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1953 pontiac chieftain custom catalina restoration


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the rear trunk air conditioning unit came from a 1955 buick roadmaster riviera coupe, i was surprise how well in fits in the forward part of the 1953 pontiac chieftain custom catalina's trunk and clear the the trunk hinges and the original rear radio speaker. i'll have to make return air ducts to go from the under side of the package tray to the two rectangular inlets of the evaporator assembly. 

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On 2/12/2019 at 1:00 AM, Spinneyhill said:

Braided cables of that type are often of smaller cross sectional area than a round one. Make sure it is big enough. I have been caught by this one; a p.o. had put one on and it was not enough.

These braided cables were designed for six volt systems, since the car is being converted to twelve volts, six volt cable are twice the size required for twelve volts.

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12 hours ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

 

Some excesses cause trouble. Never in grounding.

 

LoL! Not quite "never"! The Civil Engineering lab. building had two earth poles when I was working there. It caused lots of spikes in logged data (doing earthquake shaking of models and logging at 247 Hz). I learnt a lot about removing them. The next student after me had none of that trouble after the duplicated earth was found and one removed. They were getting earth loops because of a difference in potential in the ground between the earth poles (soil type, wet vs dry and so on).

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when i bought my car in 1973, it was wearing 1963 california license plates PTF370, about 18 months later while parked outside a friend's house, someone stole the front license plate, i went to the DMV to get a replacement front plate, they said i would have to pay for a pair of new plates and was issued 614KFX, sounded like a radio station, lol, got to thinking that i'd like to get a personalized plate, thought a long time about getting UNIQUE but i never did, then in december of 1976 i learned that starting in january 1977, seven letter plates would be available, first i thought about CL COKER, but i thought no, i want the plate to be about the car, not me, my next thought was CATALINA, hmmm too many letters, i could drop the second A and have CATLINA, i thought that looks as bad as CADILAC, cadillac with only one L, no i didn't want that, my next thought was well it's a pontiac, how many letters in pontiac ?, hmmm 7, yeah 7, so i requested PONTIAC as my first choice, and listed CLCOKER as my second choice, and about two weeks later i was given my first choice.

 

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Edited by pontiac1953 (see edit history)
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recently picked up some small parts wanted for spares, a nos ignition switch, the upper portion of a pontiac V8 front engine mount. i also bought a stainless steel exhaust crossover choke stove tube from inline tube to replace the original broken tube in the pontiac V8 intake manifold.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Charles, I haven't followed this thread in a long time but the last time I talked to you I kind of agreed that because Pontiac was ready for the 287 in 1953 that it would nice to see what a 1953 Pontiac was really going to be before Buick division dashed Pontiac's hopes. I remember seeing the 287 in your car and thought that was great. What I don't understand now is the Block motor mount 389 instead of the period correct 287? What's going on????

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1 hour ago, Pfeil said:

Charles, I haven't followed this thread in a long time but the last time I talked to you I kind of agreed that because Pontiac was ready for the 287 in 1953 that it would nice to see what a 1953 Pontiac was really going to be before Buick division dashed Pontiac's hopes. I remember seeing the 287 in your car and thought that was great. What I don't understand now is the Block motor mount 389 instead of the period correct 287? What's going on????

Hi, since I had a chance to buy a good running 1959 389 engine and trans only 4 miles from where I live for just $400.00 delivered, I decided to put the 389 in, but the 389 will look like it's a 287.

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  • 5 months later...

This 1959 389 Pontiac engine is waiting for me to get it up on the engine stand so I can change some parts, install a 886 cam, new Rhodes lifters, a 57 four barrel intake and carburetor, after it's cleaned up and parts installed, I'll paint it the correct dark bluish green Pontiac engine paint color. I like the caddy, olds, packard oil bath air cleaner much more than the one Pontiac used 55 to 57.

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17 minutes ago, pontiac1953 said:

This 1959 389 Pontiac engine is waiting for me to get it up on the engine stand so I can change some parts, install a 886 cam, new Rhodes lifters, a 57 four barrel intake and carburetor, after it's cleaned up and parts installed, I'll paint it the correct dark bluish green Pontiac engine paint color. I like the caddy, olds, packard oil bath air cleaner much more than the one Pontiac used 55 to 57.

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Gee, Charles the old HYDRO cam??? a bit radical for the street. I'd leave the 472 cam in or maybe a 068 but even that's a bit much. Your gonna twist the old axle out of the car! BTW I hooked that other guy up with you. Seems that he had the same Idea as you about Pontiac being robbed of a V-8 announcement in 1953 by Buick crying to the 14th floor of G.M.  Seems Pontiac was always held back because of politics from the top of G.M.  

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3 minutes ago, Pfeil said:

Gee, Charles the old HYDRO cam??? a bit radical for the street. I'd leave the 472 cam in or maybe a 068 but even that's a bit much. Your gonna twist the old axle out of the car! BTW I hooked that other guy up with you. Seems that he had the same Idea as you about Pontiac being robbed of a V-8 announcement in 1953 by Buick crying to the 14th floor of G.M.  Seems Pontiac was always held back because of politics from the top of G.M.  

i don't know if the 886 cam is known as the hydro cam, this 389 is a high compression two barrel out of a 59 pontiac station wagon, i figured i'd change to the 886, which a long time pontiac V8 expert has said it's the best of all the cams i have, it wasn't just buick that cried to the GM board of directors, oldsmobile was there with buick too. are you referring to a guy with a 53 custom catalina that has plans to buy a 55 pontiac with a rebuilt 287 to transplant into his custom catalina ?

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27 minutes ago, pontiac1953 said:

i don't know if the 886 cam is known as the hydro cam, this 389 is a high compression two barrel out of a 59 pontiac station wagon, i figured i'd change to the 886, which a long time pontiac V8 expert has said it's the best of all the cams i have, it wasn't just buick that cried to the GM board of directors, oldsmobile was there with buick too. are you referring to a guy with a 53 custom catalina that has plans to buy a 55 pontiac with a rebuilt 287 to transplant into his custom catalina ?

Yea, that's the fellow. There aren't many guys, even Pontiac guys that know the 287 was destined for the 53 Pontiac and Buick and Olds cried about it and got it axed. Those years Buick did it's best to break all of Sloans pricing structure rules so Buick could hang on to #3 in sales. 

  BTW the 472 cam is a great street cam and is not far from the 066. Pontiac used that cam on the 59, 389 2bbl. @ 280Hp, the 300HP 4bbl. and the 315HP Tri-Power, so it's plenty capable. With .25 more in compression for 1960 it was 283hp 2bbl, 303hp 4bbl, and 318hp for Tri-Power. That shows you what compression can do!

I ran the Pontiac factory E-2 ( same as a MAC # 7 for 1960 ) in my 389 Tri-Power 59 Catalina in FS/A and ran a consistent 13.91 @ 101-102 MPH.  

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)
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our cats and dogs are not helping me, had a hard to find nos 53-54 Pontiac rubber bellow that the gas linkage goes through the floor in, in a small box with the flaps folded in interlocking, cat knocks the box to the floor, and the pup chewed the box open and chewed up the rubber bellow, grrrrrrr, lol, then this evening looking on feebay, I find a seller has 2 of them for sale in nos condition, so I bought them, lol.

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4 minutes ago, pontiac1953 said:

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my 55 287 distributor with a nos superior accessories company dual point conversion that I installed, and the nos Mallory dual point set up with condenser that I just bought off of ebay, waiting for it to come in the mail.

 

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7 hours ago, pontiac1953 said:

a nos marvel mystery oiler i will install in the 53 custom catalina for upper cylinder lubrication, didn't want another glass jar version that i had used before on my 455 powered 62 Grand Prix i used to have.

 

That's a nice top oiler. Just out of curiosity, what didn't you like about the glass jar version (I assume it was an Ampco0?

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1 hour ago, r1lark said:

 

That's a nice top oiler. Just out of curiosity, what didn't you like about the glass jar version (I assume it was an Ampco0?

oh i like the glass jar version ok, it was a marvel mystery oiler brand not a ampco. i think this metal one will hold more mystery oil. 

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9 hours ago, pontiac1953 said:

oh i like the glass jar version ok, it was a marvel mystery oiler brand not a ampco. i think this metal one will hold more mystery oil. 

learned today that the metal marvel mystery oiler holds 2 quarts of fluid.

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On 5/30/2020 at 12:30 AM, pontiac1953 said:

a nos marvel mystery oiler i will install in the 53 custom catalina for upper cylinder lubrication, didn't want another glass jar version that i had used before on my 455 powered 62 Grand Prix i used to have.

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Where do you think I might find one of those...or something similar?  (edit: I would want it for a '54 Ford.) Thanks for your posts. Neat car!

Edited by JamesR (see edit history)
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