Foose Paint Job: 1933 Pontiac 5 Window Coupe

The “Pontiac” was actually a model introduced by Oakland, which was part of GM, in 1926. Pontiac proved so popular that Oakland was absorbed into the Pontiac division by 1932. Meanwhile, a young man named Harley Earl was working with GM at the time. His crew, including Frank Hershey – Father of the Thunderbird – set to designing a more aerodynamic body for the upcoming Pontiacs. The result was a complete departure from earlier generation Pontiacs. The dash panel was made to mimic the instrument panel of an airplane. The grill was a deep “V” on a slant. The car received a chrome strip on its hood – the beginnings of the famous “silver streak” employed with extravagance after 1935. The 1933 Pontiacs also benefited from the company’s first straight 8 engine. Here on eBay is a rare 1933 Pontiac 5 Window Coupe, bid to $26,900, reserve not met. The car is located in Grafton, North Dakota.

The seller has owned this car since 1980 and indicates that it was painted by Sam Foose – Chip Foose’s father. It is a twin side-mount, meaning it carries spares on both sides of the engine compartment; this feature and the 5 window coupe body style are quite rare. This was the first year GM introduced vent windows, originally called “no draft individually controlled ventilation”, later shortened to “ventiplanes”. The seller says the car has won many trophies over the years and is now driven around the neighborhood to keep it in working order. This photo shows off the “V” grille.

The straight 8 engine was billed as the longest straight 8 with comparable horsepower – about 77 bhp – of its time. The motor was paired with a single Carter carburetor and a manual transmission. A bit of attention under the hood would steer this car towards show-worthiness once again. This photo isn’t in the eBay listing; I asked for it and the owner kindly supplied it.

The interior was finished in mohair by a Ford master upholsterer. Other than soiled carpets, it’s in fine condition. The dash is simple and to the point. The odometer reads 46,880, with no indication of whether that’s original mileage or not. This is a beautiful example of a 1930s car with rare features in fine condition. Documentation of work completed, its show record and books and manuals can add value here. While cars from the 1930s are encountering declining interest lately, this one is so stylish that perhaps it can rise above the trend – what do you think?


  1. Gregory Cunningham


  2. Captain RD

    ended and removed

  3. Bud Lee

    Sometimes a car just ask me to stare at it . This car is commanding I stare at it .

    Like 17
    • Michelle Rand Staff

      I agree, I thought it was elegant. There are 3 window versions out there, but the 5 window is special.

      Like 13
  4. RIX260

    What a beautiful car. Built when carlines each had their own distinctive look unlike today’s cars that all look the same. My Dad had a ‘29 Pontiac 3 window coupe and when he took my mother and I out for a ride, I sat in the rumble seat. Those were the days!

    Like 2
  5. jim

    I had one once straight 8 boy would it suck down the fuel terrible fuel mileage. Maybe just park it in the yard to look at

  6. Lou Rugani

    My parents’ first car. Dad said it was hard to start both cold and hot. Interestingly, Dad bought his last car, a ’73 Mazda RX-3, from the very same salesman.

    Like 5
  7. Glenn Schwass Member

    They were called ” Ventipanes” on my 57 Chevy, not ventiplanes…That is one really neat car. I love the straight 8’s…

    Like 4
  8. Larry Ellis

    It would go nice beside my restored 1923 Olds. Screenside, but I can’t afford $24,000 for it. I might be open to listening to a lower price.

    Like 1
  9. John M.Stecz

    Nice to see this car in its original and un molested condition

    Like 3
  10. PeterfromOz

    Note the water outlet from the radiator is half way up the side and not from the top. Never seen that before.

    • Norm

      Cross flow radiator is the first I’ve seen on that old a car.

  11. Bob McK Member

    Stunning! I bet the new owner is very happy.

    Like 1

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