1954 was the first year for the Pontiac Star Chief. The new model was a top-of-the-line car available as a four-door sedan, two-door convertible, or Custom Catalina two-door hardtop. The Star Chief frame was 11 inches longer than a standard GM A-body chassis.
The only engine offered with the Star Chief line was a straight-eight of 268.4 cid. The engine delivered 122 hp with a manual transmission and 127 hp with the four-speed dual-range Hydra-Matic. The automatic engine owed those additional five horsepower to a high compression cylinder head, which was separately available as an option on manual transmission cars. The three-speed synchromesh manual was standard equipment, but out of 115,088 Star Chiefs produced in this year, only 571 were made with the manual transmission.
The 1954 Star Chief was available in a Deluxe series including a four-door sedan and two-door convertible, or the higher-end Custom series including a four-door sedan or two-door Custom Catalina hardtop. The Custom series received chrome roof trim and a more luxurious cloth and leather interior.
The least expensive of the 1954 Star Chiefs was the Deluxe sedan, at $2,301. The Custom sedan cost $2,394. The convertible would cost a buyer $2,630, while the Custom Catalina hardtop ran to $2,557.
Beyond their dramatic rear fender length, the 1954 Star Chief may be distinguished by the five “silver streaks” on the hood and three stars on each rear fender. A long list of options was available, including heaters, radios, and even an on-board refrigerator. On June 18, 1954, one Star Chief Custom Catalina hardtop rolled off the line as the 5-millionth car produced by Pontiac.