Wednesday, September 10, 2008

1954 Pontiac Chieftain Deluxe 4-door sedan

"If you can afford a new car at all, you can afford a Pontiac. The Chieftain series, with its mightier engine, distinguished new styling and enriched interiors, is still priced just above the lowest. It is again, incomparably, the finest car in its field."

Pontiacs are a common sight in Cuba, although not many of them are in such a good shape as this Chieftain Deluxe from Zaza del Medio. We can't tell if the reason is above-average quality or the sheer amount of sold cars. Based on GM's A-body and known for reliability and conservative engineering, the postwar-Pontiacs were merely restyled Chevrolets and always a solid choice for the ones who didn't like to experiment. Introduced for 1953 alongside the new Chevy-generation, the new Pontiacs were a big "facelift" of the 1949 models. One-piece windshields and a roomier cabin were the biggest news. 1954 saw just minor changes with new chrome-decor and a revised front-grille as the most notable. Pontiac still had to rely on the old inline eight-cylinder engine. Many 1954 Pontiacs were even delivered with Chevrolet's "Powerglide" transmission, when Pontiac's own factory burned down.

Things should change in 1956, when new boss Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen took over: "power" and "performance" became the new keywords, and the brand saw an impressive readjustment and in result a massive gain of popularity which culminated when the musclecar-craze kicked off in the 60s.

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