Strictly Business: 1938 Pontiac Business Coupe

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There is something very alluring about a business coupe of any make, but this Pontiac is in original condition and really has a great look. We love the originality of this coupe and it does in fact run and drive, needing some TLC to be street ready. The level of originality and this coupes condition leaves us quite interested with its $6,000 price tag. Find it here on craigslist out of Detroit, Michigan.

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The straight 6 looks old and even a little crusty, but it runs and has a rebuilt water pump being just a little bit closer to being a driver. A little elbow grease and time would transform the engine bay making it a more pleasant view. The Body looks straight with some paint failure on the passenger side fender. Overall the paint looks to be all there and not too shabby. There are some obvious spots sprinkled over the body where there is surface rust, but this Pontiac looks to have no terminal rust.

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Notice the large box area immediately behind the seats, making for a large spacious trunk for whatever a salesmen may need to lug along to any location. The interior looks pleasant and clean enough, although it’s not perfect. There is a very cool under dash heater installed in this coupe. The dash looks straight and clean and the steering wheel looks nice as well. Again, a little time and elbow grease would do wonders for the interior, as well as the addition of carpet.

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Many of us have a strong desire for business coupes making them rather sought after and difficult to find. This is a fantastic Pontiac with a great deal of potential. You could easily preserve this car, restore it, or for many folks a resto-mod business coupe is a big dream. Although we rather appreciate the current patina of this one. Would you bring home this $6,000 Business coupe? What do you think would be best for this awesome Pontiac?

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  1. Todd

    I’d just get it safe and reliable, and leave it as-is. I’d love to have it in my garage!

    It’s easy to hack it up. It’s hard to leave it alone.

    Like 1
  2. Alex Williams

    “Notice the large box area immediately behind the seats, making for a large spacious trunk for whatever a salesmen may need to lug along to any location.”

    Is the seller’s name by chance John Lee Pettimore?

    Like 1
    • Dairymen

      No, the ad says Bruce Bunker.
      Make it safe to drive and leave it the hell alone! There are enough hacked up old cars in every state of abandonment!

      Like 1
    • packrat

      No, Pettimore IV had that early Dodge featured awhile back: “This former municipal-build “police package” vehicle has been in the same family for many years and the same part of East Tennessee for all of its life. The seller recalls his father sharing strong memories of *his* father bringing it home in the ‘sixties as a well-worn veteran from a municipal auction when he was a boy, and of the subsequent extensive drivetrain rebuild and modifications his father and uncle did on the 310hp, 325 hemi engine (in the same shed as the car, very rusty) into top condition to be used in conjunction with a family-owned courier business of some kind, that he had continued from HIS father (!) No word on what this OBVIOUSLY non-stock, heavy duty tank (stainless?) in the back seat area was used for; it doesn’t seem vented correctly for a gas tank; anyone that careful with the welds would have known that. How long were those courier trips? A serious crash soon after put the vehicle in a relative’s barn for many years. The then-teenaged son’s (Pettimore III) wishes to put the vehicle right were put on hold as he answered his country’s call to take a tour of duty overseas, right as he graduated from high school. Upon his return, his story is one probably very familiar to anyone trying to pursue fixing an old car; the time increasingly needed to devote to his own Growing business, and the care of his own family, put the project on the back burner– but not before he had the frame straightened and had sourced new body panels, trim and a spare engine, although this 383 on a stand would have been correct for the later b-body pursuit package instead of this earlier MoPar offering. The seller is unsure if this is the 325hp model or the 330hp version, you ‘fifties Dodge aficionados might be able to tell us in the comments below. So, even though it’s a four-door, does this Dodge deserve to Thunder down the Road one more time?”

      Like 1
      • Terry C.

        Did he actually buy it at the auction at the Masons lodge?

        Like 0
      • Jeffro

        Why when reading this do I have the song “Copperhead Road” playing in my head. Lol!

        Like 0
  3. geomechs geomechsMember

    It’s too bad that the paint is all deteriorated on that one fender. A person pretty much has to redo all (4) fenders to keep the balance. And that would automatically have one thinking about respraying the entire car. This would be a great car to preserve. If it came my way, I wouldn’t get in too much of a hurry to do much other than detail the heck out of it then see if there was a way to touch up that one fender in a way that it wouldn’t LOOK touched up…

    Like 1
  4. Keldog

    Alex,I got the sot the song reference.Same as my Daddy and his Daddy before,,,,,,,,Copperhead Road.Good one to haul some shine in back in the day!!!!!

    Like 0
  5. nessy

    Nothing nicer than a late 30’s to early 40s coupe. I have a 38 Buick coupe and a 38 LaSalle coupe which look alot like this Pontiac but a bit larger. They are all so streamlined. The GM coupes, Ford coupes, Chrysler coupes and all the rest from this era. Beautiful cars.

    Like 0
  6. Dairymen

    I like the late 30’s 3 window coupes better but there are hardly any.

    Like 0
  7. Ed B

    Even though the seller corrects the time code on the photos from 3/13/2007 to 8/5/2015 that’s still more than a year ago. Sure would like to see photos taken more recently.

    Like 0
  8. Chuck Foster 55chevy Chuck F

    Don’t those dog dish hub caps look cool? Keep those wheels/caps, do modern whitewalls, then upgrade it with modern Mustang II type suspension, power steering, disc brakes, and a 389 Pontiac mid 60s 3 duece GTO engine, automatic just because I’m getting older, leave the rest as is, maybe a disc brake newer rear suspension, OK resto mod it is, except don’t make it obvious. Hmmmm AC? Yes, if I was keeping it, but have too many projects to say I’d take it now.

    (Jamie MGTF wire Wheel?)

    Like 0
  9. Rod Munch

    Love it! Love it!!
    When was the last time you saw a 1938 Pontiac Coupe — especially stock???

    Like 0
  10. Bill Wilkman

    I hate it when a seller suggest a survivor like this could be a rat rod candidate. When the rat rod fad fades, and it will, the Frankensteins created during its hey day will be seen as the pieces of junk that they are. This car should be preserved as is in my book.

    Like 0
  11. Doug Towsley

    I LOVE this one as it is. I would treat the rust and corrosion with OSPHO and then clean and preserve it. But frankly, I dont think the price is too bad, many people on here seem to think everything featured is over priced but most dont seem to really know or care current values.

    This one is more personal to me as I have one like this but NO WHERE near as nice. Mine is a rusty and crusty shell of a car, so rat rod it will be. Mine is part Pontiac and part chevy. (its titled as a 37 Chevy). The main cab/body on mine is Pontiac as well as doors, and trunk lid, but front clip and rear fenders are Chevy as well as the frame is Chevy along with a 70s Camaro subframe clip welded in. Collected over the years from parts, and cast off junk, I did NOT cut up a viable car. Im still missing the passenger door but found a guy who says he has one and plan to go buy it soon (Road trip) Certain parts interchange but many do not. Dont assume Chevy, Olds, Buick or other parts will fit. Keep in mind that when restoring as locating certain parts is challenging. (Been there-Done that)

    Like 0
  12. Bill

    Had a 37 Oldsmobile business mans coupe. Same basic car. Had a 350 Chevy, automatic, A/C. Was on Rod & Customs cover in March of 1973!

    Like 0
  13. Mark S

    Do a driver quality single stage repaint on the entire car, then fix what needs fixing. I’d then detail the interior and engine bay, and slap on some Coker black wall tires. To me patina should be spelled rustina because that is what it is, and left alone can only lead to holes. I’ve said this before single stage gloss auto paint is easy to apply and not that expensive to buy, and a fairly decent spray gun can be had for $150.00. The end result will depend on how much effort your willing to put into the prep work.

    Like 0
    • DrinkinGasoline

      I wholeheartedly agree about the “rustina and leading to holes”.
      I would however, opt for period correct wide whites vs. blackwalls but that is a matter of personal preference. I might even leave a few of the dents and re-do the bullet hole stickers for fun (my DeSoto has two on the deck lid).
      Good call on this one Mark…

      Like 0
  14. Poppy

    Love the split back light on cars of this era. Studebaker’s “batwing” rear windows from the late ’30s on their coupes are even cooler.

    Like 0

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