All Out Custom: Drop-Top Perfection In A Purple ’56 Pontiac

When it comes to General Motors in the 1950s, most people immediately think of the Bel Air. The Bel Air was Chevrolet’s most popular car during the mid to late 1950s and today it remains one of the most recognized and well represented classic cars out there. Few people realize and appreciate the beauty of the sister brands to Chevrolet in cars such as this 1956 Pontiac Star Chief convertible.

The deep purple that John chose for the car really compliments the body. This is a beautiful build for sure.

This beautiful purple Pontiac belongs to John Rudder of Port Angeles, Washington, and he’s had the car for 20-years this year. John bought the car in 1998 and they drove it to Reno in 1999. It’s a show stopper now, and would you believe it’s got 60-thousand miles on it since it was restored? “I drive my cars,” John said. “We take this to Reno every year.” This car may be a trophy qualifier, but she’s definitely no trailer queen!

The LED headlights both improve nighttime driving visibility and add a custom look to the front of the car.

When John bought it, the Pontiac wasn’t nearly the caliber of car that you see here. “It was pink and white,” John said. “It was a basket case. It ran, but that’s about all it did. The floors were gone.” Even though it was a big project, John paid a pretty decent price for the car. “I traded a ’69 Pontiac Grand Prix with a 421 and a 4-speed for this.” While he traded into a bit of work, he made out good on it in the end.

It's the little things that make a build like this stand out. The custom, body colored rear view mirrors and purple dice door lock caps are nice touches.

When he first went to look at the car, the guy actually had three of these. He has this one, a 1955 Pontiac Safari wagon, and a 1956 Star Chief hardtop. John took wife and two kids to look at the car so they could all vote. “I voted for the Safari,” he said, “But it was three against one and the convertible won. It worked out better that way in the end.”

Now happy with the convertible, for obvious reasons, he wanted the wagon initially and everyone else wanted the convertible. He was out voted when it came to buying his own car!

“It is a loaded car,” he explained. “Power windows, power seats, and power steering.” Now, along with all of the nice power accessories, it’s got a little bit of power under the hood that’s supplied by a 389 cubic-inch engine and a turbo-400 automatic transmission that’s linked to a Ford 9-inch rearend. This big car definitely does not have trouble making its way down the road. She is good for more than just looking at!

More than just the stellar deep purple color, there are a few other cool modifications that John has made to his car. If you are familiar with this era Pontiac, you may have noticed that the trim that goes on top of the fins and matches the trim on the hood is missing. John did not like the way it looked in the back above the taillights so he removed them and smoothed the fins for a more sleek look. It’s a subtle change that really adds to the character of the car.

The fins on this car are pure, understated, beauty. John’s decision to smooth the tops definitely paid off.

John also updated the all-black interior with purple fabric inserts and other showy plumage. Now, with the top down in the hot sun at a show all day, he is not burning his legs when he goes to sit down and drive home. The inserts work to both improve the look and the functionality of the car. Our favorite kind of modification!

Is Prince looking down from above nodding in approval?

About the author

Kyler Lacey

A 2015 Graduate from Whitworth University, Kyler has always loved cars. He grew up with his dad's '67 Camaro in the garage and started turning wrenches at a young age. At seventeen, he bought his first classic, a '57 Chevy Bel Air four-door, and has since added a '66 Plymouth Valiant and '97 Cadillac Deville to his collection. When he isn't writing for Power Automedia, he's out shooting pictures at car shows, hiking in the forests of the beautiful Pacific Northwest, or working on something in the garage.
Read My Articles

Classic Street Rods in your Inbox

Build your own custom newsletter with the content you love from Rod Authority, directly to your inbox, absolutely FREE!

Free WordPress Themes
Rod Authority NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

We'll send you the most interesting Street Rod articles, news, car features, and videos every week.

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Rod Authority NEWSLETTER - SIGN UP FREE!

We will safeguard your e-mail and only send content you request.

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...



Hot Rods & Muscle Cars

Classic Chevy Magazine

Corvette Enthusiasts

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Thank you for your subscription.

Subscribe to more FREE Online Magazines!

We think you might like...

  • Hot Rods & Muscle Cars
  • Classic Chevy Magazine
  • Corvette Enthusiasts

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Rod Authority - The #1 Authority for Street and Rat Rods

Thank you for your subscription.

Thank you for your subscription.

Loading