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Projects '57 Canadian Pontiac, kinda, sorta build thread

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by brad2v, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    rsz_img_0901.jpg rsz_img_0903.jpg First off, this isn’t really a build thread. It’s more of a chronicle, and a kiss ass plea for input on a couple things that you’ll see as this rolls along. Up until recently, I have done very little of the building, I was mostly a director during the major parts of the project So it’s kind of unfamiliar territory for me. All I’m doing is the re-assembly, and making it run. And making all of it’s fiddly bits function. I’m still undecided if I’ll have a go at the interior or not. Here goes.

    The backstory

    So, some of you may recall, away back in 2010, the conundrum I presented on here regarding my father in law, Don’s project car. We had recently lost him in May of that year, and among the huge collection of woodworking tools and supplies, was his ’57 Pontiac, a tribute he was putting together to his first car. It was in pieces, the body on a pair of home-built gantries he had constructed so he could complete the necessary rust repair. I’m sure there was plenty, Manitoba winters have never been kind to man, beast, or sheetmetal. He had amassed a pretty good parts pile for the ol’ girl, the unrestored chassis sat outside the garage, and what I (and presumably, Don) thought was the proper 6 cylinder rested in a shed beside the garage, awaiting a rebuild.

    During the ensuing cataloging and decision making regarding what we were going to do with all of this stuff (it filled what I would estimate to be 1000 square feet or so), we had only briefly considered what we were going to do with the Pontiac. I already had a ’66 Dart street freak project underway, so that was splattered all over my garage, plus a collection of T coupe stuff awaiting it’s turn, and a driver/beater ’59 Ford wagon. Plus the Pontiac was 800 miles away from home, it was in pieces, and it was a more-door. After some discussion with other family members, the decision was made to take on the Pontiac, but we would farm out most of it, since we didn’t have anywhere to put it.

    I struggled with the logistics of how the hell I was gonna get this thing home. Luckily, we have a family friend who has a repair shop in Brandon, so I convinced him to collect the chassis from the side of Don’s shop, and begin restoring it. He disassembled it and had the frame powdercoated, and I had all the necessary suspension parts shipped to him so he could make it a roller again. A couple of months later, we went out to spend our two week vacation helping with the sale of the garage (and much of the house) contents, so that my mother in law could move to a smaller place. The chassis was ready, so all I had to do was figure out how to get the body down off of the gantries. Don’s neighbor had helped Don put it up on them, and was kind enough to help me get it back down, and we lowered it onto the awaiting chassis. I loaded the whole mess up, and headed for home, dropping the car off at a local body shop for finish bodywork and paint.

    Fast forward a couple years, the Pontiac is finally out of bodyshop jail. The guy has done a roughly three-quarter assed job, at best, but it’s home. We then moved from the small town we lived in outside of Calgary, back to the big city. The street freak project is gone, the '59 Ford has been replaced by a '63 Dart wagon and a pile of A rpu parts sits in place of the pile of T coupr parts. The ensuing move, kitchen reno, garage makeover, blah blah consume the next two years. So, fall 2014, work resumes.

    The car

    Pontiacs in Canada prior to whatever year the automakers stopped building cars I give a shit about, were different than their American counterparts. Vastly different in many cases. Tri five era Canadian Ponchos were mechanically Chevys, frame, powertrains, most everything, and had corresponding shorter front sheetmetal to fit on the shorter Chevy wheelbase. They also had many other differences, from US Pontiacs as well as Chevys. Many of which, I’m still learning about as I go. But I've gotten great info here;http://canadianponcho.activeboard.com/index.spark. They were offered from the factory with either a 261” Chevy 6, yes, a 261 like a truck, or a 283 in either 2 or 4 barrel form. The 283 also had cool “Pontiac” script stamped into the valve covers instead of “Chevrolet”. This car was originally a six with a three-speed. The engine core in the shed turned out to be a 235, so it was sold after I hauled it home. I already had an unassembled 383 cube shortblock, and Don’s pile of stuff yielded a 700R4 that I had built with some stouter internals. Except it wasn’t a 700, it’s a 4L60E, so now I have a controller I have to hide, but no biggee, apart from paying for the aforementioned controller. It’s painted an ’08 Dodge truck color, along with what I believe to be a stock Pontiac light blue spear/roof. The joker that did the body buggered up some stuff, and didn’t do a terrific job of the body or paintwork, but it’s presentable, and I’m in the process of un-buggering what I can without tearing it apart. My wife and I just want to drive it at this point, although I really enjoy the assembly process. It’s the best time to address all the lights and locks and little shit that never gets tended to on a driver.

    More to follow, like the now part
     

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    Last edited: Mar 7, 2015
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  2. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
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  3. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

  4. Real nice story.I like the mid 50's Pontiacs,good looking 57.Mo pics.
     
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  5. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
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  6. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
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    brad2v
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  7. nice....keep plugging along.....
     
  8. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
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    I've got a bunch of updates to post, just need an hour of spare time to get it up on here.
     
  9. hwscowboy
    Joined: Dec 31, 2007
    Posts: 16

    hwscowboy
    Member

    nice 57,i own three Canadian Pontiacs, a54 laurentian 4 door,that I have driven for about three years after a year of making it roadworthy again.Now I started doing the rear lower quarters,and rockers.Also a 49 special6 notchback sedan that I repainted last spring so now onto reassembly.Finally a 59 stratochief wagon that is a someday project.
     
  10. Great cars but I may be a little biased..........389-muncie 4 speed 57Ponchoonstreet.jpg
     
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  11. donno
    Joined: Feb 28, 2015
    Posts: 327

    donno
    Member

    Nice Pontiac and very interesting about the differences. My girlfriends Daily is a 57 Starchief drop top, ZZ4 / 700r4.
     
  12. oldrelics
    Joined: Apr 7, 2008
    Posts: 1,729

    oldrelics
    Member
    from Calgary

    Nice, keep on it! Hope to see it out at the shows/cruise nites this summer!
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2015
  13. Looks great, the chrome really pops with the blue.
     
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  14. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
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    Thanks guys, oldrelics, I hope so too, and Jeff, that might be the best thing the painter did was talk me into the color change. So, that all said, I'll try to get this updated a bit. The first order of business to take care of was to unload all the parts that were stored inside it from it's move. Then, install all the body mounts and get them shimmed properly, which the body guy had neglected to do :confused:, despite being told that I had only fired 6 of 'em in to bring it home, and giving him the box full of the remainders. My wife helped with this, and questioned why I thought working on old cars was "fun". I guess jacking up a side of a car, installing mounts, dropping it down, tightening bolts, repeating on the other side, and then undoing all the bolts and shimming mounts wasn't the best intro into working on cars. She hasn't been back out since, to work anyway. After that was completed, I reinstalled the rear bumper, somewhere around 16 times. It just wouldn't line up, I finally disassembled the 3 piece bumper, and reinstalled the pieces individually onto the brackets, it's pretty good now. I ordered repro wiring harnesses through Danchuk Manufacturing, a tri-five Chevy parts outfit. More differences were discovered installing the rear lighting harness, but I was able to modify it by robbing the sockets off of the remains of the car's original wiring. Further up the line, the headlight switch is different between a Chevy and a Poncho, as is the heater switch, but the Chevy light switch fits like a damn, and I think I can modify the Chevy heater fan switch to fit. The dash harness isn't in yet, as the dash has kind of spiraled into a project all it's own, or maybe 3 or 4 separate mini projects. The trunk got shot with GM trunk paint, which I realize isn't stock for the car, but it really cleaned it up back there. pontiac0215 019_opt.jpg
     
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  15. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
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    As mentioned, the dash became a project on it's own, as did the steering column. I've had the column in and out a bunch of times, trying to get it to shift. I was lucky enough to score the proper auto column shift pieces on the Canadian Poncho site, and I am using a CPP column kit that is shortened to accommodate for the ps box. I still have yet to gain the necessary clearance for the shift collar above the rag joint. Pontiac 030715 007_opt.jpg
     
  16. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
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    I have another thread going regarding the column shift question, and hopefully I get it figured out. If all else fails, it'll get a floorshift. While under the dash, I decided to pull the heater housing so I could paint it, as it got covered in overspray (must have been too much work to mask off for the lazy fucker doing the body). Then of course, once that was out, I could see the wiper transmission cables weren't around the drums properly. While attempting to route the cables, I determined the motor wasn't moving. and the left side air vent door was also not seized up. Here we go...
     
  17. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
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    So, off came the wiper motor. It's the standard vacuum unit, which I have no background in at all. My '59 Ford had one, and it worked pretty good, so I was never in it. I did a little research here, and found this http://www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/threads/school-me-on-vacuum-wipers.957815/. This is where this sort of turns into a diary of a madman, which would have been the thread title, but I was afraid Sharon Osbourne's lawyers would be on my front porch if I had, lol. I took it apart and turned this pontiac0215 006_opt.jpg
    Into this Pontiac 030515 003_opt.jpg
     
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  18. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
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    For those interested, I will post a breakdown of the wiper motor rebuild on the thread I mentioned, to make it easier for everyone to find vacuum motor info, since it's pretty generic.
     
  19. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
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    I determined the left side air vent problem to be with the inlet door itself being sort of cocked in the opening. I removed it to determine the problem, and it seemed to be the pins at the top and bottom were rusted stuck, one of which is on a spring to allow for installation. It's a three piece door, two plates sandwiching a rubber gasket that acts as the perimeter seal for the door. The rubber was pretty rough, so I carefully drilled out the rivets, and split the door apart. I also made sure to take some orientation pics so I could put them back together properly. If there is any single great adavancement of the modern age, it's gotta be digital pics, it makes it so easy to document how something is assembled. Pontiac 030515 005_opt.jpg Pontiac 030515 007_opt.jpg Pontiac 030515 008_opt.jpg Pontiac 030515 014_opt.jpg The metal door halves were pretty scaly on the inside, so I cleaned 'em up on the wire wheel, to find that there wasn't a bunch of metal under the rust. I have a pal that has access to a waterjet, so he's gonna cut me some new plates, I could fab these fairly easily at home, but the opportunity was there, so we'll see how they turn out. I've never had anything water jetted before.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2015
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  20. John T Conover
    Joined: Nov 9, 2010
    Posts: 92

    John T Conover
    Member
    from US

    ...283 horsepower Power Chief Fuel Injection V8 engine...
     

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  21. I thing it really looks good as a daily driver.I love the blue .good job.Bruce.
     
  22. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
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    Cool ad John. Yes Bruce, it's gonna get the wheels driven off it.
     
  23. Very cool!
    I was wondering what the story to the avatar car was, and why I hadn't
    seen it on the road.
    You will really enjoy this car when it's rolling.
     
  24. PKap
    Joined: Jan 5, 2011
    Posts: 593

    PKap
    Member
    from Alberta

    Looks like a nice driver. Helping a friends 16 y old son finish up his 59 del ray 4 dr, these cars are growing on me. Maybe see yours at Red Deer this summer?


    Posted using the Full Custom H.A.M.B. App!
     
  25. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 21,660

    Jalopy Joker
    Member

    Wow - "nothing is easy" - you are doing good.
     
  26. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    One more update, and I think I've got this to real time. I had installed a set of repop ram's horn manifolds three years ago, before we moved. The left side was extremely close to the steering box, even after loosening the engine and trans mounts and getting them as far to right as I could. Close, like maybe 1/16". So, out they came, and I installed a set of Patriot mid-length headers. Tons of room. Pontiac 031515 007_opt.jpg Pontiac 031515 008_opt.jpg
     
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  27. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
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    brad2v
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    Oh yeah, PKap, is Super Run in Red Deer this year? That'd be a good target for me.
     
  28. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
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    I've got the wiper transmission cables routed properly now, but I noticed the driver's side cable ain't in great shape, so it looks like I get to try to find tiny cable ferrules. And then, assemble them, aaagghh! I also pulled the cable that operates the driver's side vent door out, as it wasn't moving very well. Naturally, that snowballed into both sides and the dash bracket for them coming off, cuz the bracket looked like this; Pontiac 031515 019_opt.jpg
     
  29. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
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    A round of penetrating fluid, and then some dry lube, and the cable is working like a damn. And, a great opportunity to polish up the knobs, the access is never going to be better. Pontiac 031515 021_opt.jpg Pontiac 031515 022_opt.jpg Pontiac 031515 026_opt.jpg
     
  30. brad2v
    Joined: Jun 29, 2009
    Posts: 1,556

    brad2v
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    The passenger side vent by the way, is in considerably better condition than the driver's side was, so it is remaining in place. Still waiting on my replacement pieces for the driver's side, but it's being done as a favor, so in the time honored service credo, cheap, fast, or good, pick two. I'm getting it cheap, and good, so I wait patiently. I have lots of other stuff to look after. Pontiac 031515 029_opt.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2015

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