Big Block Equipped: 1969 Pontiac Custom S Hardtop

The Pontiac Custom S was a model that the manufacturer offered for only one model year, and it was available in a number of different body configurations. This Custom S Hardtop is a solid looking vehicle that could be driven and enjoyed as it is, or the next owner might choose to undertake a refurbishment of the car. I really have to thank Barn Finder local_sheriff for referring the Pontiac to us. It is located in Roseburg, Oregon, and is listed for sale here on eBay. The owner has set a BIN of $8,500 for the Pontiac, and there are currently 18 people who are watching the listing.

The owner states that the Pontiac is wearing its original Cameo Ivory paint and that the car is also rust-free. The limited photos certainly paint a fairly positive picture, with the rockers, lower quarter panels, and the area around the rear windows all looking nice and clean. There are a few minor dings and dents on the body, with the worst of these being confined to the passenger side quarter panel. The exterior trim and the glass look to be in really good condition. The wheels fitted to the car are factory Pontiac 15″ wheels from a Firebird, and I’m not convinced that they really suit the car, but that is a matter of personal preference. You might be sitting there and thinking that they look perfect on the Custom S. It is these sort of diverse opinions that makes the classic car scene so interesting.

The blue interior of the Custom S is going to require its share of restoration work, but not only is it complete, but it is conceivable that it could be used as it is. The front seat will need a new cover because the original one is pretty badly shredded. We can’t see the rear seat or headliner, so their condition is unknown. The carpet on the driver’s side is showing some wear, while the dash pad is cracked, and both front armrests are also looking pretty tatty. There is an aftermarket temperature gauge hanging under the dash, but the rest of the interior looks to be original and unmolested, and even features factory air conditioning. I would be inclined to leave the temperature gauge where it is, although I might also be inclined to mount it a bit better than it currently is. So really, there isn’t a huge amount to do inside the car.

Things under the hood of this Pontiac are anything but original. What we find lurking in the engine bay is a 455ci V8, while the power from this is sent to a Posi rear end via an automatic transmission. The Pontiac is also fitted with power brakes, but I can’t tell whether it features power steering. Given the fact that the biggest engine that would’ve originally occupied the engine bay was a 350, this engine represents a considerable upgrade. The engine bay looks fairly clean and tidy, and while he isn’t particularly specific about the condition of the drive-train, the owner does refer to the car as “fast.” Well, no real surprises there.

With the mechanical upgrades that have been performed on this Pontiac Custom S, the owner has really transformed the car into a muscle car in everything but name. It represents a potent package, and given the fact that it is no longer an original, numbers-matching vehicle, the next owner can choose how much further they will push the envelope on the car while retaining a clear conscience with regards to originality. Personally, I’d fix up the interior, address the few marks on the body, stick a set of original wheels on it, and drive around in a car that would be a real sleeper. What about you? What would you do?


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  1. TimS Member

    Nice ride. Any interior that’s not black or Headache Red excites me. Wheels don’t work at all but bonus points for at least being Pontiac pieces.

    Like 7
  2. Keith

    Yeah the wheels are not working but the 455 is a bonus!

    Like 5
  3. JOHN Member

    I wish people (especially writers) were a little more educated about this “big block and small block” description of engines. It seems to many that anything that sounds like a big number is a big block. The typical big block chevy is a 396, 427, 454. But… you could get a 400 cubic inch small block. These days 350’s sound big! With Pontiacs, there is no small black/big block from the typical 326 through the 455, they are all basically the same block, they play with bore and stroke combinations. I would bet that 99% of the people wouldn’t know which engine it was by looking at it. I’m sure the other manufacturers have similar stories. I was reading a Hemming’s ad for an early Barracuda that said the original 318 small block was replaced by a 440 big block, pretty much a waste of ad space describing block size. But, this price I believe is very reasonable for what appears to be a solid car! Big block/small block rant over, have a nice day!

    Like 24
    • james boyd

      No thanks to FORD’s ad dept Every 302/5.0 since they started using roller cams or crate engine is a BOSS 302. (making angry sounds) The worst part is hearing a “FORD” person saying it. The only engines i refer to as big block are Chevy. P.S. The 69/70 model years are the only BOSS 302’s.

      Like 3
      • z28th1s

        Incorrect. They also made a Boss 302 in 2012 and 2013.

        Like 2
      • JOHN Member

        I’m with James… 69-70 (I had a 69, long story) are the original and only, other than Ford advertising, Boss 302’s I’m waiting on one of these authors to start using the “animal” terms, mouse, rat, elephant to describe certain motors, that will throw some people off for sure!

        Like 2
      • z28th1s

        The ’69-’70 might be the original but they aren’t the only ones.

        The ’12 and ’13’s used a special version of the Coyote V8 that produced 444 HP (24 more HP than the standard GT motor) and had a 7,500 RPM redline which was about 700 RPM’s higher than the standard GT motor.

        More HP and higher redline than the standard motors is what the ’69-’70 Boss 302 offered. Just because it isn’t almost 50 years old doesn’t mean they didn’t make another Boss 302.

        My uncle has a Calypso Coral ’69 Boss 302 so I’m well aware of the heritage of the older models but the ’12-’13 models were an impressive package that offered awesome 1/4 mile times and excellent handling in the twisties.

        Like 1
      • JOHN Member

        I completely agree Ford DID make a Boss 302 in 12 and 13, just saying the original Boss 302 was the 69-70. The new ones absolutely out-perform the originals, just saying that Ford used it’s past success and brand identity to create the new engine/model. The original Boss 302 was developed to meet the 305 CID displacement mandatory in the original Trans-Am race series. And there is nothing wrong with using the past success. Chevy did the same thing with the Z/28 in later years, Superior cars in every way, but when I hear Z/28 I immediately think of the 67-69 Camaro. I’m old, I graduated high school in 1970, the peak of the muscle car era. It’s all good!!!

        Like 1
  4. 8banger David Mika Member

    What dese guys said.

    Like 3
  5. Robert Sabatini

    Yes…from 326 to 455, all the same block, except I believe the 455’s had larger diameter crank journals. The SD455 is a totally different engine with its reinforced lifter valley, pushrod sleeves, dry sump capabilities and so on.

    Like 10
    • Rick Rothermel

      True, and the extrrior dimensions of the motors are the same. That is what ‘big’ and ‘small’ refer to.

      Like 3
    • Ralph

      421’s have differences too.

      Like 2
  6. Ralph

    Its funny how the 1967 vintage Pontiac Rally II wheels work on a 60’s through 80’s Pontiac, they were still available on the RWD Grand Prix and Firebird into the late 80’s, but the reverse doesn’t work, these 80’s Trans Am wheels don’t work with the 60’s styling.

    Like 5
    • Nick P

      That’s because they were “classic” styling. They never go out of style. I think just about everything from the glam 80’s did.

      Like 2
  7. Robert Sabatini

    Favorite wheels are the Rallye I’s, Snowflakes, and the special Hurst-supplied wheels on some GTO’s!

    Like 4
  8. Genemak

    PMD five spokes, buckets, center console and voi~la, a masterpiece!

    Like 2
    • Ralph

      Since its a Custom S, I’d be temped to do the dog dish and trim ring look.

      Like 5
  9. FordGuy1972 FordGuy1972 Member

    Nice car but pretty bland being all white. I’d be inclined to add some period-style Go-Faster stripes and the wheels would have to go; they’re just too modern looking. Seems like a good price assuming there are no surprises.

    Like 2
    • Ralph

      Some Judge stripes over the fenders in blue would work.

      Like 1
  10. Mood-O

    I have to laugh every time I see an add for a Pontiac with a BIG block!
    Same as the powerglide 2 speed trans in a Buick,Olds or Pontiac…
    No, that would be the SuperTurbine 300 unless it was hooked up to a Chebby 6 cyl. Try putting a Powerglide gasket on the pan when changing out your fluid.
    I know… Nit picker
    I’m a Pontiac guy since birth(1958) rode home from the hospital in a “Canadian” 1955 Pontiac which had Chebby drive trains until 1970, Something about free trade… lol
    Rant over, Nice car for the money though. Ponchos are notorious torque monsters in lower revs
    I have a 64 Lemans convertible that has been modernized from the original 326 2 bbl super 300 lol to a 71 455 HO hooked to a 700R4 and 3.55 Safe-T-Track. Yes, Its not a “posi” another Chebby term..

    Like 5
    • Mark D

      Pontiacs r very cool. This one needs some jewelry it would be a ossom car to own. I have a 70 that I’ve been playing with for 35 years. I’ll never give it up. I think that the styles on the ponchos are better than the Chevy’s. I think that they should have stopped making the Chevy and kept on with the Pontiac.

      Like 5
  11. Troy s

    The only thing I get bothered about with is the term muscle car. This is a garage built hot rod that originally was a kitten compared to the GTO, and all the other factory built speed machines. Great car here and I really like the 455 swap,…hot rods, muscle cars, factory racers or just plain fun cruisers, it’s all good!
    Rims looked stupid back years ago and still do…
    Question, did Chevrolet start using the term small block when the W head 348/409 was offered? Or was it when the Mark IV 396 came out in ’65?? Funny I never really thought of it.

    Like 1
    • JOHN Member

      Troy, my opinion was the term was used when the 396 was born, but I never thought about the W head cars, good question! I’m 67, and the terms small/big block only applied to Chevy engines back in the day. I still like to call them mouse and rat motors to watch their reactions…

      Like 3
      • Troy s

        The mighty mouse engine! Haha, yeah those nicknames are cool, especially calling out a Nova or Camaro as “rat powered”. Just sounds more intimidating as compared to a hot Chevrolet as having a mouse motor.

  12. JoeNYWF64

    I wonder how much heavier a rally II wheel is over the newer pontiac aluminum ones on the car now – same diameter .
    Couple pounds each – maybe?
    That front bumper must weigh twice as much as a chevelle’s.
    Looks good undeneath.
    Hit in back, but bumper did it’s job!
    Looking at the automatic shift quadrant on the steering col, is that a 6 cyl powerglide still in there? Not good behind 455. lol

    • David G

      I noticed that it originally had a powerglide in it, verified by the shift quadrant. Underside photos do reveal that it now has a TH400 transmission.

  13. JOHN Member

    I don’t have any Rally ll’s around, but as a representation, an 87 Grand National steel wheel weighs about 28 lbs, while the reproduction aluminum Grand National wheels are around 17 lbs. And yes, the wheels on this car are totally wrong… sometimes modern designs work, in this case, not at all!

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