Dave Stuckey's 1965 Pontiac
1965 Pontiac Catalina owned and restyled by Dave Stuckey of Stuckey Kustom in Wichita, Kansas. The Pontiac was Stuckey's personal ride, and he started the radical build in 1967.
Chopped, Channeled and Sectioned
The height of Dave's Pontiac was drastically reduced by chopping the top 3 inches, sectioning the body 3 inches, channeling it 2 inches and lowering it 6 inches. The wheel-wells were then radiused, and the front end completely reworked. The hood was modified to accommodate a big-block Pontiac engine that ran a Paxton supercharger. The engine was hooked to a Turbo 400 transmission, and the car featured a tilt steering and a hand-made floor shifter. The dashboard was modified, and the interior was upholstered in Pearl-Gold with Pearl-White Diamond Tuck. Once the bodywork was completed, Dave gave the car a Kandy Wild Cherry over a Black base paint job. The first iteration of the build was completed in 1969. Later on, Dave added panels to the car.
According to later owner David Schluck, Stuckey's Catalina supposedly received one of the first set of full-reversed Cragar S/S wheels. It had 15x8 wheels in the rear with L60x15 tires and 14x7 in the front with E60x14 tires.
Sold to David Schluck
In 1972 David Schluck of Nassau, Delaware bought the car from Dave. Dave and David had been friends since 1966, and the Pontiac became David's college car. When David got the Pontiac, the motor was basically shot, and it used as much oil as gas, so Dave told David to put it in neutral at stop lights to blow the smoke away from the windshield.
Painted Ginger Brown
Sometime after buying the car, David gave it a Ford Ginger Brown paint job. "I really liked it that way," he told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2018. "In one color, so the body lines “did most of the talking”. I later gave in to the “fad of the day”, and painted it white with panels, as it appeared at the NSRA’s 1975 Street Machine Nationals in Des Moines, Iowa. What can I say - I was young!"
Back to Panels
By 1975 David had given the car a Corvette Chrome White paint job with Gold and Silver panels; "The spokes of the Cragar S/S wheels were painted white as well. One has to keep in mind that panel paint jobs were the thing back then - who doesn't remember Art Himsl's wild paint jobs? And who can forget murals on the sides of vans?" During the reconstruction, David added a molded cover over the McCulloch blower on the hood. "I made that cover out of ¼” steel rod, sheet metal, and welded it to the front of the hood opening, then blended it in. Also, if you look closely at the photo of the car in brown, you’ll notice the rather prominent body character line at the lower portion of the door doesn’t flow into the front wheel opening but instead drops into the body as it originally did with the original wheel opening. The same holds true for the front bumper, the ends of which were retained, and welded to the body. That Dave, for some unexplained reason, made this character line flow into the rear wheel openings, but not the front. I fabricated some “filler” pieces from sheet metal, and welded them in, to make that character line flow more smoothly from one end of the car to the other. I think it makes the car flow better, and those “filler” pieces are still on the car."
The bumper was peeled of its chrome by David and a fellow named Larry; "We used an oxygen/acetylene torch. After we had that accomplished, we sanded it, primed it, then Dave shot it with vinyl top textured paint. He used the same textured paint inside of the door openings, and the doors to hide the cut-lines from sectioning the car. He also used it on the dash, and on the interior window trim, just because he liked the look, and it was different. On those pieces, he painted them an off-white. Getting back to the bumper – during the reconstruction, I “modified” it. On each side of the gas-filler opening in the middle of the bumper, I welded a bumper guard I ’d removed from a 1966 Ford Mustang we had. I also welded a piece of plumbing pipe, probably 1”, which made the license plate a “semi-frenched” location and gave the bumper much more character overall. I don’t recall if I removed the backup lights, or not. They weren’t connected when I got the car."
8 Shades of Burgundy
In the fall of 1985, before David entered graduate school, he gave the Pontiac a paint job in 8 shades of burgundy. "The panels paid homage to the original configuration. The colors were so subtle that at a distance, the car looked like it was one color, and one could really take note of the cars natural lines. Up close, however, was when the paint spoke for itself. I put in well over 80 hours on it, and it was a beautiful color."
Sold to Larry Wolfe
David was the third owner of the car, and he owned it for over 40 years before he in 2013 decided to sell it off. He advertised the car for sale because of health issues. By then the car had been painted yellow. The body was solid, the paint was good, and the car ran fine. The interior was fine as well, but the carpet needed to be replaced. David had kept the car garaged while he owned it, and it was only driven semi-regularly in the warm-weather months. The asking price was $30 000 USD. Larry Wolfe of Wichita, Kansas saw the ad and decided to buy the old custom.
In 2018 Larry told Sondre Kvipt that he had the car transported to Wichita; "When the car arrived I was very disappointed. It was in a terrible mechanical condition." Realizing how much work it really needed, he almost regretted buying the car. Larry spent the next five years restoring the old custom. "I have replaced almost everything on the car other than the gas tank and rear end. Everything under the hood was replaced, new motor, Holley EFI, radiator, completely rebuilt the front end, brakes and brake drums, front and rear springs, all new glass except for the wings, complete interior, complete new wiring, tires, and wheels, rebuilt the dash, new paint, and the list goes on and on." Luckily there was just a little bit of rust in a couple of the wheel well-flared tips. " The rest of the car was solid and no rust." Larry removed the “spoiler wing” that was mounted to the deck lid. He also removed the “helmet” on the hood and put the hood back as it was when Stuckey built it. "I got rid of the dummy Paxton supercharger and used a Holley Sniper EFI. That left a BIG hole in the hood." A 400 inch Pontiac motor was installed, and after removing the supercharger, Larry had Corey Conyers built a custom aluminum "plug" to fill the hole. "I’ve been a friend of Dave Stuckey for many years so I’ve had Dave’s help during the restoration." As far as the body, other than the mods to the rear bumper, the body was returned back to the way Stuckey built it. "Stuckey and I had several discussions on what color to paint it. The original color that Dave painted it was Kandy Wild Cherry over a Black base. It was a little too purple for me. I finally ended up with a custom mix called Black Cherry Plum Pearl." As far as the interior, Larry painted the dash and interior trim moldings an early Chrysler Cream to match the existing color. He was able to locate the same exact cream vinyl material. The marble vinyl insert material was not available anymore and he didn’t like it anyway so he used a gold cloth that was similar to the gold cloth Stuckey had used in several of his cars. "I put the interior back just as it was when it was first done including the pinstripe design stitched in the dash and the piping in the headliner running lengthways." Larry built custom rear quarter window frames out of aluminum. He then made a mold to form the 1/4” blue/green tinted Plexiglas quarter windows to match the contour of the door glass. "In hindsight, I'm now glad that I bought the car," Larry told Sondre. "I’ve loved the car since Stuckey built it. I’m 71 years old and I’ve had a lot of customs, street rods, bikes, muscle cars, and trucks but I always come back to the customs. This is probably the last car I’ll do. I still love this car!" After completing the restoration, Larry named the car "The Pharaoh."
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 David Schluck
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Larry Wolfe
- ↑ Sondre Kvipt
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