Junkyard Find: 1950 Pontiac Chieftain With Flathead Cadillac V8 Power
Here’s a car that, were it to roll onto the grounds of any Billetproof show, would cause a vast wave of inked-up Lemmy Kilmister and Tura Satana lookalikes to drop to their knees in captive-bolt-to-the-dome-grade stunned worship. But that almost certainly won’t happen, because this fine example of how-they-done-it-way-back-then backyard customization is Crusher bound!
Upon first sight of the engine compartment, I thought: “Hmmm. I didn’t think Pontiac ever made a flathead V8… but I’ve been wrong about so many anorakian car facts in the past that I’m probably wrong about this one as well.”
Well, Pontiac never did make a flathead V8, as it turns out, and I’m pretty sure this one came from a Cadillac.
No, penny-pinching hot-rodders, this isn’t your chance to score a LaSalle 3-speed for 50 bucks; this car has what appears to be some sort of Hydramatic, probably the one that came out of a wrecked donor Cadillac in 1958 or whenever this swap took place.
This car, which came from the factory with a “Silver Streak” flathead straight-eight under the hood, appears to have been sitting for many, many decades. My guess is that it got the engine swap in the mid-to-late 1950s, drove for a few years, and has spent the last 50 years in a field somewhere in the Great Plains (or in a back yard in Denver).
In addition to the painfully vintage engine swap, this Pontiac has some interesting custom touches on the hood. At the leading edge, we see these two “nostril” scoops.
On the sides, these funky vents. Was this setup for looks, or an attempt to aid engine cooling?
Postwar Pontiacs were on the stodgy side, but some of these design touches belong in a museum of modern industrial design.
Some bits and pieces of this car might be suitable for someone undertaking a restoration project, but the glass and trim are mostly bad.
Right next to the ’50 Pontiac is Jacqui’s crypto-lowrider ’64 Chevelle, which has this amazing Aztec-themed hood mural. I think I may have to blow up this photograph and hang it in my office.
But why mess around with photographs? I need to buy the entire hood and hang it on my office wall!
Writer d'Elegance Brougham Landau.
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