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The 1949–54 Pontiac Chieftain is an accessible gem of post-war style

The 1949–54 Pontiac Chieftain is one of the few cars from its era that’s bucking the trend of waning interest in cars from the late 1940s and early ‘50s. Why are these Pontiacs among the only such American cars that have held collectors’ attention?


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2020/03/26/1949-54-pontiac-chieftain-accessible-gem-of-post-war-style

The article is an interesting take on Pontiac in the early 50s.

My understanding is they weren’t a great seller, the “makeup on a Chevy” approach of tossing a bit of chrome had runs its course especially the “silver streak” on the hood.

Pontiac was revitalized mid 50s by losing the silver streak and chief mascot (cool hood ornament for sure) and getting a V8 in 1955 although the tri-five and 58 Pontiac you don’t have to squint that hard to think Chevy. Split grill, wide track 1959 saved the brand for decades but then you are into the whole DeLorean part of the story.

Pontiac likely dies in the 50s like Desoto if not for moving away from the early 50s traditional Pontiac approach. I love Pontiacs of most generations, but I think it is fair to say that the 49-54 was the least-desirable of GM brands in the hobby for decades for a reason and contempory other brands you have some of their finest (shoebox Fords, 49 Mercs, the ahead of their time Hudsons and Studebakers, much sportier Dodges in 3-window and other coupe forms) as competition for the same buyers.

I could see doing one of this generation up like the August 2014 Hot Rod cover car (yes I know it is next gen) (source Pinterest) image Which is to say a sleeper hot rod (the one on the cover was an early 60s sleeper that sat for decades hence the barn find patina).

If original is your thing, these 49-54 Pontiacs are totally a good buy.