1957 Pontiac Star Chief

An Extraordinary Restoration by a bunch of Classic Folks.

Photo Gallery

“Let’s just fix this up so Diane can drive it.” That was the original intent when this project started in the early part of 2009 to get this 1957 Pontiac Star Chief on the road. It was suppose to be a quick project pulled together by a bunch of car club guys and their friends. But a testament to their experience, professionalism, as the project got underway, one thing led to another and ‘we can’t leave this this way, its just not right’ mentality became an almost full on restoration. As the ‘paparazzi’ for this project, my admiration of this group of guys and gals is boundless. And so the adventure began…

Pontiac Project Progress – 2009

The project's beginning

"The more we get into this, the better it looks!"

If you want to gain a true appreciation of the end result of a restored car, work, watch and learn what the steps to that restoration are. It is a true combination of mechanics, physics, chemistry and art. "Art' is a loose word in that it is part sculpture and part aesthetics. It is fun and amazing to watch this group...each having their own specialty...working together with a common goal. It is truly a piece of artwork. Of course right now...it's down to the skeleton...a shadow of what's to come.

We've gone further into this than we had planned. This has come as close to a full on restoration as we can without taking the body off the frame. Right now 'she' doesn't even resemble a car. Every nut and bolt are out of her. The glass is out. The doors are gone. Even the front tires are off. Now that it's been soda blasted we're going to clean 'her' up and get 'her' primered. The big puzzle will be putting 'her' back together. Soda Blasting by Jake Litchfield. Great job!

With the bodywork pretty much done, Rod M. took on the project of painting on the primer. With the solid grey primer paint coating the body, it was starting to look more like a car again.

Now, seeing the underside of the Pontiac being transformed from a 50 year old road warrior with the grit and grime to prove it to a facelift with new floor pans and scrapping that took years of grease and road dirt off. You can actually start to see the new life that's being breathed into this ol' gal.

You've got mail...here's an email that Diane got Thursday, Dec. 10th: "Santa arrived about 7:30 last night and brought 2 big boxes of goodies for a 57 Pontiac. Do you know anybody that could use them? Ron."


Pontiac Project Progress – 2010

Happy New Year! Well, the hood, trunk lid and front fenders are all done and the doors are about done too. We're pretty much done with cleaning the frame too. Just a bit more to do on the front end.

Rod M. is finishing up on the bodywork and it is looking great! What an artist! So much so, that we will be ready to paint prettty soon. We've ordered parts to get the front end put back together. We've rebuilt the control arms for the front suspension and ordered the new pins.

We're in a gathering mode trying to get all the parts and pieces together to put the front end back together. We've got the calipers conversion kit for the disc brakes from a '69 El Dorado and the rotors from a Chevy pickup.

Rod, with the help of some of his friends, is taking on the daunting task of painting the car. He is setting up a paint booth in his carpentry shop - it has easy access in and out - makes you think that maybe he has some other large projects going on in that shop.

Rod is a carpenter by trade and he took on the daunting task of painting the Pontiac. As any craftsman knows, it's the prep work that makes the paint shine so Rod also worked on a lot of the bodywork himself too (along with a lot of other 'craftsmen').

It's a good thing when a plan comes together. It's even more exciting when you can visually see the transformation.

There's a balance to working on a project like this...working out the various problems sometimes to the point of frustration, knowing when to walk away for a minute or three and coming back to a solution.

Like the back end is together! From this angle, the car is ready to go!! Well, not really but it sure looks great.

Next, the rest of the door glass is going to be put in and Ron is going to put the stainless on the dash. If you come by to check out the progress, don't forget your sunglasses!

Neccesity is the mother of invention. When something comes up that needs special attention or, lets say, a special tool, who do you call? Well, in the Pontiac's case, 'Oxy-Moron Mfg' (aka Ron O. and Bob 'SOB' M.) came to the rescue with a custom made windshield wiper tool.


Pontiac Project Progress – 2011

In 1957, people actually knew and sang the words to Auld Lang Syne but I'll bet that even if they knew the actual words, they didn't know what they meant then either. All I know is that there is a 'cup of kindness yet' in those lyrics and above that, it's sort of a take on an old crooner's song of 'Thanks for the Memories'.

SOB, Bill R.n and I met up on a Friday morning at Bob's garage. Personally, I hadn't seen the car in a couple of weeks. My heart did a big flip-flop when I saw it! The dash was almost entirely put back together!! Ok, I thought I was gonna cry. It looks so beautiful. Then I looked in the back seat. That sobered me immediately. The old seat was looking pretty pathetic. It was a great reality check though in how far this project has come.

This month, we're going to start this story with a reality check. SOB (Bob Madsen) had put the old, gnarly seats back in the car so he could make sure that we had the correct mounting hardware and also to check the positioning of the brake and gas pedal.

Teaching an old dog some really new tricks or is that trickin' out an old dog? Either way, once again the Pontiac was hoisted onto the trailer to take another journey to the next stage in her ressurection. This is another 'facelift' stage and if beauty comes from within, then she is feeling more and more like a beautiful 'new woman'.

On Thursday, June 28th, David and I stopped by there again. This time, things were happening! 3 of the door panels had been installed and were waiting on the chrome and armrests. The one panel had had a mishap and they were working on repairing it.

I thought it would be a good idea to ’round up’ the parts so that when the car does come back we’d know where to find them. Engine/transmission at Larry’s – Check! Inner fender wells and radiator – my garage – Check! Hood and fenders being used as wall art in Rick and Margie’s garage – Check and Check! Guess we’ll have to wait and see if there’s anything missing.

The two guys who are now working on our car are Nick and Nick. What cool guys. They are both in the advanced class and asked to work on the Pontiac.


Pontiac Project Progress – 2012

Things were happening! 3 of the door panels had been installed and were waiting on the chrome and armrests. The one panel had had a mishap and they were working on repairing it.

On the soggy, rainy Friday before Christmas, SOB (Bob M.) towing the car trailer and my husband, Dave, and myself caravaned done to Wyotech to pick up the Pontiac. Now, before you get too excited, it's only home temporarily.


Pontiac Project Progress – 2013

The Pontiac was nestled under its car cover in our garage for a short period of time. Bob M. needed the space in his barn to work on his own projects, so he brought it over to get it out of the weather until Larry E. and Dan G. were ready to put the engine in.

The wheels on the Pontiac go round and round….come on everybody…sing along with me! The Pontiac is back at Wyotech.

“So, I’m curious…is your car male or female? I know that most guys will call their cars a ‘her’ but I wonder what a woman would call her car.” I thought for a moment and said, “I have actually been giving that some thought, surprisingly, and all I know is its too pretty to be a ‘he’ so, I’m guessing that its a ‘she’.” Scott nodded his head like maybe that made sense. Personally, I’m very comfortable having ‘her’ be a ‘her’.

Bob (SOB) M. needed to find a way to cover up and protect the wiring coming through the fire wall to the engine. He found the perfect solution in a small loaf baking tin. He bore out the side wall of the tin to allow for the wires to come through, painted it black and bolted the tin to the firewall over the wires.

The engine turned over the third time and worked perfectly – thank you Larry! Mike H. presented me with a bottle of champagne that I (symbolically) smashed over the hood of the car. The group toasted the project and SOB looked at David and said “now?”. Now??

What is the most awesome feeling in the world? Whatever yours is, mine is sitting in my Pontiac after this wonderful 4 year project's journey; turning the key and starting her up; shifting into drive...which is a different trick itself; and driving it for the very first time.


Pontiac Project Progress – 2014

This gorgeous vessel, aka My 1957 Pontiac, has participated in its first show and shine! It’s drivable and steerable and the horn works! Yes, it’s taken time but in comparison to how long it would of taken me doing it on my own…ok, there’s no comparison! There’s still things left to do. (oh, surprise, huh?) but the car is now in our garage.

This gorgeous vessel, aka My 1957 Pontiac, has participated in its first show and shine! It’s drivable and steerable and the horn works! Yes, it’s taken time but in comparison to how long it would of taken me doing it on my own…ok, there’s no comparison! There’s still things left to do. (oh, surprise, huh?) but the car is now in our garage.

It's proudly on display. Pretty much done. The guys did way more than expected and I am humbled that they worked so hard on this car for me. Thank you doesn't seem enough. I'm so proud to drive this car!