Jump to content

1957 Pontiac


deac
 Share

Recommended Posts

It's been while since I posted here.  I sold my '40 Torpedo coupe and now I just bought a '57 Cheiftain.

 

Though it looks pretty good there is a bunch of work that it needs!

 

 

Img_2021_06_26_15_27_35.jpeg

Img_2021_06_26_15_28_35.jpeg

Img_2021_06_26_15_28_02.jpeg

  • Like 4
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It should be a good project!

 

So here I start with questions about the '57;  It doesn't have power steering or power brakes and I want to add both!

 

Power brake systems for '57 use something called the treadle vac system which I have heard a few things about.  However the few things I heard are generally not good things!  I want to keep this car original but I have an eye toward practicality.  I might of heard this from the Buick folks that the Treadle Vac System is rebuildable but the rebuild can be hit or miss. This is brakes and I don't care to be the Guinea pig that tests some crazy modern setup either  Can anyone elaborate on this?

 

The power steering system I think is a little more straight forward.  I would like to use an original '57 pump and reservoir with a current/modern steering box.  I think this idea would keep the cost down and add reliability.  However I am not sure that this can be done.  Also I understand that the power steering pump uses a separate drive belt and therefore the crank pulley has to be changed.  Can anyone elaborate on this?

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Leave it the way it is... Any other way, you are begging for trouble, going to spend a lot of money, with very little "upgrade"...

 

When you are going to use the car as a taxicab in New York City, you will have to make some changes....

 

In the meantime, that is a nice car, drive it and enjoy it.....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I owned two 1957 Pontiac Chieftains (neither had PS or PB) and the first one was my daily driver for 5 years. If I were you I would leave the standard brake system alone and not convert it to power brakes. PS however is a nice addition to an older car. The best way IMO would be to find a 1957 Pontiac parts or donor car with PS and swap the whole system over. You'll need to replace or refurbish the used parts as needed. Get yourself a Pontiac parts book (good to have for ANY old car you own) so you know what parts interchange with what years should something be broken or missing. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just thought a tri-power carburetor set up on a 300 HP V8 power brakes would be a must do project.  But you guys are saying don't mess with it; ok!

 

Right now it has radial tires which I know make the steering tough.  I plan to change those radials immediately to bias ply tires and then I can make a better assessment of the steering system.

 

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

My feeling on the power brakes is I wouldn't bother. Power brakes of that era, like Chrysler's famed "one finger" power steering, are a bit of a learned skill. There is a lot of power and not much feedback and most brakes of the era are self-energizing drums, so they are not very linear. I have driven a couple hundred thousand miles at least on old power brake setups like that. It is kind of like riding a bike, you never forget, although it has been long enough for me that my first couple of stops might be a bit abrupt. It is kind of novel being able to operate the brakes with your big toe, but honestly what I miss from that era is the high, solid pedal and ease of control you get with manual brakes.

 

I have radial tires on the 36 now, and I intended to make a direct comparison of steering effort, but I forgot. Now that I am thinking about it I can't tell any difference. Of course like with the bias tires you want a bit of movement when you steer but it doesn't take much. Do you have enough air in them? They will want more pressure than the original bias tires did.

 

That is a really nice looking Pontiac.

 

Edited by Bloo (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A tripower on a 1957 will cost you a LOT of money!

 

It will improve "eye candy at the car shows".

 

It will increase the number of potential buyers if you should go to sell the car.

 

It will NOT increase the selling price as much as the cost to install it.

 

It will NOT improve performance! In fact, it will not run as strong as the original 4-barrel.

 

PM sent on parts book.

 

Jon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I got it last night.

 

Put a few miles on it and it drove nice and strong; engine never missed a beat. The paint looks as good as the pictures show.  Best description I can describe was a big grin on my face...

 

 

PXL_20210704_022528151.jpg

PXL_20210704_022630229.jpg

Edited by deac (see edit history)
  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, mobileparts said:

Gorgeous.... you don't  dare modify that....

^^^^^

What he said......

 

Love the look of the small hubcaps and trim rings

 

You should be very proud to own that Poncho - unusual color, really nice

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

You have a very nice 57 there, if it were mine I would add the circular ring to the center of the rear trunk ornament and try to find a pair of rear bumper end caps somewhere. Great looking car with the small caps & trim rings.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The bumper end caps are going to be a challenge. Hard to find and expensive to buy!  I noticed that trunk emblem was missing this morning. I'll be looking for one...

 

Thanks to all of you for the compliments. Don't worry the car will never be modified I plan to keep it original.  After driving it I found the manual brakes are not as bad as I thought so I plan to keep it that way. I will replace the radial tires with bias ply's which should make the steering easier.

 

Have to finish my '47 Ford first then I will sink my teeth into the Pontiac.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...
On 7/5/2021 at 9:03 PM, The 55er said:

You have a very nice 57 there, if it were mine I would add the circular ring to the center of the rear trunk ornament and try to find a pair of rear bumper end caps somewhere. Great looking car with the small caps & trim rings.

Something else missing besides end caps. The trunk key is supposed to be circled,

PXL_20210704_022528151.jpg

1957_pontiac_chieftan_160476527896a09d279C5183-04C5-4042-BEA4-2CF8BF30B87D-scaled.jpeg?fit=2048%2C1536

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 8/1/2021 at 8:15 PM, Pfeil said:

Something else missing besides end caps. The trunk key is supposed to be circled,

PXL_20210704_022528151.jpg

1957_pontiac_chieftan_160476527896a09d279C5183-04C5-4042-BEA4-2CF8BF30B87D-scaled.jpeg?fit=2048%2C1536

 

Yes I know that. Additionally the ring around the hood emblem is missing too. They're missing for a reason; they're hard to find and can be expensive. If anyone knows of a source for 57 used body parts I am all ears. Mechanical parts are easily found. CPR does not have the rings or the caps either.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, deac said:

Yes I know that. Additionally the ring around the hood emblem is missing too. They're missing for a reason; they're hard to find and can be expensive. If anyone knows of a source for 57 used body parts I am all ears. Mechanical parts are easily found. CPR does not have the rings or the caps either.

01515_1IPvqO3sIYgz_0CI0t2_600x450.jpg

00q0q_45xEvKFn3Gvz_0qq0c4_600x450.jpg

00k0k_2FB7BtvzPu2z_0fu07q_600x450.jpg

Pontiac parts- Private collector, can offer what I do not need for my own collection. Have over 400 vintage Pontiac parts cars, many saved from crusher- all models 1955--1981. 2 locations here in Az. No high performance parts. Do have- body parts, chassis, suspension, brakes, some interior, drive train and engine parts. min price $80. Nothing newer than 1981.

Important instructions- include with your inquiry-
1 year
2 model
3 body style of your Pontiac ( 4 door sedan, station wagon, convertible, etc ).

This ad is for parts, not cars, and is listed in the parts section. Inquiries for cars will not be answered. Project Pontiacs are occasionally listed here- Facebook- Pontiac Heaven

Proceeds benefit the Pontiac Heaven museum project here in Arizona.
thank you

Firebird, Chieftain, Bonneville, Tempest, Catalina, Grand Prix, Star Chief, Executive, Safari, Grandville, Trans Am, Formula, GTO, T-37, Lemans
do NOT contact me with unsolicited services or offers

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@deac I believe the post from Pfeil had the text from Steve Barcak's Pontiac Heaven ad on the Amesperformance forum, but Steve's contact info isn't there.

 

Here's how you can contact Steve:

steve@pontiacheaven.org,

OR

post a message listing exactly what you need on his Pontiac Heaven Facebook page.

 

Good luck with your search

That's a GREAT looking car!!!

  • Thanks 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you; it is a nice car.  I bought it as a work in progress.

 

I will send Steve an email as I don't do FB anymore.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

By popular demand the chrome rings for the front and rear emblems have been installed.  Viola!!!

 

I have replaced the radial tires with bias plies and the steering effort was greatly decreased.  Additionally I replaced those '58 Pontiac hubcaps with the proper '57 dog dish caps!  Anyone have a source for rear leaf springs besides Eaton in Michigan?  Also I need some-sort of exploded view and location of where the heater assembly is.  I know the heater core is on the left side of the fire wall.  I believe it has the under seat heater and windshield defroster.  Not sure how all of this stuff is installed on the car.

 

 

PXL_20210808_230256853.jpg

PXL_20210808_230404493.jpg

Edited by deac (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 months later...

Well between my '47 Ford, the holidays and a bout with covid-19 I haven't started in on my Pontiac.  But have accumulated needed parts for it.  I decided to go with the Carter 4 bbl AFB #2506S.  Though I have heard from many sources this carburetor is hard to find and if you find it expect to pay a high price for it.  Well I guess I got lucky and found one and immediately bought it.  Next I bought the behemoth OE air cleaner; thankfully it's not dented but it does have a few small dings.  I am in the process of refinishing it.  I have located an original intake manifold and I will sand blast it and refinish it along with the valve covers!  I also replaced the '58 dog dish hub caps with the correct 57's.

 

When I am finished it should be a pretty bitchin car!

 

I do plan on selling the triple deuce carburetor setup.  I know the Pontiac threads don't get a lot of traffic, but if anyone is interested let me know...

PXL_20210816_024822982.jpg

Edited by deac (see edit history)
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)
On 12/28/2021 at 7:18 AM, carbking said:

Glad you found the 2506s.

 

You will get less stares at the car shows than you would with the tripower, but you will be pleased with the performance and driveability.

 

Jon.

Hi Jon,

 

I don't want to take on the triple deuce carb set up for a lot of reasons.  A Carter AFB is a real good carburetor.  The tri-power set up will be sold as is.  It won't fetch 1200-1500 because it' is missing a lot of the linkages.  Heck I'm not sure it's for a '57.  When I get the manifold off I'll check the casting numbers.  I do know it has the three Rochester carburetors.  Been to many shows before and it really doesn't bother me about the looks and stares.

Edited by deac (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

That's a very nice '54 you have.  I remember when I had my '40 Torpedo looking the Pontiac message boards and there were numerous entries regarding your car.  Well I have to say it looks real nice.

Edited by deac (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Well not sure if this will get read or not.

 

I have begun working my 57 Chieftain and it has turned into a project.  The more I look at things on the car the more I have to put on my 'to-do' list. Hoses from the under seat heater are bypassed and the dash temperature controls were stuck so I have replaced the heater valve, had the defroster core rodded out and today I installed that core. I pulled heater core to send out to radiator shop. I have replaced the old leaky water pump  I installed the weather stripping for the trunk because there was nothing sealing the trunk.  Still trying to find a 347 4bbl intake manifold. I have refinished the big air cleaner and silencer for the 4bbl. I recently bought original Pontiac valve covers and am in the process of refinishing those.

 

Its a pretty car in pictures but when I get into the guts of it it ain't so pretty.  However it will be bitchin when I am done with it.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

18 hours ago, deac said:

Its a pretty car in pictures but when I get into the guts of it it ain't so pretty.  However it will be bitchin when I am done with it.

That's the spirit!

In my experience, there are always surprises when you start digging in.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have bought many old cars and they usually are more work than you anticipate. So when you buy an old car you can't assume anything.  Moreover the satisfaction you get when finish is very rewarding!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 7/2/2021 at 6:18 AM, carbking said:

A tripower on a 1957 will cost you a LOT of money!

 

It will improve "eye candy at the car shows".

 

It will increase the number of potential buyers if you should go to sell the car.

 

It will NOT increase the selling price as much as the cost to install it.

 

It will NOT improve performance! In fact, it will not run as strong as the original 4-barrel.

 

PM sent on parts book.

 

Jon

The 1957 347 engine makes 290hp with the 472 camshaft with the 523298 cylinder head @ 10.0 compression with Tri-Power. The 4bbl with the same exact ingredients makes 270HP.

Pontiac engineering wouldn't consider the 4bbl for NASCAR and the 886 cam which gave 317hp with Tri Power.

 In 1958 in Grand National stock car racing, the 370" engine with the #528511 cylinder head with 10.5 compression and the 886 cam and a 4bbl. made 315hp. The Tri Power engine with all the same ingredients makes 330, The FI engine makes 338.

Apparently TriPower makes more HP than the 4bbl with the same heads, cam, compression.

 

My Pontiac interchangeability books says the 57-58 Tri Power intake manifolds will interchange. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

32 minutes ago, Pfeil said:

The 1957 347 engine makes 290hp with the 472 camshaft with the 523298 cylinder head @ 10.0 compression with Tri-Power. The 4bbl with the same exact ingredients makes 270HP.

Pontiac engineering wouldn't consider the 4bbl for NASCAR and the 886 cam which gave 317hp with Tri Power.

 In 1958 in Grand National stock car racing, the 370" engine with the #528511 cylinder head with 10.5 compression and the 886 cam and a 4bbl. made 315hp. The Tri Power engine with all the same ingredients makes 330, The FI engine makes 338.

Apparently TriPower makes more HP than the 4bbl with the same heads, cam, compression.

 

My Pontiac interchangeability books says the 57-58 Tri Power intake manifolds will interchange. 

You are absolutely correct on the published "data" coming from the PR division. After all, three carbs sell for more than one :P ;)

 

I don't remember without looking, and too lazy to look, but Pontiac paid Carter to sabotage the AFB 4-barrel so it did not beat the tri-power off the showroom.

 

Also, if you can find the information, why did Pontiac try the tripower on their Super Dutys, even to the point of making a factory aluminum tripower intake, and then quickly discard it in favor of a single four or dual 4's, even though the early 60's tri-powers had the larger end carbs?

 

But, personally, I love the tri-power. When a customer rebuilds, I get to sell 3 rebuilding kits rather than 1 ;)

 

Also, should you know anyone interested, I have probably 30 tripowers for sale.

 

Jon

Edited by carbking (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

33 minutes ago, carbking said:

You are absolutely correct on the published "data" coming from the PR division. After all, three carbs sell for more than one :P ;)

 

I don't remember without looking, and too lazy to look, but Pontiac paid Carter to sabotage the AFB 4-barrel so it did not beat the tri-power off the showroom.

 

Also, if you can find the information, why did Pontiac try the tripower on their Super Dutys, even to the point of making a factory aluminum tripower intake, and then quickly discard it in favor of a single four or dual 4's, even though the early 60's tri-powers had the larger end carbs?

 

But, personally, I love the tri-power. When a customer rebuilds, I get to sell 3 rebuilding kits rather than 1 ;)

 

Also, should you know anyone interested, I have probably 30 tripowers for sale.

 

Jon

[Also, if you can find the information, why did Pontiac try the tripower on their Super Dutys, even to the point of making a factory aluminum tripower intake, and then quickly discard it in favor of a single four or dual 4's, even though the early 60's tri-powers had the larger end carbs?]

Two things here I think explain the reason. One, is in NASCAR at that time they only allowed 4bbls. Drag racing was a different story especially late 61, bigger engine, more aggressive cams, better heads, bigger valves, streamline factory exhaust manifolds, allowing of headers in some classes necessitates more carburetion. Still, Tri-Power was the hot street option and out horse powered  4bbl engines in the books and on the dyno when they both had identical head, cam, compression ratios. One nice thing about eliminating multi carbs for NASCAR was Pontiac's development of a good 4BBL intake taken from the 63 aluminum 3BBL intake. The good stock 4BBL intakes won't show up until mid+ 60's with Q-jets......... my favorite carb.

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, carbking said:

Won't argue about the Q-Jet - wonderful carb; and if you are happy with the tri-power, then I am happy for you.

 

Jon

I haven't had a Tri-Power car since 1969.

 One of the Pontiac I have now I built for going around corners and the Q jet does a great job, plus it can give you terrific mileage if you want. A great universal multi displacement carb. not without problems but can easily solved. I would love to put one on my 62 & 63.

Edited by Pfeil (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
Posted (edited)

I have been working on my 57. I found and bought a 4bbl OEM manifold from Desert Valley Auto Parts junk yard in Arizona. I drove there to get the manifold and a set of NOS valve covers. That manifold was quite a project sitting in a junkyard with no air cleaner or carburetor on it.  It went in the parts cleaner - then the sand blaster - then the parts cleaner - then it sat in a vat of Evap-o-Rust for a week -  back in the parts cleaner - back to the sand blaster, then a final rinse. Today I masked it off and applied a high heat paint primer then tomorrow 2 coats of high heat paint. A laborious task but it had to be done. If not done thoroughly some extraneous piece of rust of a chunk of old carbon could suddenly come off from the manifold and get sucked into the engine while driving is the result you can expect if corners are cut!  A lot of NOS parts I buy have to stripped down and refinished.  It is very time consuming but when it's done you know it's been done right.. 

 

This weekend I hope to finally start the intake manifold/carburetor swap.  There vacuum lines that are being made by Inline Tube which will prevent me from completing the process.  Hopefully I will get a chance to pull the distributor and put it on the distributor machine to check it over and lubricate the distributor.  At that point I'll install a new set of points, condenser, rotor and cap. That machine should get it dialed in.

 

I really don't how much of this I'll have time for, but I'll shoot for the moon and end up somewhere in the stars!

Edited by deac (see edit history)
  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Posted (edited)

Oh yeah there is some surface rust built up. Nothing that a little kerosene won't fix!

Edited by deac (see edit history)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...