Follow Motorbase:
Search Motorbase for

Lot 344: Pontiac Chieftain 'Silver Streak'

Collectors' Motor Cars, Bonhams (30 April 2012)

Like almost every other American motor manufacturer, Pontiac recommenced civilian production in 1946 with what were essentially 1942 models. Pontiacs of this period are often referred to by the 'Silver Streak' name, a reference to their multiple chromed hood strips. This styling device was first introduced in the mid-1930s but the 'Silver Streak' name would not actually appear on a Pontiac until the 1948 range was announced. The first major post-war styling revision appeared on the 1949 range, which featured lower and sleeker bodies, and this basic look would endure for the next few years. This top-of-the-range Chieftain convertible is powered by Pontiac's 268.2ci (4.4-litre) eight-cylinder engine that produced 108bhp in standard trim or 113 horsepower with the optional high-compression cylinder head. Five different body styles were available on the Chieftain's 120"-wheelbase chassis in 1950, the two-door convertible being the most expensive of all Pontiacs at $2,190. The car was purchased new by the American academic William Forsythe Sherfesee of Villa Bontoc, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, who was a friend and neighbour of the writer Somerset Maughan. There is a letter on file to Sherfesee from the local distributor dated September 1950, complete with English translation. Sherfesee owned the Pontiac until at least 1963, as evidenced by French tax/insurance forms on file. Keith Richards purchased the Pontiac in France in November 1971 (see Certificat d'Immatriculation on file) and The Rolling Stones guitarist used it as transport at his home, Villa Nellcôte in Villefranche-sur-Mer near Nice. By the spring of 1971 The Stones had effectively been forced into 'tax exile' in France and much of the appropriately titled album 'Exile On Main St' was recorded in a makeshift studio in Nellcôte's basement. In February 1975 Richards registered the Pontiac in the UK. The accompanying Swansea V5 from this time has his name and address on it and is signed by him. In April 1985 the current vendor purchased the car, which comes with the receipt from Richards' company, 'The Mobile Studio Limited' stating that it was owned by him. Further documentation on file includes various expired MoT certificates and bills for circa £7,000 spent on parts and maintenance in recent years including an engine rebuild in 2008. Taxed, MoT'd and offered with Swansea V5, this stylish Pontiac convertible represents a unique opportunity to acquire a wonderfully evocative example of classic Americana previously owned by one of the world's biggest rock stars.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars
Bonhams, The Royal Airforce Museum, London, UK
Lot Number344
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£33000
Hammer Price (inc premium)£37950
Condition rating1
Registration number648 YUH
Chassis numberP8TH 83630
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2