389/4-Speed: 1964 Pontiac Catalina 2+2

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The Catalina badge served as a trim level for Pontiac for its first few years, although it became a stand-alone model by the end of the fifties decade.  But a new package came along for 1964, the 2+2 option, which for less than $300 got the buyer bucket seats, better suspension, and a few other performance goodies, along with the same engine choices found in other Catalinas, a 389 and a 421 cubic-inch V8 respectively.  Customers who waited another year found the 421 as standard equipment on their 2+2 by ’65, while the bigger choice was an extra-cost option during the prior year.  This 1964 Pontiac Catalina 2+2 here on Craigslist needs some love, but it may be a good choice for those looking for a sporty mid-sixties project.  The car is in Lodi, California, and comes with an asking price of $13,000.

T.J., thanks a bunch for sending us the tip on this one!  We don’t get a whole lot of background information about the Catalina, nor do we find out how long it’s resided in The Golden State, but the seller does describe it as an unrestored example with the original Yorktown Blue patina still present.  Other than maybe some trim pieces missing along the sides, the exterior looks pretty much complete, although the seller mentions some rust issues, appearing to be most prevalent at the bottom of the front fenders and on the roof, which looks like it’s had the vinyl removed.  But the body presents as fairly straight overall, with the seller’s assessment of it being a good foundation to build on seeming reasonable.

Although we don’t get a distant photo showing most of the interior in one shot, several close-ups are provided, which seem to show a decent dashboard, steering wheel, and headliner.  The front seats are going to need attention, and I’ve got a question for our Pontiac aficionados out there.  Looking at the door panels, the emblem clearly reads 2+2, so that seems correct, but the center armrest in the back seat is embroidered with the letters GP.  Is this factory, or do you think at least part of the rear seat in this car may have been borrowed from a Grand Prix?

No pictures of the underside are provided, but we do get several from inside the trunk, again not one of the entire area but a few showing bits and pieces, with the above image appearing to be the most significant rust, which isn’t exactly great but nowhere near stage 4 cancer either.  Very surprisingly, there’s not a single shot from under the hood, although the 389 is said to be equipped with a 4-Barrel and claimed to run great.  Not much information to share about the Borg Warner 4-Speed either, ditto on the rear end.  What are your thoughts on this 2+2?  Is the price tag in the ballpark or a bit optimistic?

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  1. KC JohnMember

    I like this one a lot. Big car. Cool drivetrain. Nice patina. Glad I’m not closer or I might be having the just one more talk.

    Like 7
  2. Big C

    If the tin worm is in check? This is a rare good deal.

    Like 3
    • Scott

      Learned to drive in 64 Catalina 2+2 automatic.Lots of fun in that car.

      Like 4
  3. CCFisher

    The front and rear seats are Grand Prix items. The 2+2 had a different upholstery pattern.

    Like 4
    • DON

      Yep, the rear seat has the “GP” in the center !

      Like 0
  4. Maggy

    From the pics in the ad it is a good deal.This is a pretty rare car.The price is about right to me.Buddys dad who’80 still has a 63 gp with a 4 speed he bought used in 70 and a 64 with a slim Jim. Neat cars.My buddy at 16 used to sneak out the 63 and pick me up in the morning when we were on summer break when the old man was at work and we’d beat the crap out of it.He’d get it back before noon so it would cool down so his dad didn’t know.That was over 40 years ago when this country and the world were normal.

    Like 18
  5. 64 Bonneville

    Car is originally sold in Indiana, not sure how long it resided there. Fairly new California plate on car. I think the tin worm may be at work on this one. Check the kick up on the back end of the frame, for rust, trunk pan will need patching, too. That being said, check the floor pans. Looking at the window sticker: WHLS HUB ALUM $122.00 could that have come with 8 lug wheels, and now wears chrome reversed “chrome smoothies” Just sayin. If you want to go back to whls hub alum, it will be quite expensive. as you will also have to change the hubs, front and back.

    Like 2
  6. Neal Jacobsen

    My brother had a ’65 2+2. 421, 4 speed, buckets, console. I loved the car but didn’t get very many opportunities to drive it.
    Ride was very nice and there was no lack of power. Gas tank seemed to never stay above the half mark but probably was due to 16 year old driver… Me. If rust hasn’t gotten to it, this is a great car to have. Price is good if only surface rust. Did right front fender have a dent in it or did something get in my eyes?

    Like 2
    • Gary Gates

      Get it Street Worthy love the patina would make a great father and son project.

      Like 1
  7. Harris

    Color of seats does not match color of door panels – Yes, they are probably out of a Grand Prix. According to window sticker, it seems this has the 389, not a 421? Without pics of engine, it is hard to know anything. Overall, this is one to pursue.

    Like 1
  8. Dr Ron

    I learned to drive in Dad’s ‘64 Bonneville in Indiana. I can tell what part of a ‘64 Poncho I’m touching while blindfolded as I inherited the Bonny from Dad by 1980.
    If this car is from far Southern Indiana it might not be too bad rust wise.
    If from Central Indiana it’s probably a rusty mess underneath and inside body panels and especially the front fender lowers and rocker panels…
    The transmission support tube is probably weak at the ends too.
    If from Northern Indiana a smart person will stay away from this Cat like the plague. I grew up in Northern Indiana. Cars dissolved there so rapidly that you could hear them rust.
    When I was a kid I asked my Dad (Who was a US Steel Worker) why so much salt was put on the roads when it ate cars in just a few years and his reply was “Indiana loves to dissolve cars so I get a paycheck”.
    This being a genuine 2+2 is somewhat questionable at best. Or worse.

    Like 2
  9. scottymac

    Wow! Factory reverb, didn’t see it mounted in the trunk, wonder if it’s still there?

    Like 1
    • egads

      Looks like its still mounted under the package tray.

      Like 1
  10. Jerry Bramlett

    In ’64 the 2+2 option was really just a Catalina sport trim package.

    You had to order a 4-speed or a hydramatic; there were no 3-speed 2+2’s. The rear end ratio was 3.42. The standard engine with a hydramatic was a 389/283hp with a 2-barrel. The standard engine with a 4-speed was a 4-barrel 389 with 306 hp. The 421 engines were optional at extra cost.

    This particular car was optioned with 8-lug wheels that are now MIA. That, along with the body rust, the missing console, no power steering or A.C., and GP seats, makes this car a little over-priced in my opinion.

    It would have helped the ad a lot to offer more photos showing the front seats, shifter, chassis, and engine compartment.

    Like 2
  11. Bill Hange

    My first car was a sweet ’64 Catalina, 389, 2bbl, automatic, 2dr. hardtop (looks like a convertible). It was 6 years old and I paid Great smooth riding car and it got relatively good, 18 mpg (I couldn’t afford big gas bills and replacing burned off tires). Being a northeastern Ohio car all its life, I bought it, patched the quarter panels and painted it on the farm before turning 16 years old and getting my driver’s license in 1971. Never had any serious rust in the floor, frame, or trunk. This one list must have seen some serious salt for some time.

    Inside door panels bottoms look pretty rough with extra screws in areas to hold them on. Agreed more photos all over are needed of this car. Price seems quite high for one in this condition. Would like to find a good one now after all these years.

    Like 0
  12. skody54Member

    This a big hmm. From the owner of a 64 Cat convertible, it certainly needs some help. I would switch out the goodies to my car. Haha

    Like 0

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