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1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

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  • 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

    I have another winter project to add to the piles of winter projects lol. I picked up a 56 Catalina 870 hardtop. It's rough. and that's coming from a New Englander who has seen his share of rust.

    This car was a flood victim from when Hurricane Irene came through a couple years ago, and it was in mud and water up to the bottom of the dash, and the owner, completely discouraged, just walked away from it. A friend of mine bought it for the chrome that had been done and was going to part it out but I convinced him to sell me what was left. He had already cleaned out the majority of the mess, but the standing water and moisture had done their job, eating up the floors pretty bad, and exposing some nasty old body work.

    So far the engine, trans, rearend and cooling system have all been flushed out well, the brakes completely rebuilt, new shocks installed, some reassembly of the car done and I've actually driven the car down the street in the industrial complex where my shop is. It runs good, the 316 V8 pulls decent and the front end seems tight, although I'll be getting into that down the road. I've also been hunting down a parts car to aid in the rebuild, as I'm missing the grille and bumpers.

    The plan is to make a driver, built in a traditional mild custom flavor. We'll see what happens.

    As with most stuff, it looks better than it is. I robbed the Astros off another car I have in the shop, I won't be using them, they don't look right. I'm thinking chrome OE steel wheels, 15x7 reversed, spider caps, and 2" whitewalls.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by VTJUNK; December 1st, 2013, 06:42 PM.

  • #2

    Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

    Looks like it will be a nice cruiser. Does it have the Hydramatic trans in it?

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    • #3

      Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

      Looks like it will be a nice cruiser. Does it have the Hydramatic trans in it?
      Yes it has the 3 speed hydramatic in it.

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      • #4

        Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

        Here's a shot with the side trim mocked up. You can see a really bad patch in the bottom of the front fender, and then in the second pic, what the floor, or pretty much lack of one, looks like.
        Attached Files

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        • #5

          Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

          Love it
          There's always something new to learn.

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          • #6

            Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

            Looks like a fun project.
            I think the Astro's don't work yet because the car is in primer and the tires are too low. Roll some darker paint (twotone) on it and the chrome wheels will look better probably.
            www.BigBlockMopar.com

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            • #7

              Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

              Here's a pic of the original colors this car was. Awful. Pink and grey.

              Pulled the front fenders and swapped them for a clean pair from Oklahoma, and started making the panels fit with decent gaps. Once this is done I'll pin them so they can go back on exactly where I had them, and brace the body properly so I can cut out the floor.
              Attached Files

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              • #8

                Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

                I like patina and all that, but those will look good painted... not pink.
                Flying south, with a flock of bird dogs.

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                • #9

                  Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

                  Random shop pic. The Pontiac is now sitting in the far corner where the Falcon is parked in this shot. The 60 Olds Super88 belongs to a friend of mine. It has some cool local history, as it was stolen and used as a getaway car in a bank robbery almost 50 years ago. I put an electronic conversion in the distributor and tuned it up, then we did the brakes. It will be undergoing some metal surgery as well when we have a few minutes.
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by VTJUNK; December 8th, 2013, 09:09 PM.

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                  • #10

                    Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

                    Good to see you posting again...Looking forward to seeing this progress
                    If you can leave two black stripes from the exit of one corner to the braking zone of the next, you have enough horsepower. - Mark Donohue

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                    • #11

                      Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

                      Giggity 56. Hell yes.

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                      • #12

                        Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

                        This is why BS is so cool!
                        Tom
                        Overdrive is overrated


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                        • #13

                          Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

                          Panel alignment still going on. check out this one, right door, fender and rocker. The rocker is either a repro or a homemade, but either way it was poorly installed. I cut the edge back, tapering it to the bottom like its supposed to be. The fender fits better by a long shot now.

                          Wish I could say the same for the hood. It's teaked and I can't seem to get it to come back.
                          Attached Files

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                          • #14

                            Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

                            Found a parts car, a 55 sedan. Made the deal, called a flatbed and had it dropped off at the shop.
                            Attached Files

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                            • #15

                              Re: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain, saving another one from the brink

                              Leaving the salvage yard I see this. If you can't see it that well, its a minivan propped up by two poles and a guy crouching under it doing something. Wow
                              Attached Files

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