Featured is a classic Pontiac Chieftain Deluxe Hardtop. The Chieftains built a reputation as being a solid and reliable automobile. For General Motors, the Chieftain model placed between the Chevrolet and the Oldsmobile.

53 pontiac chieftain
1953 Pontiac Deluxe Chieftain

The 1949 Pontiac Chieftain and Streamliner cars were the first all new Pontiac post war car designs.

One of the most unique features on the Pontiac Chieftain was it’s hood ornament. Pontiac adorned their cars with a variety of hood ornaments featuring the signature Chief Pontiac.This was not just any hood ornament but one designed as an Indian chief and in addition to that it lit up when the headlights were turned on.

The Pontiac Chieftain debuted as a totally new design for the General Motors Pontiac Division. The place that the Chieftain held on the Pontiac ladder of models was above the Streamliner which moved down to replace the Torpedo which had come out in 1940.

New for 1953

Pontiac came out with a new suspension system on the 1953 model. The “Curve Control” system utilized A bars and coil springs for the front suspension.

1953 pontiac specsUpper control arms were lengthened to reduce positive camber on the outside wheel when in a turn.

That same year, engineers improved the power steering; it had a hydraulically controlled power rack working on the Pitman arm shaft.

Power brakes were not offered until 1954; a retrofit kit was available from Pontiac for dealer installation on the 1953 models

The most notable sheetmetal changes were with the rear quarter panel, which now sprouted small fins.

The cars got a one-piece curved-glass windshield and wraparound backlights. The wheelbase was increased two inches.

1953 Pontiac Deluxe Chieftain Specifications

The 1953 Chieftain offered buyers a Pontiac flathead engine, either six or eight cylinder. The six had new aluminum pistons for 1953 but the eight continued with iron pistons. The Pontiac Six put out 115 HP or 118 HP depending on transmission. The straight aid delivered up to 122 HP.

There was no V-8 engine offered with the 1953 Pontiac’s. It could have happened but one explanation given was that General Motor’s Buick Division was introducing their Nailhead V-8 that year and feared that a Chieftain V-8 might hurt sales. The Pontiac V-8 was finally offered for 1955 models.

Transmissions offered were a column shifted three speed manual and a four speed Dual Range Hydra-Matic..

53 pontiac chieftain photos

Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums with a power brake kit optionV-8 al. The kit would be installed at the dealers service department.

Specifications included an outside length of 202.7 inches, width 76.64 inches, wheelbase:122 inches.

1953 Pontiac Chieftain production totaled 39,900 six cylinder vehicles. Eight cylinder Chieftains totaled 379,700 vehicles.

There were eight different Pontiac Chieftain models offered for 1953. These were the Pontiac Chieftain, Chieftain Catalina, Chieftain Custom Catalina, Chieftain Deluxe, Chieftain Deluxe Catalina, Chieftain Special.

Related Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below..

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1954 Pontiac Star Chief

Reference material for this article included..The Standard Catalog of Pontiac, 1926-1996 by John Gunnell, Ron Kowalki…75 Years of Pontiac: The Official History by John Gunell..historicvehicleassociation.org.

Pontiac Chieftain Collector Car Popularity

53 pontiac chieftail specificationsWhile Pontiac gained a lot of popularity with the GTO and Firebird muscle cars during the latter 1960’s, these early 1950’s models display great styling. One such styling change for the 1953 Pontiac’s was their introduction of a one piece windshield.

Prices for restored 1953 model year Chieftains vary widely depending on the degree of restoration but asking prices for superbly restored models can be found in the $25,000 to $45,000 range.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)