Prologue: I thought it fitting to include a special comment on this featured article as it is Pontiac Street Performance's first presentation of a Pontiac powered street rod. I have frequented numerous car shows and have seldom run across a Pontiac street rod that was Pontiac powered. Dennis Brenner's 1939 Pontiac is powered by the venerable 400. It's an honor to present Dennis' street rod. Here is Dennis' story. -- Bill Boyle, webmaster, Pontiac Street Performance.

During the summer of 1996 I decided it was time to get a hobby. My wife and I discussed the matter at length. I told her that I’d like to either get a boat (30 or 34 footer for the Great Lakes) or build a street rod. Vicki opted for the rod. I don’t think she knew what she was getting into. Heck, neither did I.

Since high school, I always thought I’d like to have a ’40 Ford Deluxe Coupe. So, that was what I went looking for. I was looking for a car in the Detroit area. I didn’t have much success coming up with what I was looking for. I expanded my search to other vehicles. One Sunday after the Woodward Dream Cruise I saw an ad for a 1939 Pontiac Coupe. I’d never seen one before. So, Vicki, our son Matt and I went to check it out.

I didn’t like the car at first. The front end was too long and I didn’t like the grill. I told the seller thanks, but no thanks. After looking around some more I went back to check out the Pontiac. The thought of owning a car that you don’t see everyday sort of appealed to me. I offered the owner $1000 less than he was asking and we made the deal. In September of 1996 the project began.

This is what our new baby looked like when we brought her home.

Obviously she was going to need a little work. The suspension was completely stock from 1939. The interior had seats from some sort of ‘80’s Cadillac. They were squeezed in door to door. The wiring was a complete hack job that was yanked out of some other GM vehicle. A very tired Chevy 283 powered her.

By mid November we had the car totally stripped to the last bolt with all items either bagged or tagged. We took pictures during the stripping process to remember how everything went back together. Then it was on to the media blaster. The body was is surprisingly good shape, no major dings or hard hits. We did find a lot of rust in the trunk floor, rear pan, rockers, passenger floor and inner quarters. At one time the rear fenders and body rusted where they come together. Somewhere along the way the fenders were welded on and the seam filled with lead. The lead job seemed pretty solid, so we left it as it was found. Later, I smoothed it all out with about 80 hours of filler work.

We had every bit of rusty metal cut out and replaced. Luckily this Pontiac shares the same body as the Chevrolet that year. I was able to purchase a trunk floor from Bitchin Products and a rear pan from EMS. Over the course of the next four years we built up a Pontiac 400 that my son’s friend had and raced, massaged the body, had all new glass cut, played with bondo and got real dirty.

I soon found that this was not a project to be done in my little single car attached garage, so about two years ago I had a 24’ by 28’ garage built in the back yard. I put in a 100 amp electric service, piped in natural gas for the furnace, insulated and dry walled the inside. I now had what was to become my "home away from home".

Here are some of the pictures we took along the way. [Next page]