1957 Pontiac Star Chief

An Extraordinary Restoration by a bunch of Classic Folks.

Project Diary – 2014

January 2014

IMG_4880Happy New Year! Guess what? The Pontiac is home…yes…at my house! Although this is, I’m know, a temporary state, it is closer to living in our garage permanently. Let me back up a couple of days to tell you what happened…

David and I were talking and I mentioned to him how fun it would be to be able to drive the Pontiac on my birthday. Well, that’s all I had to say. After a phone call to Bob to express that, Bob said that he and Ron would get the car running by Saturday for me. That didn’t mean that it would be done, but that it would be drivable

On Saturday, David and I drove over to Bob’s and true to his word, he and Ron were working diligently getting the car. While they were finishing up some other things, they sent me on an errand to get some lube grease for the chassis.

When I got back, Bob put David to work with the lube gun while I was relegated to my paparazzi position.

Once things were tightened up and bolted down, gas was poured into the gas tank. The key was in the ignition and everything fired up!

David and I agreed to let Bob drive it first as it would give him first hand knowledge if something were to go wrong but it drove beautifully. I followed along behind the car smiling all the way…what a gorgeous car I was following!

We got to the house and due to the lateness of the day we weren’t able to take it out for another drive as we had dinner plans. Unfortunately, the turn signals weren’t hooked up yet and one of the bulbs was out on the taillights. But hey! it was in the garage on my birthday eve! It looks so cool under OUR flourescent lighting.

IMG_4889On my birthday morning, I went out to the garage and the Pontiac was still there! We made arrangements with Bruce and Dee Ann Bellows to come over and go for a drive and then to Big A for lunch. The four of us piled into the car and we started down the road. That’s when Dee Ann said, “uh, I think something’s rubbing on the tire.” Well, we pulled over and the guys took a look. Turns out that the clearance on the rear driver’s side is about 1/4″ and on the rear passenger side there’s a couple of inches. So, it looks like there’s some backend adjusting in the Pontiac’s future…or some different shocks or something. Add that onto the “List of things that need to be done”. So, the Bellows ended up following us to Big A’s instead of driving with us.

After lunch, Dee Ann and I drove back to the house in the Pontiac and then Bruce and I drove around the block and over to the roundabout at Sierra College. It was so fun to drive! It was a great birthday present.

On Friday, I went to breakfast and announced that the Pontiac had made it to our garage. I hadn’t tried to drive it to breakfast as the taillights and turn signals weren’t all working yet, but that I was planning of bringing it to the donut shop gathering on Saturday morning.

On Saturday morning, David went out and started the car a few minutes before we were to leave. It was running fine then suddenly it started to run a bit rough. When David went to give it some gas, it died and wouldn’t start again.

I drove my truck over to the donut shop gathering and talked with Dave Garber and Bill Robinson. They decided to come to my aid (my heroes!) and drove back over with me. Bill pulled the starter fluid out of his car and brought it along. (Yes, Bill, I’m going to tell them about the ‘starter fluid’.) We get back to the house and Bill pulls out the starter fluid…hmm…I mean glass cleaner. In his haste, Bill had pulled out the glass cleaner instead of the starter fluid. Hey, in his defense, the cans are very similar. Anyway, so Dave and Bill looked under the hood, disassembled a couple of things and gave their educated guess that it was probably the fuel pump. Having neither the tools or the parts, I took the guys back to the donut shop gathering with a tenative plan to do something about it later.

On the next Friday, Bob stopped by and his educated guess was that the car was out of gas. We hadn’t put that much in but apparently the car may not be getting an efficient ‘mpg’ at this point. So, David and I put more gas into the car and tried to start if again without any luck.

So, for now, it’s going back to Bob’s for another week so he can finish up the rest of what he wants to do with the intent to get the car back to me by next weekend.

After that…well, there’s a list of things that still need to be done. Bet you have one of those lists too. It’s a hobby, right?! You throw money at it because you enjoy it…anyway…We have driven it on the roads of Grass Valley…and that’s something!


July 2014

IMG_4891This 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.

The car was having some definite problems a few weeks ago. It would start but then when it idled and started up again, or should I say tried to start driving again, it would stall. Not good. Turned out to be a carburetor problem. The carburetor on it was a 700cfm. Too much. So, I ordered a 500cfm from Summit and SOB swapped it out. Runs like a charm! No stalling.

Now, it’s all the detail stuff now: finishing the upholstery, finishing up the paint job and doing the block sanding. Probably not in time for the RA car show but the car will be driven to the show, not trailered! I can hardly wait. Have I mentioned how cool this car sounds?

There is not enough words to thank everyone involved with this project. People ask me how they can get put on the list to have this done….I didn’t know there was any list to begin with. All I know is a great group of gals and guys chose to do this and I am humbled and grateful. There are truly angels (and a few mischievous devils) out there.

I hope that you all are as proud of this project as I am. I love to tell people the story of my car and how much blood, sweat, elbows, bandaids, yard sales …but mainly the love and friendships that went into this project. This car is awesome!

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! – Diane