1947 Pontiac Streamliner (66 views) M60 Home    Restorations Gallery
Latest site updates: 08.04.2020
This is a photo I took when I came across this car on an auction lot in east Texas. My friend had purchased it online and at first glance it looked like a complete ruin. The interior had been consumed by rats, the paint was gone, the wood was very aged. But on closer look the metal was sound, the wood almost complete, and everything was there. This is an ad for a '47 Pontiac woodie.

This apparent wreck was purchased online with only a very few photos for the buyer to use to make his decision whether restoration was possible. By pure luck my wife and I were passing through east Texas and spotted the car. We took many photos, and this one is one of those we sent to our wonderfully mad friend.

Any woodie is a big job for a professional. Elliott is a professional cellist, not a professional restorer. However, he is able to see what others cannot in cars like this one, and he believed he could bring it back. This page will show the project from start to finish.

The Pontiac is now back on the road. It is restored to original condition, and drives like the dream car it was when new, when the slogan was "Dollar for dollar, you can't beat a Pontiac."

This is a photo taken from the right rear, looking toward the front. After taking a few minutes to adjust, rather like walking into a dark room, the car began to appear better than I had thought. Still a huge job, but restorable. The roof fabric is torn away and the ribs visible, but there. The doors are open and are straight, and the wood along the side is mostly good, and what isn't is good for a pattern piece. The tailgate is a two part operation with one part swinging up and the other down. Both look fairly good. The wood along the side however is badly damaged at the rear corner. The bumper chrome looks good with no peel or bubbles. This photo came as a bit of a shock. The entire body has been removed and disassembled.
This is a picture of the frame and cowl section blasted and primed, with the engine and transmission still out of the car. One of the original front doors is in the background before any restoration has been done. This is a reverse view from the previous photo. Metal pieces in primer are stacked on the chassis, waiting for finish painting. The steering wheel is on the column and looks very odd in its shiny appearance. One of the original back doors is in the background before any restoration has been done
A nice photo of the painted firewall and empty chassis. A nice photo of the painted firewall and empty chassis.
This photo is of the rebuilt engine in the newly painted chassis. The carb and linkage, intake and exhaust manifolds, the fuel pump and fuel line to the carb, and the eight spark plugs are all repainted, shiny, and installed. This photo is of the finished engine from the front quarter. The water pump, vibration damper and fan, the timing gear cover, generator bracket, distributor with vacuum advance, wire loom housing, wires and spark plugs, oiler filler pipe are restored, repainted and installed. The coil and wiring are in place. In this photo the firewall has been painted, but the rest of the cowl remains to be done.
This is a clip art picture of a wordworker.

I asked how he did it and this is what he wrote out for me:

1. Disassemble all the wood, and remove everything from the floor pan.
2. Sandblast chassis and floor pan.
3. Make new B and D posts (door posts and tail gate posts).
4. Make new roof rails.
5. Make parts surrounding rear quarter windows.
6. Make new lift and tail gates.
7. Make new doors. The plywood panels
for the doors were steamed to give them some curve.
8. Everything was reassembled as new parts were finished.
9 New ash parts were treated with Smith's Clear Penetrating Epoxy
Sealer, then varnished with Epifanes varnish. Panels
were installed using 3M 5200 and screws.
This all took over 6 years from start to first drive.

This is the first of several photos showing original and reproduced wordwork the owner did on his own in very limited space. Show is a pile of wood evolving into a Pontiac Woodie.
This shot shows a pile of wood, old and new. Eventually, it will evolve into a Pontiac Woodie. Because a ground up restoration is a marriage of sorts, this photo shows the blending of something old and something new, here pattern pieces from the car
More pieces made from shown pattern wood. Again, body wood being made with the help of pattern wood.
This shot is wood pieces cut and ready for fitting. rear wheel arches are being cut and fitted.
This shot is wood pieces cut and ready for fitting. rear wheel arches are being cut and fitted.
The rear passenger wheel arch wood is shown during fitting. The front door post wood also is going in place. Both the driver and passenger side wood are now in place, as is the tailgate.
With this photo one sees just how amazing it is that this beautiful car was restored to beauty in such a small, crowded space. This photo shows the original tailgate in position as pattern for building the body wood around it. The tailgate actually is two gates, one to raise and one to lower. A rear fender also has been installed for fitting purposes, and a seat assembly is on the floor as well.
This shows an upper corner of the tailgate framing. Elliott had to go from beginning to advanced woodworker in a matter of days. In this photo, the lower half of the tailgate is down, the panel is sitting loose in place, and the metal scratch protection strips sit loosely atop it.
Wood working was a constant challenge. With at least two other cars undergoing restoration, it paid that Elliott thrives, indeed delights in what to us mortals would seem to be chaos. This is an interior view of the side wood going into place.
This photo is the first of two showing the front fenders in gray primer. This photo is the second of two showing the front fenders in primer.
This photo is of the front fenders and hood in color coat, but not polished out. Here we get to see the first of a series of photos of the Pontiac hood restoration. Morgan front fenders can be seen leaning against the wall and a cabinet in the background.
The hood is shown here from the front, partially rubbed out, with the hood chrome not yet installed. This shot is of the fenders, hood and cowl, and chrome.
An excellent view of the fenders, hood, and cowl in final paint and polish. An excellent view through the windshield toward the back of the car. Much of the wood work is complete, though doors are not yet finished and ready to install.
A long view from the back of the car looking toward the windshield. The roof slats are above, not yet covered. The rear view mirror is mounted on the central windshield post. It appears the dome light is installed. This is a view across the front seat toward the driver's side. The steering column, instrument cluster, and a lovely circular clock, roughly six inches in diameter are seen.
A beautiful photo of the dash shows the large off-white plastic steering wheel. The chrome horn covers on the wheel are ribbed and the grey gearshift arm with its off-white plastic knob is mounted on it. The steering wheel has three ribs (one to each side and one to the bottom), two of which have the chrome horn ring attached. There is a very attractive, roughly 4 inch circular horn housing cover. It has two chromium plated circular rings surrounding a black inner ring in the middle of which is a gold tone on silver base Pontiac indian chieftain medallion. The speedo, odometer, and instruments (oil, water, fuel, battery) are in a chromium plated panel that sits in the metal dash, looking for all the world like a Chevy bowtie. This photo is of the large radio in the middle of the dash. At the top are the station and volume knobs. Between them is a station number display over six push buttons one sets for favorite channels.
The rear doors start with making the parts for the frame and then assembling them. The final framing is shown in this photo.
Here we have a look at the bare bones of the wood body and doors on the driver side. Another look at framing the body and door openings.
Test fitting, test fitting and more test fitting took hours and days. In this photo a back door frame has had the old panel and ribs installed to give shape when the door is tested in the new door frame. This is a front door ready with an old panel for test fitting.
Restoring a woodie requires time, patience, and ingenuity. Putting the curves required in some door panels is a perfect example. These are panels after staining. Nice.
This close-up shows how much curve had to be put into some panels. This is another view of the panel, perhaps showing more clearly the desired curvature. Holes have been drilled for the door and window hardware.
This is a inside view across the car from one side to the other showing the doors with the outer skins installed.This view is closer to the front door post. Here we have another view of the inside as above, but further to the rear.
A complete back door leans against a workbench. A complete front door is shown mounted to the car. A back door, lacking crossbars, is mounted with a complete front door.
A left front door with hardware in place and mounted on the car. A complete right front door with hardware in place and mounted on the car.
Looking along the length of the slats toward the back of the Pontiac, we see individual slats being placed and mounted From inside, looking toward the front windshield, we see the roof ribs and slats lying atop them.
A beautiful view of the roof slats and ribs lit from inside and below, looking forward again. If you look at the other Cheny cars you can see his little boy grow up into a fine young man. Here he's sporting a goatee, a head of black wavy hair (unlike his Dad's mostly gray),an iPod, and his usual smile. The headliner has been installed over the back seat, and the liftgate hardware is installed. Close inspection reveals that he is sitting on the completed back seat with its red leather upholstery.
Out for a jaunt in the country after the Pontiac restoration is complete, the Streamliner is absolutely at home on the highway through the rugged beauty of a National Park. The Pontiac is parked in a visitors' lot, giving the owners time to gather maps and park info. Quite a treat for other visitors! The woodie has cruised Zion, Bryce, and Arches national parks.
Here, leaning against the Pontiac, the other half of the restoration team leans against the side of the Pontiac and enjoys a Utah desert sunset. His restorations are working cars. The Pontiac is a great parts hauler. Here, spotless and gleaming, she is waiting to take parts home.
Standing at parade rest, surrounded by tumbleweed and other desert flora and looking beautiful, the Streamliner likes the view. And the companionship. The sun has set and the desert heat is cooling quickly. The Pontiac is beautiful even wrapped in shadow.
In the morning, following an overnight hotel stop, she is regal in her maroon paint, gleaming woodwork, perfect chrome, and wide whites. This photo and the next are taken from the driver's side rear and front quarters.
A side view of a gleaming red Streamliner shown to great effect in a Pontiac advertisement. The ad is twice the width of the other photo and does justice to the road machine.
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