(first posted 5/21/2013) If you look and listen, you can almost hear the late night television commercial:
“Hey, folks, Honest Abe here at Honest Abe’s Used Car Emporium, Tire Shop, and Pool Supplies! Boy, let me tell you, the inventory is great and the deals are hot! What kind of inventory? you ask. I got stuff here you just won’t find anywhere else for prices that you can’t beat with a billy club!
“Let’s take a look right here…
“Now, here’s a cream puff – hey, it’s even the right color for a cream puff! Right here is a gen-you-wine one owner 1966 Pontiac Star Chief Executive! This beauty is a true one owner with only 61,000 miles! Be the envy of all your friends and neighbors when you park this delightful Pontiac out front.
“Never heard of an Executive? Well, just like not everyone can be an executive at work, not every Pontiac built in 1966 was special enough to be an Executive. No siree, there were only 10,140 of these Executive coupe’s built by the General that year. There were 79,000 Catalina coupes built for 1966 and they were all on that puny 121″ wheelbase. No, sir, this here Executive is on the roomier and more sophisticated 124” wheelbase, same as a Bonneville – which is still four times more plentiful than this Executive in coupe form.
“I tell you, this Executive is exclusive! But, guess what! The price isn’t exclusive, it’s right where anybody can afford it – just $4,700! That’s only $1,600 more than the base price when it was new – 46 years ago! I bet you can drive this Executive for the next five years and sell it for what you pay me! How often can a person do that?
“This kind of a deal won’t last long!
“Oh, I know, you’re saying ‘Abe, it uses a lot of gas.’ Well, what real car doesn’t use gas? But Pontiac really thought way ahead back in ’66. This Executive has a 389 cubic inch V8 – a hallmark of Pontiac’s formidable engine heritage – yet this particular 389 in this Executive is the economy engine with a mere 256 gross horsepower. What better way to show your commitment to both recycling and the planet than by re-using an existing resource with this cherry old Pontiac Executive?
“Why, just the other day I drove this very Pontiac to the Whole Foods Market. I tell you what, driving this car is the most fun you can have with your clothes on! As I was cruising around the parking lot looking for a good place to park, listening to the exhaust pipes playing penuchle with each other, two Prius owners looked longingly at this amazing Executive and collapsed! This Executive is so exclusive if it could make those Whole Foods folks swoon, imagine what it will do for everyone else! You will be the envy of everyone you know. Pontiac just isn’t building cars like this anymore! Heck, nobody is building cars like this anymore! For that matter, Pontiac isn’t even building cars any more!
“This kind of a deal won’t last long!
“Yeah, I know, some of you skeptics are saying, ‘Abe, there’s a reason for this Pontiac being so rare.’ Well, I’ll tell you why it’s so rare – people get all hung up on names. Yeah, you could get that compact, stripper Catalina or that snooty, over priced Bonneville. Who wants that? No, siree bob, I don’t want that! This here Executive is the best blend of both worlds – the moderate accommodations of the Catalina for those inclined to watch their pocketbook combined with the size of the uppity, hoity-toity Bonneville. Why, driving this car is combining the best of both worlds – kind of like having bacon with every meal!
“Look closer and this honey just keeps getting sweeter. Back in the day, you could get your choice of 4 different transmissions in your ’66 Pontiac Executive – three-on-the-tree, four-speed manual in either wide or close ratio, and Turbo Hydramatic! The four-speeds even came from the General with gen-you-wine Hurst linkage! How’s that for variety? Heck, variety is a word that Toyota hasn’t heard in 20 years! No sir, this Pontiac Executive offered variety, with this one having the always smooth, always trusty, and always favored Turbo Hydramatic!
“Speaking of variety, how about interior colors? Now, I know, these pictures were taken close to dark on a rainy day and I’ve had to lighten them for broadcast, but doesn’t that paint just sparkle like a diamond in a goat’s, uh, mouth? I swear, Pontiac had more colors on their palette in 1966 than Picasso ever thought about. Man, oh, man, would you believe they had 5 interior colors and 15, that’s right, count them, 15 exterior colors available for the Executive? Shoot, that’s more exterior colors than has ever been offered on any Honda! And, the inside was an absolute rainbow – unlike the gray or charcoal garbage available these days. Back then, people had fashion sense and good taste. What’s not to like about this Pontiac?
“This kind of deal won’t last long!
“So come on down to Honest Abe’s Used Car Emporium, Tire Shop, and Pool Supplies, located at 1060 West Addison, a short drive from anywhere. Be the envy of all your friends and neighbors when you pull to the curbside in this classic 1966 Pontiac Star Chief Executive! Just $199 down and $199 per month for only 36 months will get you in this fabulous and exclusive one owner ’66 Pontiac Executive. Don’t wait, these deals are hotter than a $2 pistol!!!”
Well, okay, maybe that just jumped out at me.
If I pay in cash, will you throw in some 8-lugs and a couple of hats for the kiddies?
Love it. This one is begging for some torque thrust wheels, raised white letter tires, dual pipes, and loving wash and shine. Then just cruise, cruise, cruise…
Good lord, not raised white letters, please. Those things only belong in pickup trucks. I hate when they put them on cars!
I like them on certain cars of the era. They would work well on this car.
eight lugs and redlines please. Although principaldan’s torque thrust idea might be more ideal…
On second thought, torq thrust would be key…decisions, decisions.
I love it! 62’s and 63’s are some of my favorites, but the 66 is at the top of my list. Buying parts for the American Pontiacs in Canada can be a nightmare. I’d still love to have that white one in my driveway though.
Buying parts for a 1966 anything is starting to become challenging. “We don’t have a listing for it in our computer system.” “Our warehouse shows zero stock.” “That part has been discontinued.”
Beh… White walls please & I’ll keep the original wheelcovers. A car this gorgeous needs no updating.
+1 whitewalls, letters are for trucks and Joe Biden’s Trans Am.
Joe Biden drives a ’65 good wood green convert with an L79, rube. Even know what kind of car?
Dug a 4 door like that outa the bush on a friends block in Tassie had a chevy engine and ran sounded good twin straight thrus but it wouldnt drive so I passed never seen the 2door before cool. Actually the one I found woulda been a Cheviac from Canada it was RHD Aussie new.
Oshawa Ont..built the RHD Cheviac. They were long gone by the time I strarted in 1972. We did have some old photos around the plant. Interesting, the Chev RHD, and the Pontiac RHD,used the same I.P..
Very cool, and I imagine very rare cars
I remember a trip to Lendrum & Hartman the London GM dealer about 1965 and seeing RHD Pontiac Parisiennes which were really Chevys in drag.These were quite a big seller in the UK.
Huh? English, please.
I remember a trip to Lendrum & Hartman the London General Motors dealer about 1965 and seeing right hand drive Pontiac Parisiennes which were really Chevrolets with Pontiac styling cues.These were quite big sellers in the United Kingdom.
Narrow tracking anyone?
Yup, they had the wide-track bodies on the narrow-track chassis’. Wierd!
Reminds me of Linn Burton from the Bert Weinman Ford (your tv Ford man, full delivered price, 3535 North, on Ashland Avenue) commercials that were on during Sunday afternoon Chicago Cubs games (or Family Classics movie if the Cubs game was rained out):
I prefer Harry Schmerler of Schmerler Ford, the singing Ford dealer.
I absolutely love the lines on this design – one of the finest, but these cars are set so low they look like they’re sitting on the ground.
A co-worker drove one of these where I worked right after I got out of the service, and even then, I couldn’t believe how low it sat, much lower than dad’s 1966 Impala.
Beautiful car no matter what. I’ll take it with a slight ground clearance raising and Principal Dan’s suggested upgrades, please.
“Hotter than a $2 pistol”? Inflation must’ve hit, for I always read that phrase as a $1.00 price tag…
Beautiful car, and that’s a tough pitch to resist-“Pontiac isn’t even building cars any more!”
I can attest to the low stance. Tore out the oil pan on Dad’s ’68 Catalina hauling school kids up and down Uncle Mello’s muddy 1/2 mile lane-high-sided in between the ruts. Engine had to be removed to replace, $1000 (1969 dollars) job. Dad was not pleased. Learned to drive in between the ruts after that. Beautiful car, though!
All I can say about this car is that it’s a beauty.
Very like De loreans GTO A classic..
I’m Irish, and have NO experience of American cars..
I enjoy this site though and have “invested” some time in reading the enteries and the comments..A great concept BTW..photographing and describing Classics as they appear in the Wild…
One of those ideas..I wish I had taught of. LOL
So far, I have learned that in USA Audi’s and VW’s (except the Beetle) are not the paragons of reliability that they are in Ireland and the UK..Was this down to local production?? Or are Europeans being duped? I have learned about CAFE .
Just got a copy of Bob Lutzs Car guys book.. And this site is helping me understand it better..
P.S..I’ve always had a soft spot for the Buick Park Avenue..Is that TOO modern to appear on this site??? I’d love to see an entry about it…It’s my guilty pleasure.
God bless..Keep ’em coming
Glad to have your around, Austin. I have never lived in Ireland (though my ancestors are from there) or the UK, but I understand that cars are used harder here. The US is so much larger and subject to such a wide variety of climates. Also, we were spoiled by decades of designs that invited abuse and were very forgiving of lax maintenance, so many folks never developed the maintenance habits that I understand Europeans are used to.
I share your soft spot for the Park Avenue. I am sure that we will see one one of these times. I am most fascinated by the version with the supercharged 3.8.
Thanks JP You raise some good points about how vast USA and the cultural differences between the USA and Europe..It’s this variety that is the spice of life. And hope you get to visit Ireland some day. Am sure you’d like it..And Ireland can use the tourists as it’s Bankrupt.. LOL !!! So failte Romhat. (welcome in Irish) . P.S . I have a sister in Boston (Where else…LOL!!)
Good day to you..And Now I shall make way for guys to comment about this Pontiac.
When anyone things VW cars are reliable, it is all relative. Sure, compared to stuff made in the UK, VW cars could be seen as not too bad. However, the EU did everything it could to keep Japanese cars out of Europe for a very long time, and still does using non-tariff barriers. Thus, the influx of Japanese cars we got in the 1980’s never happened in Europe.
In fact, most of the posters here drive Japanese cars. I have one that is thirteen years old and in the two years since I bought it, I haven’t spent anything on it.
Try that with a 13 year old VW.
Like you say – all is relative.
I’d suggest that it’s not so much that current VWs are BAD; but that the industry has made great strides AROUND them. Eight troublefree years, or 100,000 miles, used to be a benchmark for a well-made car. Today it’s expected of the meanest Korean import…which deliver that and more.
VW…not so much.
It’s not unlike the situation they had with the Type 1. In 1946 it was a superior product in a somewhat dated package. By 1977 it was wildly obsolete, a novelty product which could not be modded to comply with coming safety standards.
Now, too, the general durability standards used by Volkswagenwerk AG.
“……the influx of Japanese cars we got in the 1980’s never happened in Europe.”
You’ve got to be kidding. In the UK, the Japanese imports had a firm hold by the late 70’s and were consolidating by the 80’s – helped, no doubt, by our own patchy competition. Not only were their cars reliable and well priced, the dealers offered outstanding customer service – way beyond mainstream European brands. That alone goes a long way for the non-enthusiast, way beyond the ‘driving experience’.
“P.S..I’ve always had a soft spot for the Buick Park Avenue..Is that TOO modern to appear on this site??? I’d love to see an entry about it…It’s my guilty pleasure.”
Ask and you shall receive…
A two-door Executive? Man, what a find! It really reminds me of my old ’66 Catalina 4-door. In the late 80s when my friends were driving second-hand broughams and dented-up Toyotas, I was riding in style in the Catalina. I managed to dig up a pic from Mother’s Day 1989. I think this picture demonstrates just how much the Executive would benefit from some whitewalls.
Neat car. Pictured is the 1967 version. This is the Executive 2-door hardtop production according to my ‘clyclopedia:
Interior. This is not my car (obviously, LOL)
Honest Abe forgot to mention that it’s former owner was the town Sunday School Teacher who only used it on weekends..
The 66 Pontiac is a favorite of mine. When I was a kid, a neighbor had a silver-blue Bonneville 4 door, and years later another kid down the street had a beat-to-hell red Catalina sedan. But I am not sure I have ever seen an Executive 2 door.
In the late 60s, I considered myself a pretty car-savvy kid. My grandma had a 64 Catalina sedan that she bought used in 1967. Some time a year or so later, I heard her musing about how she would like a Pontiac Executive that was in her local showroom. I was stumped – had never heard of an Executive. And why would my grandma want one – she was a nurse and had been a farmer’s wife. But hey – this is America, and anyone is entitled to make an Executive decision! When the time came, she settled for a 69 Catalina, although I believe that an Exec was still in the lineup.
This is a great find. It is interesting, but I cannot find the Star Chief name anywhere on the outside. Maybe it was inside somewhere. I had better write down Abe’s number – if this car is as good as bacon with every meal, I’m in!
The 1966 “Star Chief Executive” was called that only in brochures and window stickers. The three “stars” on the extreme rear fender tip are supposed to signify the car’s many years of Star Chief identity through ’65.
JP, gottacook is right; “Star Chief” wasn’t anywhere on the car. It wasn’t until I started researching it that I discovered this tidbit.
actually I have one and “Star Chief” is not on the outside but it is on the dash.
It is a transition year model. The Star Chief became the Executive after this year.
Another beauty,as a kid only Firebirds and GTOs interested me what great cars I missed!
Even I am not old enough to recall a time when the local Navy shipyard used Pilot-House Dodge pickups like the one in the background of the first photo here, but that shade of gray sings “Anchors Aweigh” even in the middle of Missouri.
I love it when ads say “This car won’t last!”
I’ll think, “Well that explains why you’re selling it, but why would I buy a car that won’t last very long?”
Boy, that car has a really long rear deck, especially when viewed at a 3/4 view from the rear. What a stunning car.
I wonder how loaded you could Make The Exucutive with the price difference of a Bonneville? I seem to remember seeing a high ratio of vinyl roof, p/w, AC , Executives.
in 68-70 there were executive safaris iirc
The three-row Executive Safari was available in ’67 as well. We had one, a year-old demonstrator. That series was the first full-size Pontiac wagon with exterior woodgrain vinyl. Ours was turquoise with woodgrain as well as a black vinyl top.
It had a very full complement of optional accessories, but I think this is because it had been ordered as a demonstrator; of course I still remember them all: automatic temperature control a/c (a new system that year), cruise control (likewise), 8-track stereo with FM radio (first year offered), roof rack with rear window air deflector, cornering lights – pretty much everything except power vent windows.
Mr. French on Family Affair, and Mr. Douglas on My 3 Sons drove Executive Safaris from time to time.
“Speaking of variety, how about interior colors? Now, I know, these pictures were taken close to dark on a rainy day and I’ve had to lighten them for broadcast, but doesn’t that paint just sparkle like a diamond in a goat’s, uh, mouth? I swear, Pontiac had more colors on their palette in 1966 than Picasso ever thought about. Man, oh, man, would you believe they had 5 interior colors and 15, that’s right, count them, 15 exterior colors available for the Executive?”
My thought on reaching that paragraph was “too bad THIS one’s white with what looks like a black interior.”
I know; I’m looking at a ’76 New Yorker Brougham, and, while a nice car, is an eggshell white with brown velour. It ranks as “just ok” in my books, because there were stunning, rich colour options available on those cars.
Mmmm all my favorite touches on one car… hardtop, stacked headlamps, folded wipers. This was one of the last pre-Brougham Pontiacs and the feature car is a beauty.
It’s funny how a styling cue as strong stacked headlamps looked good on so many makes and models. I wished it lasted longer than 1973 but that would have been tough with the new bumper regs. Glad they made a short comeback on the G35 and Art & Science Cadillacs.
Gary Boldwater told me to say “Hi” to his Uncle Abe and to send him a complementary Neon.
Even though this is a thread about Pontiacs, still diggin’ the Neons.
Still want one of the mid 90’s show car Neons with the sliding canvas roof. With a DOHC 2.0L, please. ACS version, better yet.
I have at least found a Neon Sport locally, so that’s a start. Also, I like the Neon, it’s flawed, but interesting.
I would be very happy if I could buy this wonderful car. Unfortunately, it is too old to be imported to México. So sad, sad, sad….
“1060 West Addison? That’s Wrigley Field!” – Joliet Jake Blues
Nice find! I just saw a ’65 Bonneville convertible at the ex-Pontiac/Cadillac/Honda dealer in Rock Island last week. And yes, it had a white interior.
Did you not see that ’63 to the right? The 1965 was the pinnacle of Pontiac, however. 1965 Grand Prix or even a 2+2 is my dream.
Oh sure. There was a ’65 Rambler Classic in there too. I’m hoping to get better pics and do a writeup on the trio.
These mid ’60s big Pontiacs are some of my favourite cars of every time ! 8 lugs all the way
I was born in 1967 so I don’t remember it too well, but we had a white 1966 Bonneville convertible with black interior and black convertible top. My sister hated it and called it a “bomber”. She got her license in 1971 so she was a new driver – she said it was too big and begged my parents to get her a smaller car to drive. She ended up getting a 1973 Celica, and in 1972 my parents sold the Bonneville to get a new ’72 Olds Toronado. My Mom still tells the story of the day they picked up the Bonnie; it was a showroom car and the battery was weak – yes, it died right in the middle of the road in front of the dealership! Wish we had that car today!!
Ah, the ole dead battery….we were looking for a new car in 1986. Found an Olds Delta 88 just like we wanted. Salesman went to get the key and when he got in to start it…..nothing. Wife said “I’ll be waiting in the car….”.
Long story short, we wound up with a 1986 S10 Blazer! Don’t ask…..
star chief executive made their last model 1966 after that the name became pontiac-executive. so this is the last model of star cheif executive
nice car! The 1965-66 full size Pontiacs are among some of my favorite cars of all time although the 1962-64’s and 1968-70’s aren’t too far behind (for some reason I don’t really like the ’67 front end styling too much).
The “Star Chief” moniker appeared in large script on the glove compartment door along with the “Executive” identification on an adjacent plate, as in this example:
I own a green one just like it. It was my grandfathers “work truck”. Anyone know where to find parts?? Catalina parts nor Bonneville parts fit it.
Mechanical parts should all the same. Only difference would be quarter panels, no? Even those would be the same as a Bonne I would think.
I am certain that a ’66 Star Chief Executive and a ’66 Bonneville are essentially the same car. They even shared wheel covers (the ’66 Bonneville convertible I drove throughout my 20s had the same ones seen in these photos). There is exactly one sheetmetal difference: Bonnevilles had longer taillamp housings.
Bonnevilles (and Grand Prixs) had wood veneer on the dash and ribbed pot-metal panels along the lower body, starting from behind the front wheel openings. All the other differences from the Executive involve soft trim or exterior trim and labeling. There wasn’t a single option that was available on the Bonneville but not the Executive (nor vice versa).
[Of course the above discussion excludes the Executive 4-door sedan and the Bonneville convertible and wagon. There wasn’t an equivalent Bonneville sedan until ’68 or an equivalent Executive wagon until ’67, and there was never an Executive convertible.]
The Star Chief and later Executive had an odd niche between the Catalina and the Bonneville. It was a limited number of body styles and seemed to work out as a de-trimmed Bonneville. I don’t ever recall them selling particularly well.
I do think the Executive wagon (1967-70) sold well. There were two in my extended family alone, a ’67 and a ’69. Keep in mind that there was no full-size Buick or Olds wagon during the entire 1965-70 period, except for the ’70 Buick Estate Wagon; dedicated GM buyers (i.e., 40-50% of the U.S. market at the time) would have welcomed a new full-sized wagon alternative, especially with the trendy woodgrain vinyl as standard equipment. Probably stole some Catalina wagon sales.
I own one and it is all stock, leave them stock. You take the integrity away form the cars when.you start changing things. Wouldn’t mind mind owing another.
is this car really for sale if not please take down the posting I’m tired of being jerked around
Please note that it was dated 2013. And no, we’re not taking it down.
Amazing how many people on the internet seem to think everything is for sale.
Hi everyone, here is my starchief, i have owned it for 8 years and love it more than ever! I wouldnt part with it for $40,000 let alone $4,700! oh and i live in UK.
“I never seen this kind of Bonneville, called Executive. Maybe from Canada”?
JK, so many casual car fans assume all full sized Pontiacs were called ‘Bonneville’. Just like those thinking all 60’s big Chevys were Impalas [or Impala SS]
Well, this car does look very similar to the 67 Impala fastback.
I think I have seen 2 of these Executives….both were 4 door models.
I had always assumed that the Executive was a limited edition, maybe even a “stripper” of sorts, I had no idea that it was a full line of models.
I hadn’t seen this article before and here it is, almost five years later and you made me laugh out loud. I haven’t even read the whole thing or the comments yet but, after waxing nostalgic earlier with the wife, I just loved the opening paragraph what with the “prices that you can’t beat with a billy club!” stuff.
I can still to this day sing for you the Roy Obrien Ford jingle from the early 60’s in Detroit.
And then later there was “J. Brown. Spartan Dodge. 4590 Stevens Creek Blvd. in San Jose, where we’re right on the corner and right on the price” hosting the all night movies.
Culminating with Cal Worthington in Sacramento. I can assure you that I never thought I’d say it but, I miss those guys.
I always thought the Executive was built to compete against the likes of the Ford LTD and Chevrolet Caprice-I remember seeing a lot of Catalinas and Bonnevilles but very few Executives. My parents had a ’66 Catalina, I still have fond memories of that car.
Really liked the ’66 full sized Pontiacs. My Dad had a ’66 Ventura 2 door, and besides the styling I remember having to climb into the trunk to place luggage all the way forward, it was that long in the stern. And a lady neighbor had a ’66 Bonneville convertible… triple white, impossibly long and low looking. She had always gotten a new Cadillac every two years, but kept that Bonneville forever, despite her husband’s attempts to get her to part with it.
Talk about model names that would never be considered today, Star Chief Executive. It sounds like Geronimo meets Don Draper.
Nice to see an American Pontiac model even if its only a basic (?) Star Chief Executive. I like all American Pontiac models from the sixties.
28 inch chrome rims and a playful Skittles or Mike and Ike’s motif.
Nice car, but I have to say I like the front and rear styling of the ’65s so much better than the ’66s. Just look at the taillights on this one—they couldn’t possibly be any more bland or uninspired: simple rounded-off rectangles plunked into the back valance, with seemingly no effort made at all to integrate them into the design of the car. Compare that to the beautifully contoured units in the 1965 cars—well to me, there’s just no comparison. Same goes for the wider (and even less visually interesting) lamps in the ’66 Bonneville.
Having said all this, I do think the full-width “louvered” taillights in the ’66 Grand Prix look pretty darned cool.
Not bland. Bold simplicity. Had a ’66 years ago. Drove like a boat, literally. GOD I miss her!
I Like The 1966 ,Stae Chief Executive Pontiac
i just got my 1966 star chief executive painted for the first time. no bondo all metal with ac that still works i love it