Live Auctions

Parts Or Restore? 1955 Pontiac Chieftan

Every time I spy a pink and white car I think of two things, it must be from the ’50s and Good & Plenty, the pink and white coated licorice candy. The association is so real that I had to research G&P’s origins which I learned date to 1893 – so no, they weren’t a ’50s product though the Choo-Choo Charlie TV ads, a dentist’s best friend, did originate in that decade. I guess the pink and white auto finish combo, such as what this 1955 Pontiac Chieftan is wearing, was just a popular sign of the times – kind like “brown” in the ’70s. This Chieftan is looking a bit like it’s been demoted to a brave so let’s see what’s going on here. It’s located in Hudson, Colorado and is available, here on craigslist for $4,900. Mark_K is responsible for this discovery, thanks, Mark!

Looking more like a parts car than something recoverable, this Chieftan is missing enough parts and trim that makes identification difficult, it’s either an 870 or 860 series Cheiftan – which I’m not sure. The missing “miscellaneous” parts are all claimed to be there but I wonder about those that are not considered miscellaneous. As stated, the floors are solid, and that appears to be the case, but the body is revealing evidence of rot.

Back to that interior for a minute, it’s gutted, completely! There are no seats, no dash, only a partial instrument panel, no door panels, no steering wheel and column, no nuffin’. There is one image included that does show the rear seat and the side upholstery panels but nothing more is said about those components other than there is no front seat – if interested, a further inquiry will be necessary. And while the floors do look pretty good, the interior is not totally rust-free as there is at least one rotted-through hole spotted in the channel between the floor and rear side structure.

The interior is not the only thing that’s been gutted, the first year 180 gross HP, 287 CI “Strato-Streak” V8 and its Hydramatic automatic three-speed manual transmission are among the missing too. Judging from the engine compartment’s appearance, they’ve probably been gone for many moons.

While an inside trunk image does display some parts, there appear to be many that have been poached from this forlorn Poncho and probably reassigned to other Chieftans. So, would it be possible to turn this two-door sedan back into something both useable and presentable? Sure, with enough time, and of course money, pretty much anything can be accomplished. But would you want to, that’s the question. The price seems stiff for what’s here, and then a ton of dinero would have to be invested. The flip side of the value proposition is again, the cost, it’s pretty expensive for strictly parts harvesting – its future role in this world is not evident. That being the case, what would you do, if anything, with this ’55 Pontiac Chieftan and its solid floors?


  1. Vance

    This Pontiac has too many positives that should insure it’s restoration, it has good bones if you will. Seeing people pay top dollar for rusted out hulks, this should should definitely be saved. This Chieftain is a clean slate, from the photos, the person who buys this car see that you could have a nice ride. I like Tri-five Chevies, but they are a dime a dozen. Pontiac, Buick, and Oldsmobile’s garner my attention. A DIY could drop in a crate 350, pick their own interior, and find the rest. I am sure the price is negotiable, especially when one sees rusted Mopar ‘s are sold for 10k or more. No, it’s not a Charger, Mustang, or Camaro, but it is a Chieftain that deserves to be saved.

    Like 16
  2. local_sheriff

    The Hydramatic isn’t MIA here – ‘cuz this specimen never had one! This was born as a manual car, it’s even mentioned in the ad.

    Definately unusual to find such a stripper mid50s Pontiac still around and this body simply looks too good to use it for parts only. Considering this one never will be a ‘sensible’ vehicle for an all out resto I’m thinking it could’ve been a cool starting point for a period looking gasser project with a newer + larger Pontiac mill coupled to a 4spd 😏

    Like 8
    • Jim ODonnell Staff



  3. gaspumpchas

    All good ideas, guys, amazingly clean; Colorado climate is gentle on the sheet metal for the most part. Shame to see it all stripped out; if you had a rotten one like the parts it would come back nicely. Think the asking price is a little steep for what you are getting. Good luck and happy motoring!

    Like 2
  4. Jerry Bramlett

    I’m skeptical of the claim “all miscellaneous parts are there except front seat”. If he’s referring to just the parts in the trunk, I doubt he can come close to honoring that claim. And all the fasteners necessary to put it together? You might have to buy another car to get all the missing hard-to-find stuff like window crank mechanisms and dash parts.

    Like 3
    • local_sheriff

      I’m thinking there are many parts missing too – however anyone who are familiar with these Pontiacs here on BF know whether door internals, ‘invisible’ parts etc are shared with Chev…? Because after all it’s the basic body shell as a 2door post Chev right…?

      Like 4
  5. MrF


    • Jim ODonnell Staff

      That’s fixed too.


  6. 455RAIV

    First year for the 287 Pontiac V8 Which over the years using the same Block Grew to the 455 between that you had the 421-SD 421HO – RAII 400 – RA IV 400 – 428 HO – 455HO SD-455 – W72 4OO etc. Anyone of these would be great in this 55 Pontiac :)

    Like 3
  7. TerryJ

    IT’S NOT PINK. IT’S CANYON CORAL !!! That’s what I said over and over to folks who disparaged my ’57 Chev 2 door 210 wagon. Finally it was time for a new paint job and guess what I painted it? Yup. Canyon Coral. Grew on me I guess. :-) Terry J

    Like 3
    • Chuck Dickinson

      Canyon Coral was a 57 color. It was not used in 55 on Pontiacs. This car is Corsair Tan/White.

      • TerryJ

        IT’S NOT PINK. IT’S CORSAIR TAN !!! Terry J

        Like 1
  8. peter havriluk

    What a lovely start to a unique big-bucks (gotta be, considering what ain’t there!) resto-mod. Nobody’s going to be seeing two of these at cars&coffee! I suspect that the weight of project wouldn’t be outrageous, the lowline Pontiacs were structurally disguised Chevrolets anyway.

    Like 4
  9. Gary

    This would be a perfect gasser or high end resto mod/ pro tourer. It is to good to cut up or just scrap. Think of it as a shiny Falfa 55 Chevy with a 455 or 392 Hemi hot rod/gasser or a slammed LS/auto pro tourer, either would be fantastic.

    Like 2
  10. Naptown mark

    As has been said, too nice to let it go, but not enough left for a restoration.

    Pink and silver, steelies with caps and rings, suspension drop, OHC Pontiac Sprint 6, ‘glide or th350.

    Windows down, headlamps off, never topping 25 mph while doing the loop downtown on a Friday night, seeing and being seen.

  11. Wayne

    455RAIV, Yes the original engine was the basis for the newer generation (1965 and up) But many parts do not swap. The bell housing is a different bolt pattern and the intakes are different on the 1955-1958 engines. (although with a head swap to match it works.)

    • 455RAIV

      55-79 Pontiac V8 287-455 Same Block Design – Complete engines will Bolt right in With adapters etc. ie. a 57 Pontiac Wagon was just done with one of those 287-455 Pontiac V8’s I Mentioned :)

  12. Foster Busby Member

    Dechrome, flat black, GTO 389 w/deuces, 5-speed, Vintage Air, Heidt’s suspension, and RIDE!!!

    Like 1
    • 455RAIV

      Perfect Foster > Pontiac V8 Power :)

  13. Bob Mck Member

    I have a set of wheel covers for it.

    Like 1

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