posted by nifticus
We’ve done gobs of Canadian Cheviacs, but never a tri-fiver (’55-’57). This is then a ’56 Chevy wearing some Pontiac-specific body parts, like the front and rear end sheet metal. But the front end is not longer like the US Pontiac’s was; it’s ’55 Chevy-sized. Well, that bumper probably adds a few inches, but the wheelbase is that unforgettable 115″ that made the tri-five Chevys so…right sized.
And of course it’s all Chevy under the skin, right down to its 265 cubic inch V8 and Powerglide, if so equipped. It’s a better Pontiac, as the real thing’s proboscis was just a lot of dead weight. This looks and feels like a Chevy with a bit of customization. Which is exactly what it is.
Then there’s the rear end to consider. It’s the same as the US Pontiac’s, based on my unerring eye. I’m not going to say it’s more attractive than the much cleaner Chevy’s, but it does add a bit of character. Of course the fully-opened wheel well is not original, although it does evoke the ’55 Chevy Nomad’s.
As to its dashboard, a wee bit of Googling shows that it’s a genuine Pontiac.
This is my kind of fifties custom. A street rod instead of a tacky caricature. The radiused and flared rear wheel openings make it. I’d bet the engines been gone over a bit. Add a 4 speed with a Hurst floor sifter and posi and it’d be just about perfect. Spare me the vivid colors, fake lake pipes, and Marilyn air brushed on the continental kit. Let’s fire this up and go hunting some stupid car show peekaboo dolls while we lay a rubber road to the far horizon.
Can you imagine driving that up to the line on a United States drag-strip? I’d bet there would be a lot of jaws dropping.
Those full rear wheel openings give this car a 54 Buick vibe to me. Chevy, Pontiac, Buick – can anyone find some Oldsmobile or Cadillac design elements here?
I agree, the shorter Cheviac nose is an improvement. It wouldn’t always be so – in ’59 when the US Pontiacs went Wide-Track and the Cheviacs didn’t they were clearly less than.
Two lane blacktop, anyone?
One advantage to the Cheviacs over the American models is that they, like Tri-Five Chevys, used modern-style suspended pedals. The American 55-57 Pontiacs still used old-fashioned through-the-floor pedals for some reason.
As for the 7″ wheelbase stretch and longer hood, why? I know Pontiac was amongst the last American brands (along with Packard) to stick with straight-eights which needed the length, but their last year was 1954. Was the ’55 Pontiac in development before they knew they’d be strictly using shorter V8s exclusively? Or was it just to make the car look longer so they could justify a higher price than a Chevy, and perhaps a slight improvement in quietness and ride smoothness? FWIW, I think these Ponchos look better with the Canadian short fronts.
The longer Pontiac nose looks better to my eye.
Pontiac existed simply to be better than Chevrolet. Pontiacs were bigger and fancier. Although Buick had the secret sauce in this period. A standard V8 Buick Special was barely more expensive than a Chevy Bel Air V8, which is why Special sold multiples of V8 Bel Airs.
Great find! There were a few of these around as I was growing up in BC, I remember a red ’55 and a really nice bronze ’57 in our little town. In the ’50s and ’60s Pontiac was sometimes the best selling car in the Canadian market but our harsh climate and fairly primitive highway system (at least here in BC) made for a short life for most of them.
I really like this one, got a bit of a Bob Falfa vibe to it…..
This is Pontiac as we got them, always a rarity here, assembly was done by GMNZ but Pontiacs didnt sell via the GM dealer network, 56 was the first year Chevy got a V8 here and most people were satisfied with that
I like it.
Canadians at least got the true Pontiac dash, updated annually when that was a thing. The cars GM Canada in Oshawa built (or put together) for right-hand drive markets usually used the Chevy dash from the first year of an all-new A body throughout the run.
What your saying about export RHD dashes used by Chevrolet & Pontiac is certainly true, but it was a small price to pay so that these cars were available to these comparatively small (at the time) export markets.
In some cases I think the export dash was even better than the domestic USA or Canadian version. An example is the export RHD ‘62 Chevrolet dash which was based on a 1961 Pontiac dash and as a result looks a whole lot more upmarket than the LHD ‘62 Chevrolet dash ever did.
Here is a pair of more stock examples. The closer one is a rare hardtop sedan.
The little chrome above the headlight always made them look a little surprised to me.
I love your comment – as if the car is saying, “You talkin to me?”
Our Canadian Pontiac’s looked too stubby when compared to the US models. Even the rear wheel looks to far forward in the wheel well. At least the owner looks pleased.
From the cowl to the rear end, the lower-tier US Pontiacs were the same as the Canadian ones. Just the front end was longer.
The cabins were the same, but the Star Chief series had an extended trunk.
Sorry, didnt see ” lower tier.”
My uncle had a 1955 Pontiac just like this.
He was a master technician in the RCAF. Prior to integration, Canadian servicemen were not paid well and hence, uncle was driving a 1955 Pontiac well past its prime. In 1968, military salaries were raised significantly as our military shrank. He got a new 1968 Laurentian with a 327 and Powerglide, which was his pride and joy.
When I was 10 years old, he let me play in a Buffalo, Hercules and arranged a tour of an Avro Vulcan for me. What a cool man he was. Smoking killed him.
From 1959 until 1963, the Pontiac Laurentian 4 door sedan was the absolute top of the range super luxury passenger car offered by Australia’s General Motors Holden (GMH). Often, General Motors Holden is ‘incorrectly’ referred to as just ‘Holden’.
The Pontiac Laurentian in 1959 came with 6 cylinder engine and automatic transmission. From 1960 to 1963 a 283 cub inch V8 replaced the 6 cylinder. Interiors boasted genuine leather of Cadillac quality. From 1964 until 1968 GMH offered the Pontiac as its flagship Parisienne form. From 1965 a Sport Sedan (4 door pillarless body) joined the GMH option list.
So, the Pontiac Laurentian in 4 door form together with the Chevrolet Belair to Australians were high end expensive luxury cars.
That is a badass little car!
My dad had a 55 Chevy Bel Air 2 door hardtop, that he made into a very mild custom. Beautiful car,painted Cadillac Pelham Blue; we had to sell it a few years ago.
In my mom’s family,they had a 55 Pontiac 4 door sedan for several years. Our family car when I was a kid was a 70 Pontiac Le Mans 4 door sedan; that car thought it was a GTO!
So I definitely have a soft spot for old Chevys and Pontiacs!
I’d take a USA Pontiac, with it’s Rocket V8 engine and 4 speed Hydramatic automatic transmission, over this Canadian Chevy V8/2 speed “slip-N-slide” Powerglide automatic any day of the week.
I like this Cheviac .
The base car came with the 261 C.I. Chevy heavy duty i6 engine, much sought after by old Chevy lovers as it looks like a 235 but isn’t .
I found one of these in a Pick-A-Part a few years back and realized I wasn’t going to yank that unobtanium engine, sad .