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Just $650: Chopped Pontiac Chieftain Project


The listing for this Pontiact Cheiftain wagon could either make you laugh or make you cringe, depending on your emotional connections to this model. You see, someone has already started the “chopping” process and it’s unlikely to ever return to its original form. The question is, for $650 and listed here on craigslist, is it worth continuing to customize or just pillaging it for parts?


I guess that depends on your feelings on chopping. The lower roof profile on this once-proud wagon does look pretty slick, but you can see the hard work of welding in new pillars has yet to occur. In fact, it looks as if a previous owner simply cut out the floors and lowered the roof before work stopped completely. The seller lists a set of pros and cons that are not to be taken seriously, unless you’ve been hunting for stalled chop project.


Well, at least the bracing is in place to ensure this chopped Chieftain doesn’t collapse in on itself. There’s got to be a lethal combination of alcohol and other substances that gives you the confidence to eliminate a vehicle’s structural integrity and then proceed to attempt to re-fortify what the factory did in the name of safe operation, but I suppose chopping has been happening for enough years at this point that the steps involved are well-documented.


Hey, look at that – a clean, original dashboard! That and the tailgate panel appear to be the only clues as to how grand this Chieftain once was, but then again, maybe this car was a rust bucket and chopping it was the one path to survival if a full-scale restoration wasn’t in the budget. What do you think – can this Chieftain be saved? Should the chop continue? Or is it off to the scrap pile for this stalled project?


  1. moosie Craig

    A good portion of the “hard work” has been done, an Art Morrrison frame, BB Chevy, O/D automatic, all the current amenities, and just cruise, cruise, CRUISE , you’d need skills beyond normal back yard capabilities but you’d have an awesome car, oh yeah, very deep pockets, after all ya cant take it with ya.

    Like 0
    • Steve hagebusch

      Thats the problem with every one who sees a car sittin with no motor n tranny……hey idiots its a poncho stop throwin boat anchor chevy motors n crappy ls’s in em if u want a throw a chevy n it go buy some run of the mill chevy like every one else pontiac people are tru to the cars cross breeding is bs if u cant afford to put back in it what it came out with at least the same company you have ruined it and only turned it in to a BETTER lookin chevy cuz either your too lazy or too broke to put a pontiac back in a pontiac…..dont have to be the straight 8 it prob came with….throw a 326 out of a lemans/tempest n cruise it…..so past tired of non pontiac peoples first words are throw a chevy in it…….i turned down a 54 2 dr cheiftan cuz da idiot drove it home from the original owners pulled the straight 8 out n shoved n a 305 ruined it……i dont get why people ruin cars like that….the chops cool for sure but NO chevy or “corporate” engine should go in a pontiac……KEEP PONTIACS ALL PONTIAC……

      Like 1
  2. Joe Haska

    NO! Not only it can’t, why would you try to save it.

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  3. Jon

    a lot worse have been saved…

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  4. jcs

    Love it! No engine, no tranny, no rear end, no frame no axles, no radiator. BUT…”ran when parked”. You mean it doesn’t now?

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  5. RicK

    good luck with that one

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  6. John Wallace

    So different and so cool. Deep pockets and craftsman skills will help

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  7. Bobsmyuncle

    Very cool lines now I like it a lot!

    I know only a very little bit about chopping, but I’m a bit baffled by how they chose to handle the ‘B’ and ‘C’ pillars.

    Regardless this type of roof and chop is the easiest and they’ve properly braced the car from shifting so it should be very easy to finish.

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    • Jim

      I agree about the way the pillars were cut but I’ve found if you ask 20 guys(or gals) who’ve performed chops you’ll get 19 different “correct” ways it should be performed. I wouldn’t do the job without a hidden style cage in the car, the older cars had questionably styled pillars to begin with and cutting and re-welding leaves weak spots. On the outside chance the car rolled the cage would give protection but that’s my way.

      Like 0
  8. John

    rat rodder’s delight,

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  9. Jim

    I’ve worked on a few chops, the bracing looks good, I suppose the owner ran out of funds or the wife realized how long it would be until she saw hubby again and didn’t want to raise the kids alone! For someone with the metalworking talents it could be a nice cruiser and you’d be the only one at the shows. The floorpans and bracing are the same as Chevy, cool dashboard.

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  10. steve m

    I almost never say this, but send it to the heap. Remove what you can for another restoration and send this poor girl to bed. Sad

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  11. Brad C

    Maybe keep that sawzall warmed up and turn it into a 9-passenger convertible. I love wagons, but I’m pretty sure this one’s best days are behind it.

    On the other hand… if this were a 53/54 Chrysler wagon I’d pay that much just for the tailgate; mine’s rusted and repairing it will cost 2 or 3 times that much.

    Like 0
  12. curt

    It’s a 1954…no one has mentioned that

    Like 0

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