GaWajn

1952 Pontiac Catalina

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Hi Guys,

I guess this is the official start of my restoration. I have had some experience restoring vintage snowmobiles ... but this is my first attempt at doing a car.

The candidate is a 1952 Pontiac Catalina Super Deluxe.

This is going to take between two and four years to complete, depending on the financial situation as I go.

Let's start with the aquisition ...

I bought the car unseen this winter. I went on a road trip last week to get the car and bring it home.

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It was kind of exciting to peek into the barn and get a look at it for the first time.

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And there she is ... in all her glory ...

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It wasn't quite as good as I expected ... but it is still a good candidate to restore I believe.

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Here we are loading it up onto the car hauler ...

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And ready to hit the road for the 2000 mile trip back home. Home is New Brunswick Canada, and the car was in Wisconsin. It was a bit far to go for the value of the car ... but hey ... it's all a part of the story of getting her back in prime condition.

If you are wondering what the yellow thing is in the truck bed ... that's a 1972 Ski Doo Nordic. Since I was going to get the car ... I thought I might search the classifieds along the way ... in case I found a winter gem. Low and behold ... in the Detroit area of all places ... I found this sled with 110 miles on it ... fresh from an estate sale. Pictured are me ... the seller and the sled.

20120510_RoadTrip_0029.jpg

Edited by GaWajn (see edit history)

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That'll be neat car when done. It looks like a solid original, keep us posted!

Keith

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Good find. Looks to be original paint. Body looks straight too.

What does the interior look like? How about the mechanicals? Does she run? Oh, so many questions.

What are your plans and timeline?

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I think there has been no repaints in it's life. The body is very straight. The interior is in decent shape for the year but will need to be completly redone. It does not run at this time. The owner says that the motor was not stuck and he poured some oil in the plug holes. I tried to turn it over with the fan blade ... and it would not budge. It might be slightly stuck ... or very stuck ... I don't know that yet.

The plan is for an original restoration. I am not certain what level I want to bring it to yet ... off frame or not ...

The timeline is from two to four years depending on available funds ...

My first priority is to try to get it running.

Thanks for your interest.

Edited by GaWajn (see edit history)

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Tried to move the engine this morning. It is frozen. I put some penetrating oil in each plug hole and will wait a couple of days to try turning it with a power bar.

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It is a great looking car. It will be fun to watch you restore it. Best of luck!

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Hello Fellow Canuc,

Wish I had known you were passing by, as I have a 1981 Ski Doo 4500 I bought new that I'm will to sell to a collector. Sadly..... while it only has 1,100 kms on it I did not keep it stored well and..... needs a lot of TLC. I'm across the river from Detroit in Ontario and with mild winters just did not get my moneys worth of riding out of it but had fun when I did!

As to your Pontiac, Love the fact it is a hard top! I know a fellow here that has a two door sedan that is REALLY nice in original maroon but yours has those special rare lines one does not see often.

Be patient with loosening that motor. I was able to get my 58 Buick motor free after a bit of (long) time.

Keep your progress posted and good luck (have fun - it's a keeper!).

Doug.

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Finaly got it off the trailer and onto the ground. The engine is still stuck ... I will try again on tuesday ...

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Some people swear by using auto trans fluid to free up seized parts, though I've never used it for that. Hopefully she'll free up for you with some patience.

Keith

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If it does not free up in a couple of days ... I will try the auto trans fluid and see how that goes. Thanks for the tip.

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Someone told me to try and do something every day to the car ... that it will help keep my interest high.

Well ... you have to start somewhere.

I removed the generator this afternoon. No special issues with the removal. Just 9/16ths and 1/2 inch bolts and nuts.

I am taking pictures of everything as I remove them, because I might not remember exactly how everything goes when I reassemble. It could be a couple of years before I reinstall something in the car.

I will be taking the generator apart for cleaning and painting as well as verifying that everything is working as it should.

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Today's progress ...

I poured some diesel fuel into each cylinder in an attempt to free up the engine ... we will see if this works ...

02-Dieselincylinders.jpg

After that ... I removed the fan and water pump pulley ...

02-Fanandpulley-01.jpg

Here you see my blasting cabinet. I bought that when I started restoring snowmobiles. I believe that this is the most useful tool I have ever bought. I need lots of air though. 25 CFM is recommended. Lucky I have my shop right next to my buddy George that runs a body shop, so I have access to all kinds of goodies ...

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The pieces after some glass beading ...

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They cleaned up pretty good. No dents or anything needing fixing ... just clean and paint ...

Here I show the pieces after applying primer. I am just using a laquer primer. I will get to painting these parts tomorrow ...

02-Fanandpulley-05.jpg

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The black for the under hood parts should be a semi gloss black? I am building a driver car ... no need to be perfect, but I want everything to be as close as reasonably and feasibly possible ...

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I decided to remove the radiator, fan shroud and radiator upper baffle assembly to gain better access to the front of the engine ... to better apply torque to try to free it up ...

With fan removed ...

03-Beforefanshroudremoval.jpg

Radiator upper baffle assembly before removal ...

03-Hoodlatchingshroudbeforeremoval.jpg

after it was removed ...

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marking the wiring as I go ...

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something is clacking in there ... there is something moving ... but it is still seized ...

03-Readytoapplysometorque.jpg

will retry tomorrow ...

Edited by GaWajn (see edit history)

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The radiator looks in very good condition ...

04-Radiator-01.jpg

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What should be done to it? Bring it to a rad shop and have it cleaned and pressure tested? Will this old core do the job?

also ... what is this thing? It ran from the lower rad to somewhere near the transmission ...

04-Radiator-03.jpg

It almost looks like a transmission fluid cooling line ... but there is no return line as far as I can see for now ...

Any ideas out there?

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If you can get the flywheel cover off the car, it is better if you try turning the crank from there.

Nice car!!!

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you mean if I remove the starter ... I could try to move it via the flywheel cogs?

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Guest
you mean if I remove the starter ... I could try to move it via the flywheel cogs?

Yes, I think that's what he means, ATF is very useful and I also use it in a pinch in junkyards when I need a part that's stuck. GM HEI distributors can be very hard to get out, and so can oil filler tubes like on 2nd generation Olds V8's.....so just reach for that A/T dip stick and apply around those parts and you can coax them out. When you try to break the engine loose try rocking back and forth gently on the crank---wedged piston rings don't like going in one direction and if enough torque is applied they will break. For your engine compartment black color use satin black. Eventually with polishing down after many years and car shows it begins to look rather glossy.

Here is a picture of my Olds engine compartment. All the paint including the engine is original---I'm the original owner and at one time those inner fenders were satin black;

http://www.pismoderelicts.com/photogallery/new%20format%20830/images/p1080789.jpg

Good luck with your project. Two weeks ago I was fortunate to tag along on the Early Times Chapter (1926-1954) of POCI for their west coast flathead reunion tour. I want one of those (1949-1952) really bad!!

D.

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Guest BJM

also ... what is this thing? It ran from the lower rad to somewhere near the transmission ...

My 1st purchase after the car would be a shop manual.

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Time for decoding ...

P8WH#####

P = Pontiac Michigan

8 = Eight cylinder

W = 1952

H = Hydramatic

##### = sequential serial number

Body plate information:

BodyPlateInformation.jpg

Style No = 52- 2537SD

52 = 1952

2537 = Catalina Coupe

SD = Super Deluxe

Body No = P11483

?????

TRIM No = 72

?????

PAINT No = 22

22 = Lower colour = Belfast Green / Upper colour = Seamist Green

I believe that the lower and upper colours can be swapped. ?????

TOP ACC ?ACM

? = ?????

ACM = ?????

Any help in decoding or correcting the above information is appreciated.

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The radiator looks in very good condition ...

04-Radiator-01.jpg

04-Radiator-02.jpg

What should be done to it? Bring it to a rad shop and have it cleaned and pressure tested? Will this old core do the job?

also ... what is this thing? It ran from the lower rad to somewhere near the transmission ...

04-Radiator-03.jpg

It almost looks like a transmission fluid cooling line ... but there is no return line as far as I can see for now ...

Any ideas out there?

hi there, pontiac had a underseat heater, this pipe and hoses return coolant from the heater core back to the radiator, another pipe and hoses brought heated coolant from the cylinder head to the heater valve located under the defroster assembly that's mounted to the driver's side of the firewall and on down to the underseat heater. charles coker, 1953 pontiac tech advisor.

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