Airplane Hangar Find! 1965 Pontiac Catalina

The Catalina was a part of the lineup for more than 30 years (1950-81). During the 1960s and 1970s, it would be Pontiac’s full-size entry-level car, although it was by no means spartan. The third generation was built between 1965-70, including this 2-door sedan which we’re told the seller found after it had been sitting in an airplane hangar for likely several years. It doesn’t run and is having some work done. But with a 389 cubic inch V8, this auto could turn out to be quite the sleeper. Located in Palatine, Illinois, this Pontiac is available here on craigslist for $5,500. This tip is brought to us by local_sheriff.

Pontiac restyled their full-size autos in 1965, employing “Coke bottle”-like flowing sheet metal for a more aero look than the boxy 1964 models. A range of body styles was available, but the 2-door sedan was limited to the Catalina series and demand was light compared to the other sedans and hardtops. A little more than 9.500 copies of the pillared coupe were built, and they don’t turn up very often these days.

While it sounds as though the 389 under the hood of the seller’s car is an upgrade, that was the standard motor in the 1965 Catalina. A 2-barrel carburetor would also have been standard, but a 4-barrel was optional. The seller says this car has had a conversion to a floor-shifted Saginaw manual transmission, so the shifting was either moved from the column or it was an automatic, to begin with.

The seller bought this Pontiac as a project and has done some work, but life gets in the way and the auto must move on to another party to get the Catalina back on the road. We’re told there is some rust, such as in the wheel wells and trunk floor. And the blue paint has some splotches from what we can tell (not the best of photos). The engine will run with some gas poured down the carburetor, but the fuel tank is out being refurbished. The dash pad and headliner will need some work, with the rest of the interior said to be in good shape. So this may be a project only requiring a modest amount of effort.


  1. Moparman Member

    Add a set of Rally II wheels, TLC & refurbish the paint, and be a standout at any Coffee and Chrome show! GLWTS!! :-)

    Like 9
  2. Dusty Rider

    Nice car but that Saginaw trans is weak, needs a T-10.

    Like 5
    • Jeff

      Dusty I agree with you.

  3. Kenneth Carney

    Nope. M-22 rock crusher all the way!
    Looks good for what you get. The
    Muncie gearbox is almost bulletproof
    and a good set of low restriction
    mufflers would make it even better. I
    can just hear that burble now as you
    pull up at a traffic light. Then, you romp on it and leave that kid with a
    new Mustang or Camaro with a faceful of tail lights as you launch off
    the line! Face it kiddies, there’s no
    substitute for brute torque and

    Like 7
  4. Phipps

    Id be all over this one

    Like 3
  5. Wayne

    A great fun and relatively inexpensive project. I love old Pontiacs!

    Like 6
  6. 3Deuces

    As for how the factory configured this car, if you zoom in on the steering column in the interior photo, the “stub” on the column suggests that’s where the shifter resided originally. I have no issues with moving it to the floor … more fun rowing!

    Like 4
  7. Rick Norman

    the fact that the add states “Just acquired and refurbished correct manual dash for car.” kinda tells me it was originally a automatic trans car

    Like 1
  8. gaspumpchas

    Never saw a 2 dr post catalina. Slide the 3 speed out and add a 4 speed. I understand that the input shaft on the poncho manual trannies was a different length and required a special bell? Great ideas- some glasspacks, maybe some torque thrusts. Wide trackin’, baby!!

    Like 3
  9. Wayne

    I’d recommend a t56 and a set of 411rear gear with a twin bite in them ,a good set of eldebrock heads off r even a full butler engine and nobody would know what just left dust in there eyes

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