pontiac1953

1953 pontiac chieftain custom catalina restoration

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one of the little things that pontiac did exclusively for it's top of the line model for 1953, the chieftain custom catalina, is for the horn button on the deluxe steering wheel to have a different background color behind the chief's head, laurel green instead of the regular reddish color for all other models. it always made me wondered why did pontiac wait untill 1954 to brag about the power steering on the horn button, when the 1953 pontiac was the first year for the option for pontiac. when i bought a nos 1954 pontiac power steering horn button, i asked another pontiac club member if he would repaint it to look like the 1953 chieftain custom catalina's horn button, he did, and you can see how well it turned out. just another one of my changes to the car that looks like pontiac had done it in the first place.

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recently i received an email forward to me from the pontiac club office, it was about two 1953 pontiac chieftain deluxe sedans, that have been sitting outside for about ten years in new jersey, and i am the 1953 pontiac technical advisor for poci. so i contacted the person who emailed the club, his father had passed away four years ago, leaving the cars outside and some parts inside the garage, david and his mother wanted the cars and parts to go to pontiac people who could make use of them and they were asking for help. right away i became interested in the parts in the garage for my own restoration project, i found someone near new jersey who would buy the two sedans and remove them from the property, and david and i came to make a deal for all the parts in the garage. shipping parts from new jersey to missouri was something david wasn't prepared to handle, so he suggested that we meet in columbus, ohio and bring the parts to me there, so i got busy when i was home in between trips (long haul truck driver) in getting things sold to finance the trip and parts purchase, sold a 700R4 trans, two pontiac am/fm radios, and a gear vendors overdrive, i delivered the overdrive to it's new owner in greenfield, indiana on my way to meet david in columbus. the next day david and his wife met me in columbus and we moved the part into my trusty gmc yukon, i made it all the way home that day to home in missouri, almost 700 miles each way, getting home just after midnight. i am thrilled to now have a completely rechromed front bumper assembly with grill and wing guards, the same for the rear bumper assembly, and the completely rechromed radiator grill assembly for my chieftain custom catalina. my wife is thrilled that all this was done without taking money out of our regular monthly budget, big smile. in the last two weeks (besides running a load a freight to california and back) i have sold some of the parts i brought home that duplicate parts i already had, for almost what all the parts cost me. i will always be grateful to david, his wife, and his mother, for letting me have the parts. i may not see light at the end of the tunnel yet, but the tunnel just got a heck of a lot shorter. 

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On 9/28/2015 at 9:58 PM, pontiac1953 said:

post-77712-0-72313000-1443495222_thumb.jpost-77712-0-29091600-1443495337_thumb.jpost-77712-0-71950900-1443495509_thumb.ji bought a rebuilt 1955 vickers power steering pump, that had been mounted on a dolled up 1955 cadillac 331 engine, the pulley, resevior, and mounting brackets are all chrome plated, i have the brackets for sale now in the buy and sell forum, the chrome parts of the pump will sure look good on the strato-streak pontiac 287 engine.

 

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Here is the pump now mounted on the 1955 Pontiac bracket for power steering as well as having factory air conditioning. Also trial fitting to the timing cover.

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here is a never used brand new B&M hydro-stick slant pan dual range 1955 pontiac hydra-matic transmission, i brought home from a very good and close friend's estate in california several years ago. i had to buy the pontiac green front half bell housing cause 1) the trans didn't have one yet and 2) i didn't want to rob the same housing off of my 1955 pontiac 287 engine that i had sitting in the frame of my 1953 chieftain custom catalina. this B&M hydro-stick is the unblown competition version rated to handle up to 800 horsepower, the stock dual range hydra-matic can handle up to 250 - 275 horsepower, the 1959 pontiac 389 engine waiting to replace the 1955 287 engine will be about 300 horsepower, so the hydro-stick will handle the 389 easily.  i may go ahead and plumb in trans fluid cooler lines for the hydro-stick. 

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Is this a full manual valve body that will require manually shifting to move thru each gear (which is what you would want in a drag car), or will it still shift automatically?

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4 hours ago, r1lark said:

Is this a full manual valve body that will require manually shifting to move thru each gear (which is what you would want in a drag car), or will it still shift automatically?

hi paul, you can do both, B&M cuts a notch in the gear selector cam so the driver can hold it in first gear and then up shift manually, or select drive left for automatic up shifting according to throttle pressure and car speed.

N neutral

Drive Left 1-2-3-4

Drive Right 1-2-3-------4 at 70mph

Low 2

B&M notch 1

R reverse

Edited by pontiac1953 (see edit history)

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kind of hard to realize that i bought this car 45 years ago when i was 17 in 1973, all i knew about pontiacs then was that in 1946 my armenian grandfather had such a good year with growing grapes and watermelons, that he decided to buy a new 1947 pontiac. i didn't even realize then that the car had 1953 oldsmobile fiesta spinner hubcaps on it. i loved the body being a two door hardtop, the driver's door spotlight, the lighted chief hood ornament, and that continental kit most of all. i was and still am the second owner of the custom catalina. 

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I have to say, IMHO virtually every continental kit I have seen detracts from the lines of the car.  Not so here, it looks pretty good!

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On 10/28/2012 at 4:11 PM, pontiac1953 said:

hi, i went today, and decided to buy a new 9X12 storage shed to clear out the two car garage, so i can have much needed room to work on my 53 custom catalina. i'll be building the shelves inside the shed to store everything needed. i'm glad that i can set the storage shed right next to the side of the garage.

in my project to re-engineer my custom catalina to have a pontiac strato-streak V8, the V8 being quite shorter than the 268 straight eight means the hydra-matic will be in a new position and require a longer drive shaft, with the X cross member in the pontiac frame the drive shaft needs to be a two piece set up. i bought a 1957 cadillac complete drive shaft, even has the carrier bearing still mounted, i will buy a 49 to 56 cadillac hydra-matic cross member and fit it to the rear portion of the pontiac X member to secure and mount the carrier bearing.

 

 

 

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Edited by pontiac1953
better picture (see edit history)

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Though parts of my Pontiac restoration falls under non original parts category, I love it when I can find original nos parts, like what I'm showing here, nos hydra-matic gear selector lever, nos gear selector rod, and nos lever grommets, all from different sources. Also pictured is a nos hydra-matic throttle pressure lever.

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i decided to change the front inner and outer front wheel bearings from ball bearings to taper roller needle bearings, excellent product made by classic performance products. also got a new gas tank sending unit for my gas tank.

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