Return Appearance: 1966 Pontiac Star Chief Executive

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We often feature classic cars at Barn Finds that have recently emerged from hiding, but we never know their fate once the article is a distant memory. However, that isn’t the case with this 1966 Pontiac Star Chief Executive. We first saw this classic in 2018 When a previous owner liberated it from a barn. It has just reappeared and is once again searching for a new home. The seller listed the Pontiac here on Craigslist in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They set their price at $16,000, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Tony P for spotting this return visitor.

The Star Chief had been an integral part of the Pontiac range since the 1954 model year, with the company intending to retire the badge at the end of 1966. They gave it the Star Chief Executive handle for the final year, and 45,212 cars rolled off the line. We previously saw the vehicle in this article in 2018, and it appears to have changed owners at least once since then. Its Marina Turquoise paint still shines nicely, although there are no closeup shots to reveal whether any of the previously identified cosmetic flaws have been addressed. These included developing rust on the front bumper and paint inconsistency on the driver’s side rear quarter panel from a previous accident repair. The seller provides a link to this YouTube video uploaded by a previous owner. It is a little long but gives a comprehensive overview of this classic. There are no signs of rust, and the glass is crystal clear.

In this era of hybrid and zero-emission vehicles, it seems strange to describe any car with a 389ci V8 under the hood as the economy option, but that was how Pontiac marketed this 1966 Star Chief Executive. The engine inhales through a 2-barrel carburetor to produce 256hp and 388 ft/lbs of torque. The first owner selected a three-speed automatic transmission but didn’t tick the boxes for power steering and power brakes. That begs the question of whether the economy option made an appreciable difference in fuel consumption. This Pontiac should average around 11.5mpg, but the 4-barrel version will return 10.4mpg. Therefore, there isn’t much in it. The seller confirms the car is numbers-matching, and they recently performed work to ensure it is mechanically sound. They installed a new water pump, oil pump, one-piece pan gasket, timing chain and gears, and a front cover gasket. The Star Chief runs and drives perfectly, ready for whatever cross-country adventure the buyer throws at it.

Nothing has changed with this Pontiac’s interior since it last graced our pages. The piping on the outer edge of the driver’s seat shows wear, but I believe a competent upholsterer could address that issue without resorting to a replacement cover. The remaining Turquoise cloth and vinyl are excellent, with no wear or apparent problems. The carpet is great for its age, and the dash and pad are spotless. The wheel is a highlight because the translucent sections often exhibit crazing and deterioration. I would hesitate to describe it as perfect, but there is nothing worth criticizing about its condition. The car features a clock and factory AM radio, but the original owner passed on such items as air conditioning.

Following my previous article on this 1966 Pontiac Star Chief Executive, some readers took me to task when I expressed my surprise at how few of these cars hit the market based on the production total. I stand by my belief and have carefully researched the subject. I searched eBay and found none currently for sale and no completed listings. The usual online classic car sites unearthed less than a dozen vehicles, and this appears to be the only one on Craigslist. Bring-a-Trailer is another site that traditionally produces results, but a completed unsuccessful auction for this car from 2022 is all that can be found. This car is a repeat visitor to Barn Finds and is 1-of-2 which we have seen throughout the site’s lifetime. Why so few? That question is almost impossible to determine because I honestly expected to see more. Maybe owners viewed them as disposable, or maybe many have succumbed to rust or old age. This car isn’t perfect but is a clean, tidy, turnkey proposition. It failed to sell in 2022 on Bring-a-Trailer, but do you think the seller will taste success this time?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    Perhaps the disappointing 1/4-mile E/T stats account for the relative disinterest in the model.

    Like 3
    • Fox owner

      😆😆 good one Rex. I remember these things and even at my young age thinking how stodgy they looked. Those massive bumpers would start to sag next to the wheel opening once they got older. Now a Grand Prix or Catalina, those were the ticket.

      Like 2
    • Steve R

      The asking price will be the key determinant of the lack of interest in this particular car. There are lots of really nice generic 60’s through mid-80’s cars that sell for about 1/2 the price. Unless this is someone’s “dream car” there is no reason to pay a premium. Anyone that is flexible, patient and persistent can find a better value.

      Steve R

      Like 1
  2. CarsMP

    Is this model larger/longer than a Catalina or Impala? Sorry, I guess I didn’t realize Pontiac had a Olds 98 equivalent model.

    Like 0
    • mick

      I’m not 100% positive but I think this is the same size as a Catalina (or comparable to a Delta or Delmont 88), which I believe is a tad smaller than the Bonneville. Pretty sure the Bonneville is the Olds 98 equivalent.
      No power and no A/C? Man, that would be a tough ride to live with . . .

      Like 2
  3. Nelson C

    People that bought these were likely more interested in the Bonneville body and Catalina budget. Four door sedan would remain solid and quieter than the sexier hardtop. Lot of car to enjoy. Should keep up with traffic just fine on good gas.

    Like 0
  4. Pastor Ron

    Even though I’m a die-hard Mopar C-body (and Imperial) guy, I admit a pretty strong liking for these old “wide track” full-sized Pontiacs. It’s a very attractive model, but a car like this screams for whitewall tires!
    My grandfather, who passed on Christmas Eve in 1965, then had his last car, a 1957 Star Chief that he bought new… which my family discovered about 10 years ago still on the road! It’s a 2-tone red & white sedan that has been hiding out in the garage of the son of the man who bought it in 1966.
    Kind of off-topic, but wanted to share my Star Chief story with my car brethren here.

    Like 11
  5. Homer

    My grandmother had one of these and it was a boat, great road car and very comfy. Yes, gas was very cheap but so were wages.

    Like 4
  6. Dale L

    Pontiac increased the size of their full sized models in 1965. This car is way too large, and heavy to not have power steering, or power brakes. There is frugal, cheap, and stupid cheap. Whoever ordered this beast is the latter, and probably the main reason for lack of interest in this car. Power steering should have been standard.

    Like 7
    • Nelson C

      In this day and age it’s hard to believe that everything was an extra cost option. This could have been a lead vehicle for a dealer ad. Automatic and a radio was enough convenience for many people 60-years-ago.

      Like 4
      • Bub

        Good call Nelson. What did they call them, loss leaders? Get some traffic into the showroom with cheap promises then sell them up.

        Like 1
      • Nelson C

        Yes, Bub, or so I’m told. I’ve spent all my time in a smaller dealership in a small town. Not much room for those units when you have to manage inventory. Stock what you sell and trade for what you need. Not to say we didn’t have those cars back when people still bought them. It’s a lot different now when people all want 4wd and a heated steering wheel.

        Like 1
  7. CCFisher

    The reason you don’t see many ’60s Star Chiefs out there is because there weren’t all that many made, and of those, very few were of interest. The only 2-doors were the 1960 2-door sedan and the 1966 2-door hardtop. Only four-door Star Chiefs were made from 1961-1965. I guess Pontiac figured anyone looking for extra length with a bit of style could be coaxed into a Bonneville coupe or convertible.

    @CarsMP – the Star Chief and Bonneville were on a 3″ longer wheelbase than the Catalina, and were 7″ longer overall, but they shared the Catalina’s corporate B-body. All of the extra length was at the rear, giving them more rear legroom and a larger trunk. The Olds 98 used the corporate C-body.

    Like 3
    • CarsMP

      Thanks CC. I grew up around late 60’s and 1970 Bonnevilles and Catalinas and never realized there were those differences.

      Like 1
      • mick

        Well I learned something new today, too! I always thought the Star Chiefs were built on the Catalina frame. Always thought the Bonnie was the biggest.

        Like 0
  8. bone

    Doesn’t look like anyone “ticked the boxes” at all on this baby, likely just another Pontiac on the dealers lot, and the price was right for the first buyer . This was a very popular color for Pontiac back then !

    Like 3
  9. The Cadillac Kid

    P—-Poor
    O—-Old
    N—-Ninny
    T—-Thinks
    I——It’s
    A—-A
    C—-Cadillac

    Like 0
  10. Al Dee

    I had no idea you could even get a new ’66 Star Chief without power steering and brakes. I grew up in central Oklahoma and my parents bought a ’66 Star Chief new off the Pontiac lot. It had everything you could get on a car including luxury cloth seats, but not power windows and power front seat. The Bonneville came loaded with those. Their ’59 Pontiac Star Chief came with all those goodies too – straight off the lot too. A Star Chief without power steering, power brakes and air conditioning is nothing more than a stripped down Pontiac – which you could get if you bought the base model Catalina. So why would anyone special order a Star Chief without those accessories??? That makes no sense at all when a base Catalina would give them that off the lot – probably at lower price. — I would think anyone looking at this “Star Chief” and finding it was ordered stripped down – wouldn’t be interested in paying anything for it beyond a bare bones model price, which is why it hasn’t sold in all the auctions it’s been in. Good luck with the seller getting anything close to what they are asking. They need to put the starting asking price at the bare bones level with no reserve and see what happens. Maybe someone living along the Canadian border who has strong shoulders and lumberjack legs may be interested in it.

    Like 1
    • Mark

      Back in the (late) 60’s you could walk into a dealership, sit down with a sales rep and go over every single option that was offered on the vehicle you were interested in. And the list was usually substantial. As a kid I accompanied my dad when we walked into the Chevy dealer, sat down and went over a dizzying list of options – for a 1969 Nova. I was paying for it, he was co-signing so we ended up walking out with the “loss leader”, a Nova on the lot with the only options I thought were necessary; V8(307), am radio and heater. No ps, no pb. Yes, radio and heater were both options! I also wanted a stick shift. The only one out there was a 3-on-the-tree. Dad convinced me we could change it out down the road. Drove it for the next 5 years, through HS and college and except for the linkage rods on the column shifter getting bent out of shape (before we changed it over to a floor shift), it never gave me any problems. Sold it $650 6 months after graduation.

      Like 2
    • DON

      Probably a “loss leader” car – the dealership could legally advertise a brand new Executive for a low price ; when a potential buyer would come in, he’d see a cheapo model and not being what he expected, he would be shown other Pontiacs with options – at a higher price of course , but it got the buyer on the lot and probably made a sale !

      Like 1

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