350 Miles A Year: 1977 Pontiac Catalina

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Most of the 47,000 Pontiac Catalina 4-door sedans built in 1977 have long ago ended up in a junkyard or the crusher because they were all used up. But not this one. It’s well-preserved, has recently been serviced, and is said to have an honest 16,700 miles on the odometer. We don’t know the story behind this nice Pontiac survivor, but it has seen the inside of a garage a lot more than the open road.

The Catalina nameplate was born in 1950 and – for most of the next 30 years – the car would usually be the entry-level full-size vehicle sold by Pontiac. It carried dimensions and trim similar to that of the Chevrolet Impala. The cars were redesigned in 1977 when General Motors undertook the first of several downsizing initiatives with its biggest automobiles. That meant the Catalina lost a bunch of weight and overall size, but not at the expense of passenger space. It also meant that smaller engines could be used that would consume less gasoline to get the same job done,

We’re told this sweet-looking Catalina has a low-mileage V8 engine, though we don’t know which one. It could be a 301, 350, or even a 400 cubic inch motor (the 455 was long gone). The engine compartment is full of new parts, including the battery and alternator, and all the fluids have been changed. We’re told the tires have plenty of meat left (and we hope they’re not original). We assume it drives as great as it looks.

Because the Catalina has spent so much time indoors, the green paint and matching vinyl top look practically new. The same can also be said of the interior. Everything you see here goes with the car except the trailer hitch (the wiring for one will remain). Considering what $10,000 buys these days in the used car market (that’s the seller’s asking price), could you find a nicer family car that will also impress at Cars & Coffee as an example of how Detroit used to build automobiles? For more information, visit the seller’s listing here on craigslist in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Our sincere thanks to Tony Primo for this great tip!

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  1. Doone

    I for one do not like the position of the odometer digits. Something isn’t right with that.

    Like 12
    • Roger Dodger

      Agreed, and when you look at the rubber cover in the brake pedal, it seems to be missing a lot more rubber than I would expect at that mileage.

      Like 0
  2. Jim in FL

    Low Catalina trim, but power windows and air. Looks like a nice daily driver. A friend of the family had a 77 that was optioned pretty similar. He bought it new and used it to tow his 28 foot camper. Was stolen and stripped in Philly, but I have memories of camping trips in that car. Now it would be an suv. This one probably isn’t high on a collector’s radar, but a lot of us can relate more to these than the exotics.

    Oh, he did replace the Cat with an SUV. 1981 Suburban. No carpet, rubber mats. Dad and I put in aftermarket air in the driveway. Green and cream, 2wd. Amazing how things have changed.

    Like 5
  3. Zen

    Looks like a brand new car. If I had to guess, I’d say that breather looks like it has a 4bbl under it, so it’s probably a Pontiac 350 or 400. Of course, I could be wrong. I think it’s reasonably priced, you just have to find someone who wants an ordinary family car like this. Cloth seats, power windows and A/C make it a really nice car.

    Like 12
  4. JCAMember

    We had a ’79 Bonneville like this growing up. Great car. I think it had the 305. Always wondered why they had so many versions of the same car at the same time. Maybe 3 at Pontiac alone. Catalina, Bonneville and Parisenne all seemed like the same car

    Like 3
    • SubGothius

      That was a holdover from the era when GM used different model names for different trim/equipment packages of the same basic car (e.g. Chevy Biscayne vs. Bel Air), before they ultimately switched to a single model name with spec suffixes (SE, LE, etc.).

      By this generation, Catalina (or Laurentian in Canada) was the base model, and Bonneville (or Parisienne in Canada) was the high-spec version. Then after the Catalina name got retired, and the Bonneville name moved to the midsize G body (aka Bonneville Model G), the gas crisis subsided enough to revive interest in full-size models again, so Pontiac revived their B-body model as the Parisienne (taking the former Canada-only name), but this time losing its former Pontiac-specific sheetmetal and becoming largely just a retrimmed variant of the Chevy Caprice.

      Like 0
      • Nelson C

        Canada marketed to a more budget minded buyer. Their Laurentian was equal to a Chevy BelAir and the Parisienne was a Caprice. IIRC there are more American like models as well. The Chevy Bel Air continued until ’81 I believe.

        Like 0
  5. Stan

    Lovely hwy creampuff. ☁️
    8cyl Poncho Catalina model.

    Like 4
  6. Darren

    I had the same car only silver with burgundy interior and the 301 and Rally wheels. Spun a rod bearing and replaced it with a ’73 350 out of a Grand Am, I think. Then my old man sold it at a dealership while I was asleep one day for an ’82 Escort wagon….lol

    Like 4
  7. Raoul-F Raoul-F

    Its a 350 , 4 barrel, 170 hp acc. the Vin

    Like 7
  8. Kenneth Carney

    What’s not to like? This car gives you
    everything you want in a used car. Low miles, lots of room for the family,
    and that price! Can’t beat it with a stick! Especially here in Florida where
    used car prices have gone way past
    unaffordable. Looked at an ’07 Ford
    Sport Trac at a local Hyundai dealer
    with an asking price of $35K! $10K
    down and $650/a month for I think the salesman said 72 months! Asked
    him what the hell was he smokin’ and walked out. Trying to talk my sister in
    law into buying a used car out of state where prices may be lower. I tell ya’ if I had the cash now, I’d take a
    friend of mine with me to fly there and
    drive it home. If our legislators wanna do something constructive, they could freeze prices on everything
    for a year til we all catch up. Great find!

    Like 6
  9. Stevieg

    16,000 miles, so it’s not all worn out. But every rubber part is dry-rotted. So vacuum lines, belts, hoses, gaskets and tires will all have to be redone. Spend another $6,000 or so and you would have a great fair weather driver and road trip car.
    When you look at what $16,000 buys today, not a bad deal. Just don’t allow it to rot in snow & salt.

    Like 1
    • Duaney

      $6 thousand??? Leaving tires out, under $100. I don’t know what gaskets other than maybe valve cover, add another $25

      Like 0
  10. Joseph

    Odometer appears to have rolled over

    Like 2
    • Stevieg

      The uneven numbers being an indicator of an odometer that rolled over or has been tampered with is a wives tale.
      I have seen brand new cars on the showroom floor with uneven numbers, and I have owned beaters that have gone around twice and the numbers were perfectly even.
      I do, infant, believe the mileage claim. But if it is this well preserved and over 100,000 miles, it is worth the price of admission, probably even more so than if the miles are original.
      If it is over 100,000 miles, because them all of the rotted rubber items I listed in a previous comment would have been replaced at one time.

      Like 3
  11. Connecticut mark

    Extremely clean car but that speedometer looks tampered. Never seem digits that way since old foreign cars that were tampered with many years ago.

    Like 4
  12. Big C

    This was the car that your spinster aunt bought, after the Plymouth Valiant finally wore out.

    Like 4
  13. CCFisher

    This car is remarkably well preserved, but like some of the others who have commented, I’m suspicious of the odometer reading. Mis-aligned numbers are a key indicator of odometer tampering. On the other hand, the wonky odometer could just be a product of poor Detroit quality control in the late 70s. This car’s overall condition supports a very low odometer reading; nobody is going to restore one of these to this level.

    Power windows are an unusual option on what is otherwise a very plain car.

    Like 5
  14. Jon Calderon

    My first car was a brown, 2dr, 350 4bbl, vinyl interior, and I LOVED that car! Would really s**t and git! Plus the vinyl seats made clean up a breeze. lol
    Oh the good ol days…

    Like 2
  15. Barry

    I’m not saying that this is the case but GM cars in the late 70’s to I believe the early 80’s had the speedometer cable and cruise control unit on the top of the inner fender. All you had to do was unscrew the cable and the speedometer would stop working and recording miles. You wouldn’t know how fast you were going but with 55mph speed limits it hardly mattered!

    Like 2
  16. Duaney

    I’ve owned many of these and still do. All the usual wear items look like new. I don’t see how anyone could have detailed the car to this extent. The mileage is real.

    Like 6
  17. Tbone

    One of my first cars was this in light blue. High miles, only a few years old. Driven by a salesman that my dad used to buy cars from. Drove well, but I have more vivid memories of the large and comfortable back seat and a blue eyed girl

    Like 1
  18. PRA4SNW PRA4SNWMember

    Ah, the good ‘ol days of his ‘n her ashtrays.

    Like 2
  19. Nelson C

    Man, that interior sure is sanitary. Not a pucker or wrinkle in the driver seat. All the trim is intact. It even looks good in the green and buckskin rather than triple green. Pontiac did a great job in making the ’77 Catalina appear to be an aspirational car. Catalinas from 74-76 always looked like they could have been better. They also got rid of that ugly 2-spoke steering wheel.

    Like 2
  20. Homer

    Worked for a Pontiac dealer from 72-82 and a new Catalina was always my daily driver. Great road car and you could have started a moving service with the hugh trunk. Loved them.

    Like 1

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