Barn-Bound 50 Years! 1963 Pontiac Catalina Convertible

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When I was a kid, my uncle had a dark metallic turquoise ’63 Pontiac that I thought was a good-looking car, even if it had 4-doors. And why not. The Wide-Track Pontiacs received an attractive styling makeover in 1963 with stacked headlamps and forward-jutting brows, a recessed split grille, straighter A-pillars, and clean, squarish lines with just a hint of “Coke bottle” side styling. These were stylish full-sized cars that looked more aggressive and muscular than the ’62’s.

The entry-level Catalina line offered an impressive number of models, from 4-door hardtops and Sports Coupes to 6 and 9-Passenger Safari Wagons. At the top of the ’63 base price list was the Catalina Convertible at $3,305, and 18,249 of them left the factory. I don’t know how many have survived, but here’s one that is said to have been in a barn for 50 years and obviously gathering dust. It will likely need most everything, but the Pontiac’s original interior looks to be pretty well preserved. We’d like to give an “A” to Anthony M. for sending this great tip our way!

So what’s the story on this Rip Van Winkle Poncho? The seller doesn’t say. In fact, he doesn’t say much of anything about this car other than it’s a true barn find, it’s been sitting in a garage for approximately 50 years, and has a little over 32,000 actual miles. It’s hard to tell the condition of the body with decades of dirt on it, but it looks like it left the factory with a black paint job. It appears to be all there as far as the glass, trim, and chrome, and I don’t see any body damage. The old blackwell tires are toast and there are no photos or mention of the condition of the trunk and undercarriage.

Although it needs a good cleaning, I was surprised to see the Pontiac’s original interior in such good shape. Catalina’s may have been the entry model, but they weren’t bland and offered attractive, comfortable interiors. Seats were offered in “fine woven fabrics with Morrokide inlays” and convertible interiors were in all Morrokide. The tri-toned seats with their tasteful stripes are especially cool looking, and the seats and door panels appear to be in good condition with no rips or tears visible.

The seller lists the Pontiac as an automatic, but photos show otherwise. It’s probably the standard 3-on-the-tree manual transmission which wasn’t too common on ’63 Catalinas. Only around seven percent (16,811) of the 217,738 Catalinas sold came without the optional Hydra-Matic automatic transmission. There’s one photo of the Pontiac’s engine bay that, like the rest of the exterior, is dirty. The seller doesn’t say which power plant is in the Pontiac. Catalinas came standard with a 389-cubic inch, 215-horsepower Trophy V-8. The odometer is showing 32,184, which the seller claims is original.

Like any project car that’s been sitting so long, especially a convertible, this Pontiac will need to be checked out to see how solid it is. If it has good bones, as they say, the next owner could get it for $3,000. The seller has it listed for $4,000, but says the best offer of at least $3,000 will buy it. (Hagerty’s values a ’63 Catalina Convertible in #4 Fair Condition at $14,000.) This Rip Van Winkle Poncho is located in Morristown, Tennessee, near Knoxville, and is for sale here on craigslist. So, what do you think of this dusty old drop top?

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  1. Zen

    Attention sellers of barn finds: A garden hose, a rag, and some liquid soap are your friend. So is making the effort to telling if the engine turns freely, do you have a transferable registration or title, you know, some information.

    Like 42
    • Steve R

      Agreed, though this sort of presentation is usually accompanied with a premium price tag. This is priced more like a parts car. Ten minutes with a bucket of water and hose will do wonders and make it go away quicker.

      Steve R

      Like 13
    • $ where mouth is

      actually. .
      attention barnfind peanut gallery:

      barn finds, are cars found in ‘barns’ and are not supposed to be all clean and shiny so the peanuts can then find something else to complain about like not a 4 speed and price.
      The way a car becomes a barn find is its found in a barn. Not by Mr Cool car guy but by anyone. Could be the widow, could be the bank, could be the estates lawyer.
      If you want shiny, check the classifieds, check other sights where you definately cant afford the cars and theres not comment section to leave your opinion.
      Barn finds are supposed to be dusty, so embrace the reality and stop thinking your gonna sit in your chair while someone else does all the work. Theres no more $1500 shiny GTOs, its 2024, a set of decent tires installed costs $800, 5qts of oil 25+.
      An all American, straight, vintage car is supposed to be worth something, hense this whole classic car industry.
      Just the stainless trim on this car is wow,,
      these are rare, and getting rarer.
      Thank you Barn Finds for a real barn find, love the dust !
      Ill happily wash it myself.

      Like 0
  2. Connecticut mark

    2000.00 cash and you may have a great deal! Unless Ratmouse ate it all up.

    Like 5
  3. Charlene Spino

    Why don’t they clean up the car and wax the paint before they show the car… that would make sense and maybe more profitable

    Like 8
    • $ where mouth is

      you clean it and wax it !!

      its a barn find !

      what is with the trolls in here ??

      Like 0
  4. Michael Wilkes

    I had a 1963 Pontiac Catalina convertible in 1968. It was dark blue with a white top and it had a factory 4-speed with a bench seat. I went into the USAF and was stationed at MacDill AFB in Tampa, Fl where I rebuilt the motor. Traded it in1971 for a 1967 Olds 442.

    Like 2
  5. Tracy

    Note to these barn find people: 50 years of dust doesn’t tell us anything? Clean the damn car up so we can see what we’re bidding on!

    Like 12
    • timothy r herrod

      Its almost like they think the dust proves it’s been sitting and that is supposed to help it sell quicker. The phrase barn find is getting overused IMHO

      Like 13
      • Solosolo UK Solosolo UKMember

        Before and after pics would be a good idea.

        Like 10
  6. Dave

    Wow, five comments stating the obvious. Yes it’s dirty. But the bumpers are straight ans aligned, the hood and trunk gaps are even, and there is no visible rust at the bottoms of the doors and rear quarters. This car has never been hit. Even if it was clean I might still want to personally inspect it or ask for photos of the floor, but maybe just offer the $3K minimum and calculate my shipping cost. I think this one is well worth the risk.

    Like 18
    • Bali Blue 504

      Exterior dirt is the last of my worries. The top being up kept apparently kept nasty crud and varmints from the inside. The dash appears complete and unmolested, and the upholstery not ragged. All else looks straight as an arrow! My lovely Hudson fills my only space, otherwise I’d happily take the chance, have cash in hand, and heading to TN.

      Like 6
  7. Chris Cornetto

    Check the chassis. I bought a decent looking one years ago in turquoise with 3x2s and power windows. Drove it home. Once I got it up in the air, like my 62 the frame was toast, crispy, crunchy toast. That one became parts and shred. Depending on where this unit resided in its early life and how well it was cared for might be the deal breaker from beneath. Great color combo on this on. If the chassis is solid 3k to me in today’s world is a bargain.

    Like 7
    • $ where mouth is

      or get a frame, or fab one..

      Like 0
  8. Driveinstile DriveinstileMember

    I’m kind of surprised of how this Catalina was ordered. Its a convertible with A 389 with a 3 speed on the column. I dont think a 4 speed would’ve been that much more money. I’m thinking not too many convertibles were ordered this way. I dont have a problem with a “Before” shot coming out of a barn after 50 years with all the dirt. But to see it cleaned up, at least with soap and water wouldnt hurt. This just might clean up nice enough inside and out and drive as is and enjoy it.

    Like 8
  9. GuernseyPagoda

    Best license plate for this car would be: WineMxr!😂

    Like 1
  10. Richard Isenberg

    Don’t believe the mileage for one second and why wouldn’t you wash this car and put 4 good tires on it to show it.

    Like 6
  11. Big C

    $4000 will barely buy you a parts car ’63 Chevy, or Ford. If it isn’t junk underneath? Not bad for a convertible with everything there.

    Like 6
  12. Neal Reynolds

    It almost sounds like a scammer ad. Buy at your own risk certainly applies here.

    Like 4
  13. Budster

    This is just an observation on my part. I was born in Cali during the hot rod era. Moved to FL and then to South Carolina. What I noticed is that cars like these are scattered everywhere when you drive the different back roads. I always got a kick out of Hwy 327! On that road you will find these gems on many properties. In those southern states they just put the car out on the property somewhere and it stayed there, just the reverse from Cali where you just sold the vehicle when no longer needed or wanted. If I was in the mood to still turn wrenches, this car is one I would buy, that price? What can you get today for 3k bucks? Just my input is all here. Cheers

    Like 7
  14. Richard Isenberg

    You often see cars and trucks that are apparently parked when they are practically brand new. You will see them on here “parked in barn for 50 yrs “ and 25,000 miles. WHO takes a car or truck that is practically new and says aaaaahhhhhh I’m done with it I’m parking it. I know it happens but it makes no sense to me.

    Like 8
    • Bali Blue 504

      I wish I could ask an uncle who, roughly sixty years ago, parked a sparkling ’59 Olds in the weeds next to a large shed – never to start it up again. Yes, it does happen!

      Like 3
  15. Nelson C

    Lots to unpack here. Yup, a little soap and water would help the presentation and yes there are a lot of pedals for an automatic but, it appears to be a whole car and pretty straight. I would be most concerned with the frame. Everything that carries fluid is going to be replaced and the engine could be on its way to a rebuild. If this is a low compression 389 all the better. Build it for modern fuel and have something unique and guaranteed to draw a crowd.

    Like 3
  16. Utesman

    I agree that the absence of ANY underbody pics greatly hinders any sane buyer interest…..though @ the same time is puzzling, w/what appears to be intact sheet metal on the body….as well as a very “survived” interior. This COULD be quite a buy, w/everything there to make it so.

    Like 2
  17. Bill West

    This dust is a prop! The interior and engine compartment would have it’s share, yet seems cleaner than it should be. My farmer neighbor sells authentic barn dust for $30 for a 2 pound container.

    Like 3
  18. Troy

    Wow 2300 miles to get there then 2300 miles back for a car with trailer that probably weighs more than my 93 half ton truck still might be worth it this looks like a lot of fun to Tinker with

    Like 2
  19. Michael Meadows

    I sorta, kinda maybe think somebody ought to take a chance on this thing. Tempting isn’t it? But even with good mechanicals that three on tree just brings value a bit low. However, the price and being a drop top, takes it back up a bit.If alls ok, somebody will end up paying $6k or more as cash offers go, bet?

    Like 0
  20. MGM

    I sorta, kinda maybe think somebody ought to take a chance on this thing. Tempting isn’t it? But even with good mechanicals that three on tree just brings value a bit low. However, the price and being a drop top, takes it back up a bit.If alls ok, somebody will end up paying $6k or more as cash offers go, bet?

    Like 0
    • Nelson C

      With all the grousing on this site about Rotomatic that 3-speed may be a value added feature.

      Like 4
  21. Dennis Stoeser

    No response on my inquiry to the seller. Can they provide proof of ownership? Also what kinda payment will they accept. I think this is some kind of scam.

    Like 3
  22. CarbobMember

    Lots of insightful comments here on this Poncho. What we can’t see is the underneath. If that checks out ok then I say go for it. I’m sure I’m in the minority here but I like the fact that it has a three on the tree. Anyway, at less than a dollar a pound; how can you go wrong?

    Like 2
  23. OtterdogMember

    I really like this car, right down to the translucent steering wheel rim. Looks like it would clean up beautifully

    Like 0
  24. stillrunners stillrunnersMember

    Anybody crying about the price ? It will go up if it gets more attention….period colors of black/red combo……it’s a steal if for real…..rare standard shift !

    Like 1
  25. Marshall

    Dennis Collins on his way with a trailer an a low ball offer..

    Like 0
  26. Robert West

    If this car actually did sit in one spot for half a century then I am impressed with how well it has held up.

    Like 0

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