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Hello everyone. I'm on the verge, at least I think I am, of purchasing a '57 Pontiac Star Chief. Just wondering if any members here own one?? Thanks.
 

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If you don't get any responses, I would advise you join the PY (Pontiac) forum and post there. I know several guys there have '57 Pontiacs.

Pontiac - Street - PY Online Forums

Best of luck. I have always liked the '57's.
Yes, I am a member there and did some posting with responses. I always try to gather as much info as possible from whatever sources are available, before making any decisions. Thanks.
 

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Yes, I am a member there and did some posting with responses. I always try to gather as much info as possible from whatever sources are available, before making any decisions. Thanks.
What info about the car are you looking for? I had a '57 2Dr Sedan when I was younger with 347CI/Hydramatic. I added a 1956 factory 2x4 intake and a pair of AFB's. Only 1 carb was hooked up. Back in the day you pulled the hood to let all the hot rod guys in the area you had a fast car. I was good at faking them out (like my hot rod primer black, dog dish hub capped, dual corvair turbo exhaust, not a hemi "HEMI" Roadrunner with its transplanted & tired 318CI and automatic - no one would race me, faked 'em all. LOL). My first car was a 1956 Pontiac 4 Dr HT with 316CI/Hydramatic.

The X-member on the '56 rotted through. It had rot in the trunk wheel wells and rear door "dog legs" from salt being thrown up onto the inner wheel wells from the rear tires. The '57 was pretty rotted throughout the floors and why I eventually scrapped it - too much work and not worth saving as back then they were just old junky cars.

Parts will be hard to find or be costly. The front-end does not use ball joints, but a different set-up which back then I had to repair and took a while to locate a replacement pin - no internet or Ebay to access. The torque converter, which is a 2-piece bolted together unit, developed a crack and a shop was able to weld it up. Swapped in a 3-speed on the column into the '56 and had new bearings installed. With some hard shifting/driving, it began to pitch a fit and not shift very well. Learned later that the transmission was not very rugged and had issues. When the clutch cross shafted twisted and broke one day, out came the manual trans and in went the hydramatic. It eventually lost 3rd gear, but it would still shift 1-2-4th and I drove it that way until my brother got into an accident (not his fault) with it and totalled it out.

These cars have drum brakes - and they don't stop very well. Front wheel bearings are of the old ball bearing style. My '57 burned up a front bearing. Took some time to locate one of those as they were long gone off the parts shelves when I needed one.

Vacuum wipers which suck unless you have the electric wiper motor which were found on the higher end cars. When you nailed the gas in the rain, no vacuum got to the wiper motor and your wipers simply stopped right then and there until you let off on the gas. I did locate an electric set-up for my '56 and installed it - much better.

Oil bath air cleaner which kills gas mileage. Installed a paper element and highway cruising back in the day of 55 MPH speed limits got me 18 MPG with the '56.

Tube-type radio. Works great for an AM radio, but always had to wait a couple minutes when turned on for the tubes to warm up before it would play.

My '56 had 2 heaters. One at the firewall and one under the seat to throw heat to the rear passengers.

That said, if it is kept original, like any old car, parts may be difficult to find or become expensive should things break down or wear out. If you hardly drive it and only take it to a local show, you can keep wear down to a minimum. The best way to enjoy a car like this is to do a complete upgrade to the engine, trans, rear-end, and even an updated front sub-frame.

The trunk areas seem to be sore spots. And I would check the car completely over as you would any car - floors, bottom of the fenders, headlight buckets, etc..

Can be a fun car, I like all the chrome, but just know what could lie ahead. This may be one of those times where you want to buy the best condition car you can afford. :thumbsup:
 

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Thank you very much Jim, for taking the time to respond. What I'm looking for is possibly hearing of personal experiences of those that owned or still own a '57 Pontiac. I like to hear their stories and it gives me insight into what I might be getting into. I want to be armed with all info available before I buy anything; if in fact I do. Pontiac's have always been my first love, although my small collection is mostly Chevys. I do have a '71 GTO. My father had a '57 Pontiac when I was in my early teens and I remember it well. I always liked that car, so I would like to buy one. I know it's an emotional connection, but that's ok. I just want to get a good one. One with absolutely no rust. Restored nicely/correctly and all original. Needs little to nothing. Really want a 4d ht. Preferably a Star Chief. Certainly would take a Bonneville. Stock, original drive train; the 4 speed automatic trans. is a must. I basically want to just drive, wax and maintain it. I check the internet almost on a daily basis. There are quite a few '57's out there. I like to see what is available and the asking price. Gives me some direction to go in. If this purchase happens, it will be a want and not a need. I have other cars to drive, so I'm not lacking there. I have a C6 Corvette convertible that I bought brand new and drove 47 miles last year. Pathetic, isn't it?? Then my wife questions whether a I need another car and my answer is of course yes. Getting older and someday I see me having just one car. A '57 Pontiac could be it. I like the body style and it would be easy for me to work on if need be. So, I keep looking. I may have mentioned I found one about 45 minutes from me. Straight. Dent free. Original everything, but loaded with much undercarriage surface rust. So much so, that pieces of a body mount came off in my hands while examining that area. Would have been a good project if I was a young fellow and wanted the challenge and didn't mind expense, but had to walk away. So, I continue to look.
 

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Sounds good - you are in no rush and getting armed with knowledge prior to a possible buy. I would suggest buying a chassis manual which could help you get familiar with the car.

The 347CI and 4-speed hydro was a good pulling combination - plenty enough power and zippy that it was a fun car with the transmissions gear ratios. As I recall on the '56 X-member, it was essentially a thin sheet metal folded over to create it and thus the water/moisture could get in there and cause the rust/rot. Anything from up "north," or even near the coastline (salt air), has to be carefully inspected because of the salt used to melt the snow/ice in winter time. This rotted away cars long before the drivetrain sometimes wore out.

I always liked the '56 4-Dr HT and thought it was "cool" looking with all the windows down and no pillar like a sedan. Ton of room inside a 4-Dr. If you get a 4-Dr HT, inspect the post between the 2 doors which is the support/hinge for the rear door. I had a rusty '57 Caddy that I thought I was going to bring back to life, but was too far gone once I began to really tear into it. Someone had left the rear windows down for years and it rotted the bottom of the doors out although the outside skins looked perfect and the center post also got hit badly with rust and would have been tough to get repaired and cleaned up of all its rust.

Just be patient and hopefully the right one will drop into your lap. :thumbsup:
 

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Thanks Jim. I know about that "B" pillar on 4d ht's. The front door locks to it and the rear door is hinged to it. Alot of pressure and stress. I'm told if any rust within 12" of it, don't walk away, run. Good advice I think.
 

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You are not going to want to hear this.

Pass on it.

Here is why.

1. It is too rare of a car of which there are not alot of resources to source parts from,
2. The car is just not worth as much as you would like it to be to justify paying a premium for parts. simply because it is rare doesnt make it valuable.

Do yourself a favor. Find something unique enough to stand out, but common enough to be able to source parts for, and sought after to keep the value up.

Now if there was a nostalgic reason for it.. then that pretty much trumps all, go ahead and get it. But if there no nostalgic reason.... Pass on it.... Got get a 65 GTO or a 68 Charger.. yeah I know.. But they have a cool shape. It will be my next purchase.


If you do buy it and need a transmission for it, let me know. I have one. I have that torque converter PontiacJim is talking about. It is rare, but not really worth much..
 

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Thanks for your response and input. It is primarily for nostalgic reasons that I would buy a '57 Pontiac. Additionally, I do like the style very much; especially the interior/dashboard. I've done some research and many mechanical parts are available. Body wise, not really sure. Might be a moot point because what ever I would purchase, it all, as in everything, has to be there and restored nicely/correctly/originally. I don't see me buying any parts at all for it. I know the value and demand isn't really there, but I'm not buying it to flip or make money on, if I was to sell it someday. I've never made money on one yet, so why start now lol. I see this car as being the final one I would keep, someday selling off the others. It comes down to being the right one. I'm not going to settle for something. I think I mentioned previously, that it's a want not a need. We'll see where my search and journey takes me. Sure is interesting. I'm learning alot along the way, thanks to members here and elsewhere. Thanks to all.
 

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Hi everyone. I might be closing in on a '57 StarChief, in the initial negotiations, and I'm trying to learn more and be as informed as I can. I'm trying to pick everyone's brain, not only here, but other sites also. My question is about the '57-347 cubic inch-270 hp engine. This would have a 4 barrel carb. I know a tripower setup was also offered as an option. Would anyone know what hp this tripower setup would be?? Other then the tripower, what else was done to the motor to make a hp increase?? There are alot of tripower intakes out there. Would anyone know what years might work on the '57 engine?? I tried to research this myself, but wasn't successful. Many thanks, Nicholas.
 

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We moved and most of my Pontiac reference books are in boxes. Let me look around this weekend for them because I know one or two of them have the info you are asking.
 

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Hi everyone. I might be closing in on a '57 StarChief, in the initial negotiations, and I'm trying to learn more and be as informed as I can. I'm trying to pick everyone's brain, not only here, but other sites also. My question is about the '57-347 cubic inch-270 hp engine. This would have a 4 barrel carb. I know a tripower setup was also offered as an option. Would anyone know what hp this tripower setup would be?? Other then the tripower, what else was done to the motor to make a hp increase?? There are alot of tripower intakes out there. Would anyone know what years might work on the '57 engine?? I tried to research this myself, but wasn't successful. Many thanks, Nicholas.
The Tri-Power was available on the "standard" 10.0 compression 270HP 347CI with Hydra-Matic transmission. The addition of the Tri-Power option increased the HP to 290HP. Was not available on the synchromesh transmission.

The next option was the Tri-Power on the "Extra Horsepower Engine" which was much like the 1956 316CI dual quad 285HP engine. Still 10.0 compression, this was basically a race engine with many different features than the "standard" engine. Horsepower was rated at 317HP. Available on either automatic or standard trans equipped cars.

The "Extra HP Engine" included the "886" cam of 1956, with slightly less duration. Int/Exh Lift .411", Int Duration 283, Exh Duration 293. 114 degree LSA. Valve overlap is 60 degrees.

Tri-Power Intake Part #528786 cast w/o number (528533).

Rochester Tri-Power Carbs - Standard & HP Engine w/Hydra-Matic
Front - #7011351
Center - #7011350
Rear - # 7011352

Rochester Tri-Power Carbs - HP engine with Synchromesh
Front - #7011351
Center - #7011500
Rear - #7011352

Generator was the same on both engines when equipped with the Hydra-matic, Serial No. 1100304, but the HP engine uses a larger pulley to slow it down at higher RPM's. Generator to crank pulley ratio on "standard" engine is 2.47:1 using the 2.875" diameter pulley, while the HP engine is 2.01:1 using the 3.5" diameter pulley.

Generator used on the synchromesh equipped HP engine used generator Serial No. 1100313, with a brush spring tension of 24-32 oz, cold output of 25 Amps @ 14 Volts @ 2750 RPM's, and a Field Circuit Draw of 1.5-1.62 Amps @ 12 Volts @ 80 degrees temp.

Fan Belt used on the "standard" engine have an outside diameter of 56.8". Fan belt used on the HP engines have a larger outside diameter of 57.5".

Timing on "standard" engine is 6 degrees BTDC @ 430-450 RPM's. HP engine is 10 degrees BTDC @ 630-670 RPM's.

Distributor is the same for both engines when equipped with Hydra-Matic. Serial No. 1110871. Centrifugal Advance begins 0-2 degrees @ 650 RPM. Maximum Centrifugal Advance is 24-28 degrees @ 4250 RPM. Vacuum Advance starts @ 6-8 in. of Mercury. Maximum Vacuum Advance is 22 degrees plus/minus 2 degrees.

Distributor used on the HP/Synchromesh engine is a dual-point unit, Serial No. 1110897. Centrifugal Advance is 0-2 degrees @ 800 RPM. Maximum Centrifugal Advance is 18-22 degrees @ 3600 RPM. No Vacuum Advance. Point Tension is 19-23 oz, Condenser Capacity is .18-.23 Mfd., Point Opening is .0125 - .0175 in..

All cars equipped with Tri-Power have the distributor positioned one camshaft tooth counterclockwise from the standard production distributor positipon.

Coil used for engines equipped with Hydra-Matic use Model No. 1115085.

Coil used for HP/Synchromesh engine is Model No. 1115099. Primary Resistance @75 degrees is 1.00-1.16 Ohms, Secondary Resistance @ 75 degrees is 7500-10500 Ohms. Amps with engine stopped is 4.0. Amps with engine idling is 1.8.

The Front & Rear Carbs are activated by a vacuum diaphragm via a vacuum switch mounted on the Center Carb. The choke on the Center Carb has a "lockout rod" that goes to the Rear Carb that keeps both the Front & Rear Carb from opening as long as the Center Carb choke is on. Vacuum is supplied by the vacuum pump (assume at the fuel pump as the fuel pump also supplied vacuum for vacuum wipers).

The HP engine also has special valve covers and crankcase ventilator inlet same as the 1956 engine. Special high RPM hydraulic lifters are used, and higher tension inner & outer valve springs are used without valve shields on the intakes.

Dual exhaust would have been used as well.
 

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Yes Jim, thank you again for your #13 post. Alot of valuable info there. I appreciate your time and effort, Nicholas.
 
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