1957 Pontiac Star Chief Convertible
Displacement: 347 Cubic Inches
Horsepower: 270 BHP
Cost New: $3,105
In 1956, Sermon "Bunkie" Knudsen took command of Pontiac. The son of William "Big Bill" Knudson, a former president of GM, "Bunkie" was given the unspoken task of either making something special at Pontiac, or closing down the division. Pontiac was well known for reliability, but was not a line that commanded attention. His take on the current Pontiac image was "You can sell an old man a young man's car, but you can never sell a young man an old man's car."
He had little time to change the 1957 Pontiac styling but to go to work quickly. His biggest change was to drop the Silver Streak trim, which dated back to when his dad ran the company. He reorganized the series into the low-end Chieftain, the mid-level Super Chief and the high-end Star Chief, which ran on the longer 124-inch wheel base.
The new-look Pontiac cars also sported the first and only tail fins used by the division. This was the year Pontiac introduced the new "Star Flight" styling to their models. This update included missile-shaped side trims, flatter tail fins, a lower hood and more massive front bumper and grille assembly. The script on the front fender and four stars on the rear side trim can identify the Star Chief. Also in 1957, Pontiac introduced the Star Chief Custom Bonneville as a convertible only. Powered by a 315 horsepower, fuel-injected 370 cubic-inch engine, this added to the change of attitude at the Pontiac Division.