Factory 441/4-Speed: 1966 Pontiac Catalina 2+2

Growing up in Australia meant missing out on cars like this Pontiac Catalina 2+2, and I can’t help but feel more than a bit ripped off by that. I’ve talked in the past about cars with “wow factor,” or presence, and this is a car that has both in abundance. It might not be completely original, but it is completely stunning. The second owner has decided to part with the car and has listed it for sale here on eBay. It is located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and with bidding having hit $25,100, the reserve has been met.

Let’s start with what is original on the Catalina, and then we’ll tackle the changes that have been made by the current owner. All of the steel in the car is said to be original, from the panels to the floors and frame. The car is said to be both solid and clean. All of the external chrome and trim is also original, along with all the glass. The Catalina started life finished in Barrier Blue, but the current owner took the decision to have the car refinished in Fontaine Blue Poly. He did this for two reasons. The first was because that just happens to be his favorite color in the Pontiac color range. The second reason was to provide better contrast between the exterior and interior of the Catalina. This task was apparently done properly, with all external badges, chrome, and trim removed, and all of the door jambs and the trunk opening also prepared and painted properly. The quality of the repaint looks to be first-rate, and the car presents impeccably. The other change was made to the wheels. The original wheels were removed, and the Catalina now wears those awesome 8-lug wheels, complete with new BF Goodrich tires. I generally don’t like seeing classics like this interfered with, but I’m willing to make an exception in this case, because the results have been pretty special.

Apart from the carpet, all of the interior trim in the Catalina is said to also be original, and its condition can best be described as immaculate. The carpet itself has a fit issue on the passenger side where the foot-well meets the transmission tunnel, but otherwise, it looks good. The original AM radio has been removed, and an AM/FM Bluetooth unit has been substituted without the dash having to be cut to fit it. The car now also sports power windows and a tilt wheel, neither of which are original. The rest of the interior is original, from the seat and door trim upholstery to the dash, the pad, and the headliner. When you gaze around the interior of the Catalina, it truly is hard to believe that you are looking at the interior of a 53-year-old car. Of course, the stick shift poking out of the center console might provide you with just a hint that this is a special car.

Is there any feeling better than opening the hood of a car from this era and finding a big block nestling in the engine bay? Probably not. What you’re getting for your money here is a 421ci V8, which is backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. That gives you 338hp to play with and allows a car that tips the scales just shy of 4,000lbs to race through the ¼ mile in 14.9 seconds. Making this Catalina even more attractive (if it isn’t already attractive enough), this is a full numbers-matching car. Even the air conditioning components remain original to the car. Apart from normal servicing, the engine has been treated to a new timing chain, and the carburetor has received a rebuild. There have been numerous other maintenance tasks completed on the car to ensure that it remains reliable and strong. Once again, there has been a deviation from original under the hood. In addition to the original power steering, the Catalina now sports power brakes, and I don’t see this as a bad thing myself.

When I look at this Catalina 2+2, I can fully understand why the bidding on the car has been quite strong. It is an extraordinary looking car that offers impressive levels of performance and luxury. I know that there will be people who will object to the changes that have been made to its original specifications, and I fully understand their thinking. I also respect the work that has been performed, because it has been done with complete sympathy and respect to the car, and the result is a Pontiac that anyone would love to have parked in their driveway.

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Comments

  1. Cattoo Member

    Now That’s a nice looking Catalina. Sharp. To bad there isn’t any audio of it running at a rev and some idle time.

    Like 12
  2. Dean

    Never noticed that the climate controls and radio mirror each other

    Like 7
    • 71FXSuperGlide

      That does seem a bit odd. Can’t recall another vehicle with a similar setup.

      Nice car however.

      Like 2
  3. NotSure

    …must…have…Catalina… drool…

    Like 9
    • PatrickM

      …he says with tongue hanging out and eyes popping out… LOL

      Like 2
  4. CCFisher

    Headrests were a very rare option on a car of this vintage.

    (FYI – typo in the title. “441”. It’s correctly noted as a 421 in the article.)

    Like 9
    • Jonathan

      Also, Pontiac did not have a “big block” that’s a Chevy thang..

      Like 2
  5. Wayne

    For a long time a 1965 Catalina with a 421 held the 0-60 record for a car magazine test. (Car and Driver?, Motor Trend? I can’t remember) 0-60 was clocked at 3.2 seconds. ( if I remember correctly) But if I also remember correctly, it was an automatic transmission and it shifted out of first at 61mph. There has to be a couple of Barn Finders out there that can back me up or correct me.
    Regardless, a pretty cool feat for 1965. Having worked at a Pontiac store in the early seventies. We took one of these in on trade. (automatic transmission) And I had the good fortune to get to drive it. It was bad axx! The engine and transmission was removed and installed in a very nice 1962 Catalina to build a tribute 421SD. ( no aluminum body panels, bumpers or exhaust manifolds were used to try and deceive) It turned out to be a very nice cruiser, with attitude to match. One of the techs at the dealership kept saying his 4 speed 1970 442 was faster. I did an arm drop right in the middle of town with the entire dealership watching. The 442 jumped out a car length, but once the Ponco was halfway through 1st gear it was all over. To say that the 442 owner was embarrassed was an understatement. Good times back then.

    Like 14
    • CCFisher

      It’s widely believed that the car in that Car & Driver test was heavily modified, and that the 3.2 second 0-60 time was achieved by someone with a twitchy stopwatch thumb.

      Like 12
      • scottymac

        Can you say “Royal Bobcat”?

        https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2018/02/19/royal-pontiac

        Bunkie Knudsen and John DeLorean came up with some fine cars. Too bad Hank the Deuce and Bunkie didn’t get along, would have been fun to see what kind of Bosses would have been unveiled as the Seventies rolled on.

        Like 8
      • ken tilly Member

        Yep, ANY car that can do a 3.2 second 0-60 time these days is one helluva motor car, as is this one. I’m not a lover of 2 door cars but this one takes the cake. Wish it was mine.

        Like 2
      • Ralph

        Its total fantasy created to sell magazines, the wheels probably spun the speedometer to 60 but there is no way that the car was actually traveling at that speed.

        Like 7
    • M vickery

      I remember reading an interview with a retired Pontiac engineer who was present at that. He said there was no way it was right, but he for sure wasn’t going to object.

      Like 7
    • PDXBryan

      Ralph
      Are you implying that my heroes at Car&Driver like David E Davis or Brock Yates would have knowingly spread fabrications? How dare you! ;^)

      Like 1
  6. Gaspumpchas

    Great write up Adam, and great story, Wayne- drag racing while the whole dealership watched. Reminds me of working at a gas station out in the boonies that just happened to have a good 1/4 mile straightaway in front. This car to me is a great example of what made the American Cars great. Pontiac’s super duty program was underrated, and the stuff that dreams are made of. Swiss cheese cars, tempest 4 cyl to fire breathing v8 conversions. The factory sponsored drag cars were legendary. Once ended will never be repeated. ,Good luck to the new owner of this beauty. One of the nicest Offerings from BF!!
    Cheers
    GPC

    Like 11
    • Dave

      Yes, it was a different era. For perspective, a new Dodge Challenger GT V6 AWD is less than a half second slower through the quarter than a 1970 340 version. It’s safer, gets better mileage, and you can drive it in the winter and not have to replace the fenders come spring.

      Like 5
      • scottymac

        Yes, the Fiat Challenger is quite the car! (First it was M-B, then Fiat, who’s the next owner, Yugo?) Have they changed one boring, slab sided body panel since the third generation was reborn in 2008? Announced last week, Camaro dies after 2023, who’s next?

        Like 3
  7. Paul Z

    I love this one, would love to have it in my garage.

    Like 6
  8. Dan

    Great car!!!! Being in Vancouver B.C. totally rare…!!! Back in the 80’s I had a
    63 Catalina 421/tripower 4speed complete with the 8 bolt wheels….torque from
    that motor was unreal!! Considering the weight of the car.
    Again the featured car in amazing!
    Dannoman

    Like 4
  9. Tort Member

    A good friend ordered a 66 Poniac 2+2 421 4 speed except black exterior and interior. Remember running out of gas and pushing it to a gas station and filling it up with premium for $10. Heading to Vietnam he pretty much trashed it. He has been looking for a 66 2+2 like his for quite sometime. I will let him know, there may be a new bidder!

    Like 6
  10. Del

    Pontiac quality and style at its Prime

    Sweet ride.

    Pontiac never got better after this.

    Like 10
  11. redwagon

    So all sorts of stuff has been changed and the purists will cry “Foul!” but a 421 becomes a 428 or 455 or 461 or a 488 stroker motor pretty easily in a Pontiac. Just sayin’.

    Like 8
  12. Angrymike

    Sexy car ! My pop bought a new 67 2+2 with the 428 and an auto, but didn’t get air conditioning. My mother loved that car. He traded it in on a 69 Road Runner with air. He told me he would have kept it but driving to the left coast every year forced him into an air conditioned car.

    Like 3
  13. IkeyHeyman

    Sad to think that this marque had to end its run with models like the Wave, the Vibe, and the G6. At least they had the Solstice to salvage a little respect before the hammer fell.

    Like 2
    • Paul Z

      Yeah but the Aztec was fugly as you know what.

      Like 7
      • Burger

        Like it or not, the Aztek was a trendsetter. Now EVERYONE is making Aztek-ugly abortions ! 🤮

        Like 4
      • DayDreamBeliever Member

        Seriously ugly.
        Or, so I used to think. Now in comparison to many of the current models in the same or nearby categories, not too different. Ahead of it’s time, apparently.

        The funny thing is, there are still so very many of them on the road! Sometimes I notice one on the highway, and pretty soon I have seen half a dozen. The plastic body panels seem to hold up pretty well, and the cars are still out there, being driven….

  14. don

    Now this is what I call a “resto-mod” ! not original, but painted a Pontiac color, and only factory options . What a beautiful car !

    Like 6
  15. Wayne

    Del, yes quality, but 1968 was the high water mark for Pontiac quality wise. Even into the mid ’70s, whenever you would receive a communication from the Pontiac headquarters or a zone office. The postage machine printed a front view of a 1968 Pontiac B body (Catalina, Bonniville, etc.) with the words “Zero Defects” under the view. Being in the parts department from 1972 to 1975 while in college. You get to see what really fails by what you keep on the shelves. The only thing that I can remember having quite a few of were 400 connecting rods. As we had several drag racers as customers. (Part number 541000, why does this stick in my head?) The only other semi normal repair was A/C repairs. And timing chain components as the 60s V8s came with nylon cam gears. A special tool that came with the required tools order. Was a neat engine hoist that bolted to the front/lower end of the block. It had a very large “bolt” that allowed you to lift the engine (once the motor mount bolts were removed) to a point where the oil pan could be dropped down far enough to suck out pieces of the cam gear. The only thing left was to pull the harmonic balancer, timing cover and gear set. Then replace with new. The techs were so proficient that they would drain the coolant while eating their sandwich and then complete the job while munching on their chips. By the time lunch was over the job was done and out the door. Thankfully Pontiac went back to steel cam gears in about 1969 or 1970.

    Like 5
  16. Larry Member

    I can relate to this car 100% as I have a 65 Catalina 2+2 2dr HT with the 421 tri-power, 4sp (console delete), no air and 8 lug wheels. It is iris mist with the white bucket seat interior. I also have a triple black 68 Catalina Convertible with the 428, 4sp and a 68 GTO with the 400, 4sp and factory air.

    Like 9
  17. Ken Kittlespon

    Was pressed into the passenger bucket of a yellow ’66 convertible with 421 4-speed and one crazy driver 50 years ago, G-forces were such that I could hardly breathe, that 421 could sure push those two tons down the road in a hurry!

    Like 2
  18. TimM

    Gorgeous automobile!! You’d be hard pressed to find another one like this anywhere!!!

    Like 2
  19. PatrickM

    WOW!!! What a beauty. And this lioness starts out with a meow and ends up with a ROAR. I would surely love to have this one!! But, same old problem…money, place to store it…(Oh, and I would definitely drive it at least once a week, maybe twice). Dang man!! I hope the next owner gives it the love it deserves.

    Like 2
  20. Troy s

    Pontiac really built some great cars back then, not just fast cars but real sporty looking cars inside and out…maybe more than any brand I can think of. The GTO gets most of the attention now days and rightly so, but these big sporty two doors are first class.
    A pre-no racing policy super stock poncho with the 421 SD probably could pull off an amazing 0-60 number or two…with slicks, no way on the street tires of the time. Marketing was another one of Pontiacs strong areas.
    Awesome ride here for a car that’s 53 years young!

    Like 2
  21. Mountainwoodie

    O crimminy ( don’t want to upset anyone)…………..its a 4 speed!

  22. JB1971SX Member

    Just to be a stickler for accuracy: In 1964-65 (and again in ’67), the 2+2 package was a trim level on the Catalina. In 1966, the 2+2 was its own model. So referring to this as a Catalina is wrong.

    Like 3
  23. JOHN Member

    AS much as I love the looks of the BF Goodrich Radial T/A’s, they need to go, put redlines on it and this car would be perfect!

  24. Robert May

    Gorgeous car. It’s nice to see a color change done properly. I’ve seen tons of horrible color changed cars, and this one is great. They painted the door jambs! They deserve all the money just for doing that. Tastefully done ride.

  25. Steve Bush Member

    Beautiful car! Bidding currently at $31,600 with five days to go. Oh well-too rich for me. It brings back some great memories, though. My friend Brian in college had a 1966 Catalina, light gray with an black interior and an 389-2BL/single exhaust/auto. I think it only had about 12k miles when he paid $600 for it in 1975. Quick and roomy, it served him well through his college years and carried several of us along on numerous beer and pizza runs and several road trips.

  26. Steve dora

    Why would you not leave this thing original?

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