Lot 279

Hershey 2017

1957 Pontiac Star Chief Custom Catalina


$72,600 USD | Sold

United States | Hershey, Pennsylvania



Chassis No.
Body No.
P 12386
  • Formerly part of several prominent private collections
  • A handsome Burkholder restoration of a desirable body style; original interior
  • Wonderful color scheme and accessories, including “Tri-Power” engine

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 cu. in. and could produce, in its hottest standard form, 290 hp.

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 formerly owned by the well-known collector Steve Ramsey of Fallston, Maryland, as well as the great enthusiast Jack Denlinger, for whom it was restored by the respected Burkholder’s Body Shop of Pennsylvania. A fine restoration with some patina, it was 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 original and, of course, 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.

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.