Lot 165

Arizona 2017

1957 Pontiac Star Chief Custom Catalina

Offered from the Mohrschladt Family Collection


$35,200 USD | Sold

United States | Phoenix, Arizona



Chassis No.
Body No.
P 12386
  • Offered from the Mohrschladt Family Collection
  • A handsome restoration of a desirable body style
  • Wonderful color scheme and accessories, including “Tri-Power” engine

290 bhp, 347 cu. in. OHV V-8 engine with three two-barrel carburetors, four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission, independent front suspension, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf spring suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 124 in.

Nineteen fifty-seven is most famous as the year that Pontiac gave up some of its most sacred traditions in favor of performance excitement. Most notably, the “Silver Streaks” on the hood, which had been a Pontiac trademark since 1935, disappeared. In keeping with industry trends, chrome and flash expanded throughout, with an oversized grille and a body-side “sweepspear” that held a contrasting color molding. Suspension was improved, and the V-8 engine was enlarged to 347 cubic inches and could produce, in its hottest standard form, 290 horsepower.

Aside from the limited-production Bonneville, the most prominent 1957 Pontiac was the Star Chief, a line that included the lushly appointed and grandly named Custom Catalina, Pontiac’s version of the Buick Riviera and Cadillac Coupe de Ville “hardtop.” The Star Chief Custom Catalina incorporated some wonderful “trick” features; for instance, a small chrome slat drops over the top of each window when a door is closed, helping to seal the window from rain. This same slat is spring-loaded and pops back up again whenever the door is opened.

The Custom Catalina offered here was acquired by the Mohrschladt Family Collection several years ago from well-known collector Steve Ramsey of Fallston, Maryland. One of the finest restorations in the collection, it was obviously done right, as the lacquer paint, in the original colors of Cordova Red and Kenya Ivory, remains smooth, deep, and virtually unblemished, on top of a beautifully straight and well-fitted body; the interior is correct down to its details, as are the finishes under the hood and on the chassis, which have correct factory-style assembly markings. Even the interior courtesy lights work properly, and the windows use correct E-Z Eye tinted glass, as original.

At the time that the Mohrschladts acquired the Pontiac, they were informed that it was an AACA Senior First Prize winner, and that its fewer than 27,400 miles were original; while no documentary evidence exists, the condition of the car suggests no reason to disbelieve that claim.

Nineteen fifty-seven Pontiacs are considerably more rarely found than the comparable Chevrolets of the same year, and arguably offer even greater élan, style, and comfort. The well-restored example offered here is a rare style that was finished properly and that today remains an automobile to enjoy and be proud of.