Rare Pontiac Pathfinder Gets Saved from the Crusher, Still Runs and Drives

Pontiac built a few amazing cars in the 1950s. Following the introduction of the Chieftain in 1949, the company rolled out brand-new nameplates like the Catalina, Star Chief, and the Bonneville by 1958. But did you know about the Pathfinder? Don’t worry if you didn’t, it was sold in Canada only and it was built for just four years.

Back in the 1950s, Pontiac decided to sell its American nameplates with different badges in Canada. The Fleetleader was the first one and its replacement for the 1954 model years was called the Pathfinder. It was essentially a Chieftain full-size, but it had somewhat shorter front and rear fenders compared to its American counterpart.

It also came with unique wheels and hubcaps plus specific, Canada-only trim. Also offered in a Deluxe version, the Pathfinder was phased out after only four years on the market. However, Pontiac continued selling Canada-exclusive nameplates for more than two decades. The Laurentian and the Parisienne, for instance, soldiered on into the 1970s.

This 1958 Pathfinder is among the last of its kind sold in Canada. The only model year with a quad-headlamps layout, it shared much of its exterior appearance with the short-lived, third-generation Chieftain. As the latter was replaced by the Catalina for 1958, the Pathfinder was phased out to make way for the Strato Chief.

But even though it looked a lot like the Chieftain, the Pathfinder was a completely different car under the hood. While the U.S.-made Poncho came with V8s only, the Pathfinder was offered with an OHV inline-six in base trim. It was also available with a V8, but it was a Chevy-spec 283-cubic-inch (4.6-liter) unit instead of the Pontiac-build engines found South of the border.

Showcased by Halfass Kustoms, a shop located in Canada, this 1958 Pathfinder was saved from the crusher. The guy who decided that the Poncho shouldn’t meet its doom just yet was trying to sell it and Halfass decided it would be a good idea to buy it and get it running again. Thanks to him, we can get a closer look at one of the rarest Canada-made Pontiacs out there.

Sadly, the sedan is in a terrible state. While the exterior looks surprisingly good for a vehicle that’s been sitting for decades, the interior and the trunk are in really rough shape. Both have massive holes in the floor and it looks like someone has been operating it with wood panels placed on the driver’s side many years ago.

The engine bay isn’t exactly pretty either and the inline-six is dead. Fortunately, the owner manages to get it cleaned up and, after a bit of pulling around, the mill fires up and gets the Pathfinder moving. And that’s just beautiful.

I have no idea what’s going to happen to this car from here on, but I’m definitely hoping that it will get a second chance at life with a nice restoration. It might not be as fancy as a Chieftain, but it’s a cool Pontiac that people should know about. 

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