1948 Pontiac Silver Streak Touring Convertible, “Torpedo Six Deluxe”, Series 25
Original cost: $1,935.00 (In 1948: average car cost $1,250; average annual household income, $2,950; average home cost $7,500; gallon of gas: 16 cents)
Engine, etc.: In-line L-head, 6-cyl.; 239.2 cid, 90 hp; hydra-matic automatic;119 in. wheelbase; 3,525 lbs.
Designed as a cross between a luxurious and standard car, the Pontiac Torpedo was one of Pontiac’s line of muscle cars. It was first introduced in 1940 and the convertible arrived in 1948. Pontiac had long been known for affordable performance oriented vehicles that featured agility and sporty appeal. It was one of four Pontiac models offered in 1948. A sales brochure stated that the convertible top could be lowered by “the touch of the automatic top control knob”.
The 1948 Pontiac was a dependable, value-packed car. It gained a reputation of being a “middle-of-the road” car – popular with middle-class, middle-aged buyers and in the middle price range.
The Torpedo came with either a 6 cylinder (3.9 liter) or 8 cylinder, 4.1 liter engine from 1946 – 1948. These engines featured stellar horsepower and torque the allowed the Torpedo to function extraordinarily in even poor driving conditions.
New styling features on the Torpedo convertible included triple “Silver Streaks”, round taillights, a horizontal grille with vertical shafts, and Colonial grain or imitation leather and lacquered instrument boards to match the exterior color. The interior design featured upholstery and accessories crafted with the driver’s comfort in mind. The hood had the words “Silver Streak”.
Options included rear windshield wiper, fog lights, Weather Chief heater (dash type), rear fender panels, handbrake lamp, and umbrella holder.
Calendar year production of all Pontiacs (253,469) made Pontiac the fifth ranked automaker in 1948.
The Pontiac name was first used on a car in the mid-1920’s when General Motors took over the Oakland brand. Pontiac was unique in GM history in being the only offspring ever to kill its parent. Pontiac became so popular that by 1931, production of Oaklands ceased.
Sources: Standard Catalog of American Cars, 1946 – 1974. John Gunnell. Rev. 4th ed. Krause Publications, 2002.
See also: http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/static/Canada/1948%20Pontiac%20Brochure/dirindex.html (Original 1948 brochure)
http://www.oldcarbrochures.com/new/021110/1948%20Pontiac%20Foldout/dirindex.html (Original 1948 foldout brochure)