Lee Gale’s Pontiac Sedan Delivery sure cutsan impressive dash, especially with itssign-written panels – stick-on graphics, not painted for easy removal − which always improve the aesthetics of a commercial vehicle. The thing that attracted Lee to the van in the first place − other than it wasn’t a project, he’s got loads of those − was its sleek and curvaceous styling. It’s also something of a rare beast; there are a few examples surviving in the UK and a few more in the US while, in period, similar offerings from Ford and Chevrolet were far more ubiquitous.
“Around 1800 were produced in 1951 and I believe the Pontiac Club know of about 19 that have survived,” explains Lee. “The van was imported from the US in 2014 and then it sat around for a while gathering dust, literally − it was parked close to a cabinet maker’s workshop and became covered in sawdust. I purchased it two years ago from a fellow enthusiast, Steve Taylor, who had acquired it as pretty much a non-runner, in need of recommissioning for the road again, and whose other vehicles have often appeared in Classic American magazine.” Indeed, the van did grace the Car of the Year Final stand at the NEC as a display vehicle one year.
Steve is a master when it comes to detailing and he did a fantastic job on the van. “As far as I know, quite a bit of restorative work was completed to an already very sound-condition van in the US, including a full repaint in its current colour and maybe a mechanical rebuild,” continues Lee.
The van is a Silver Anniversary model, which came complete with plenty of brightwork and mouldings adorning the bodywork. Power comes from a 239cu in (3.9-litre) flathead, side-valve straight-six engine that’s coupled to a four-speed Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. The engine’s power is rated at 90bhp, though a straight-eight engine was also an option, but not offering much more power at a mere 108bhp. It’s a particularly straight example, and while you may be able to still obtain panels, bumpers and brightwork for the front end, finding replacement parts for the rear ‘van’ section of the body is incredibly difficult.
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