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Old 11-09-2008, 05:56 PM
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Original '55 Pontiac Chieftain

Hello,
I'm very new into the hotrod scene and was looking for some tips. I hate to say it but I'm not very tech savvy when it comes to fixing up cars. We have to start somewhere. I got a hold of my 55 Pontiac Chieftain that is original with matching numbers and rebuilt 287 v8, 2bbl carb. the paint is a beautiful purl white/purl ocean blue. As far as work needing to be done to this car, its just polishing it up a little. fully restored from the frame out. I'm wanting keep the originality but upgrade some things. So far all I've done was put a new exhaust with glass pack,keeping the 2". Could I place a 4bbl carb on it but keep the old oil bath air cleaner? Maybe upgrade the rear diff? I'm looking for ideas on what to upgrade but feel bad taking stock parts away.

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Last edited by Gr8Vy; 11-09-2008 at 06:15 PM.
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Old 11-09-2008, 11:10 PM
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You have a very nice car, original or not. Personally, I'd be rid of anything bolt-on like your aircleaner if wanted, just save the parts. I wouldn't butcher anything, there's not a lot of these cars left. Post some pics, there's a few Chieftain owners here.
Dan
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Old 11-10-2008, 04:20 PM
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I'm not very sharp on the 287. If you're looking for a factory 4 bbl manifold, you may have a bit of a stretch finding one, if they're even available. An aftermarket one would probably be tough to find too. I'd bet that most any performance parts are rare for that engine. The 287 did come with a 4 bbl also, but it only added 20 hp. Probably not worth the hassle or expense of trying to come up with one.

I'd be tempted to leave it stock, or put in a small block Chevy, so more up-to-date parts are available. Or, get a later model Pontiac engine and trans. They are plentiful and reasonable to buy, and lots of aftermarket parts available. Go with the 389; there's bunches of them out there. Keep the oil-bath air cleaner, cut out the bottom to fit the 4 bbl, put in a paper filter into the housing (get rid of the oil). Most people wouldn't know the difference in the appearance. It all depends on how far your want to go, and how deep your pockets are.
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Old 11-15-2008, 11:42 AM
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55 Pontiac Pics

Thanks alot for the help guys. Here are a few pics of my car. I was waiting for a clear day to take it out of the garage to take the pics but i live in Washington so those days are too far and few. So heres some garaged photos, let me know what you think.
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Old 11-15-2008, 11:44 AM
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More pics....

Just a few more.....
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Old 11-16-2008, 08:17 PM
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That is one awsome car! I would save the stock pieces that you take off, for resale value, but there are factory parts out there, to make the four barrel change, that you're looking to do. First,you could check Hemmings Motor News, and if that doesn't help, I can give you a couple of contacts to get hold of, and some Pontiac specific websites, that might help. Either PM me, or you can email me at wdcreech@earthlink.net Be sure to put Pontiac in the subject line, so it won't be passed by.

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Old 11-16-2008, 08:36 PM
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A 55 Pontiac "Pathfinder Deluxe" 4-dr (Canadian model) was my first car!

My dad bought it from and old fella in about 1964 (?) with 32,000 miles on it.
It was our family car until 1968, when the engine developed a knock at around 60,000 miles.

That was the first father-son mechanic lesson thing, other than 1-cylinder gasoline washing-machine engines and old snowmobiles ... so I learned a lot at age 11. Shortly after overhauling this engine, Dad got a new job and wanted a newer car. The old Poncho was worth very little as a trade, so he kept it for me. We lived in a VERY small town, and I was driving long before it was legal to do so ... I used to pack up a bunch of fiends and take them out to a dugout a couple of miles west of town.

We moved to a much bigger town, and driving was then limited to our rather long driveway.

So when I turned 15, I got my learner's license and made friends with a guy a few years older (18) so that I could "legally" drive.

Without going into details ... I not only "found my freedom", but also "lost my innocence" in that old car!

Thanks for the flashback.

Last edited by 66GMC; 11-16-2008 at 08:57 PM.
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