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 My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)

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Centurion

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PostSubject: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Fri Sep 13, 2013 2:00 pm

I turned five years old during late August, 1958.  My parents were driving the third, consecutive Pontiac which they had purchased new -- a '56 Chieftain 2-door Catalina.  My interest in all things automotive had already awakened, and my earliest recollection of the new car introductions remains the new '59's from GM and Ford.  (Chrysler had a weak dealership presence in my rural Oregon hometown.)

When I got my hands on the brochure for the new Wide Track '59 Pontiacs, I went nuts, and began begging my parents to purchase one of the sensational new models.  I even entered the contest from the General Mills cereal boxes, where the grand prize was a '59 Pontiac.

The '59 Pontiac dreams abated.  My parents replaced the old Chieftain with a new '61 Buick, sticking with the brand through their final passenger car purchase in 1989.

As the years passed, I continued to love the '59 Pontiacs, although my collector car interests led me elsewhere.  In the 1980's and 1990's, I test drove a couple of '59 Pontiacs, but they were never the right cars at the right time.

But I began to pay much more attention to all the '59 General Motors cars after acquiring my '59 Buick Electra in 1998.  It would be that same year that I first saw a Canyon Copper / Cameo Ivory '59 Star Chief Vista, and I immediately admired the beautiful car.  I saw it once again at a Pontiac / Buick show in 1999, and a final time in about 2004.  

I had obtained the owner's contact information, including him in my e-mails every year for the '59 General Motors "Imagination in Motion" driving tours I've organized here in the Puget Sound area of Washington state.  Year after year, I was disappointed that the beautiful Star Chief was a perennial "no show".

This year, the owner replied to my e-mail, indicating that the Pontiac would be offered for sale.  He asked me to pass the word along, but I caught myself, realizing that I was the best candidate to become the Pontiac's next caretaker. My wife was fully onboard with the idea.

When I test drove the car last Sunday and saw it for the first time in about nine years, we realized that the water pump is leaking.  One of the local Buick Club members loaded the car onto his trailer for me last night, so you'll see Rick in some of the photos working on securing the car to the trailer for the 35-mile transport to my home.  

The car is a 67,000-mile original, built in the Kansas City (Fairfax) Buick-Olds-Pontiac assembly plant, where my '59 Buick was also born.  Like my Buick, this one was sold new in Oregon and the original Oregon plates come with the car.  The interior is nearly perfect, and the engine compartment is completely correct and presentable.  I had no opportunity last night to shoot any interior photos, but will do so this weekend.  The only authenticity issue is the coved panel between the taillamps, painted Cameo Ivory to match the roof.  The seller indicated that he had fully investigated this, and is convinced that the car was painted in this manner from the factory.  (Neither the seller nor I have seen another '59 Pontiac finished with the contrasting color rear panel.)  The local '59 Pontiac expert in the Pontiac Club indicates that some cars were, in fact, delivered this way, although he has no documentation to support this idea.

Can't wait to park it in my garage alongside the '59 Buick.









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CATBIRD



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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Fri Sep 13, 2013 11:54 pm

Centurion…..really great looking Vista. Canyon Copper is a beautiful color. Everyone with something that's out of the ordinary tend to claim that "it came from the factory that way." Of course fifty-four years later, there isn't any documentation to prove or disprove it. I have seen a few cars that have had the rear cove repainted that way. None of them came from the factory like that. What I do know, however, is that every car that came out of the factories had the vertical groves between the letters painted black, except for black cars obviously. I would check that entire rear area, including the trunk and the stainless trim on the lid for possible damage repair. That's not to say that it was, but if it has been, painting it Cameo Ivory would be easier to match than Canyon Copper. Either way, it looks good, and if you like it that way, leave it alone. I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of the engine compartment and interior……John
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Cat SS 59

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Sat Sep 14, 2013 4:46 pm

Centurion, that is a awesome looking car. It is great you have finally acquired this car after first seeing it so many years ago. I love the cameo ivory rear panel.
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Centurion

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:25 pm

CATBIRD wrote:
Centurion…..really great looking Vista. Canyon Copper is a beautiful color. Everyone with something that's out of the ordinary tend to claim that "it came from the factory that way." Of course fifty-four years later, there isn't any documentation to prove or disprove it. I have seen a few cars that have had the rear cove repainted that way. None of them came from the factory like that. What I do know, however, is that every car that came out of the factories had the vertical groves between the letters painted black, except for black cars obviously. I would check that entire rear area, including the trunk and the stainless trim on the lid for possible damage repair. That's not to say that it was, but if it has been, painting it Cameo Ivory would be easier to match than Canyon Copper. Either way, it looks good, and if you like it that way, leave it alone. I'm looking forward to seeing pictures of the engine compartment and interior……John
John, I think you are most likely correct.  I doubt, too, that the rear panel was finished in Cameo Ivory from the factory.  While I see no evidence of damage repair in the trunk, another likely scenario is that the car's early owner preferred the contrasting color scheme, and repainted the rear panel accordingly.

My schedule has been jammed since I received the car, but will obtain additional photos when I can.

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Michayos

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:05 am

Love the new ride Centurion! As to the rear panel, I would say leave it as is unless you're looking to make everything factory origonal. It's something that makes the car stand out from all the others. I bet you're itching to get it on the road... Enjoy! Michael
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Centurion

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Sun Sep 29, 2013 1:39 pm

The local owner of a Bonneville Vista (Cameo Ivory with Sunset Glow interior) dropped by for a visit last night, so we shot a few photos. I neglected to shoot any interior photos, but will share these with you all.







This view reveals the different stainless treatment between the Bonneville and Star Chief series cars; the peaks of the Vee'd tailfins on the Bonneville are fully trimmed, but only the outer fin receives the peak molding on the Star Chief:

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Centurion

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Mon Oct 14, 2013 7:47 pm

Yesterday, we enjoyed a beautiful fall day here in the Puget Sound area, and I celebrated by getting out in the recently acquired '59 Pontiac Star Chief Vista.

This was really my first fun outing with the '59 Pontiac, and it runs better-and-better with some exercise and fresh gasoline!



















The car came to me with a beautifully-matched set of vintage luggage:



Gold threads in the original carpet:



Pontiac's accessory reel-out trunk / trouble light:



Original Oregon license plate and the license plate frame from Bowman Pontiac, Oregon City, Oregon:



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Michayos

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Tue Oct 15, 2013 6:56 am

The car looks great! Ahhh... to tool around town in the fall in a good 'ole American made cruiser. Makes me wish my Catalina was road ready...

How about a few shots from under the hood?
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PontiaCat59

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Tue Oct 15, 2013 10:12 pm

Smmmmoooooooth!
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59 Sport Coupe

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:41 pm

Really a nice car. Very good choice Centurion!
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RitchieMars

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:04 am

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwSFGNwBDAQ

I hope this link works, otherwise go to YouTube and have a look at the 1959 Pontiac sales video. It's in black and white and entitled "Stock Footage - 1959 Pontiac: Performance" I thought you might be interested to see that about 11:54 into the video, there's a good view of a Catalina Vista 4-door with which appears to have it's rear "cove" painted in the lighter contrasting color ( white I would assume ) and while it's in black and white and we can't see exactly what the body colors are, ( I would guess silver, gold, some light metallic with white ) it looks like the car was painted in a similar fashion to your's. Perhaps it really is factory.
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don_weston

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Sat Oct 19, 2013 7:53 pm

I watched the video and must respectfully disagree with your statement that the rear cove is a different color than the rest of the car.   It is definitely the same color.
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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Sat Oct 19, 2013 9:40 pm

You may be right. I look at the earlier parts of the video and it all looks the same color, but the portions towards the end it looks lighter than the rest. It may be the sunlight. Too bad we don't have color footage like this.
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Michayos

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Mon Nov 25, 2013 8:34 am

Did you put this beauty up for sale on ebay? Mind my asking why you are selling it?
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Centurion

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Mon Nov 25, 2013 12:31 pm

Michayos wrote:
Did you put this beauty up for sale on ebay?  Mind my asking why you are selling it?
Michayos, thanks for your question. I was coming here to post a link to my auction. I love this car . . . but the garage is full and something has to go. I have too many cars, and my wife and I have just needed to replace both our daily drivers. I also have 18-year old twins who will begin college next year, so need any cash I can generate from the sale of the car.

Here is the auction link:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/251387018194?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1558.l2649
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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Mon Nov 25, 2013 9:09 pm

Centurion, sorry to hear that. She's a beauty. Some day I hope to get a Vista to sit along side my Catalina but bad timing for me right now. I hope the sale goes well!
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Finfan

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Wed Nov 27, 2013 7:58 pm

Sorry to hear that as well Brian.

Bidding seems lively so good luck there and Happy Thanksgiving.

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PostSubject: Re: My new '59 Star Chief Vista (Pictures)   Fri Jun 24, 2016 11:16 pm

I realize that this car is probably sold but WOW!...what an incredible vehicle and some fantastic photos. I can only hope my Catalina will get to that level one day, but it sure makes me want to head out to the shop and get some more work done on mine Smile
Very inspirational, Thanks! Very Happy
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