Stromberg Pontiac – Official BIG 97 Demonstrator!

BIG 97

The Stromberg Pontiac got a little update recently, in the form of some very cool period sign painting by our good friend Neil Melliard at ProSign. Neil is regarded as one of best guys around when it comes to this sort of work, and you can see why. This stuff is hand painted with good old One Shot enamel. We just told him what we had in mind and after a short discussion about styles and what was and wasn’t possible, we just left him to it. Two days later, we were done. And about a fortnight after that we got out the trusty red 3M Scotchbrite pad and mucked it all up! Instant patina.

Pontiac fans will recognise the period advertising lines. The rest are all our own. Look out for a lot more BIG 97 promotion in 2015. And more news on the Stromberg Pontiac. Great job Neil. Thanks! As usual, click on the pics for a closer look.



New trim for the Stromberg Pontiac

Back in the summer we took the Stromberg Pontiac to Neil Tadman at Neil’s Auto Interiors, down in Essex, (here in the UK) for a little interior trim work. When we bought our ’55 Pontiac, the trim condition was one of the main things that made us click “BUY IT NOW”. But it was pretty filthy and the driver’s seat area was a little ripped too. Still, we set to with various interior cleaning products and a bucket of soapy water and pretty soon we knew what we had. The back seat came up like NEW, which amazed us. The door panels too, cleaned up great, and the rear trunk area responded well to a lot of scrubbing and silicone based detailing spray.

The front seat, though, was onto a loser from the get go. Not just the previous too-bright red repair and the sun shrinkage, but also my jeans caught in the rip and made it about ten times worse. Fact is, the vinyl was so hard and nasty, it was well beyond saving, so Neil found some new materials which matched the sun-faded rear and trimmed the whole front seat. It may not look it in the pictures, but the match is incredible. To say we were pleased is an understatement. It’s given the car a whole new lease of coolness.

On the floor, the car came with a red plastic mat, which after so many years was way crispy. Every time anyone got in the car, it cracked some more and fell apart. And once we had to get it all out to put new metal floors in, of course, it all had to go. Neil replaced the lot with some nice red square weave carpet, backed with sound deadening and edged with cotton binding that he dyed up to match. He added a couple of practical heel pads in the front and we were home free. As you can see, it goes all the way under the rear seat.

So, one more tick off the list for the Stromberg Pontiac. Click on the pics for bigger views. It’s about time we fitted those 97s. Stay tuned!

Stromberg Project Pontiac update

We’ve been hard at work cleaning the Stromberg Project Pontiac interior this week. And boy, after 38 years in a barn, it needed some! We basically just hit the vinyl trim with spray-can foam cleaner, a small brush and plenty of elbow grease. Then we dug out the old ArmorAll to give it a little shine and protect. The result? It amazed me. I mean, the back seat came up LIKE NEW. The door panels are real nice and the load area has really picked up. I also did the dash and window surrounds with rubbing/cutting compound and they have come up pretty incredible too. We still have the front seat to finish, and we’re testing a steamer on that to see how it loosens the grime. And then when we get the new carpets done, the trimmer is going to go around tidying up all the loose ends and fixing the split stitching on the front seat too. More news as and when…



Project Pontiac gets new floorpans

The Stromberg project Pontiac moved a little further up the road this week when Rick, our fabricator made new floor pans. The ’55 Wagon had sat in an Oregon barn from 1976 until last year when we bought it, so I guess a little rust in the pans was to be expected. They weren’t rotten through rusty, but the little perforations were clearly only going to get worse and the water was soaking into the felt matting. The car came with a felt-backed red plastic flooring, but it had become so crispy, it snapped into pieces every time we stepped on it. So we decided to take the seats out, remove the whole mat and replace it with some red square weave carpet, which kinda matches the pattern on the old plastic. We didn’t really want to swap the original mat out, but it was shedding plastic badly and by the time we’d pulled it out to swap the floorpans there would have been nothing left. We’ll post again once the new carpets are in.

In the meantime, here are some pics of the floorpan installation. Rick cut the old sections out and made new pieces, including all the correct rolled strengtheners. Once we had treated all the surrounding metal and hit everything with the smart weld-thru primer, he welded them in, sealed everything up, painted the top and undersealed the bottom. He also replaced the wiring cover strips on the outside edges. In case you’re wondering, that sheet metal lump in the center is the underfloor heating outlet.

Other recent tasks have included fixing the instrument lights as the rheostat in the switch packed in (we have jumped the power across the switch). We’ve bought a complete set of front end rebuild parts for when we fit the lowered spindles. New wiper blades. Oh and I’m driving the wheels off it. Kids’ bikes and dogs in the back, trips to the dump, you name it – everybody needs a Wagon!

Stromberg Pontiac Project update

AfterWe haven’t posted much on the Stromberg Pontiac project for a while. So here’s a few ‘before and after’ pics of the body. After 38 years in a barn she needed a lot of TLC, but the body cleaned up real nice with a box full of red Scotchbrite pads and a sore shoulder. We cleaned the chrome, the Buick Wildcat wheels and other trim with very fine wire wool. The new whitewall radials from Coker really set the car off. On the mechanical side, after checking it all drove fine, we have recently treated it to new plugs, points, distributor cap, condenser, all the usual tune-up stuff. Plus we swapped out a leaking core plug at the back of one of the cylinder heads, fitting new head gaskets at the same time. The ’55 Pontiac heater system is pretty crazy – it pipes hot water right under the driver’s side of the car to a small radiator and then ducts the air out under your seat. This is why dual exhausts are tricky on this model – it’s right where the pipe want to go. Anyway, we’ve managed to get new rubber seals for that underseat heater duct, and it works great, which is handy here in the UK winter. We just found a little rust in the floor just above it so that’s on the list for fixing soon.

Other jobs? Well, we found new wiper blade rubbers at the local parts store. New rubber pipes got the vacuum wipers working. We fixed the brake light switch. And our buddy Flat-top Bob at Owens Salvage in Wellington, Texas kindly sent us the correct cigar lighter to fill the hole in the dash. The interior is next on the cleaning list. It’s actually in great condition though some of the vinyl has gone a little sticky in storage. And the driver’s seat area needs a little sympathetic repair – a cool tartan blanket works for now. We bought some dropped uprights to get the front end a little lower so we need to install those soon. I suspect we’ll be trimming the front coils too, though it won’t be crazy low. Then finally we need to address the carburetion issues. It looks like the awesome 6×2 intake we bought for the car is a marine piece, so that’s not good news as the water outlets are tiny. So we’re looking for an Offenhauser 5028 3×2 intake for ’55 Pontiac now. If you have one, please let us know! To read our first blog about the Stromberg Pontiac project, click here Thanks to California Pontiac Restoration (Santa Ana, CA) for helping source all the parts we need. Thanks to Rick for keeping on keeping on when the car has bitten back. And thanks for listening!