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Pontiac Chieftain Drag Race

  • original Drag Racer
  • raced in period
  • untouched original

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1958 Pontiac Chieftain ex G/Stock -Junior Stock Drag Racer

The car was sold new in Tampa, Florida in 1958 (original dealer script still on the trunk lid of the car), where it spent the first part of its life as a normal street driven car.

In around 1967 the car was purchased by Ralph Piper, who brought the car to Michigan to us as a race car in the then popular stock series. At the time Ralph was running a 1958 Bonneville with a 370 Tripower Engine and a 4-speed hydramatic. He knew that the Chieftain 2 door sedan was a few hundred pounds lighter than the Bonneville (especially with the “heater delete” option available in warm climate areas such as Florida), so he installed the drivetrain form his Bonneville into the Chieftain and was running the car in the G/Stock Class for a time. As newer high performance cars came out of the factories, the Pontiac kept getting “bumped” back in the latter classes and ended up running J(unior)/Stock before the NHRA rule change at the end of the 1971 season decreed that for the 1972 season no cars 10 year old or older would be allowed to run in stock class racing. So the 58 had to run in the modified production class, where according to Ralph, the car just wasn’t competitive anymore.

Once bracket style drag racing came in, that is where the 58 would play for a couple more years before being retired in favour of a new drag car.

The car was mainly raced on the US 131 Dragway in Michigan (which still exists today)

There are a couple of other guys who raced the car briefly. One guy was named Dave Overhiser and the outline of his name can still be seen on the roof above the driver’s door. The car was also raced by Jim Dunn (whose name “Jim”) is still painted on the driver’s door. Jim owned a “Union 76” gas station and sponsored himself through his business. Jim had the Union logo painted on the car along with his name.

In around 1974 the car was retired and parked in a barn in Michigan, where it sat more or less forgotten until it was found again in late 2012 by Tom Miller.

Unfortunately, the barn the car was parked in did not get better over the years and the roof started leaking, so that the car has considerable corrosion, mainly on the body and from the top. The frame is rock-solid with no rust issues.

After Tom found the car, he replaced the missing engine and transmission and overhauled much of the car’s drivetrain.

The car now has a 1967 Pontiac 400 cui engine with 10.25:1 compression, which got new rings, new bearings, a224-236.050 duration race cam and a competition valve job as well as some minor port and blending work. The transmission is a TH 700-R4 4-speed automatic with a shiftkit, a deep cooling pan and a mild stall torque convertor.

The rear is a 1958 Pontiac 4.30 Safe-T-Track Positraction unit which got a full service git with new clutches, new seasl, new bearings etc..

Brakes, tires, water pump, fuel pump, aluminium radiator, belts, hoses, dirstributor, plugs & wires were all renewed in 2013 as well as the carb rebuilt.


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Shortly before Tom finished the car it was sold and shipped to Germany, where it arrived late in 2013 and the technical resurrection was completed. Recently some NOS Lakewood 90/10 drag shocks were fitted up front.

The car was since successfully run at a couple of 1/8 and 1/4 mile races in Germany with a best 1/4 mile ET of 13.9 seconds and a best 1/8 mile ET of 8.8 seconds. In total the car has less than 50 passes (1/4 and 1/8 mile combined) since its technical overhaul.

The Pontiac is in turn-key/race-ready condition and can be used for racing as-is and is blast to drive.

The body and interior have not been restored (except for a new trunk floor and new ’57 Chevy gas tank) and shows a genuine patina with several rust spots on the body and a couple of smaller holes down low. The frame, bracing and underbody structure is solid and the doors close clean without and sagging. The body still retains many of the original decals from the racetrack and sponsors from back in the day.

The interior is still the original from 1958 (except for a new carpet) and in quite bad condition with several rips and detachments.

The car comes with the original US title and custom/import papers but no German registration. The car is far from being able to be legally road driven (which it hasn’t done since 1967). It has no exhaust, the engine breathes through open headers that exit under the car and the cars light system is only partially working (all lights, lenses and switches are present, though).

Talk about it

5 months 28 days ago

Ever since I was 10 years old I always wanted to own this car this very car we see here in these photos. You see I grew up next door to rail Piper my grandfather owned property down the street from him copenhaver apple orchards to be exact was my grandfather’s farm how much in American money would buy this car right now? Now that I’m in retirement and my home and property is paid for I might have equity enough to take a loan out for this car.