June 20, 2021
The Beginning of WarSquaw
Being part of the Classic Car Scene, taking photo’s at shows, talking to people about their cars and the reasons why they put this twist to their build or that little badge there and listening to clients describe what they want to achieve when building their dream car gives me an in depth insight into what it actually takes to get one of these cars on the road.
I see the initial excitement, the memory that classic car owner wants to recreate a little bit of, whether that is building a car that their neighbour down the road had, or their Grandpa would take them fishing in or maybe just that dream car they had pinned on their wall as a teenager and fell asleep looking at each night. We then move to the crushing disappointment when they realise the amount of work required to get that car, the one they have been saving and searching for, into the car they have pictured in their minds. The hopelessness they feel when we strip it to a shell and start cutting large sections out, the inevitable question of “Can we actually fix this?”
The best part of my job though is watching as the car turns from this rusty, smokey shell with gaping holes into that vision in our clients mind. The glint in their eye as the rust is no more and the panels are beaten straight. The laugh when they hear the motor turn over for the first time after a rebuild, rumbling through their exhaust system. Best of all when they are driving off for the first time, a grin from one ear to the other and I know I will see them on weekends, out and about enjoying what we helped them create, their dream car.
This process is lost amongst non car people and the amount of blood, sweat and tears is not seen or often understood by those embarking on their first build. So along comes Rides Down Under, Workshop Wars (on 7 Plus) and here is our opportunity to show the nation what it takes. All be it doing it in 10 weeks was a bit of a challenge, but one we accepted. It gave us an opportunity to show you 10 weeks of our life in the creation of a my fun car, something completely outrageous that I can cruise in on the weekends and forget my troubles. The creation of WarSquaw a 1955 Pontiac 2 Door Post Gasser.
Let’s start at the beginning with a little history on the Pontiac, before being seen and bought at Pomona Swap Meet by an Aussie it was owned by Mr Lopez in Pomona who purchased the car in December 1967 for the princely sum of $125.00 in Mexico.
I found the Pontiac for sale on Ebay and it was love at first site. This car had a story to tell, it was rough. The roof had dents like someone had had a dance party up there, no crows feet in the paint but pterodactyl feet. The colour had been changed time and again, including the dash which had a complete blue paintjob, buttons and all. And of course we can’t miss those blue flames on the front, along with flaming 8 ball in the centre of the bonnet.
When we went to look at it the car ran, but not the way it was intended. The fuel pump had failed and instead of replacing the pump they had jerry rigged a tin of petrol which sat in the front grill with a wiper motor which ran a tube into the carburettor. Very agricultural but it worked. The exhaust was rusted out and it didn’t take long before the back section fell off. When we got the Pontiac to Valigrunt and gave it an oil and filter change we found the old original style paper oil filter still in place. It was very obvious that it had been not just years but probably decades since this motor had had an oil and filter change, my money is that it had just been topped up for years but not actually changed. Took us one day and we had the fuel pump replaced and, for want of a better description, she was choo-chooing along.
We had an original NOS supercharger intake manifold to suit an early Pontiac now we had a car to put it in. A few months of heated discussions were had as to how to Supercharge the car, hole in the bonnet or no hole in the bonnet, whether to convert to Turbo 700 like my 57 Pontiac or stay manual, whether to paint or not to paint. Many a debate was had between Shane and myself as we both had different visions for the two door and we were still having heated discussions when we were contacted by Rides Down Under Workshop Wars.
Having such a short time to build the car eliminated the argument for full paint job and I win. The hole in the bonnet, well originally I wasn’t so keen on the idea but now seeing it complete I think it suits WarSquaw’s personality.