etc...

From best I can tell, that I could take front fenders and hood off a 55 chevy, and it would bolt on (I THINK that the wheelbase is off some, so tires may not be perfectly centered)

Rear end...well, I was actually asking about that in one of my others posts...was wondering what it was.
I come from the "race car" crowd, and played with lots of Dana 60's, Ford 9", 12 bolts, etc....just not played around with this rear end (which of course looks just like a 9" for most part.

Took some measurements today, and axle tubes are 3 1/2", teh center section is @ 11" tall, and 10" wide, and has 10 bolts hold center section on. The pinion flange is 3 1/2" as well, so it is definitely meaty.

So, if I can find out what it is, and if anyone makes parts for it, will defintely keep it. Still need to open her up and see how she looks. I do know that I pulled the car on a tow dolly for @ 15 miles, up to @ 60 MPH, and rear end didn't seem to make any noise (as best I could tell anyways.

I actually even thought about redoing the car as a 55 Chevy since it shares alot, but the one thing stopped me:
The car was just too clean!
#2, since car was clean, and since you really don't see teh Chieftain's, thought, heck, why not???

My wife actually likes the Chieftain over teh Bel Air (don't tell her I said this, but she's crazy!!!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here are a couple more shots of it.

I also wanted to see if any of you sharp eye'd readers catch the OTHER car in teh background, and what she is....


This would be my homemade jig, and teh base rails laid out. Yes, the 2x3 are on their' "sides" on purpose. Sometimes I just like doing stuff to be different, and since it is "normal" to do it other way, decided to lay them down. It also gives me more room for ground clearance, and it tucks rails up nice and close to body, so frame is hidden. Still obviously need to do my crossmembers, and tie it together of course.



Here I have added the small kick up for teh front body mounts in front of teh firewall. Don't worry, they are not done...have to add teh plating @ teh kickup...will post pics once I get her all welded up.



OK Chevy guys, what is in the background? (and I am NOT talking about the grey truck)

 

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Chevy.

Looks like a 63 or 64 chevy under the tarp. Another one of my favorite cars. Just curious, why is your "the" spelled "teh"? :confused0006: IJM.
 

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Ummm.........61 Chevy?

I drove a 55 Pontiac in college in 64. Bought it for 95 bucks from a Buick dealer just before a huge snowstorm. He said he wanted to clear the lot as much as possible to make it easier to plow out. I was happy to oblige. Kept that car thru basic training and advanced training at Ft Leonardwood, Mo in 66. Then left it at my Dad's place when I went overseas. My Brother totalled it while I was gone.
I know for a fact the door glass interchanges with Chevy. Low lifes kept breaking in to it while I parked it off post. I never left anything in it, but they had to check........
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
63 Impala SS 327 Convertible, all original. Guy I am doing the work for, has owned the car since late 60's, and was driven off and on for awhile until was parked in the late 80's. He stored it outside, and needless to say it needs some metal work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Just curious, why is your "the" spelled "teh"? :confused0006: IJM.

LOL!!! Well, I hang out on a few different forums, and while I can spell, I am a HORRIBLE typist, and I type "fast" to make matters worse. And for some reason, 90% of teh time, when I type "the" it comes out "teh". Well, "the" is used ALOT by me, and I found it VERy frustrating to go back and change it. So, I leave it. Well, obviously it eventually catches people's eye, and they end up thinking Im a retard or something, so, now I put in my signature that it is on "purpose".

So, in a nutshell, the only REAL reason I do it, is becaue I am too lazy to go back and change my error.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Ummm.........61 Chevy?

I drove a 55 Pontiac in college in 64. Bought it for 95 bucks from a Buick dealer just before a huge snowstorm. He said he wanted to clear the lot as much as possible to make it easier to plow out. I was happy to oblige. Kept that car thru basic training and advanced training at Ft Leonardwood, Mo in 66. Then left it at my Dad's place when I went overseas. My Brother totalled it while I was gone.
I know for a fact the door glass interchanges with Chevy. Low lifes kept breaking in to it while I parked it off post. I never left anything in it, but they had to check........



Yeah, the Pontiacs don't get much love, that's for sure. I subscribe to Hot Rod, Car Craft, and Muscle Car Review, and I also buy Street Rodder, Rod & Custom, along with OSR, and CKD (in other words, I have a mag collection that rivals anyone dating back to the 70's to present day), and I can't EVER recall in ANY of those mags (Hot Rod, Car Craft, Muscle Car, yes, I know why not in there), seeing a full feature on a Star Chief.
Now, I will be the first to say that the Tri Five is a MUCH more beautiful ride, over their "brothers" at Pontiac, but you would think SOMEONE out there has made a cool ride out of a Poncho.
I mean, I HAVE seen some Pontiacs in say an article where the guy was a Car Show, Rod Run, etc...and they saw a nice Pontiac, and snapped a picture, and placed in with a small caption...but NO full feature.
So, hopefully when I am done, that will change! :cool:



EDIT:Memory just kicked in, and I DO remember, in either OSR, or CKD, they DID do a feature on a '55 Star Chief...if memory serves correctly, was flat black, but stock body, no mods...having hard time picturing what they did with interior though.
But, you know what I am talking about...you jsut don't see them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
OK, got some mroe work done today.

I worked a little bit on the drivers side front frame rail...where the kickup starts @ the firewall, and then the kickup for suspension. I Z'd it 4" over stock setup. Some welds are finished, some are not (just taking my time, not trying to throw to much heat into the metal all at once)














 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
Nice project, really going to be nice. Good luck
Pig Is Me

Thanks.
What funny is, and I think we have all probaly been there before is...this car was orginially gonna be the absolute lowest budget build. Basically was gonna leave exterior like is, as well as teh frame...was gonna check suspension and rebuild/replace what was neccessary to make road worthy (and brakes), buy a junkyard motor (WHATEVER I could find for teh cheap, and if it was a 6 cylinder, so be it, pick up some junkyard seats, throw blanket over them, and go drive.
Then, wife said she HAD to have a nice interior. So, started to make plans for that. Then I was like, if gonna do interior, HAVE to do ext to match. And if gonna do that, might as well do suspension/brakes. Then, if gonna do that, might as well do body off. THEN< might as well build a frame. So, yeah, got out of hand REAL quick!!!

Here are some more progress pics. Leaning towards LS based motor, so mocking a LS1/T56 combo up.....

OK, little out of order, but...have rear crossmember in:


OK, got motor up and in:






Boxing in crossmember (had to notch for driveshaft clearance)



I know hard to tell what this is, but basically gonna be part of the frame....get better idea later on (NOT the round tubing...that is part of teh jig, LOL!!!)
 
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