1955 Pontiac Laurentian 265 (4.3L) V8 from North America
A fine, sturdy, quick, well balanced, practical and rare car from the 50's!
Common issues with rust in the usual places, but not too bad for a car found in a bush literally.
Original 261 6 cyl started with ease, and needed usual maintenance and TLC.
Headlight switch was corroded, and caused headlights to flicker, so got new headlight switch, and modified it to work with the lighting system, because no aftermarket one was available.
Interior was ratty and torn, so replaced seats.
Clutch was slipping, so a new clutch was installed, along with newer full synchro 3 speed manual, converting from column to floor shift (column assembly worn and always missing gears).
Was painted entirely in brushed house paint, so got it repainted properly with acrylic enamel in 2005.
Leaf springs were sagged, so stiffer 57 wagon springs were installed with new shocks all around (still had original spiral shocks).
Exhaust system was rusted, so new exhaust installed.
The same month, the odometer got stuck at 100,000 miles on roadtrip from British Columbia to Alberta; other than that, nothing else went wrong on that trip.
Original 261 inline 6 cylinder ran great, but was getting tired and worn. Some water started getting into the oil, and got worse until it would not run properly, then after 5 years of ownership, replaced the original 6 with a year correct 265 V8 along with 4 speed Saginaw transmission (that has unusual whine noise, possibly cluster bearings).
The new V8 engine has carburetor issues with original carter 4bbl, flooding and leaking even after rebuild. Also causing timing to be off, consume more fuel than normal, and will not pass emissions testing.
Was involved in high speed accident in 2008: rocker panel, fender, door, steering system, and wheels damaged. Components repaired enough to drive with body damage. Currently working on the bodywork.
The car is a joy to drive, with plenty of power and surprisingly great handling for a car of that era. All that extra power belongs on the track, and can be overwhelming to a first time driver of this car.
Manual steering and manual single cylinder drum brakes can sometimes be physically demanding, but helped with the large 18" steering wheel and well adjusted brakes.
Windows and other parts rattle, and ambient noise while driving can be unbearable at times, but that's probably due to incomplete interior and insulation.
Very roomy and versatile for anything from a drive to the corner store, to a full out camping/roadtrip; seats are easy to remove along with ample interior and trunk space.
Visibility is great from all directions, with panoramic front and rear glass with almost no blind spots.
Gets attention everywhere because of its looks, and the awesome sound of a V8 with mild cam and performance dual exhaust.
Very durable, reliable car, and IF anything goes wrong, it's simple to find and repair. Parts are usually really easy to find, because most parts (and all mechanical parts on Canadian Pontiacs) are shared with the 1955 Chevrolet, which currently has parts reproduced from several companies, and used parts are easy to come by.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th September, 2010