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

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

Rachna Singh, MLA for Surrey-Green Timbers, is the Parliamentary Secretary for Anti-Racism Initiatives. (Photo courtesy of flickr.com/photos/bcgovphotos)
A micro brewery is being eyed for Jordan River. However, the site where the brewery is proposed still needs to go through the rezoning process. (Black Press Media file)
Micro brewery proposed for Jordan River

Jordan River Brewing Company envisions to build wholesale, sit-in brewery along Highway 14

Traffic waits at the intersection of Highway 17 and Beacon Avenue. A study found failing levels of service at the intersection of Highway 17 and Sidney’s Beacon Avenue for multiple movements during morning peak traffic and for all left-moving traffic during afternoon peak traffic. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Province supports potential interim improvements to Sidney intersection

Province says interchange is the long-term plan for intersection of Beacon Avenue and Highway 17

Oak Bay local Lachlan Kratz (red, middle) has signed with pro rugby team NOLO Gold in Louisiana. (Contributed photo)
Oak Bay local signs with pro rugby team

Lachlan Kratz at 21 is now NOLO Gold’s youngest member

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Russ Ball (left) and some of the team show off the specimen after they were able to remove it Friday. Photo supplied
Courtenay fossil hunter finds ancient turtle on local river

The specimen will now make its home at the Royal BC Museum

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

The Attorney General’s Ministry says certain disputes may now be resolved through either a tribunal or the court system, pending its appeal of a B.C. Supreme Court decision that reduced the tribunal’s jurisdiction. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Court of Appeal grants partial stay in ruling on B.C. auto injuries

B.C. trial lawyers challenged legislation brought in to cap minor injury awards and move smaller court disputes to the Civil Resolution Tribunal

Most Read