Thursday, June 21, 2007

1957 Pontiac Laurentian

I think you should click and enlarge these pictures. The textures are delicious.

We dragged it home about 20 years ago. It's a Canadian model, slightly smaller than the American Star Chief. Since then, we've taken off all the chrome, which is still under the dresser in my old bedroom at the farm, taken it off the frame, and repaired the gaping holes in the rear quarter panels. And yeah, when boys found out I had vintage chrome in my room, I became more interesting! Someday I'll tell you about the crowd at the shop when I was that age.

Dad called me the other night. The conversation went as it usually does: I say hello, he says YEAH and goes straight into what he needs to ask/tell me.

This time it was like this: "YEAH. A guy came in the other day and asked what we want for the Pontiac. He wants it reeeeal bad. He said he's got a buddy with a '57 Studebaker Hawk that he might be able to trade for it."

Now I must explain a few things, because as much as all of this is normal to me, I have to stop sometimes to consider that my upbringing may not have been considered all that normal by most folks.

My dad was a farmer/ backyard mechanic. He has painted hundreds of cars. I've owned four working vehicles in my life and the truck I'm driving now is the first one that was not intercepted on the way to the junkyard. The rest I just sorted ended up with, and my ol man fixed them up and we put them on the road. The first thing I did when I got my GMC was take it home to Dad for new fenders and wheel wells and a new coat of paint. This is the way it is. I grew up with several wreckers in various states of construction and deconstruction, lurking in the backyard behind the shop. I played in old cars. My sister and I pretended we were runaways and stuff, runnin from the fuzz in our hot car with four flat tires. Heck tires were a bonus. Some were just sitting on rims, or on the axles.

We got the Pontiac in a trade for a '62 Impala. It was a nice car. Wouldn't have taken much to get it going. But this one...when I was 12 I decided I wanted a '57 Chevy. Soon after I realized that every other car freak on the planet did too. It's one of the most beautiful cars ever built.

The Pontiac though, is slightly different. It's chunky and muscular.

So now, another dude wants to buy it. I've been ordering the ol man to turn everybody down for 20 years. He's been prepping the steel, getting the fibreglass front fenders and hood that came with it ready for primer. He's got the new frame stripped. He's been working on it. We've been collecting parts for it here and there, always on the lookout for a deal. But I'm really broke. This guy, whoever the heck he is, is dangling money in front of our faces. Supposedly.

Now for the shady Studebaker option. This is what kicks me in the gut. First of all, I don't get it. He's gonna trade his buddy's car? Does the buddy know about this?

That's not the real kicker though. You see, the Studebaker Hawk is the Car That Got Away. It ended up in a field upside down and I really don't want to talk about it. I wasn't even there and it makes me feel kinda sick. There are two things I always figured I'd do for my Dad if I ever get rich. One is buy his farm back. The other is get him a Studebaker Hawk.

This car is one rare bird. It's so unique. I have only seen a few close up in real life. Isn't it hard to believe that it's a North American car? I think it looks a little European. I've heard this car was ahead of its time. Dad regrets losing his.

I can't buy my Dad's farm back for him if I can't even afford my own farm. But let me tell you...it is very tempting to give up one of my material dreams to get him one of his.

To be honest I doubt this alleged deal. I can't tell you how many times in a week some tire kicker wanders in off the road and wants to buy something. They sometimes want to buy a horse too. He doesn't even tell me about all of those because he knows it royally pisses me off.

We have dreams of going to street rod meets and cruise nights in the old Laurentian. We'll do it up in black primer like a real early 60s street machine. We'll put cheap Canadian Tire seat covers on it because we'll run out of cash before the upholstery phase of the project. The two pieces of chrome trim on either side of the grille will still be missing. It'll get through the safety check and that'll be as far as it gets.

At least that's been the plan...


dilling said...

my dad had an old Studebaker(don't know what model) and in the middle of one night, somebody sideswiped it while it was parked in front of the house and kept on driving. Totaled it. He had a pretty red 67 Dart with red interior. An old Impala I learned to drive in...some new cars once in a while and now drives a 68 short bed Ford pickup, stock, three-on-the-tree... i love it ssssooooo much.

Balloon Pirate said...

Hawks are tremendous cars.

Don't know anything about the Laurention, but I like what you've written about it. Sounds to me like your dad would prefer to work with you on the Laurentian.

If you proceed with this dude, I'd suggest caution. But you already know that.


Heidi the Hick said...

Wow, the dads and the old cars!!!!

My dad's old F-100 was originally 3 on the tree, but that was before my time. I think he's on his fourth transmission now. He's up to a five speed. The shifter is about four feet long. It's totally Rat Fink.

Heidi the Hick said...

Well Pirate, you just nailed it twice-

This car is a father & daughter project. Always was. I think he'd like to get my kids in on it too now. He'll always wish for another Hawk though and I can't blame him...

And the dude? He's covered in metaphorical caution tape. Do not cross.

Biddie said...

So, who is this dude? Someone we all know and love, or some guuy wandering by?
I dunno....I say keep the car, anyway...I am STILL hearing about Shawns car...STILL. I think that someday, I will buy it back, and just 2 days ago, I saw the people that bought it, but I just can't see it happening, you know?
Keep the car.

Heidi the Hick said...

biddie, I have no idea who the dude is. Just some guy stopping in off the road. That's pretty typical out there.

I know I'd regret getting rid of that car.

Let's hope the people who bought Maybelline take real good care of her and then a few years from now (when you have some $!) they decide they really don't need the car anymore and call you up to see if you want it back. That would be good.

Nicole Brackett said...

Hmmm, my first thought was, "Go with the Studebaker!" But it sounds like you're getting better counsel from others. :-) We got a vintage Farmall tractor years ago and gave it to my FIL, since he was better financially able to restore it than we were. It was fun giving it away. :-)

Heidi the Hick said...

Yay, Nicole's back!!

Farmall...my grandpa had one but I never saw it. See, that's another thing that I'd give my ol man if I could!

(My mom, I'd get her a new bathroom for her house. A new bathroom that looks perfectly old.)

coffeypot said...

My last few months in the Navy I was a proud owner of a 57' Studebaker Hawk. I sold it when I got out and came home. I should have drove it home, but I was realy stupid back then.

Simply Amethyst said...

Great pics... My mom's favorite car is the '57 Chevy, too. Has(had) lots of memorabilia, but no car...
I'd say keep the Pontiac...

Captain Smack said...

I don't think I'd ever seen a Studebaker Hawk before. It's very strange and beautiful.

her indoors said...

you know you gotta keep dont you!

LeRoy Dissing said...

yeah, they don't build them like they use to. One of my first cars was a 1950 Ford with a flathead 8 cylinder - no oil filter on it. It was considered optional and if you got an oil filter, I think it was a toliet paper type.

I wonder if your Pontiac ran on regular leaded gasoline or Ethyl as it was called in those days? :)

captain corky said...

Beautiful cars. My father-in-law has at least 5 antique cars including an old T-Bird, but his cars are in such bad shape. They're essentially flowerpots at this point. He's too sick to really work on them anymore. It's kind of sad really.

Heidi the Hick said...

Coffeypot, I hear that a lot. "I was young and stupid and I shoulda never sold that car." I'll probably be saying the same thing at some point in my life.

I'll tell you my car history sometime. With pictures.

Amethyst, I don't have the chevy but I do have a nice portrait of one in my downstairs bathroom! It's the 50s car bathroom. It's hip and swell.

Captain Smack, I like Strange and Beautiful. It's a good combination. Also you look like Jesus and I like Jesus so I s'pose you can come back!

Indoors, yeah, I think we gotta keep it.

Leroy, it's true, they don't build 'em like they used to. Very different approach to how it's done. I think my dad had a Valiant with a toilet paper roll oil filter. Sounds funny now, doesn't it?

I don't know what kind of fuel that car ran on. We got it without the motor. This happens a lot in our world. We're planning on putting a slick little 283 V8 into it.

Corky- flowerpots! I know. We've got a couple of those.

I should tell you sometime about the sale we went to years ago. Acres and acres of dreams. The old fella wouldn't sell anything. Then he died of old age.

Oops, looks like I just told it.

LeRoy Dissing said...

Gotta love those Valiants...my folks had a 1961 Plymouth Valiant with a slant six engine (not even sure if they still make slant sixes anymore - Chrysler's signature engine next to the 318, 383 and 440). They ran forever!

LeRoy Dissing said...

BTW what did that Pontiac have in it originally?

Heidi the Hick said...

The Slant Six!


I have no idea what that old Pontiac came with. I'd assume a 6 cylinder. Either that, or the 283 with a two speed Powerglide transmission.

That's what Jethro's 67 Strato Chief had in it...the actual drivetrain that we'll put in the Laurentian.

Here's the odd thing about the Laurentian...It has a column shifter and a clutch. It's not a shift on the column standard, because it's got the PRNDL markings. We assume somebody started converting it to standard, fitted the clutch pedal, and then got distracted and gave up.

Also, according to the license plate that was on the bumper when we got it home, it'd only been driven for 10 years!!!

So like, low mileage, eh? What a prize this car is!

Heidi the Hick said...

Just a quick digression-

I did get my living/dining room floor swept yesterday. I'm feeling triumphant about that. Next household goal: dusting off my big bookshelf. I love books and this could take a while.

Now back to our regularly scheduled ogling of old cars...

CindyDianne said...

I am back from vacation and can't believe I missed all this goodness!

Heidi, I'd take the "Cross that bridge when you get to it" route on this one... it sounds to me like you are worrying over the hypothetical. Just sayin'

coffeypot said...

Heidi! Heidi, wake up, hon. It's been three days since you have posted. Heidi! HEY, HEIDI! WAKE UP! What? You so tired you want to sleep your life away? HEIIIIDDDDIIIII! Oh, well! Sweet dreams, babe.

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Anonymous said...

I just have to ask, do you still have any side chrome for the old Pontiac ? I'm in need of the Laurentian scripts that go on the front fenders. Do you have a spare set, or would you sell the ones you may have ?
Thanks, ed.grieve@2percentrealty.ca