3 min read
03 Jan

The Pontiac Torpedo was a full-sized car produced by Pontiac, a division of General Motors, from 1940 through the 1948 model year. It was known for being the biggest Pontiac at the time and used an 8-cylinder engine. The Torpedo had more standard features than other Pontiacs of that era. The design also featured "torpedo" styling, and it was part of the trend in increased width dimensions to accommodate more passengers. 

While the Torpedo designation was initially reserved for the top-tier Pontiacs in 1940, that trend changed in 1941, as the name got assigned to all Pontiacs across three distinct lines. Thereafter, the Custom Torpedoes took the lead as the premium line, the DeLuxe Torpedo assumed the entry-level position, and the Streamline Torpedo occupied the middle ground within Pontiac's lineup. 

Starting in 1941, all Torpedo models were available with either a 6-cylinder or 8-cylinder engine. We found one with 26K miles on Craigslist. 

See also: This Classic 1929 Mercedes-Benz Gazzele Convertible Could Be Yours For $19,500 

History Of The Pontiac Torpedo

Pontiac Torpedo history.

Produced from 1940 through the 1948 model years, the Torpedo was part of Pontiac's lineup during a significant period of automotive history. 

The 1940 Torpedo was introduced on the General Motors C-body, featuring cutting-edge "torpedo" styling, wider shoulder and hip room, and streamlined exteriors. The car eliminated running boards and had a lower, more aerodynamic design compared to other Pontiac models. 

In 1942, the Torpedo underwent a design update, and production halted due to World War II until the resumption of civilian automobile production in 1945. This made the 1941 the last and best of the original pre-war Torpedo. 

The Pontiac Torpedo got its name from its sleek "torpedo" styling, which was characterized by a streamlined and aerodynamic design. The name was meant to evoke imagery of a fast and powerful projectile, reflecting the car's forward-looking appearance and advanced design features for its time. 

The "torpedo" name was a marketing strategy to capture the imagination of consumers and emphasize the car's modern and aerodynamic design elements. Using the term "torpedo" was a common practice in the automotive industry at the time, with many car manufacturers naming their models to evoke speed, power, and futuristic design. 

Upon the end of the war, Pontiac quickly resumed vehicle production, and the value-packed Torpedo appealed to the middle-class buyer. It was offered with either six- or eight-cylinder power and featured several body styles. 

The Torpedo was eventually discontinued in 1948, as Pontiac introduced new modern envelope bodies for its lineup. The Torpedo name got dropped in favor of the Streamliner, of which the Chieftain became the new top-of-the-line Pontiac model. 

What's So Special About The 1941 Pontiac Torpedo?

1941 Pontiac Torpedo overview.

In 1941, both the A-body and B-body Pontiacs underwent a similar redesign, featuring lower, wider bodies without running boards (although running boards were optional at an extra cost). 

Consequently, Pontiac rebranded its entire lineup as "Torpedo," encompassing the entry-level A-bodied Deluxe Torpedo (with a 119-inch wheelbase), the mid-level B-bodied Streamliner Torpedo (with a 122-inch wheelbase), and the high-end C-bodied Custom Torpedo (maintaining the previous year's 122-inch wheelbase). 

1941 Pontiac Torpedo engine.

1941 Pontiac Torpedo 6-cylinder engine

All models were equipped with either six- or eight-cylinder engines. The A-bodied Deluxe Torpedo boasted a broad grille with horizontal bars and integrated parking lights, while headlights were fully recessed into wider fenders. Notchback styling characterized the Deluxe Torpedoes, available in various body styles. 

The B-bodied Streamliner Torpedo featured sleek fastback styling with a smooth curved roofline extending from the windshield to the rear bumper. The Streamliner Eights and Streamliner Sixes, along with the Super Streamliner Torpedo subseries, offered distinct features and upholstery options. 

The C-bodied Custom Torpedo retained notchback sedan and coupe styles, introducing a new 4-door 8-passenger wood-bodied station wagon. Styling similarities with Deluxe and Streamliner Torpedoes persisted, and Custom Sixes and Custom Eights were part of different series. 

Station wagon bodies, crafted by Hercules and Ionia, showcased variations in rear-end treatment. Notably, 1941 marked the last year Pontiac offered a model with the GM C-body until the introduction of the Pontiac Safari and Grand Safari station wagons in 1971–76. 

A unique feature in 1941 was the availability of an 8-cylinder engine on the GM A body, which could be found in the Pontiac Deluxe Torpedo Eight. Some consider these as, in fact, the first muscle cars

See also: The 1948-1953 Bristol 401: A Classic British Luxury Sports Car That Time Almost Forgot 

How Much Is A Pontiac Torpedo Worth?

How much is a Pontiac Torpedo?

The value of a Pontiac Torpedo can vary depending on factors such as the model year, condition, and market demand. 

A 1946 Pontiac Torpedo in good condition has been priced at around $13,000, and a 1947 Pontiac Torpedo has an average sale price of around $24,083, with the lowest recorded sale being $20,000 and the highest sale at auction reaching $30,250. 

The 1948 Pontiac Torpedo has an average auction sale price of $25,927. The most recent sale was in June of 2022 at Barrett-Jackson: Las Vegas, where it sold for $62,700. 

If you’re looking to acquire a Torpedo in the future, we recommend engaging with an appraiser or collector in the classic car market and considering the specific model, year, and condition of the Pontiac Torpedo for an accurate valuation in the current market. 

What Is The 1941 Pontiac Torpedo’s Value?

1941 Pontiac Torpedo value.

The average sale price of a 1941 Pontiac Torpedo is around $16,500, based on recent market data. Auction records indicate that the lowest recorded sale price for a 1941 Pontiac Torpedo was around $3,900, and the highest recorded sale was $51,000 for a 1941 Pontiac Custom Torpedo Six Station Wagon. 

However, the value of a specific 1941 Pontiac Torpedo can vary based on its condition, rarity, and specific model type (e.g., Custom, Deluxe, etc.). It is always best to have the vehicle professionally appraised to get an accurate valuation based on its individual characteristics and condition. 

Our Craigslist find is described as in “like new” condition, although that seems to only be the case with the exterior from what we can observe in the ad photos. Note that all the photos accompanying this article are actual pictures of the car. The ad reads, 

1941 Pontiac torpedo 2dr flat head 6cyl 3 speed on column, 26,000 miles, excellent condition, underneath excellent." 

The car reportedly "runs great," but the brake needs work. With a clean title and only brake repairs to ensure roadworthiness, it's not a bad deal at the $12,500 asking price. At press time, the ad has been up for 18 days, and the vehicle’s location is reported as North Olmsted, a suburb of Cleveland in Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

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