Brazenly False Advertising: 1965 Pontiac 2+2

John Z. DeLorean was nothing if not puckishly brazen, and under his leadership, Pontiac was one of the most amusing—and successful—American car brands of the ’60s. Not content to crib a Ferrari name only for the GTO, the company also “borrowed” the 2+2 moniker used by Ferrari and many other makers of high-end sports and grand touring cars and slapped it onto a big, Catalina-based coupe and convertible between 1964 and 1967. That bit of marketing chutzpah is fortunately backed up by some impressive specs and style, enough that even without a title, this long-parked ’65 has been bid up to $9,700 as of this writing, with several days still left in the auction. Check it out here on eBay out of Platteville, Colorado.

One big problem: the 2+2 wasn’t a 2+2. For one thing, “+2” generally implies fairly close quarters, something no car riding a 121-inch wheelbase should be able to claim, but more importantly, the 2+2 had a rear bench seat—meaning it had room for five. Oops.

Front buckets were standard, however, and this center console with a floor shift for the optional Turbo-Hydramatic was an appropriate optional addition. Aside from being very dusty and dirty inside and out, everything about this sporty Pontiac looks to be in very nice cosmetic condition.

The 2+2’s star attraction in 1965 was the newly standard 421-cubic inch V8, available in three states of tune. Which one this is isn’t specified, but despite having been parked for many years, it’s said to have been started regularly and to run well. A sticker reading “421 H.O.” is just barely readable on the top of that big air cleaner, but that would imply the hotter of the two Tri-Power three-carb setups, and this doesn’t look like a Tri-Power engine to me. Any Pontiac experts care to weigh in?

Another desirable option fitted to this car is a set of Pontiac’s famous 8-lug wheels, but sadly, there are no pictures showing any of the wheels, or even a simple side view of this long, lovely semi-fastback coupe. Why this should be when there appears to be plenty of open space next to the car is both baffling and concerning. Also concerning, at least for bidders in some states, is that the car comes with a bill of sale only. None of this seems to have deterred bidding, however; calling this a 2+2 may have been marketing malpractice, but clearly Pontiac had a desirable car on its hands!


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  1. jw454

    I’d take this ’65 the way it is but, it would have been nice to see a third pedal in there. I’ve seen these with a four speed. That just sounds like all kinds of fun.

  2. Derek

    Obviously in this case, the 2+2 moniker was a reference to the headlight configuration, two on the left side and two on the right side. Or possibly, two high beams and two low beams. Or maybe even, two up and two down. It could even have referred to the number of wheels on the ground. I’m not sure about that.

  3. Steve R

    That’s a lot of money to bid based on the pictures and description. There was a really nice looking 66 2+2 on eBay recently with much better pictures that didn’t clear $20,000.

    I want to see what else is hidden in those out buildings.

    Steve R

  4. flmikey

    Yeah, that’s a 4 barrel…an I think they went to 2+2 just because it sounds cool…which it does…love this car….

  5. fahrvergnugen

    Oh for God’s sake, give the darned thing a bath and THEN do the photos. If you need to legitimize it, have ONE before and THEN the afters.

    • Vegaman_Dan

      But it has to retain that barn fresh quality. If the seller went to the trouble of washing it, cleaning the interior, and generally making it look good, then bidders would have a better and more honest feel for what is there, and that can’t be allowed. That’s the mindset of these sellers.

    • Superdessucke

      In this climate, that car wash would have probably lowered the value by $3,000 at least. Barn finds are all the rage don’t you know? I’m surprised they don’t make spray-on dirt by this point.

      Like 1
      • Aref Burns

        HAWHAW! yeh thers so many stupid people swanning around, thers gotta be money in making tins of Quick Dry Barnfind Dirt LOL! You could have a Desert Dirt type coating or a City Dirt type lol!

      • Paul Porter

        Spray on dirt? That reminds me of Lily Munster having the vacuum cleaner on reverse spraying dust all over the house!!! ha ha ha!!

        A whole new concept in car detailing! Spray on dirt will attract pigeons to add their own special artistic pizzazz to your car!! And the finishing touch, musty mouse whiz air skunker to make it waft out really good when you open the car door! A great theft deterrent!

        Like 1
      • Superdessucke

        You know the old saying about how you used to lose $3,000 the moment you drove it off the lot? Well, I fear we’re going to have to change that to you lose $3,000 the moment you drive it through the car wash!

  6. Mountainewoodie

    Lost Bill of Sale? No problem it is my car…… Buy my car anyway even though I cant be bothered to clean it up or move it for pictures…..sheesh……..the internet

    • Warren

      Yea LOL, at over 10K now. Trust me, no title, no problem…. sheesh is right!

  7. doug

    So Pontiac should have called it the 2+3? Well, there’s a reason I’m not in marketing.

    • carsofchaos

      No no no. They should have called it a “5 Passenger GT Sport Coupe Sedan”

      • Mark S.

        Really, this is a big, wide car. It should have been the 2+4.

  8. Frank M

    Has the same interior as the 65 Grand Prix that I had in high school. Right down to the GP on the door…

  9. Dusty Rider

    My buddy had one of these in the early 70’s, 421, tri power, 4sp, black/black. Wish I had it now.

  10. Ken Carney

    My father in law had the ’67 ragtop version of this car. His had the big 428
    engine mated to an M22 4 speed gear
    box. By the time he got it, the 4 speed
    had been replaced by an automatic trans.
    I’ve often wondered over the last 30 odd
    years what that car might have driven
    like with a manual trans. Either way, I
    tried to buy the car from him in 1986
    but with no luck at all. That car was
    painted a dark blue with a white top
    and interior. Everywhere it was driven,
    folks always wanted to buy it. He wound
    up selling it for 3K. What a waste!

    • Pat F

      I don’t think the M22 4-speed was an option, I believe all that was offered is the M20 wide ratio or M21 close ratio.

  11. Rich G

    Given the 4bbl carb this is the 338hp version of the 421. There were 2 other options both of which would be equipped with the tri-power. A 356hp and the HO’s 376 for 1965.

    Nice looking car but the lack of side and floor pics is concerning.

    • Anthony Richard

      there are some photos on EBAY.. but not enough

  12. Luke Fitzgerald

    Paint sines way too much to be original – Grand Prix door card as well

  13. Tiberius1701

    Oh those gorgeous eight-bolt wheels!!!

  14. That Guy

    2 + 2 + 1 or 2 more + 5 or 6 bodies in the trunk…

  15. 1st Gear

    Aby notice the MSD box? Sleeper boat hot rod.

  16. Bill Owens BillO Staff

    My aunt and uncle had a 1957 Chevrolet Bel-Air 4 door hardtop for a long time. My aunt wanted a 1965 Chevrolet Impala wagon, but low and behold they bought a new blue 1965 Pontiac 2+2 2 door hardtop. I thought it was the neatest car. And to have kept the Bel-Air as long as they did, the car was less than a year old and they traded it for a used 1965 Ford Custom 500. Yiks! What were they thinking. The Ford had some problems so after a few months they bought a new 1966 Plymouth Fury III 4 door hardtop. I asked my aunt, who is still living, about a year ago, why did they trade the 2+2. She said it took too much gas.


    Yeah, This not washing and detailing a car is just plain lazy. Also, calling rust and missing paint and long gone chrome “PATINA” is just nonsense.

  18. Snotty

    I live just a few miles away and would be happy to give a “boots on the ground” perspective more pics. inspection,if anyone is interested… Heck, I might give the seller a call and take a look,just to see for myself. Maybe I will see what else there is lurking in the sheds. IMO.seller is right to list on ebay,there is a lot of finished cars- HIGH $cars on Denver c-list that won’t even come close to get what they’re asking.

    • JB1971SX Member

      @Snotty: Fellow enthusiast here. I live in NJ and am interested in bidding on this car BUT I would need to confirm that the engine is indeed a 421. If it’s a transplant the car is not worth chasing for me, especially given the shipping cost and hassle of no title (a nightmare here in NJ). Don”t make a special trip, but if you do go, please look at the passenger side of the block (on the front of the block, toward the front of the car), below the heads. There should be a faint code stamped there that reads “YH”. That’s the proper code for a 1965 Pontiac 421 block. I’ll watch these responses in case you do post something. Again, don’t make the trip for me as it’s unlikely I can chase this, but if you do find yourself there, much appreciated.

      • Snotty

        I’ll give the seller a call and try to set something up for this wknd. How do you want to me contact you?

    • JB1971SX Member

      Thanks for the offer, but now seeing further comments (seats and console from a ’66 Grand Prix, etc.) I realize this is not a near-original unmolested example that would be worth hauling back to NJ. So I won’t be bidding. But again, thanks for the offer. BF readers are the best!

  19. JagManBill

    Now to make you sick….a friend donated a 65 2+2 421 Tri-power with 4 speed to a charity for a “buck a whack” with a sledge hammer in 1984 or 85 – don’t remember. I paid my buck and took all the chrome off it (all 2+2 emblems).
    As said, marketing was a bit pretentious but it was truthful at the same time. In 65, the 2+2 Cat was the 2nd fastest (0-60) production car made in America. What was no1? Shelby Cobra

  20. Alan (Michigan) Member

    Great potential, though no where near original.

    Look in the background of photo #2, 4 other oldies seen there….

  21. dyno dan

    had a 1966 2+2 convertible.421 4bbl,3 on the floor, that I got for $500 in 1972, in warren mi, on the way to Kirtland AFB in Albuquerque NM. To this day I still miss that car.

  22. Robert G Kentucky

    Guess not to many noticed that is not a catalina that is however a 1965 gran prix no mistake on what it really is anyone over 50 should recognize the car

    • JB1971SX Member

      @RobertG. Actually, it is a Catalina (but a ’65, not ’66 like he says in the headline). The Grand Prix had a different tail light treatment, and the dash/center console had the wood veneer; the Catalina had the black inset like in these pics. Whether it’s a true 2+2 can only be determined by a check of the VIN with Pontiac Historical Services, as it would be very easy to take a regular Catalina and add the 2+2 badges. If the engine is a date-correct 421 (no “numbers matching” in 1965 for Pontiac, as the VIN was not stamped on the engine until ’66 or ’67) then it is likely a true 2+2. Clearly the Grand Prix door cards were sourced later.

  23. 421 Poncho!

    All 2+2s for ’65 were equipped with the mighty 421. This car appears to have the standard 421 4-bbl offering (338 HP). Two flavors of tri-power were offered as an option over this engine, 356 HP sporting a single conventional style black painted air cleaner and the 376 HP High Output with three small chromed air cleaners. The base engine was no slouch; however, a real stump-puller! Had a factory 421 H.O. ’65 Bonneville coupe, all I can say is WOW!

  24. donn t eckert

    Sweet car. Dont let the trolls get you down. 15K.It had a stiffer suspension and heavier brakes
    ‘\ and that 421 is very desirable.

  25. Pontiactivist

    This is in no way a Grand Prix. Period. Has the fast back style roof. The Grand Prix has a totally different roof. More of a notch back look. As for the door panel emblems, iirc. They loosely resemble the Grand Prix emblems, but they are different.

  26. stillrunners LAWRENCE Member

    Jagman is correct…check the stats for these big beast’s 65/66…..and let’s start – beating up those Mustang 2+2 ‘s next time one come’s around…..

  27. pete

    Definitely not a GP Pontiactivist is right. I’m sure that it is quick but will it beat a hemi mopar?

  28. Dan in Texas

    Put that armrest down…Bam..2+2!

  29. Wayne

    My boss at the Pontiac dealership. Had a very pretty 1962 Catalina 2dr hardtop. With no engine or transmission until one of these was traded in. It walked all over one of our mechanics Olds 442. The Cutlass ( a 4 speed) jumped out to a car length in first gear. But after shifting to second. It was all over for the Olds. It was a beautiful thing watching that big Cat blast right down the middle of down town Highland Park. 25 mph limit be damned!

  30. JRP

    The car is a 1965 2+2 but the door trim panels (cards) are 1966 Grand Prix as well as the quarter trim panels. The seats both front & rear are 66 GP. The console most likely is too. The console is exactly like the one in my 66 GP that I’m restoring. The wood grain was deteriorated and when peeled off revealed the pebble grain as seen on the featured car. I know the consoles from 65 & 66 were very similar but I thought there was some difference . To check the seats & door trim just get a catalog from OPGI. They show the patterns for both and the difference from year to year and model to model. The seats in the featured car are the “strato buckets” which were introduced in 1966. A friend in high school had a 65 2+2, 421 4bbl, 4 speed and it was scary fast. Love those big boat Pontiacs.

  31. moosie Craig M. Bryda

    These big ole ” TIN INDIANS ” were my nemesis back in my drag racing days ( 1966 / 1967 ) No matter what I did I very rarely was able to beat them with my ’66 383 torqueflight Satellite. I could pull them out of the hole and 3/4 of the way down the track then those cubic inches would pass me by . I always thought that the NHRA factored them wrong . They were nice cars…….plenty of style.

    • Howard

      You should have went with a 68 – up 383 magnum. They had better heads, cam and exhaust manifolds and ran much better. And mopars didn’t have fragile bottom ends like tin indians.

  32. Tyler

    I’ve always loved these big land yachts! I’ve ridden in several of these & the big Buick’s over the years & I was always impressed over how good they rode for 60’s era cars. This should make a nice driver.

  33. JB1971SX Member

    Yes, they ride/drive great IF equipped with power steering and power brakes. Ten years ago I had the privilege of owning what I believe to be the most de-contented 1965 Catalina 2+2 convertible ever made. The ONLY options checked on the order form were the 2+2 package and Soft-Ray glass–on the front window only! No console to go with the bucket seats (which were part of the package; the console had to be added separately), no power windows, no power brakes, no power steering. Getting that thing into and out of the driveway at low speed was a chore. It was a decent runner but every surface top and bottom/inside and out needed attention (along with some welding to replace the radiator supports and one of the gas-tank-strap supports). So I sold it to use the money toward a 1971 Olds Cutlass SX coupe (also driver quality, but much better overall). Of course, now it’s 8 years later and I want the 2+2 back. And I want the SX! All it takes is money I guess.

    • Peter Carz

      The 421 SD option came with dual 4bbl carbs. It was a excellent engine. For that was this was a great car but it was a bit bigger then the Grand Prize inside.

  34. wuzjeepnowsaab

    Long live John Z! Love that guy…what a grasp on both design and marketing. Forget about the DeLorean debacle days…John Z was legend and should be remembered for what he did at Pontiac

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