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

Sooke council approves new funding for chamber of commerce

A $16,000 service agreement to be created

Sooke council delays vote on Whiffin Spit memorial wall

Sooke district council has again delayed a decision to erect a memorial… Continue reading

VIDEO: Langford man battling cancer honored with hot rod, motorcycle procession

Friends and family support Patrick O’Hara on his 73rd birthday

Langford Fire calm mother and daughter after being trapped in elevator

Three-year-old girl given stuffed animal to calm nerves

Langford businesses can expand onto sidewalks, public spaces

Council passes new bylaw supporting business expansion

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

Most Read