Ain’t Gonna Get Her Done: 1963 Pontiac Catalina

Many of the cars featured here on Barn Finds are the result of someone taking on too many projects, or at least more than they have time to complete. I understand better how this happens as I get older and look around at what I’m sure are more projects left than I have the lifetime to spend. This leads to situations like the one in this 1963 Pontiac Catalina being auctioned here on eBay, where the seller states “I’ve finally had to admit to myself that I ain’t gonna “Get-r-done” so it’s got to go.” It’s located in Wichita, Kansas, and as I write the bid still seems pretty low to me at just over $2,000. There is a reserve higher than that, though.

I would agree with the seller’s assessment that it’s pretty solid from what we can see in the pictures. Of course, there’s some surface rust poking through what I’m guessing is the original paint, but not a whole lot of it, and nothing that worries me extensively. The seller was planning on turning the car into a Super Duty clone, and the owner before him added a set of manual pedals (but apparently nothing else) on the way to doing so.

Again, there’s a little rust in those quarter panels, but you could either choose to live with it or do some localized repair.

The interior looks surprisingly nice and has me wondering if the claimed 55,976 miles are the first trip around the odometer. The dash pad even looks largely intact! Are those air conditioning vents I see in the ends of the dash panel?

Why yes, they are! Ok, now you really have my attention–a two-door Catalina with factory air conditioning, power steering, power brakes and a 389 V8! Yes, I could find a spot for this in my garage, especially if it were running. The seller says they have never even tried to make it run. I admit to being surprised at that because after proper preparation that’s the first thing I do with any project I bring home. More importantly, however, is whether any of you are interested in bringing it home and once you got it there, what would you do with it? Super Duty clone? Sleeper? Stock? Restomod? Let us all know in the comments!


  1. JW

    I would go stock, my sister had a blue on blue one of these a 64 I thought but without A/C. Drove it from New Orleans to Chicago area and what a great handling car, nice highway cruiser with plenty of power. Also I’m a big fan of the stacked headlights from Pontiac of this era.

  2. glen

    Stock, please.This is a nice car, don’t mess with it.

  3. jdjonesdr

    Ditto, Stock. I wouldn’t even change the transmission.

  4. Tom Guggino Member

    I love the big Cats. I agree. No SD clone. I hate clones to begin with. That being said, a big ol’ stick coming out of the floor to shift would be cool. Not worth hacking up a nice looking interior. Since the motor is currently in need of a rebuild, I would “modernize” the mill, paint it maroon or black, slap on some nice rims/tires and go cruising.

  5. Pa Tina

    My dad owned a 1963. Maroon with the same interior this car has. It was a really nice looking car that I loved riding in. I wish I had the mechanical skills to handle this project.

  6. jw454

    Do any necessary body work and repaint it white. I just painted a car black… never again. It look great but it’s a ton of work to keep polished.
    Rebuild the motor, restore the tri-tone interior, and get all systems working including the A/C.
    As for the clutch pedal, I’d leave it for now. I’ve been known to swap drive line components. That would be a “wait and see” item.

  7. Tom Member

    I just realized that I own a dual quad manifold that will fit these heads. Hmmm.
    Also, just researched the roto transmission in this car. It would need to be swapped out any way.

  8. Sal Monelli

    Wow…. brings back memories !!
    My dad bought me Mirimba Red ’63 Catalina with the 421/370 Tri-Power engine and a 4-Speed… I ordered it as a 421/405 SD, but the GM racing ban stopped production of the SD and I was stuck with the street version of the famous 421…If memory serves me it cost $3,400!

  9. Bob

    I love the style of the car, it is one of my all time favourites. I wouldn’t care how it is restored as much as I care that the body is restored to original.

  10. Glando

    Re-do the steering wheel, add 8 lug rims, and that is IT!

  11. Jim Levante

    My 63 sat for a year, until I found a shop that put a late model chassis w/ LS under it. Now I got the perfect car that I can drive anywhere.

    • Tom Member

      Great looking 63. Which chassis did you use?

      • Jim

        93 to 95 caprice or roadmaster full frame, lengthened 7.5″ all the comforts of a new car.

  12. Poncho pusher

    If you know how to work on these ole ponchos theyll take you any where you want to go i daily drove my 64 bonnie 4 yrs daily all over the state to my sons football games car shows ect…..although idk if this guy is serious seller or not…..i live a hr away emailed him the same night about comin to see it and what he is truely wanting for it due to haven a 62 dual quad 4speed cat and a 64 bonnie and am really looking for a 63 no response not even a ill wait for the auction and talk after if it dont meet reserve……so heres what i feels “wrong” with her… the 310 “slim jim” roto hydro was junk in 63…..first thing in the scrap pile pulled multiple “good” 310s cuz there trash maybe for a wkend cruiser you might drive cpuple hundred miles a yr fine but to really drive and enjoy the car pull it put a short shaft th350/400 with a starter adapter plate from tin indian much better and you dont have to hack it up……also being they already put a man tran pedal in it kinda leaves alot of head scrathing…..either go all the way buy the kit from fabcraft or put a auto brake pedal back in it the 3rd pedal under a auto column looks tacky…..chang on or the other……and as for a S.D. clone how many ss chevy gto buick gs 442 clones are there not all of us was around or have a check to write for a real one so clone away if you ask me….considering they made like 14 S.D.s in 63….. As long as you represent it as a clone and not the real thing no harm no foul….course youd be upside down before you found all the correct 63 S.D. engine parts so it would be more about the want over the return money which has became the issue with the hobby……deep pockets mean more then hard work and pride… 62 has all delete everything S.D. hood scoop dual quads steelies all around black wall cheaters in the rear with whit walls in the front…..looks sorta like beswicks 62 passionate poncho…..i NEVER represent it as a clone or any thing to do with the S.D. program other then the look of a stock racer i missed by about 20 yrs….so its about what you want to do to it for your joy not all the haters and dont do this’ers… many people sayin dont this dont that but done the same thing to the same car qhn they was just a ole car…..true i agree it is a nice clean unmolested catalina…..but at the end of the day the guy buyin it dont care about 99.9% of other peoples opinion……if it was mine go threw the 389 add tri power or dual quads finish the 4 spd switch….black steelies pie crusts out back and torment some camaros mustangs and challengers…..but again look great between my 62 cat and 64 bonnie….still lookin at a 63 bonnie wagon too so……desicions desicions

    • grant

      Sentence breaks, man. Ow….

  13. Jim Z Member

    When I was wrenching in a ritzy suburb north of Chicago (1972-73) a customer brought in one of these in great condition, except it wouldn’t upshift out of first. After getting a quote for transmission repair, he sold the car to me for $100. My brother and I drove it about 15 miles in first gear to get it home. Great memories!

  14. Tom Member

    I called him. No call back. I agree. Not sure if he is really selling.

  15. 64 Bonneville

    auction ended at @ $2175.00 bid (22 bids) can’t tell if sold or not, just shows auction ended.

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