Old 02-22-2024, 11:12 AM
Wick Humble Wick Humble is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2023
Location: Chico, CA
Posts: 10
Default Got my CA license in a '55 Pontiac

In August of 1961, I took my CA drivers license test in the family 1955 870 Chieftain 8-passenger, four-door wagon, a real 'family truckster' and very good car -- wish I had it now! We traded it on a new 1962 Catalina 9-passenger wagon the next spring. It was green over green, with a brown leatherette interior that wore like iron; six kids and a dog (melded family) tested it daily. My step-dad had ordered it new with a Coachcraft roof-rack: alloy stanchions with stainless railings, and real mohagany slats to reinforce the roof versus the loads that got stashed up there on long trips. It came with an optional Naugahyde zip-up 'bag' that contained everything in a fairly waterproof capsule; this was attached by a series of gripper-snap flaps around the perimeter, and had the biggest Zipper I'd ever seen. The latter stuck a lot, and took some finesse to operate; we'd lubircate it with graphite from those big primary-grade black pencils (Mom was a fifth-grade teacher) and stuffed it full on vacation trips.
It had the standard two-barrel carb, tho the old man lied that it had a four-barrel; maybe he'd never looked under the air cleaner? But he put dual exhausts on her, with the heaviest glass-pack mufflers I've ever seen, at least. He was always bugged that my first car was the same age; a '55 Chevy Delray 'post' with lots of hop-up stuff, moon-discs and lakes-pipes, largely dechromed and pinstiped. He said it wouldn't beat the Poncho in a drag race...
When he traded it in, my bestie (whose dad owned the local Pontiac dealership) let us 'borrow' the wagon to run some errands for him, and we took it to the local quarter mile (four telephone poles on US 395) and ran it aginst the clock; about 19 seconds, and eighty mph. The lack of carb let it down badly, but we were impressed with the four-steps up of the old Dual-Range Hydramatic! My Chevy would do 85+ and high-sixteens, but it had a cam, solids, a Carter WCFB 4-bbl., and that third-pedal (with real 'Vette floor shifter, plate and ashtray complete!) and had been one of the fastest cars in the county at one time.
The only weakness of the '55 Pontiac was it's brakes; never great; the old man lamented that it's momemtun easily outstripped it's stopping power! Buick brakes were better, but most other US medieum-sized cars were not!
Mom got into a drag race on Main Street with one of my high-school classmates in his '58 348 Impala later, but that'ts another story... ! Wick

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Old 06-11-2024, 07:40 PM
59safaricat 59safaricat is offline
Senior Chief
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Land of the fee, home of the slave
Posts: 266

Originally Posted by Wick Humble View Post
Mom got into a drag race on Main Street with one of my high-school classmates in his '58 348 Impala later, but that's another story... ! Wick
Yeah, we definitely need to hear that story.

Old 06-11-2024, 07:55 PM
tom s tom s is offline
Ultimate Warrior
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: long beach ca usa
Posts: 18,913

I got mine in a 55 2dr in 1961 also,was living in Fullerton.Tom


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