Pot ‘O Gold? 1970 Pontiac Catalina Wagon

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

Perhaps this is your personal pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? I love me some big ol’ ‘Merican wagon, myself! This very original 1970 Catalina is available here on craigslist in Orange County, California for the bargain price of $2,000, complete with one curb feeler in place!

That’s a lot of sheet metal! The seller tells us that there is a lot of surface rust, as you can see, but no rust through. It’s nice to see a car like this in its original paint, so you know there’s nothing hiding under body work. As the odometer is showing 21,000 miles, we can safely assume it’s at least 121,000, possibly 221,000. In either case, it’s not really relevant. This wagon is all about moving stuff from one place to another. The seller has done some work for you already in that all four brakes and tires have just been replaced. I can’t help but feel I would have gone with whitewalls as being more appropriate, but perhaps you would restomod this a little? Not me.

I wish we could read the decal to the left of the auto association decal to learn a bit more about this wagon’s history. The seller has, but is not including, NOS tail lights and a roof rack, should you wish to negotiate a little. By the way, I found a reference online to the step feature only being on the third seat models, so there may well be a seat under that flat floor in back.

I wish the seller had seen fit to include an under hood view, but apart from it having a V8, we’re not sure what is under there. They do say that it runs “fair”, fires right up due to a HEI (High Energy Ignition) conversion and has a transmission leak, so you’ll have some work in front of you. I wish this one were close to me so that I could check it out. Is this your pot ‘o gold at the end of the rainbow?

 

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Comments

  1. JW454

    White walls yes but, not those four inch wide ones. Something about one half inch wide or maybe a double white wall about three eights wide if you could find them.
    I like this one… I’d be a buyer if I were in the market and it was closer.

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  2. Red'sResto

    What a contrast between front and back! The front grill and headlights remind me of an 80’s era Jaguar. It almost looks like the designers used up all their creative juices designing the front end, then ran out of energy/ideas when it came to designing the rear. Thanks Barn Finds for introducing me to yet another car I’ve never seen before!

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  3. Dan D

    I learned to drive on a 1969 Pontiac Executive wagon so have fond memories of the huge cars.

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  4. Anthony

    The standard engine on a 1970 Catalina wagon would have been the 400 with a two barrel carb unlike the 350 two barrel that was standard in the coupes and sedans

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  5. Trent Poole

    If it has the step on the rear bumper, it has the “Dual Action” tailgate. It opens to the left or it drops flat down. Bet on the third row seat on this one.

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  6. Larry K

    Always liked those wheel covers. This is a bargain driver.

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  7. Curtis

    I must be getting old, 47 tomorrow, but man over the last 2 to 3 years I’ve had some sort of wagon fever. This would be another one of those fun cars to drop the son off to school at once complete. The Olds wagons or a 66 or 70 Malibu wagon on my wishlist.

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  8. Nova Scotia

    Me like. I’d buy for the price, but live in Canada.

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    • Kris

      Me too. I’m in New Brunswick.

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  9. Jubjub

    Great looking wagon. One of my favorite big car front ends. ’70s Baroque! The front end on these isn’t as attractive as earlier big Pontiacs but somehow makes more design sense to me than the ’71 up.

    One running around town about identically that some asshat has all “ratted” out.

    @Larry K: These wheelcovers were everywhere too…even on Richard Dreyfuss’s rental LTD wagon in Close Encounters. And none of them fell off during the cross country driving scene!

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  10. redwagon

    ah back to the years of one off styling…….at least on the front. pontiacs large wagons did not look very different at the rear from 68-70. a single vertical tail light on each side, bumper and tailgate largely unchanged from 67-70. the 67 wagon rear end had – get this – two thin vertical tail lights (had to look that up i’ve never seen one in the metal before).

    personally, this is the last year pontiac design year i like until geez i don’t know when. the mid 50’s through ’66 produced some wonderful designs, then 67-69 are just not appealing to me. 1970 was a one off year before the design seemed to get a little bloated and squared-off boring. the 70 rear end treatment with a large, thin, single horizontal tail light on each side was something i liked (as was chevy’s 3 thin verticals on each side).

    pontiacs of the era typically called out the engine size if it was above the base level. since 350s were available for the catalina in 70 not seeing a 400 or or a 455 on the front grill leads me to believe it is a base 350. both 2 and 4 barrel versions were available. counter arguments can be made as i dont know if station wagons had the 400 as the base engine or if the tag has fallen off or been removed.

    a picture of the cowl tag and the vin would sure clear up all sorts of questions. nice find, i would rock this.

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  11. KeithK

    Driver for sure. Drop it just a hair. Source a set of those stamped steel PMD rallyes with skinny whites. Factor in that roof rack and three more curbies as well. You’ll have to promise to call it a ” pony ack ” in memory of the Msgt.

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  12. Rhett

    I was a insurance investigator in the early 90’s, and I used one of these as my company car…drove it all over New England and loved it, put maybe 40k on it in 2-3 years. Finally let it go when it needed everything all at once, but the drivetrain never skipped a beat…miss it/don’t miss it.

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  13. Dovi65

    I’m in love all over again!
    I had a 70 Catalina 6p wagon back in the 80s. NEVER should have sold it. Loved that big old green dinosaur. Plenty of power, plenty of room. The under floor storage was used to hold beer! Ahh .. good times, good times. Wish it was closer

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  14. Blyndgesser

    All it needs is a nice rebuilt 455 and some big sway bars…

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  15. Coventrycat

    I wonder if the front end of these got as much bad press as the first Edsels, because that’s what it looks like, just updated for the 70’s

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    • G 1

      Has to be one of the ugliest frontends. Had a 70 GP, that was ugly too.

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  16. Don E

    I’m on it. Waiting for reply from seller.

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  17. Luke Fitzgerald

    2 large – bargain

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  18. Rock On

    Interested to know how you make out Don E.

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  19. scottst

    Now we know what parts bin Chrysler got the turn signals from for the Cordoba.

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  20. Jon

    I own a 6p factory ordered by my great uncle in March 1970, built in the Linden NJ plant. Has the 455-400-323 drive train with taxi/tow pkg. 375 hp with 104 octane these 1970’s were the last high comp motors. Mine is Baja Gold. Only gets 8 miles per gallon. The EPA is a joke .In 1979 MIT tested a 1950 Nash stock that burned cleaner than the current 1979’s on unleaded gas. These wagons weighed 5000 lbs

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  21. Gerald

    My parents bought a ’70 Catalina 4-door sedan new in this same color, Baja Gold, and I have some very fond memories of that car. 400ci 2bbl, am/fm radio, tons o’ fun!

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  22. Jon

    My uncle towed his 30′ Airstream from Vt.to Fl. every year.He babied the wagon .Save all paperwork including the key envelopes. I will send a photo.Its in storage

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  23. John P

    Ad deleted… Someone got a good deal..

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  24. Rolf Poncho 455

    I like will love to have it!!

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  25. Don E

    @Rock On: @John P: That someone is me. I’m the new proud 3rd owner of this totally original and heavily patina’ed unmolested long roof. The nos parts were forced into the deal but I’m way ahead with current value of those parts.

    Another Barn Finds success story! The commenter “formally known as” (lol) Don E is now switching back to my old user name “wagon master”. Dropped it when I sold my Buick Estate wagon. I’ve missed it ever since.

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    • Curtis

      Very cool enjoy that car and maybe post a Barn Finds after the find down the road.

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Yahoo!!! Fabulous, Don…er, Wagon Master! I look forward to updates!

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  26. Rock On

    That is excellent “wagonmaster”. Glad that it went to a BarnFinds reader. Do send us a picture when you get it on the road.

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  27. Wagon master

    Will do. Thanks to all!

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  28. C Brand

    Good for you Don E / Wagon master!! Please shoot us some pictures when you get her all cleaned & shined !! Another Barn Finds winner !

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  29. Jon

    It would be interesting to find the ‘build sheet’. I found my uncle’s ’70 wagon under the rear seat. Very important document .Provides the history of the car. Did it have the YH 455?. My wagon has 22 options. Even has extra seat padding. I would advise using about 5 gallons leaded aviation gas ever so often so you experience the hi performance era.

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