Danville Street Sighting - 1948 Pontiac DeLuxe Torpedo Convertible
This was easily one of my favorite cars to photograph so far this year. Which is funny, given that the 1948 Pontiacs have never been on my short list of favorite cars. There are just so many cool Art Deco details on this beast, I couldn't help myself.
Pontiac was getting ready to reveal its all-new 1949 lineup when their postwar Torpedo range was refreshed for one more year. The DeLuxe Torpedo was available with a straight six or eight-cylinder engine, neither of which were particularly notable. What was notable, however, was the addition of the Hydra-Matic automatic transmission as an option. Pontiac was the third GM brand to receive the fully automatic gearbox (Buick's Dynaflow automatic was a different design), and buyers must have loved it because 71% of all 1948 Pontiacs came equipped with one.
It was news to me to learn that Silver Streak 8 is not the car's model name, but rather the sales name of the L-head straight-eight engine. Silver Streak was also a design theme lasting from the 1930s into the mid-1950s, consisting of bright chrome "streaks" extending from the center of the grille up over the hood and, on occasion, down the trunk lid as well. Perhaps Silver Streak should have been the actual model name, as "DeLuxe" sounds generic and in 1948 was used by Ford, Plymouth, Dodge, DeSoto, Oldsmobile, Packard, Chevrolet and Kaiser. Torpedo was a less common name, used by Buick and more famously by Tucker that year.
This Torpedo is a beautiful example, a fine driver that could hold its own at local shows. The body is lovely, the trim is all there, and the chrome is good. The only blemishes I found were a couple of rock chips and a small dent in one of the hubcaps. I'm sure it's a fairly recent restoration but it looks gorgeous, down to the tan and brown interior with its beige Bakelite knobs and steering wheel, wonderful Art Deco AM radio and clock. It was a lucky find on a sunny Saturday and I'm very happy to have had the chance to shoot it. This blog needs more '40s cars!
California Streets is a blog that celebrates the history of the automobile in California. We feature old, interesting and often rare cars and trucks found parked on public streets and roads around the state of California.
I'm a delivery driver by trade, but I'm also a freelance artist and hobby photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area with a healthy interest in cars. I love finding and documenting fascinating old vehicles wherever I go.