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Ozzie and Harriett Nelson's 1956 Pontiac Chieftain 870 4 Door Wagon

Gasoline FUEL

1956 Pontiac Other Description:

Ozzie and Harriet Nelson's 1956 Pontiac Chieftain 870

Four Door Wagon

52,900 mile original miles
Featured in "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" HBO's "A Private Matter" and an MTV interview
Awarded '49-'57 Restored Cars First Place at the 2014 Dallas Autorama
Our sale includes both the car's magazine feature and Dallas Autorama plaque
Original 316 cubic inch Strato Streak V8
Original Hydramatic 4-speed automatic transmission
Factory-optioned power steering and power drum brakes
Factory-optioned air conditioning
Factory optioned power seat

Purchased new from a North Hollywood Pontiac dealer by Ozzie Nelson and used both on and off the set of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet”, this 52,900 actual mile Chieftain is a national award winner that has split most of its time between the screen, the radio and the museum floor. Benefiting from a fresh glass out repaint in its original Kerry Green/Nimbus Grey colors, past reupholstered front seat and freshened chrome, it's a mostly-original survivor that's still humbled by vintage camera mounts installed during its sitcom debut. The car was also voted #26 of the top 50 movie cars of all time by Rod Authority.


Serving double duty as Ozzie and Harriet Nelson's on and off screen transportation, this Pontiac tells a storied history of low mileage, TV appearances, museum appearances and a Cincinnati radio appearance. Its 52K mile journey started around the set of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet" where the car, in addition to being rigged for camera work, often served as a prop that began Ozzie's scenes. When the Nelsons moved on to a newer car, the wagon was sold to Don Bruker's "Cars of the Stars Museum”, and, when the Museum closed its doors, found residence with California collector Ray Ostrander.

Since the Chieftain had been in museum mode for quite some time, Ostrander decided to conduct a minor restoration that included a basic glass in repaint, freshened chrome, some new upholstery and a wholesale swap of original Kerry Green/Nimbus Gray pigment for a pleasing combination of pearlescent Glendale Green/Bright white. With that work complete, the Pontiac landed two more TV roles, appearing in HBO's "A Private Matter" and MTV's interview with actor Aidan Quinn. And, in 1993, its short and sweet radio career began when Cincinnati's 103.5 WGBH bought it as a giveaway prize.

As part of WGBH's promotion, the car was towed all over Cincinnati to glean listeners' personal information. One of those listeners, Don Furnish, was a bonafide Pontiac enthusiast who was planning to offer the car's winner substantial money to pass him the privilege of ownership. When the time came to draw names, that winner was given 10 minutes and 35 seconds to call and claim their new wheels. And, after that winner's time ran out, Don's dreams turned to good fortune, as WGBH DJ Chris O'Brien announced his name as the second winner. After a prompt call to the radio station, Don spent the next several years enjoying his unrestored, mostly original classic at summer cruise-ins and weekend car shows. In 2014 the car claimed First Place in the '49-'57 Restored Cars Class and the Dallas Autorama in Dallas, Texas.

The car was then sold in 2005 to another collector through Barrett Jackson auctions where, many years later, it was subsequently traded for a later model muscle car. The current owner purchased the car through RK Motors in North Carolina and brought it back to Orange County, California in 2014. The car recently completed a glass out repaint in it's original Kerry Green/Nimbus Grey colors complete with all new rubber, headliner, moldings, etc. In addition, maintenance such as new freeze plugs, carburetor rebuild, sway bar bushings, resealed hydramatic transmission and exhaust system was performed. The car is now driven periodically to car shows and around town to keep it maintained.


Raise this Chieftain's hood and the first thing you'll notice is the original Strato Streak 316 4 barrel motor that, according to the car's previous owners, has never been removed or rebuilt. Less obvious, of course, is the engine's correct 521560 casting number. The car also contains its original 4-speed Hydramatic transmission, which wears a correct "D56" prefix stamp, and original rear end. Factory optioned power drum brakes and power steering are a welcome addition and big performance upgrades. Factory style dual exhaust has also been redone. Everything rides on painted steel wheels with 225/75R15 Coker Classic whitewalls and factory optioned stainless wheel covers.


Climb inside this awesome Pontiac and you'll find a mostly original interior that features dramatic style and great looking trim. Covered in an original colored hide, the car's big front bench seat, equipped with a factory optioned power adjustment, features a nice combination of fresh front and original rear vinyl. At the sides of those seats, original door panels look great hovering behind small armrests and correct chrome handles. At the front of those panels, is the original dash gauges and factory air conditioning. In front of the driver is an original factory steering wheel with foot-operated windshield washing system. Behind the passengers, an original cargo area frames ample storage space with original stainless skid strips. The car was also recently treated to a new head liner.


Photo of the Nelson family, WGBH giveaway flyer, Copy of the car's magazine feature, Large show board, Dallas Autorama registration card, First Place plaque from the Dallas Autorama and Copy of Rod Authority Article

The car runs and drives like a dream and gets a tremendous amount of attention everywhere it travels. Its time to allow someone else to enjoy the car as I have now acquired too many projects, in addition to other hobbies, and don't have enough space to keep everything.

Thanks for Looking


Item location:Prescott, Arizona, United States
Interior color:Green/White
Engine:316 V8
Drive type:2WD
Drive side:Left-hand drive
Vehicle Title:Clear