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1957 Pontiac


deac
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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!

 

 

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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?

 

 

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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.....

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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. 

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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.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

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)
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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

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Posted (edited)

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...

 

 

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Edited by deac (see edit history)
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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

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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.

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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.

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  • 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,

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

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

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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.

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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

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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

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@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!!!

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Posted (edited)

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.

 

 

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Edited by deac (see edit history)
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