PunkRockCop 1957 Pontiac Hot Rod Wagon

Last update 12/6/2010

This is Brian Deffenbaugh's (aka. punkrockcop) 1957 Pontiac Chieftain station wagon -- project in progress.  Comments that follow are from Brian -- with some minor editing.

The name punk rock cop is a nick name bestowed on me many years ago by my friends who were amused by the idea of a cop who listened to punk rock. When it came time to pick an email name this seemed logical since many people already knew me by that and it is easy to remember. I have been a state trooper for 22 years.

[4/20/2008] These pictures are about a year old but they are the last ones that show the car with the body assembled. There has been a lot of work done since those photos.

It is being painted right now. It will be an old-school hot rod/street racer. The car was originally hot-rodded sometime in the 60's or 70's and most likely drag raced. I am trying to retain an old school look so it will have cragar SS wheels, a high stance, and nothing modern visible. The only modern upgrades are front disc brakes and a 5 speed transmission in the interest of safety and drivability. The rear end is the original '57 housing. I used the third member and Saf-T-Trac out of a '58. It fits right into the '57 housing so no mods were required.  The rear end was rebuilt by Fabcraft in Tx.

The driveshaft needed to be shortened to accept the longer 5spd trans. The biggest mods were relocating the master cylinder and booster to the frame under the driver seat and building custom headers. The original heater core was eliminated and an under-dash heater installed.

It will have a '59 389 tri-power (which has been bored and stroked to 429 ci). This is the same engine that has resided under the hood since at least the 70's but now it has a roller cam and a few other goodies inside. The engine is completed and ready to go. The '59 engine bolts right in so there is not much modification on the car. The engine was built by Paul Spotts and should produce around 400 hp. The mockup has been done and everything fits.

The headers were made by using a set of first gen firebird headers. The passenger side only required one tube to be cut and and re-welded. The driver side was a different story. Every tube had to be re-routed requiring a lot of work.

These photos were taken during the mock-up. The entire exhaust system has been ceramic coated now.

I have a Tremec TKO 500 trans for the car. Prior to that it had a Muncie 4speed in it. Since it was already converted to 4spd years ago, the 5 spd conversion was not too difficult. The motor mounts are the original style (one in the front, two on the bell housing). A cross member has been added under the tail of the transmission. The cross member was probably not necessary since the original trans did not use one but I feel more comfortable with it there.

I can use the same Hurst shifter handle that was used on the 4 spd so it still looks period correct. All of this work has been done by a professional shop.

Tremec 5-speed transmission bolted up to what we think may be a '58 bell housing allowing retention of original motor mounts or perhaps slightly modified motor mounts.

Transmission is a tight fit.

The master cylinder has been relocated to the frame under the driver seat. To relocate it to the upper firewall on the driver side would require removing the derfroster box. I have seen several tri-five pontiacs where that was done. A defroster may be unnecessary in southern California but here in Pa. it is essential. I had one car without a defroster and never again.

The shop that has done the work has done a lot street rods with the mc under the floor and suggested this. In hindsight I think that maybe a Wilwood mini mc on the firewall may have worked but I didn't know about those at the time.

There is enough room to access the mc (barely) without an access panel through the floor.

[5/19/2008]  The body is a dark metallic burgundy and the roof is silver. So far I am very pleased with the paint job.

[6/30/2008]  The wagon is coming along nicely. Here are two of the latest pictures. It still has a long way to go but at least the parts are coming together now instead of getting further apart.

I previously told you that I would be using a mini-starter on the car. It turns out that the starter I was told would fit did not. That means that we will be using a full-size starter. Fortunately, the headers were made with the original starter in place.

Updates August 2008

New Photos October 2008

Update 11/9/2008

My baby will be coming home soon!  Here are some photos of the completed car.  There are a few mechanical bugs to be worked out but I expect to have it home in a few weeks.



Update 12/10/2010

See http://www.highperformancepontiac.com/features/hppp_1006_1957_pontiac_chieftain/index.html for article on the finished product.  AWESOME!