Stan Eakin with his 1929 Pontiac Big Six coupe. “It chugs along. I’m pretty happy with it

HOT CAR: 1929 Pontiac Big Six

Stan Eakin kept the 1929 vehicle pretty much stock, right up to the wooden roof that he rebuilt himself.

As we idle in our econoboxes, surrounded by crash barriers, air bags, air conditioning and power steering, it’s hard to see what we take for granted when it comes to driving.

To get an idea of just how spoiled we are with standard automotive options today, we took a look at Sooke resident Stan Eakin’s 1929 Pontiac Big Six coupe, a car he’d bought in boxed pieces for $6,000 nearly 20 years ago.

“A friend of mine asked me, do you want to restore an old car? I said, heck, everybody wants to restore an old car!’” Eakin laughed.

Eakin made the Pontiac his personal project: redoing the frame and rebuilding the car from the ground up to the same specs it had when it rolled off the assembly line from General Motors’ plant in Oakland, Calif. more than 80 years ago.

He recalls the day when he got the car back home.

“I brought it home and said to my neighbour, ‘I’ll get it and work on it, but you have to come up and help me if I run into any trouble’,” Eakin said.

Unlike other restorations, where modern components are added such as interior comforts and more powerful and reliable powertrains, Eakin kept his 1929 pretty much stock, right up to the wooden roof that he rebuilt himself.

The same continues under the car’s folding hood, which contains Pontiac’s “Big Six” 6-29 Series, a 3.3-litre (200 cubic-inch) flathead straight-six cylinder engine capable of a modest 60 horsepower.

Putting the power down is also from the era, a three-speed manual transmission with reverse gear. Keep in mind this is pre-synchromesh gears, unlike in modern manual gearboxes, meaning you’d have to be telepathic to know when to shift without grinding each gear into metal filings.

Still, the Pontiac Big Six was far from crude.

It came standard with a starter motor at a time when prospective car owners had their wrists broken by manual handcranking their engines. It was also smart and simple, bearing an odometer, horn, light switch (from very dull to very bright) and a clever “air conditioning” system that funneled cold air from under the car and into the cabin.

And the signal lights?

“There are none, you just had this,” Eakin laughed, stretching out his arm as if signaling a left. Yup, you’d signal like a cyclist, as signal lights were neither mandatory or available in those days. Or seatbelts, for that matter.

Despite its flaws though, Eakin is pleased with the car.

“It chugs along, I’m pretty happy with it,” he said.

The Pontiac is not Eakin’s only toy. He plans to sell it and make way for his next project, a DeSoto sedan of the same era.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria mayor wants newspaper boxes removed from downtown streets

Mayor Lisa Helps says the boxes are not needed, often filled with garbage

Esquimalt artists take to great outdoors amid coronavirus

Group invites budding, or just willing artists, to join at Saxe Point

Langford firefighters raise $1,065 for Burn Camp

B.C. firefighters and burn survivors raise $200,068 this year for Burn Camp

Victoria church to ring bells for 75th anniversary of atomic bombings

Bells expected at 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6 and 11:50 a.m. on Aug. 9

VicPD find used, uncapped needle tied to handrail in Beacon Hill Park

Officers believe the needle was put there with the intent to harm someone

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Plane crashes into Nelson supermarket parking lot

Pilot and passenger have minor injuries

SOOKE HISTORY: A peek into the journal of John George Whiffin

Elida Peers | Contributed One of our most popular walks is on… Continue reading

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

Most Read