Weld Racing Aluma-Star wheels...
Weld Racing Aluma-Star wheels sit in the front and back, 15x3 and 15x14 respectively. They are wrapped in Mickey Thompson Pro 33x19.5x15 tires in the rear and 26x7.5x15s in the front.
Silver-faced Auto Meter gauges...
Silver-faced Auto Meter gauges were fitted into dashpods and a dual-gauge pod was built and mounted to the floor by Carefree.
Larry's launch technique:...
Larry's launch technique: "I burnout hard and leave at 3,800 rpm on the transbrake," he told us. Shifting 6,200, the '58 goes through the traps at 6,000-6,200 rpm. Weighing in at 3,780 pounds with a driver, the Pontiac posts 1.7 60-foot times and 11.80 e.t.'s at 115 mph in the quarter-mile.
Since this is a purpose-built...
Since this is a purpose-built Pro Street Pontiac, Holzman Race Cars' custom-built steel wheeltubs and a rolled aluminum panel, proudly displaying the Chief's head, reside where the rear seat used to be.
The trunk was finished off...
The trunk was finished off with carpeting much like the interior. Note the 12-gallon fuel cell and covered battery.
Larry Crider has always enjoyed what he refers to as oddballs; it's the type of Pontiac this Sapulpa, Oklahoma, resident prefers to build. Now a retired United States Postal Service employee, our featured Poncho lover has seen some cool things come through Oklahoma, but none as cool as his '58 Chieftain. "It seems most people think the one-year body style of the '58 was ugly. I personally feel it's one of the prettiest of what GM manufactured." So Larry dreamed of someday owning one; that day was closer than he knew.
No stranger to Pontiacs, Larry's collection includes a '64 GTO convertible, a '74 GTO, a '48 Woodie, and non-Tin-Indian '67 and '68 Corvettes. But he was missing a key item and friend Pete Rowland knew it. "So when a guy came to his son's upholstery shop and said that he had one for sale, Pete knew who to call," remembers Larry.
Two days later, in May of 1985, Larry had his '58 with 58,000 miles on the odometer. How's that for a coincidence? The old Poncho was in great shape, black with red-painted body-side inserts and roof. It had some standard-issue rust in the front floor pans and trunk lid, but otherwise, it was complete, dent free, and drivable.
With more than a couple project cars already in the works, Larry stored his rare find at his parent's house in Cleveland, Oklahoma, until he had time to wrench on his new acquisition. Then disaster struck two-fold. First, one of those famous wildfires nearly claimed the car, coming much too close to Larry's-and his parent's-prized possessions. Secondly, and much more impactful, Larry's wife passed away suddenly at the age of 44.
Understandably, the owner lost interest in his projects, and the Pontiacs were set aside. When it seemed like nothing could help, friend Tom Wilhite stepped in with advice. "I was depressed, and Tom said I needed a project to keep my mind off of things," said Larry. "So he suggested I build up the '58 and he would help."
With a quick discussion between Tom and Carefree Paint and Body in Tulsa, Larry got the guidance he needed to create the Pontiac pictured in his mind-a Pro Street '58. Larry said, "I just had an itch for another Pro Street car, especially a Pontiac," recalling the days when he owned a Pro Street '69 GTO Judge. "You don't see a lot of heavily modified ones, and the '58's front and rear seemed a perfect body to build one."
After disassembling the big Chief, the owner cleaned and sandblasted the body, frame, and other parts. He then delivered everything to Holzman Race Cars in Wichita, Kansas. With the skeleton and skin now in his careful hands, Rob Holzman back-halved the Pontiac, adding wheeltubs, a custom 2x3 rear-frame section and crossmember, and fabricated a four-link suspension system. AFCO double adjustable coilovers with adjustable lower shock mounts keep the rear planted on launch. He then welded in an eight-point roll cage made from 1.5-inch mild-steel tubing.
Up front are '67 GTO stock-style shocks and springs. A pocket was welded into the upper A-arms so that the later-era shocks could fit with no interference. The factory stabilizer bar was removed, but the steering system was left stock. When asked why the '58 travels sans bar, Larry smiled and said, "When you're going in a straight line, you don't need it."
A set of transplanted '70 Bonne discs in the front and stock drums in the rear comprise the braking system. According to the owner, just a few brackets and some quick machining work to make a couple of wheel spacers were all it took to get those later-year brakes on the car. Even the stock front spindles remain.
While the car was away, Larry and his friends had time to play with the new engine. Since extra power was a must, the original 370 was scrapped for a 400 from a long-since forgotten '73. The block was bored over and stroked to displace 467 ci. A Holley Pro-Series 1000-cfm carburetor and an Edelbrock Victor Jr. manifold deliver the mixture to Edelbrock 72cc chamber heads. The already-high flow was further improved with porting from Butler Performance resulting in 330-cfm intake flow.