Strato Streak: 1956 Pontiac Chieftain Four Door Hardtop – NOW $16,900

by | Jan 2022 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Free For All Friday

December 27, 2021 Update – After a three-month hiatus, we were somewhat surprised to come across a fresh listing for this 1956 Pontiac Chieftan Catalina Four-Door hardtop we first featured in September 2021. Even more surprising is the significant price reduction from $24,995 last fall to the current ask of $16,900. A bit odder is that despite the same pictures being used, the new listing is located in Middleton, Massachusetts rather than the original listing’s Rye Brook, New York location. We’ve reached out to the seller to confirm whether the listing is legitimate or not.

October 28, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” until we come across a new listing for it.

If you long to add a Tri-Five Chevy (1955-1957) to your garage but can’t stomach the premium prices owners continue to demand, then have you considered a similar Pontiac from the same period?  A prime example is this 1956 Pontiac Chieftan Catalina Four-Door hardtop now listed here on Craiglist in Rye Middleton, Massachusetts (Boston) appears to be a driver-quality example for $16,900 (the original ask was $24,995).  A Chevrolet Bel Air in similar spec might cost you five to eight thousand dollars more.

Comparing that price against the Hagerty Insurance Online Valuation Tool confirms the seller has their Chieftain priced nearly five hundred dollars above this guide’s #1 “Concours” appraisal of $24,500.  Similarly, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s asking price is nearly one thousand dollars above this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $24,100. While a very nice and complete driver-quality car, the pictures provided clearly indicate this is not a Concours-ready show car, so we hope there is some room for negotiation on price to reflect that.

Both Chevrolet and Pontiac redesigned their car lineups for the 1955 model year based on GM’s redesigned “B” and “C” architecture.  Pontiacs now came in two main trim lines. The Chieftain was the entry-level Pontiac while the Star Chief took things up a notch.  While Chevrolet’s new 265 cubic inch V8 received most of the spotlight in 1955, Pontiac launched its very first overhead valve V8 called the Strato Streak. The 287 cubic inch V8 engine in either 173 or 180 horsepower configuration depending on the model.  Unlike sister division Chevrolet, Pontiac no longer offered an entry-level full-size, six-cylinder model beginning in 1955.

Not resting on its laurels, for 1956 Pontiac engineers enlarged the V8 to 317 cubic inches. Horsepower made a considerable increase, jumping to 192 and 205 respectively. Otherwise, the 1956 model Chieftains received only minor updates. A padded safety dashboard was added as an option. Whether it was styling-related or due to banks tightening on credit terms, Pontiac sales for 1956 fell off by as much as 20% over record-setting 1955.

The Periscope Films YouTube Channel provides this 1956 overview of the Pontiac Star Chief line and the Strato-Streak V8 improvements that year:

It’s not clear from the description provided whether this 1956 Pontiac Chieftain is a true 73K survivor or whether it benefits from an older restoration.  If you’re looking for a driver-quality alternative to a similar Chevy Bel Air for less money, this may be the classic car for you.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“Awesome 1956 Pontiac Chieftain Sedan! The car has been with the present owner for over 12 years now. Maintained consistently with regular tune-ups and care. Many spare parts available with this Pontiac as well. 73,000 original miles. White and black exterior with a black and white interior. Original 8 cylinder engine, automatic, rear-wheel drive. The car has been cared for and pampered. Some details: For the 1956 Pontiac, the Strato-Streak V-8 was bored to 316.6 cubic inches, raising the horsepower of the Chieftains to 205 with Hydra-Matic, 192 with stick shift. Star Chiefs, thanks to a four-barrel carburetor now supplied as standard equipment, cranked out 227 or 216 bhp, depending on the transmission. Come see this car located in Rye Brook, NY. Call Mike for more information

Show or go: what would you do with this Pontiac Chieftain?  Comment below and let us know!


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