Discovering a Rare Barn Find : 1957 Pontiac Star Chief

In the realm of classic cars, the term “barn find” is often used to describe the unearthing of rare and valuable vehicles that were left abandoned in derelict conditions. While the term has expanded to encompass vehicles that were stored for shorter periods, it has somewhat diluted its original significance. Let’s face the truth here: a 1955 Chevrolet Tri-Five cannot compare to the rarity and value of a 1931 Duesenberg Model J.

On the other hand, every classic car that has spent decades hidden away in a barn, shed, or carport deserves recognition, regardless of whether it is a 1950s Ferrari or an AMC Gremlin. Additionally, not all barn finds that may seem ordinary at first glance turn out to be common and worthless. The 1957 Pontiac Star Chief showcased here serves as the perfect testament to this fact.

Introduced in 1954, the Star Chief initially emerged as a more upscale version of the Chieftain. Positioned just below the Catalina, it shared the same A-body platform as the Chieftain but boasted a longer wheelbase, providing superior comfort. The second-generation Star Chief, produced from 1955 to 1957, was Pontiac’s response to Chevrolet’s popular Tri-Five series, although it was limited to V8 power.

Compared to the Bel Air, the Star Chief did not achieve the same level of popularity. In 1955, for example, Chevrolet delivered over 800,000 Bel Airs of all body styles, while Pontiac sold only 203,404 Star Chiefs. This disparity continued into 1957 when both models underwent redesigns. However, it’s important to note that the second-generation Star Chief is by no means a common classic car.

While many Star Chiefs did not survive to see 2023 and were left to decay in junkyards or crushed, a substantial number of 433,941 units were produced over the three model years from 1955 to 1957. The four-door sedan showcased here is one of the 103,212 examples sold in 1957, making it a relatively abundant model. However, it possesses a unique characteristic—the Custom Sedan body style, which is considerably rarer than the two- and four-door Hardtop variants.

While the four-door Hardtop was the most popular configuration with 44,283 units produced, the Custom Sedan failed to attract as many customers to showrooms. Only 8,874 units of this body style were sold, amounting to less than nine percent of the total Star Chief production in 1957. Although not as rare as the Bonneville Convertible, with a mere 630 units built, coming across a four-door post car in today’s world would still require quite a stroke of luck.

The 1957 Star Chief featured here offers more than meets the eye. Not only is it an exceptionally well-preserved survivor, but it has also undergone a meticulous restoration process after spending several decades in storage. Originally tucked away in a barn in the 1970s, this Pontiac remained on cement blocks, shrouded in dirt for approximately 50 years. Impressively, it boasts low mileage, with the odometer displaying a mere 16,478 miles (26,519 km) at present.

One cannot help but admire the stunning shade of green—Limefire Green Metallic—adorning this vehicle, a color rarely seen on contemporary American cars. This hue, exclusive to the 1957 model year, extends to the interior, complemented by white accents that match the roof and side trim.

The owner invested several years into meticulously reassembling the vehicle. Although a few replacement parts were required, the restoration process was relatively straightforward, with only one rust hole needing attention. This feat is truly remarkable for a car that languished in Indiana for half a century.

While the Poncho has not yet achieved full completion, with the rear bumper still missing, its uniqueness is further accentuated by an exceptional feature—the original owner opted for a continental kit. For the unacquainted, a continental kit refers to an extended rear bumper with a spare tire mounted to create additional trunk space. Unfortunately, there is no information available regarding the number of Star Chiefs ordered with this option, but it is estimated to be fewer than 500 cars for the 1957 model year.

With the original 347-cubic-inch (5.7-liter) V8 engine still residing beneath the hood, this Pontiac represents a remarkable piece of automotive history. Its high level of originality, combined with its status as an authentic barn find, makes it a truly special find for enthusiasts.

Check it out in the video below.

 

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