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The Pontiac Automobile 1950-1959 & The Pontiac Motor Co.

1937 Pontiac 1926-1939 Pontiac
6-29 - Standard Six
6-30 - DeLuxe Six
401 Six - Master Six
1947 Pontiac 1940-1949 Pontiac
Silver Streak - Fleetline
Deluxe Torpedo Six
Streamliner Eight
1955 Pontiac 1950-1959 Pontiac
Bonneville - Convertible
Super Chief Catalina
Chieftan - Starchief
Pontiac 1950s
The Pontiac Motor Co.
Pontiac, Michigan

The Oakland Motor Car Co. was formed in 1907 by Edward M. Murphy, who made the Oakland and a mid-priced American Automobile called the Pontiac(1926-1932). This company became the The Pontiac Motor Co. in 1933. In the 1930s Pontiac was transformed from ho-hum to hot. Pontiac(1940-1949) in the 1940s would grow from a big Chevrolet into a lusher medium priced American Automobile

Except for a larger, taller grille and a slight change in the trim, the 1950 models were predictably much like the the 1949 models. Pontiac's first hardtop convertible called the Catalina was introduced in 1950 and was sold in DeLuxe or Super DeLuxe trim. The Catalina accounted for 42,305 sales in its first year.

1950 Pontiac
1950 Pontiac
1951 Pontiac
1951 Pontiac
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1950 Pontaic total production amounted to about 450,000 units smashing pre-war records. Pontiac production ran in fifth place behind Chevrolet, Ford, Plymouth, Buick and Dodge. It would remain there until 1959 but the Korean War lowered 1951 production to about 370,000 automobiles.

Nearly 30 different models were produced in 1950 & 1951. However the most noticeable changes were increases in six and eight cylinder engine horsepower.

1952 Pontiac
1952 Pontiac
1953 Pontiac
1953 Pontiac
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A new grille, new DeLuxe side trim and increased horsepower were the main changes to the 1952 Pontiac. Material shortages due to the Korean War restricted all American Automobile production. Pontiac output was only 271,000 units. Major body changes took place in the 1953 Pontiac including stretching the wheelbase by two inches. The 1953 Pontiac's were shinier, larger had a lower grille, larger bumpers, kicked up rear fenders and a one piece windshield. The new Chieftain was just a preview of Pontiac's to come in the 1950s and 1960s.

1944 Pontiac
1954 Pontiac
1944 Pontiac
1955 Pontiac
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1954 brought a minor face lift of the 1953 major changes. Side molding had some changes but the grille was of a new design. The big news for 1954 was the new plush Star Chief and its price, $2300.00 to $2600.00. Total production of the 1954 Pontiac was down to 288,000 units. General Motors decided it was time for another major change in 1955 and the all new 55 Pontiac's were exactly that.

The 1955 Pontiac like the 1955 Chevrolet had over 100 new features including a modern overhead valve V-8 engine called the "Strato Streak". The Strato Streak was related to Chevy's 1955 Turbo Fire. Like all 1955 GM automobiles the 55 Pontiac was quite trendy especially the with its new panoramic windshield and bright colors. A total of 554,000 Pontiac's were built in 1955.

1956 Pontiac
1956 Pontiac
1957 Pontiac
1957 Pontiac
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Styling was less distinctive on the 1956 Pontiac Chieftains and Star Chiefs. However, the new Chieftains and Star Chiefs four door hardtops were simply stunning. The 1956 Pontiac V8 was now up to 317 cubic inch. Production was 405,500 units for 1956.

In July of 1956, Semon E. Knudsen was hired to redesign the 1957 Pontiac. General Motors managers were not to happy with the overall design coming up for 1957. Knudsen made some minor changes like longer rear springs, 14 inch wheels and tires instead of 15 inch, increased engine size to 347 cubic inch, horsepower to 290. Styling changes included doing away with two toning paint to missile shaped body side areas. The biggest change Knudsen made was to banish the Silver Streak trim his father, Bill Knudsen designed years earlier.

1958 Pontiac
1958 Pontiac
1959 Pontiac
1959 Pontiac
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Where Knudsen really made his mark was the Bonneville. The Bonneville was a flashy Star Chief based convertible that debut in mid-1957. The Bonneville became a regular series in 1958 with 12,240 convertibles and hardtop coupes sold. Unlike some 1958 GM automobiles, Pontiac remained reasonably tasteful. Example was the 1958 Chevrolet. Changes included a simple mesh grille, quad headlights and larger side spears. A larger 370 cubic inch V-8 developed 240 and 285 horsepower. With triple carburetors these new engines developed 300 horsepower and with fuel injection 310 horsepower. Expansive new styling didn't help Pontiac sales in 1958 due to a national recession sales were only 217,000 units.

1959 Pontiac Auto Literature
1959 Pontiac Auto Literature

1959 produced great styling on a new body for Pontiac. New features included a new split grille, modest twin fins on rear fenders, new side trim and a new wide track chassis that improved the ride. Pontiac V-8s were again enlarged in 1959. Horsepower ranged from 245 to 345. Total sale reached 383,000 units boosting Pontiac into fourth place for the first time in its history. The 1959 Pontiac were not just "Startling New" as claimed by their advertising. However, it did established the performance Pontiac Muscle Cars of the 1960s.

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