Pontiac Star Chief Catalina

While Pontiac was best known as a maker of solid but unexciting cars for much of its early history, that dull image changed forever with the all-new 1955 models. The chassis was entirely redesigned, with the frame extended and cloaked with distinctively styled bodies. Performance was now emphasized, with the old straight eight replaced by an all-new, compact and very powerful overhead-valve V8 engine.

The top-line Star Chief series was available in four-door sedan and two-door convertible form, while the Star Chief Custom series included a four-door sedan and the very popular two-door Catalina hardtop. Record production followed, with Pontiac achieving sixth place in manufacturer rankings for 1955, holding that position through 1957 and ultimately becoming the third-place American marque for much of the 1960s, based on its focus on performance.

Soon, Pontiac released a number of high-performance engine and drivetrain options, specifically intended for victory in NASCAR competition. On the street, the 290-horsepower Tri-Power V8 was capable of propelling the Star Chief from 0-60 mph in 8.5 seconds, en route to 16.8-second quarter-mile times – an impressive performance for any era.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in June of 2010 at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, San Diego, California.

290 hp, 347 cu. in. V8 engine with three two-barrel carburetors, Hydra-Matic four-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension and live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 124".

Source: RM Auctions

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