Sitting For Years: 1952 Pontiac Chieftain Deluxe Convertible

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Following a death in the family, this 1952 Pontiac Chieftain Convertible has spent many years sitting unused in a garage. The owner has decided that the time has come for the car to find a new home, so has listed it for sale here on eBay. The Chieftain is located in north-central Kentucky and has been listed with a BIN price of $52,000, although the option is there to make an offer.

This is most definitely a car that has the “wow” factor. It really is hard to go wrong with a car that has a nice, glossy black paint job, and that’s what we get with the Chieftain. The owner does say that he believes that the car is free of rust, and he does point out that there is one spot on the trunk lid where the paint might need some attention. Otherwise, the paint looks good, the glass seems to be free of cracks or problems, the exterior trim is in good condition, and the contrasting white soft-top is pretty close to perfect.

Whoever the individual was who passed away, it certainly appears that the Chieftain really was their pride and joy. The photos make the interior look like a bit of a dark cave, but the black trim looks to be original, and in very good condition. The only real possible flaw that I can see is something on the passenger side door trim near the handle, although it is also possible that this is just a trick of the light. The interior does appear to be complete, and all that I want to do is to slide behind the wheel and take this old girl out cruising.

Lifting the hood on the Chieftain reveals the 122hp 268ci straight-eight engine and a 4-speed Hydra-Matic transmission. The presentation under the hood is pretty clean and tidy, but the condition of the drive-train is an unknown quantity. As I said at the start, the car hasn’t been driven for a number of years, but we don’t get any indication of just how many years we are actually talking about. The owner used to fire the engine into life a couple of times per year, but this also hasn’t happened for a few years now. The chances are pretty good that the engine can be coaxed back to life, but there will almost certainly be some work required before this Chieftain can hit the road again. Still, when a car is as beautiful as this one, it should be well worth the effort.

The photos that the owner provides aren’t that great, but they don’t hide the fact that this Pontiac Chieftain Convertible is a pretty stunning looking car. It will almost certainly require some mechanical work before it can be used, but this is to be expected in a car that has been sitting for years. Would you be prepared to take it on, and how much do you think that you would enjoy hitting the road in it once it was up and running?

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  1. Jeff

    Its a rare and nice drop top however it is priced almost 10K to high.

    Like 13
  2. JerryDeeWrench

    This automobile is by far one of the nicest original finds I have seen on B Fs. Yes its priced a little high but who ever wins it is someone with a good eye. Wish it was me.

    Like 10
    • Kevin Tapply

      These post war (late 40’s early 50’s) cars are shrinking in value. Hagerty posted their “Low 25” cars where values are dropping and that supports it. Aside from collectors, the people who want these are those who were in their Teens and Twenty’s at the time. That group is approaching 80 years old today, not buying cars at the pace they once were. My prediction is this will be a $20k car in 5 years, 50% of the BIN price today. Beautiful car and it would be a pleasure to own.

      Like 6
  3. Mountainwoodie

    Short of health problems, I couldn’t resist driving this baby with the top down. Love the ’52 Chieftains. A friend of mine has had a 4 door for years now. Really nice , It will be interesting to see where it ends up.

    Like 3

    You know a car is gorgeous when it’s desirable despite poor photography.
    I think I remember a Kindig restomod
    of a 49 Chieftain ragtop that was breathtaking.This beauty would be a perfect candidate for a similar treatment.

    Like 5
    • JerryDeeWrench

      Don’t you dare

      Like 1
  5. bobhess bobhessMember

    Fellow student in college had an old Chieftain convertible that three of us drove across country to Oregon to work during the summer. That old straight 8 would really hum! Got hot on the way back due to water leak through crack in the block on the left side so we ran slow during the day and wide open at night. Fixed the leak after we got back with JB Weld which was still there when the owner graduated.

    Like 7
  6. deak stevens

    $40,000 to much

    Like 2
    • Mike

      Really? $40k too much? Look again. This is not a $12k convertible. How about upping your estimate?

      Like 2
      • Kevin Tapply

        Just my Humble opinion and we know exactly what it’s worth. Don’t get me wrong it’s a beautiful car and I’d be proud to own. My point is that values on these era cars are headed down and if they get $42k for it today I doubt that it will be worth that in 5 years. Market sets pricing not sellers.

        Like 1
  7. Will Fox

    Very complete & solid. Someone did take care of this, and took alot of pride in owning it. The cvt. top isn’t original, but is in great shape, thankfully. I suspect the vinyl on the seats is not original; it just doesn’t hold up THAT well for being 67 years old now. However, I can’t complain. Just try finding another one this complete; you probably won’t. Not one as original as this. As for the price, not sure how they arrived at that figure, but it’s a bit unrealistic. I’d say this is probably a $30K car at best. what keeps the price higher is the fact that it’s a convertible. Other than a Catalina hardtop coupe, the value would be much lower.

    Like 3
  8. Bob McK

    Bottom of the line Pontiac. Nice car but is way over priced. Hope someone is able to buy it and put her back on the road.

    Like 1
  9. Pete Phillips

    No sir, it is not a bottom of the line Pontiac. It is a Chieftain Deluxe. The bottom of the line models have no beltline chrome and no side chrome other than the name “Pontiac”. I do agree with you that it is over-priced, especially being not running.

    Like 1
  10. Bob McK

    Thanks, I stand corrected.

    Like 0
  11. Rustytech RustytechMember

    I can see this car bringing $52k at an auction, but only after replacing all the fluids, belts, hoses, and tires and giving it a major tuneup. As is l’d it’s worth $25 to $30k. Still out of my wheelhouse, but what a nice soft top

    Like 1
  12. charlieMember

    A beautiful car. Having owned a lot of cars, old and new, they deteriorate just sitting there, driving 1000 miles a year, or driving 15,000 miles a year. Overpriced for sure, not in the class of a V 12 Caddy, or Marmon, or Auburn boattail, so won’t go up and hold like they have. Two of my (and I am approaching 80) all time favorites were the ’41 Cadillac 60 Special and the ’46 – ’48 Lincoln Continental. The prices, relative to inflation of those seem to be dropping to where I could afford a “driver”. The exception for the ’40’s are woodies, be they Ford beach wagons or Chrysler Town and Country’s.

    Like 1
  13. Stevieg

    I have the opportunity to purchase a 1951 Chieftain convertible. Very solid, especially for a Wisconsin car. Red and white interior, white body (I believe not the original color), fender skirts. It too had not run in years. Missing the windshields. Straight 8 & 4 speed hydromatic transmission. Needs restoration but decent chrome & straight, solid car. Anyone have a rough idea what the car is worth in the condition I describe? I think I am getting a good deal on it @ $4,000, however I am not real familiar with the market. I would appreciate any and all advice. I am not trying to profiteer with this one, I just want to preserve a cool piece of history & drive something not often seen.

    Like 1
    • Kevin Tapply

      $4k is an awesome price assuming the body is not rusted off the frame and the engine spins. If it was me I’d do a compression test to make sure that there isn’t something drastically wrong with the motor. Tranny is a crap shoot until you get the engine running. Depending on the level of restoration plan to spend $10-20k all in to get a reasonable runner that you can be proud to drive and show.

      Like 0
  14. Stevieg

    Kevin, that’s what I was thinking. Thank you for your input. It is good to know I wasn’t completely off base.

    Like 0
  15. Brian B

    I think it’s a $20,000 now if you are lucky. It’s nice but needs work and the market has vanished for this stuff unfortunately.

    Like 0

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