1957 Pontiac Chieftain Two-Door Sedan

The 1957 Pontiac Chieftain Two-door Sedan was created as the answer to an age-old problem facing car-lovers: how to get maximum go with minimum dough. The traditional fix has been to look for the lightest, least-expensive car in a lineup and order it with the biggest engine you can afford.

This formula has produced many memorable muscle cars, including our featured 1957 Pontiac Chieftain. Not just the lowest-priced sub-series in the 1957 Pontiac line, the Chieftain was also the lightest, weighing in at a relatively svelte 3,515 pounds.

This meant that a two-door sedan fitted with the optional 347-cid 290-horse-power Tri-Power engine (as on our featured car) had a power-to-weight ratio of 12 to 1; just 12 pounds per unit of horsepower -- not bad in any era. The mill had hydraulic lifters and three two-barrel Rochester carburetors.

Side-view styling of the 1957 Pontiacs was dominated by relatively modest tail-fins and a car-length, rocket-like spear that fanned out to a wide sweep on the car's haunches. Absent were the familiar Poncho silver streaks on hoods and trunks -- an edict of new Pontiac Motor Division manager Semon "Bunkie" Knudsen.

With all the hubbub that surrounded the mid-model-year introduction of Pontiac's Bonneville, it's easy to overlook the lineup's foot soldiers such as the Chieftain. As desirable as those first Bonnies are, just 630 people had pockets deep enough to own one.

Contrarily 162,575 Chieftains went home with happy buyers, including a handful of unassuming two-door sedans with triple carbs just waiting to embarrass the competition at stoplight derbies.

Floridian Brad D'Amico is the proud owner of this squeaky-clean Chieftain, which he bought at auction at the Don Garlits museum in Ocala, Florida.

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