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New Project: 54 Pontiac Chieftain, "Viola"

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Skankin' Rat Fink, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. Hey everyone. A couple weeks ago now, I picked up my new project-- 1954 Pontiac Chieftain Deluxe with 46,000 miles on the straight-eight motor. Just this weekend I sold off my F-100 to a fellow HAMBer so I've started work now. :D

    photo 01.jpg
    photo 02.jpg
    photo 03.jpg
    photo 04.jpg

    Her name is Viola. She's named after the lady who bought her brand new and drove her for almost 50 years. I'm amazed by how original the car is and how pretty much everything still works. The car was registered and driving, but after having a look at the brakes, it's getting all new wheel cylinders and shoes. A couple of Queens kids with a fistful of rocks broke the windshield and all the left-side glass. The rear window was spared.

    photo 05.jpg

    Besides those repairs, my plans for the car are pretty mild, at least for now ... lowering blocks, dropped uprights, and maybe even saving the original paint. The car's got lots of chrome on it, including all the optional bumper guards, so I'm thinking maybe a bit of a "bomb" style ... curb feelers, sun visor, etc. And I think I've made my mind up on Firestone blackwall bias-plies.
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
    chop job and kiwijeff like this.
  2. 177 views to date, and I guess no one has anything nice to say. :eek: But let's continue.

    I've been driving this car everywhere, enjoying it, and doing repair work here and there. I've decided I'm gonna make a mild kustom out of it. The "bomb" idea is out the window.

    First rule of kustoms: Take stuff off. Don't bolt stuff on.


    Today's project: front bumper guard, gone. This grille is too pretty to hide.
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  3. rztrike
    Joined: Apr 20, 2009
    Posts: 149


    Nice find. Thats the way I love to find the old gems. Original owner and lots of memories. Now its time to make your own and enjoy
  4. Second rule of kustoms: Stance is everything.



    3" drop blocks installed. I was planning on cutting a little off the front coils to get just the right stance, but it turns out their natural sag was just about perfect. It looks like Mother Nature already pulled the front end down about 2", maybe a little more. The car has the perfect slight tail dragger stance I was looking for. I'm not even going to do anything more to the front end until I can notch the frame and lower the rear more.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016

  5. Damelot85
    Joined: Aug 29, 2009
    Posts: 65


    Just the way I like it, 4 doors and simple.:)
  6. 64LeSabre455
    Joined: Dec 29, 2007
    Posts: 779

    from Adkins, Tx

    Looks like a pretty clean car, lookin forward to more progress updates.
    How is the interior? Any plans for it?
  7. xmlc216x
    Joined: Oct 5, 2007
    Posts: 488

    from MS

    Lookin good man!
  8. R Pope
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 3,309

    R Pope

    Nice Poncho! Mild custom is the way to go, all right. Find a finned head for the ironing-board Eight or mill it and maybe dual carbs and a split manifold.
    Is my mind going away, or do I recall those Eights having two short heads?
  9. R Pope
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 3,309

    R Pope

    Oh, and I love the 'Cuda too!
  10. The interior's great. I got the car with covers on the seats, and a receipt for them dated 8 days after the car was sold. The front cover is off now because it was torn, and because I needed to get seatbelts through the back of it. A couple of stains, but all the fabric & seams are good. The back seat is still covered. I haven't decided yet if I'm going to cover the seats in white tuck & roll, or just clear vinyl, to show off the good original upholstery. The door panels are as good as the seats, and the headliner is perfect.



    ^^^ You can see the front cover still in place here.

    My plans are for a pretty mild kustom ... lowered a couple inches more, if I can, while keeping it driveable. Shaved door handles (all four!), shaved antenna, shaved quarter panel emblems.

    First order of business is these ... these are in the mail already :D


    This is the color I'm planning on painting the car.


    I want to paint the roof silver and let my friend do some scallops and/or lace up there.

    Thanks. The straight eight actually just has one really long head. Unfortunately, making that motor go fast is a real expensive proposition. :eek: When I rebuild it eventually, I have dreams of running a centrifugal supercharger on it, most likely blowing through a homemade dual-carb manifold.

    And the 'Cuda belongs to little bro ... you should see the mark he left on it with the guard rail ... :rolleyes:
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  11. Brandy
    Joined: Dec 23, 2004
    Posts: 5,286

    from Texas

    It's beautiful, I'd of gone bomb, but that's because everybody does a custom.

    Just don't pluck that Chiefs headdress. =o)

    Sent from my iPhone using TJJ
  12. robleticia
    Joined: Oct 15, 2007
    Posts: 2,497


    Really cool car! Cant wait to see what all you do to it!
  13. That should make a fine cruiser! I hope the "punks" who vandalized this classic survivor were prosecuted!
  14. revray
    Joined: Jun 11, 2010
    Posts: 39


    Got me a 54 cheiftain as well, can't wait to see the progress!
  15. Aushotrods
    Joined: Jun 19, 2003
    Posts: 619


    a clubmate has just finished his mild kustom ponch, looks pretty damn cool hey!
  16. KustomRocket88
    Joined: Dec 12, 2009
    Posts: 291


    What are those port holes off of on the lower fenders?? Or are they kustom made?
  17. They look custom to me, but then again, I don't know anything about that car. I found it in a Google image search.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  18. volksjunky
    Joined: Oct 23, 2007
    Posts: 213


    I would kill for your interior, mine is pretty gone on my 53 ...
  19. For what I paid for the car, I really can't complain. :D

    Latest Photoshop mockups:
    I based these on photos of a car owned by another HAMBer ... can't remember the username now :confused:

    Viola Colors.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  20. 42 chevy
    Joined: Nov 1, 2006
    Posts: 623

    42 chevy

    Nice car! That interior is very good, looking great.
  21. tons of potential...nice ride
  22. missedmyexit
    Joined: Apr 13, 2010
    Posts: 101


    Looks like a solid car. Keep the progress pics coming! I have a 53 2 door deluxe that has not seen the sun in 15 years. Nice to see others out there!
  23. castleman1111
    Joined: Nov 2, 2010
    Posts: 105


    keep goin bro...i have a 53 custom catalina...awesome body lines...
  24. No real changes to the car, all I've been doing is trying to keep it clean as I drive through the winter. :)


    This is a photoshop mockup I whipped up a little while ago ... 55 Ford Fairlane headlight bezels. I'm thinking of doing it, I think it looks pretty unique.

    55 Ford headlights.jpg
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  25. rodl
    Joined: Jan 14, 2011
    Posts: 255


    Hi Guys, I'm pretty new to the hamb - what's it mean to go bomb?
  26. A "bomb" is essentially an early lowrider style. Bombs don't have the wild paint work of the lowriders that most people are familiar with. The cars often look very close to stock, but real low, and often adorned with as many factory accessories as possible, plus fog lights, TV antennas, passing-eye mirrors ... etc.
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2016
  27. judd55
    Joined: Sep 13, 2009
    Posts: 101

    from B.C.

    Damn I liked that front Bumper guard................Oh well, Nice Score though, love the stance and that Dark Green should look killer !!!


    The Fairlane bezel idea works as well .............

    Last edited: Mar 3, 2011
  28. swissmike
    Joined: Oct 22, 2003
    Posts: 1,297


    So I looked through 2 pages of car pictures - WHERE IS THE DAMN VIOLA?

    nice car, btw
  29. Wagonmaster2
    Joined: Aug 18, 2010
    Posts: 333


    On my '53 Poncho from decades ago, I found that '60 chevy tailights fit the stock bezels pretty easily, and I swapped to a chevy trunk lid to get rid of the huge backup lights and that cleaned it up very well. Removed the trim off of the hood and put a scoop there that looked kinda cool, but don't remember what it came off of. I'm thinking we used Olds headlight bezels on the '53 as well with a '51 or '52 Plymoutn grille center section. Heated the front coils and spilt the exhaust just behind the manifold, but the straight 8 wasn't very loud, even with glass packs onit.
    Good luck with yours!!
    The only pic I have of it is when it was new and I was a kid with my trusty dog!

    Attached Files:

    Skankin' Rat Fink likes this.
  30. VonDad
    Joined: Apr 17, 2001
    Posts: 228


    Your car looks great. I got stupid when I was young. I had a 54 Cheiftan 2 door and got mad at the straight 8 when it wouldn't start in the winter. The 6 volt wouldn't spin it enough to catch. That and the damn thing would vapor lock after it warmed up and ran for 10 minutes.

    But I was young and didn't know anything about cars and sold the sucker for (don't cry) $85 in 1976. I'd give more than that to have it back. But the guy I sold it to put in a small block, changed it to 12V and still has it. So not all bad.

    They are great cars. The one I had would run 80 all day and just sing. Only had about 40 thou I think when I sold it... Sorry I kick myself at least once a month every time I think of how I let it get away..


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