jimpoor

'53 Chieftain - Should I buy it?

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Ok, so it has been 30 years since I restored a '61 Ford f100 with my dad, but I've been wanting a project car for some time now.

I came across a 1953 Chieftain locally for $2k.

 

It seems to be mechanically in great shape with all new brakes, hard lines, soft lines and master cylinder. I'll admit that I was shocked at how easily and quietly it cranked up and ran - nearly as quiet as my Prius! LOL

 

I did a lot of engine and drive train work as well as other mechanical work for years back in the 80s, so I'd like to think I can handle most of the mechanical issues if there are any.

The bottom edge of the driver door is rusted out as is the left panel just forward of the rear wheel. It will need a patch for sure.

Best I (and the seller) can tell, it had been sitting since '77 (date on inspection sticker and plates) when he picked it up for $800 and got it running.

It seems to have been painted at least twice based on the layers of color and is currently mostly black, but I understand the original color was green.

I'd love to get it back to all original as best as possible, but I do know it has been converted to 12v. Other than that, and new brake lines, I believe it is original.

Thoughts on the price and work?

I've attached photos from the ad.

 

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post-155232-0-95927900-1446431951_thumb.

post-155232-0-55658600-1446431952.jpg

post-155232-0-99970400-1446431952.jpg

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That body does look a little crusty but considering it's a catalina, I'd say go for it. I'm in the process of building a '53 pontiac but it's pretty far from original. Best of luck!

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hi, well several months ago, i bought for my wife, a 1953 pontiac chieftain deluxe four door sedan, in oklahoma, where it had been stored in a farmer's barn since 1964, some parts missing, some under hood wires chewed up by pack rats, motor isn't seized, but doesn't currently run, i paid $2,000.00 , very unusual to see a 1953 pontiac chieftain custom catalina with a six cylinder instead of the more popular pontiac straight eight. the straight eight out sold the straight six 15 to 1, i don't remember in 42 years, ever seeing a 53-2537SD with a six cylinder.

 

charles l. coker

1953 pontiac tech advisor

tech advisor coordinator

pontiac oakland club int'l

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Thanks guys. How do we know it's a Catalina?

I suppose the motor could have been switched at some point. They seller says the straight 8 would just "bolt right in." He knows of one available for $200

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The 2-door hardtop was called the "Catalina" in those years.

[/quote

and there were two levels of the catalina hardtop, the deluxe catalina, and the more exclusive custom catalina, the custom catalina had special paint colors, standard full two tone leather seats, exclusive inside door panels and rear panels, color harmonizing laurel green steering wheel and steering column, special ribbed and grooved stainless steel trim on the rear roof pillar. i have owned one for 42 years.

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Thanks guys. How do we know it's a Catalina?

I suppose the motor could have been switched at some point. They seller says the straight 8 would just "bolt right in." He knows of one available for $200

if your vin number on the driver's door post has a number 6 after the first letter, then your's is an original 239 six cylinder custom catalina, even on the custom catalina, the straight eight was a $115.00 option.
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I didn't know to look close enough to see which catalina it would be.  

The seller has 90% of the trim. I laid eyes on it.  Missing the medallions on the rear and the "Chieftain" logo front and back.

 

If I can get approval from the spousal unit, I'll offer 1800 and go from there.

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Given the red steering column, I assume it isn't the custom.

look on the firewall near the right windshield wiper shaft, if it reads 53-2537D, then it's a deluxe catalina, if it reads 53-2537SD, then it is a custom catalina.
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If you purchase the car it appears the hood ornament is missing. There are two styles that year one is Indian head with acrylic lighted insert and the other is no acrylic insert. Let me know if you need either when you get that far into the project. Lastly, as with many of the Pontiacs the '53 ornament is one year only. Can send pictures if needed. ac13387@dslextreme.com

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