1948 Pontiac Streamliner Series

1948 Pontiac Streamliner Series 1948 Pontiac Streamliner Series 1948 Pontiac Streamliner Series
Station Wagon
Coachwork: Ionia
Chassis #: P8PB13617
Sold for $66,000 at 2011 Barrett-Jackson - Scottsdale 2011.
Sold for $41,800 at 2015 Bonhams Amelia Island Auction.
For 1948, Pontiac offered the Torpedo Series and the Streamliner Series. Both were available with Six and Eight cylinder engines. The 239.2 cubic-inch six offered 90 horsepower while the Eight-cylinder delivered just over 100 horsepower. A three-speed manual was standard with a new Hydra-Matic Drive available for an additional $185. The Torpedo Series rested on a 119-inch wheelbase size while the Streamliner had a 122-inch platform.

The Streamliner Series was available as a 2-door Sedan Coupe, a sedan, and a Station Wagon. Along with being larger than their Torpedo Series siblings, the Streamliners were also more expensive. The Deluxe models were given spear moldings on front fenders, chrome plated wheel discs, and bright gavel guards. Inside, the Deluxe models featured two-tone trims with pillow-and-tuft seatbacks, electric glove-box door clocks, Deluxe steering wheels, and several other upgraded appointments.

The wood-bodied 'woodie' station wagon wore a half-timbered body that originated in the 1930s. They became popular in the immediate post-WWII years and towards the end of the 1950s, the Woodie became the vehicle of choice among California surfers.

This example was completed at the Pontiac, Michigan based General Motors plant in 1948 and fitted with a 248 cubic-inch Flathead 8-cylinder engine and a single Carter two-barrel carburetor. The powerplant produced 104 horsepower and was mated to a Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. It is a Deluxe streamliner Woodie station that was priced nearly 40% higher than Pontiac's Convertible and coupe models. It is finished in a shade of powder blue with contrasting red and cream interior trim. It is equipped with options such as a front windshield visor, period radio, spotlight and a vintage California license plate.

By Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2015
1948 Pontiac Streamliner Series 1948 Pontiac Streamliner Series
Station Wagon
Coachwork: Ionia
Chassis #: P8PB24430
Sold for $75,000 at 2012 Bonhams - The Scottsdale Sale, Az.
This Pontiac Streamliner 'Woodie' Station Wagon is powered by a 248.9 cubic-inch eight-cylinder engine delivering 104 horsepower in standard trim or 106 horsepower with the optional high-compression cylinder head. The company offered the Streamliner chassis with three body styles; this included the hand-built Woodie station wagon being the most expensive model in the entire Pontiac range. With a wheelbase of 122 inches, the Pontiac Streamliner Wooide was the largest on the market and offered seating for up to nine individuals. Furthermore, the rear seats could be removed for additional load-carrying space. The base price of $2,500 made it a very expensive option and out of the reach of many would-be Pontiac customers.

The 1948 model was the final year for what might be termed the 'real' Woodies, when the entire rear body structure was constructed of timber. In 1949, steel was used for the roof and progressively fewer components were made of wood up to 1953 when the last of these Pontiac station wagons was made. The body was built by the skilled craftsman at the Ypsylanti Furniture Co in Michigan, where no fewer than 523 parts were made from either mahogany or Canadian maple.

For 1948, Pontiac produced 23,000 vehicles with just 1,000 of those fitted with the eight-cylinder engine and three-speed manual transmission. This example was finished on December 29th of 1947 and delivered new in May of the following year to Mrs. Emilie Noble Cooper, of Westport, Connecticut and Santa Barbara, Southern California. The car came from the factory with an electric clock, fog lamps, radio, Weather Chief heater, heavy-duty bumper guards and whitewall tires.

The car remained with Mrs. Cooper until 1977, when it passed into the care of Mr. W. Swartley on September 22nd of that year for $400. The next recorded owner was Mr. Jeff Ruether, of San Clemente, California, who purchased the car on March 20th, 1981 for $4,300 and immediately undertook a complete restoration. After the work was completed, the car was featured in the May 1982 edition of Car Collector magazine as 'Collector Car of the Month.' In September of that year the car went on to win 'Best of Show' in the National Woodie Club's Wavecrest Inn Meet with 35 Woodies entered. After the event, the car was purchased by Stephan Drogin, who brought it to Hawaii where he lived, flying it periodically back to California during his five years of ownership.

In 1989, the car was purchased by a Swedish Woodie enthusiast Heinz Wessely for $36,000 and taken to Söderhamn, Sweden. He kept the car until 1993 when it was sold to Anders Bergstom of Alvjso, Sweden. While in his care, the engine, clutch and gearbox were completely overhauled in 1995. Ownership passed to a German enthusiast in 2005 at which time it was featured in a three page article in Street magazine.

In 2011, the car was treated to a major photo documented wood restoration and preservation work for a cost of $20,000. During that time, the front shock absorbers were also replaced, new batteries and a new exhaust system was fitted.

By Daniel Vaughan | Jul 2015
Though the name Pontiac didn't find it itself on a car until 1926, the marque actually dates back to 1893 when Edward M. Murphy founded the Pontiac Buggy Company in Pontiac, Michigan. The town had gained its name from a mighty Indian chief who was responsible for banding together the Chippewas, Ottawas, Pottawattamis and Miamis into a powerful league.

The Pontiac lineup was restyled by Herman Kaiser along Harley Earl's guidelines in 1949. Introduced in 1942 the Streamliner was a full-sized car produced by Pontiac until 1951. During 1940 Pontiac, along with Oldsmobile had the distinction of featuring all three of GM's mainstream platform, at least for one year. Pontiac introduced its initial B-bodied car; the Deluxe Series 28 Eight along with the Torpedo on the C-body in 1940. This C-body featured very hip 'torpedo' styling within a more streamlined body. 2 to 3 inches lower, the running boards were gone and passengers received more shoulder and hip room thanks to an additional 5 inches in width. Offering true comfort for up to six passengers the Torpedo featured a column mounted shift lever.

The following year both the A-body and B-body were revamped in a similar fashion. Pontiac renamed its entire line 'Torpedo' and featured models ranging from the low-end A-bodied Deluxe Torpedo, the mid-level B-bodied Streamliner Torpedo and the high-end C-bodied Custom Torpedo. This was the final year that Pontiac would offer a model with the GM C-body until the introduction of the Pontiac Safari and Grand Safari station wagons of '71-'76. The Torpedo name was shifted to the A-bodied Pontiac in 1942 while the Streamline became the B-bodied Pontiac.

The first generation Streamliner utilized the larger B-body and used fastback styling, except for the station wagons. This generation ran from 1942 until 1948. With a wheelbase of 122.0 inches, a height of 65.3 inches, the length of all but the station wagon measured at 210.3 inches, while the station wagon measured 215.8 inches. When a folding center armrest was added to the 1941 Super models they became known as Chieftains in '42.

Pontiacs now displayed a wider, heavier, lower look. The forward fender line was elongated by the addition of extension caps on the front doors. The cowl was gone when the hood extended back to the front doors. Headlamps were placed further apart and the grille, bumper and hood were widened. Above the vertical side grilles were long horizontal parking lamps. Horizontal bars were found in the horseshoe shaped center grille while a circular emblem was put in the middle of the upper main surround molding. The Pontiac name was now on the hood side molding of six-cylinder models, while eight-cylinder car moldings said Pontiac Eight. Wartime 'blackout' trim was used after December 15, 1941 and all earlier chrome plated parts were finished in Duco Gun Metal Grey.

Station wagon production went to the new Streamliner line when the C-body Pontiac Custom Torpedo came to an end. Either Hercules Body Company or Ionia Manufacturing did the last of the bodywork.

A base Six Streamliner station wagon cost about $1,265 while a Chieftain Eight, Pontiac's most expensive model was priced at $1,340. The longest Pontiac until 1959, the 1942 Pontiac Streamliner station wagon measured 215.8 inches in overall length.

The Streamliner coupe became the first Pontiac available postwar in September of 1945. The coupe remained the sole product quite some time. In 1946 the Chieftain trim level of '42 was renamed the Deluxe trim level. Pontiacs featured many exclusive styling cues that included wraparound bumpers, concealed safe-light parking lamps, new nameplates and huge 14 blade grille. Straight back Indian moldings on the rear hood ornament chrome beltline moldings and bright moldings on the 'speedline' fender ribs set apart the Streamliner from other Pontiac models. Other features included larger front fender crown moldings and the fact that Streamliners were typically larger in size. Eights were differentiated by lettering on hood emblems and badges placed forward of the 'speedlines'.

Passenger cars featured gray striped cloth interior trim. Inside the station wagon were three seats in standard trim, two seats in Deluxe trim and featured imitation leather upholstery and passenger car style interior hardware. A standard Six cost around $1,942 while a Deluxe Eight was priced at $2,047. Streamliner station wagons continued to be the priciest of the Pontiac models. In 1946 92,731 Streamliners were sold which accounted for more than two thirds of Pontiac sales.

With five bands of chrome on the hood, the 'Silver Streak' styling theme continued for 1947. Pontiacs for this year received new grilles with four broad softly bowed horizontal bars. An inverted steer's horn shaped bar that included a die cast plate with Indianhead relief protected the hood and fender. On the inside the sedan and coupes were redesigned with Berwicke beige panels for windows and dashboard. Autumn brown with dado stripe border moldings was the finish of choice for the windshield, door and garnish moldings. All of the sedans and coupes were fastbacks with full-loop around window moldings. Once again the Deluxe Eight was Pontiacs most expensive model and cost $2,111, while the standard Six tipped the scale at $1,992. More than half of all Pontiacs sold, sales of Streamliner models totaled 128,660 in 1947.

The following year a new styling design was introduced that included triple 'Silver Streaks' which featured round taillights and a horizontal grille theme with vertical shafts. 'Silver Streak' was written on the sides of the hood with eights having an '8' placed between the two words. Once again Streamliners had the distinction of being the largest and most expensive of Pontiac models. All Streamlines now came standard or Deluxe whether 2-door or 4-door fastbacks or station wagons.

Deluxe models featured spear moldings on front fenders, had bright gravel guards and chrome plated wheel discs on all of the cars except the wagons. On the inside of the Deluxe were flashy two-tone trims with pillow-and-tuft seatbacks, electric glovebox door clocks and quarter sawed mahogany dash and window trim. They also featured Deluxe steering wheels along with other lux appointments. Deluxe wagons featured red upholstery imitation leather seats and the standard Streamliner station wagons featured tan imitation of the same type. The station wagon price started at $2,364 for a standard Six, while the Deluxe Eight, once again Pontiac's priciest models at $2,490. Almost 66% of Pontiac sold for 1948 were Streamliners, a total of 160,857 models.

New for 1948 was the Hydramatic automatic transmission option. Prior to this only General Motors sold vehicles with fully automatic transmissions and the only way to get one was to purchase a higher prices Buick, Cadillac or Oldsmobile. Chevy wouldn't introduce Powerglide until 1950, Ford FordoMatic until 1951 and Chrysler, Powerflite on Imperials until 1953. The Hydramatic was a very popular option and around 71% of all Pontiacs were sold with it, a total of 171,946 Pontiacs and 122,327 Streamliners.

The second generation of the Streamliner was introduced in 1949 and lasted until 1951. This newest generation featured low smooth envelope bodies, with the coupes and sedans using the fastback B-body shell. The Streamliner lineup continued to carry the station wagon. All of these models came either as standards or Deluxes. Small hubcaps were found on all station wagons and other standard models. Beltline trim disappeared on standard coupes, sedans, and wagons while gaining painted headlight rims and rubber gravel guards. Deluxe models featured beltline moldings, bright plated headlight doors and chrome gravel guards.

Once again the Silver Streak appeared in the lineup. It featured lettering that was placed above front fender spears on Deluxes and high on the fenders of standard models. New number '8''s were placed between the two words on Eights. Standard models typically came with gray striped pattern cloth upholstery. The Deluxe usually came with dark gray broadcloth trims. Wagons retained the same trim as before except imitation leather only used on standard wagons. The final year for wood-bodied station wagons was 1949 when production shifted to all-metal wagons with woodgrain trim. Once again Streamliner station wagons were the priciest Pontiac models ranging in price from $2,543 for a standard Six to $2,690 for a Deluxe Eight.

The well-liked 1949 envelope bodies were used again in the 1950 models with updates made to the trim and appointments. /the horizontal center grille bar was now encasing the corners of the body. Deluxe models featured a chrome body strip, chrome wheel rings, stainless steel gravel guards and chrome headlight rings. Except for station wagons and sedan delivery trucks, the Streamliners had fastback styling. Streamliner station wagons prices fell slightly to $2,264 for standard Sixes and $2,411 for Deluxe Eights. This was because all-metal construction didn't require final work being done at Iona Manufacturing or Hercules Body Company. The Streamliner station wagon continued to be the priciest Pontiac model.

For 1951 Pontiac introduced 'Silver Anniversary' models that commemorated 25 years of advanced engineering. The Silver Streak continued and also the introduction of a wing shaped grille. Streamliners used the B-body shell again with sloping fastbacks on coupes.
Deluxe models featured bright gravel guards, headlight rings and a chrome body strip. Deluxe passenger cars, all models except station wagons had belt line moldings that had a dip behind the doors. On Series 25 Sixes a script plate that read Pontiac was used, and on Series 27 Eights it read Pontiac Eight.

The Streamliner station wagon continued to once again be Pontiac's priciest model for its final year. The model ranged in price from $2,740 for a standard Six to $2,629 for a Deluxe Eight. Until 1959 this would be the last time that Pontiac offered a B-bodied car.

The Streamliner remains a true collectible today for the enthusiast looking to experience early postwar American auto ownership.


By Jessica Donaldson

Recent Vehicle Additions

Performance and Specification Comparison

Price Comparison

1948 Streamliner Series
1948 Pontiac Streamliner Series Price Range: $1,675 - $2,365

$1,505 - $2,075

Model Year Production

1953Chevrolet (1,346,475)Ford (1,247,542)Plymouth (650,451)418,619
1952Chevrolet (818,142)Ford (671,733)Plymouth (396,000)271,373
1951Chevrolet (1,229,986)Ford (1,013,381)Plymouth (611,000)370,159
1950Chevrolet (1,498,590)Ford (1,208,912)Plymouth (610,954)446,429
1949Ford (1,118,308)Chevrolet (1,010,013)Plymouth (520,385)304,819
1948Chevrolet (696,449)Ford (430,198)Plymouth (412,540)235,419
1947Chevrolet (671,546)Ford (429,674)Plymouth (382,290)230,600
1946Ford (468,022)Chevrolet (398,028)Plymouth (264,660)137,640

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