1957 Pontiac Star Chief - Pontiac GTO Forum
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 06:07 AM Thread Starter
 
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1957 Pontiac Star Chief

Hello everyone. I'm on the verge, at least I think I am, of purchasing a '57 Pontiac Star Chief. Just wondering if any members here own one?? Thanks.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
 
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bump to the top. thanks
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-15-2019, 11:13 AM
 
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If you don't get any responses, I would advise you join the PY (Pontiac) forum and post there. I know several guys there have '57 Pontiacs.

Pontiac - Street - PY Online Forums

Best of luck. I have always liked the '57's.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-16-2019, 07:10 AM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by 1968gto421 View Post
If you don't get any responses, I would advise you join the PY (Pontiac) forum and post there. I know several guys there have '57 Pontiacs.

Pontiac - Street - PY Online Forums

Best of luck. I have always liked the '57's.
Yes, I am a member there and did some posting with responses. I always try to gather as much info as possible from whatever sources are available, before making any decisions. Thanks.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 01:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Nicholas View Post
Yes, I am a member there and did some posting with responses. I always try to gather as much info as possible from whatever sources are available, before making any decisions. Thanks.
What info about the car are you looking for? I had a '57 2Dr Sedan when I was younger with 347CI/Hydramatic. I added a 1956 factory 2x4 intake and a pair of AFB's. Only 1 carb was hooked up. Back in the day you pulled the hood to let all the hot rod guys in the area you had a fast car. I was good at faking them out (like my hot rod primer black, dog dish hub capped, dual corvair turbo exhaust, not a hemi "HEMI" Roadrunner with its transplanted & tired 318CI and automatic - no one would race me, faked 'em all. LOL). My first car was a 1956 Pontiac 4 Dr HT with 316CI/Hydramatic.

The X-member on the '56 rotted through. It had rot in the trunk wheel wells and rear door "dog legs" from salt being thrown up onto the inner wheel wells from the rear tires. The '57 was pretty rotted throughout the floors and why I eventually scrapped it - too much work and not worth saving as back then they were just old junky cars.

Parts will be hard to find or be costly. The front-end does not use ball joints, but a different set-up which back then I had to repair and took a while to locate a replacement pin - no internet or Ebay to access. The torque converter, which is a 2-piece bolted together unit, developed a crack and a shop was able to weld it up. Swapped in a 3-speed on the column into the '56 and had new bearings installed. With some hard shifting/driving, it began to pitch a fit and not shift very well. Learned later that the transmission was not very rugged and had issues. When the clutch cross shafted twisted and broke one day, out came the manual trans and in went the hydramatic. It eventually lost 3rd gear, but it would still shift 1-2-4th and I drove it that way until my brother got into an accident (not his fault) with it and totalled it out.

These cars have drum brakes - and they don't stop very well. Front wheel bearings are of the old ball bearing style. My '57 burned up a front bearing. Took some time to locate one of those as they were long gone off the parts shelves when I needed one.

Vacuum wipers which suck unless you have the electric wiper motor which were found on the higher end cars. When you nailed the gas in the rain, no vacuum got to the wiper motor and your wipers simply stopped right then and there until you let off on the gas. I did locate an electric set-up for my '56 and installed it - much better.

Oil bath air cleaner which kills gas mileage. Installed a paper element and highway cruising back in the day of 55 MPH speed limits got me 18 MPG with the '56.

Tube-type radio. Works great for an AM radio, but always had to wait a couple minutes when turned on for the tubes to warm up before it would play.

My '56 had 2 heaters. One at the firewall and one under the seat to throw heat to the rear passengers.

That said, if it is kept original, like any old car, parts may be difficult to find or become expensive should things break down or wear out. If you hardly drive it and only take it to a local show, you can keep wear down to a minimum. The best way to enjoy a car like this is to do a complete upgrade to the engine, trans, rear-end, and even an updated front sub-frame.

The trunk areas seem to be sore spots. And I would check the car completely over as you would any car - floors, bottom of the fenders, headlight buckets, etc..

Can be a fun car, I like all the chrome, but just know what could lie ahead. This may be one of those times where you want to buy the best condition car you can afford.
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 06:38 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you very much Jim, for taking the time to respond. What I'm looking for is possibly hearing of personal experiences of those that owned or still own a '57 Pontiac. I like to hear their stories and it gives me insight into what I might be getting into. I want to be armed with all info available before I buy anything; if in fact I do. Pontiac's have always been my first love, although my small collection is mostly Chevys. I do have a '71 GTO. My father had a '57 Pontiac when I was in my early teens and I remember it well. I always liked that car, so I would like to buy one. I know it's an emotional connection, but that's ok. I just want to get a good one. One with absolutely no rust. Restored nicely/correctly and all original. Needs little to nothing. Really want a 4d ht. Preferably a Star Chief. Certainly would take a Bonneville. Stock, original drive train; the 4 speed automatic trans. is a must. I basically want to just drive, wax and maintain it. I check the internet almost on a daily basis. There are quite a few '57's out there. I like to see what is available and the asking price. Gives me some direction to go in. If this purchase happens, it will be a want and not a need. I have other cars to drive, so I'm not lacking there. I have a C6 Corvette convertible that I bought brand new and drove 47 miles last year. Pathetic, isn't it?? Then my wife questions whether a I need another car and my answer is of course yes. Getting older and someday I see me having just one car. A '57 Pontiac could be it. I like the body style and it would be easy for me to work on if need be. So, I keep looking. I may have mentioned I found one about 45 minutes from me. Straight. Dent free. Original everything, but loaded with much undercarriage surface rust. So much so, that pieces of a body mount came off in my hands while examining that area. Would have been a good project if I was a young fellow and wanted the challenge and didn't mind expense, but had to walk away. So, I continue to look.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 09:32 AM
 
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Sounds good - you are in no rush and getting armed with knowledge prior to a possible buy. I would suggest buying a chassis manual which could help you get familiar with the car.

The 347CI and 4-speed hydro was a good pulling combination - plenty enough power and zippy that it was a fun car with the transmissions gear ratios. As I recall on the '56 X-member, it was essentially a thin sheet metal folded over to create it and thus the water/moisture could get in there and cause the rust/rot. Anything from up "north," or even near the coastline (salt air), has to be carefully inspected because of the salt used to melt the snow/ice in winter time. This rotted away cars long before the drivetrain sometimes wore out.

I always liked the '56 4-Dr HT and thought it was "cool" looking with all the windows down and no pillar like a sedan. Ton of room inside a 4-Dr. If you get a 4-Dr HT, inspect the post between the 2 doors which is the support/hinge for the rear door. I had a rusty '57 Caddy that I thought I was going to bring back to life, but was too far gone once I began to really tear into it. Someone had left the rear windows down for years and it rotted the bottom of the doors out although the outside skins looked perfect and the center post also got hit badly with rust and would have been tough to get repaired and cleaned up of all its rust.

Just be patient and hopefully the right one will drop into your lap.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Jim. I know about that "B" pillar on 4d ht's. The front door locks to it and the rear door is hinged to it. Alot of pressure and stress. I'm told if any rust within 12" of it, don't walk away, run. Good advice I think.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-17-2019, 07:48 PM
 
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You are not going to want to hear this.

Pass on it.

Here is why.

1. It is too rare of a car of which there are not alot of resources to source parts from,
2. The car is just not worth as much as you would like it to be to justify paying a premium for parts. simply because it is rare doesnt make it valuable.

Do yourself a favor. Find something unique enough to stand out, but common enough to be able to source parts for, and sought after to keep the value up.

Now if there was a nostalgic reason for it.. then that pretty much trumps all, go ahead and get it. But if there no nostalgic reason.... Pass on it.... Got get a 65 GTO or a 68 Charger.. yeah I know.. But they have a cool shape. It will be my next purchase.


If you do buy it and need a transmission for it, let me know. I have one. I have that torque converter PontiacJim is talking about. It is rare, but not really worth much..
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 01-18-2019, 06:10 AM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your response and input. It is primarily for nostalgic reasons that I would buy a '57 Pontiac. Additionally, I do like the style very much; especially the interior/dashboard. I've done some research and many mechanical parts are available. Body wise, not really sure. Might be a moot point because what ever I would purchase, it all, as in everything, has to be there and restored nicely/correctly/originally. I don't see me buying any parts at all for it. I know the value and demand isn't really there, but I'm not buying it to flip or make money on, if I was to sell it someday. I've never made money on one yet, so why start now lol. I see this car as being the final one I would keep, someday selling off the others. It comes down to being the right one. I'm not going to settle for something. I think I mentioned previously, that it's a want not a need. We'll see where my search and journey takes me. Sure is interesting. I'm learning alot along the way, thanks to members here and elsewhere. Thanks to all.
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