Bubbletop Beauty: 1961 Pontiac Ventura

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The Ventura spent its first decade as a trim package for the popular Pontiac Catalina until the moniker was eventually moved to the GM X-Body in 1971, which often gets mistaken as a Chevrolet Nova.  The name first appeared in 1960 and was initially available on the Vista 4-door sedan or the stylish Sports Coupe, lovingly known as one of the bubble tops of the period.  This 1961 model appears to be in exceptionally nice condition, and the seller mentions documentation from Pontiac Historical Services, so with all things considered it just might fetch his asking price of $29,500.

T.J., thanks for your great tip here!  This one is claimed to be a special-order car that was delivered new to a dealership in Miami, Florida, which probably explains why the original buyer opted to delete the heater.  It’s now located way north of The Sunshine State in Greene, Maine, but the seller assures us the Pontiac has never seen any cold winter driving.  The body is wearing a new coat of paint, and while there’s no word on its condition before the respray, the panel fit seems excellent all the way around, and I’m not spotting any signs of sheet metal issues anywhere.

For 1961, the 389 was available in a variety of power levels, with this one featuring the higher 10.25:1 compression and a factory rating of 267 HP.  This particular variant didn’t originally come with three 2-barrels on top, but the owner mentions that a setup of this type has just recently been added.  Everything under the hood appears clean and in good working order, with the car said to be running and driving like new.  An odometer reading is listed at 58,250 miles, but it’s not confirmed whether or not this is actual.

All of the inside components are stated as original except for the carpet, and things in there appear well-preserved, based on the one interior photo provided.  The Ventura option got you a sporty steering wheel and tri-color seats, so this was a fun package to add to the Catalina for the time.  Also new are the Coker tires with the extra-wide whitewall sides, plus a fresh Magnaflow exhaust system underneath.  If this one’s catching your eye like it is mine, this 1961 Pontiac Ventura can be found here on Craigslist.  I’m certainly not finding much not to like here, how about you?

Auctions Ending Soon

Comments

  1. Nelson C

    The resized ’61s are truly timeless in style. The subtle fins compliment the slender roof pillar to give the car a lighter appearance. The wood wheel looks right at home with the tri-tone interior. Sweet ride.

    Like 11
  2. CCFisher

    The Ventura was a series in its own right in 1960 and 1961, transitioning to an option package in 1962. Looking at this car, I have two thoughts. 1) Deleting the heater was a bold move for someone in Florida, since it also deletes forced-air ventilation. I would think A/C would be more likely. 2) We could sure use a designer like Bill Mitchell right about now.

    Like 16
    • Nelson C

      Harley Earl lead GM to design some incredibly modern cars before and after the War but it was Bill Mitchell who lead GM to build some of the most beautiful cars ever. In many we found dream cars for our driveways.

      Like 10
    • Joe

      Yeah, likely the reason the original owner sold it was becsuse it was a sauna in Miami w/o A/C.

      Like 0
  3. Frog

    It’s been my experience that cars indigenous from areas where near coastal cities/states suffer from topical corrosion due to salt frim the marine layer. Which might be the case for the paint refresh here. The opposite is typically true from saltbelt region cars which tend to be 100x worse.
    This is a beautiful specimen of an automobile especially with the circumcised and manicured tail fins. The aura in general presents a 360 degree of visibility. No blind spots anywhere. There will never be another period in time to live the experience of the late 50s early 60s. Drive in movies drive up burger stands….. family….

    Like 10
    • Todd J. Todd J.Member

      Ouch! Did you mean to say “circumscribed” instead of “circumcised”? Asking for a friend.

      Like 8
      • Frog

        In theory Todd J one means to draw around the other cut around just adding a little bit of humor to my post.

        Like 8
    • JoeNYWF64

      White Castle had drive in curb service from 1936 to 1972. & there were plenty of drive in theaters & cool car/color/option choices throughout the ’60s & early ’70s – all at a fair price.

      Like 6
      • Norman Reyome

        My first car, bought when l was 15, was a 61 Pontiac convertible that l paid $150.00 for, and my mom had to drive it home. That was in 1969….

        Like 1
    • Fox owner

      We still have families Frog nowadays. But I agree with the rest. Hey here in Ohio we still have Bob’s and they have car hops, Swenson’s too, and maybe one of the last surviving drive in movie theaters. And from what I hear it’s doing pretty good. Beautiful Pontiac, though too rich for my blood. Always liked that style.

      Like 0
  4. eyes4color62@gmail.com CooterMember

    I lived a block off the beach on Amelia Island for 15 years. Owned several Harley Davidsons, a Camaro convertible and a couple of Vettes. Never had any problem with corrosion of any type. I kept them in my garage, clean and shined up. Don’t park or drive ON the beach and you will be fine. I will take a vehicle that has sat in the Florida sun over Arizona sun any day. Don’t let uneducated comments deter you from the sunshine state. It is loaded with classic automobiles!

    Like 14
    • Frog

      You are the exception Cooter as are others that maintain their vehicles and IF my remarks weren’t true or didn’t have any merit then why are you so diligent in taking extra precautions in preventing something you claim doesn’t exist? My comments wasn’t meant as a deterrent only to bring awareness to the unsuspecting. I’ve also been exposed to sun baked desert vehicles which has their own set of challenges.

      Like 7
      • eyes4color62@gmail.com CooterMember

        I moved to Wisconsin after I left Florida. Now in Northeast Ga. I have done the same thing in vehicle care everywhere I have lived, all with the same results. My point is if taken care of, it doesn’t matter where you live! Peace out!

        Like 8
    • CCFisher

      @Cooter – I take similar steps to prevent road salt corrosion here in the salt belt. That doesn’t mean that the phenomenon doesn’t exist. Salt in the air or on the roads can cause corrosion without preventative measures. Fact.

      Like 1
      • Frog

        Thanks CCFisher for validating my comment. Sometimes others make comments before understanding what they are saying before being objective to the subject matter. And rather than retract their insulting remark without owning up to it and accepting responsibility would as soon save face and disappear.

        Like 2
      • eyes4color62@gmail.com CooterMember

        Talk about missing the picture of a statement! Based on the comparison of thumbs ups, I need not explain again.

        Like 0
  5. Retrogreg

    Beautiful, but how was demisting handled when heater deleted – ambient air – was there a fan – just curious,

    Like 1
  6. Joe Haska

    It is a bubble top and I love it! If only I could have it. That would make the bucket list a lot shorter.

    Like 0
    • Frog

      Green back dead presidents can make that happen Joe 🤠

      Like 1
  7. Michael Tischler

    I lived in N.J.for 39 years and never had any cars rust on me,always went to quater washes and did the wheel wells etc.Waxed them all the time,now I’m here in AZ since 92′ and never had any sun baked problems. Dash pads,good wax job and covered parking and garage.

    Like 3
    • HHO Guy

      Yep, wax or a garage in AZ is necessary if you don’t want to lose your paint or clear coat, and either a dash pad or sun visors are a must imo, along with keeping rubber treated. I went into a Napa to get a serpentine belt for my Toyota 4×4 pickup and they had one hanging on the wall that was starting to dry rot brand new. I imagine it had been there a while but that’s AZ for you.

      Like 3
  8. Old Beach Guy

    Great looking car. All it needs is a set of 8 lug wheels. It looks like it was originally a 2 barrel car (267 HP). Owner states the tripower was recently installed. That would have been 318 or 348 HP.

    Like 1
    • Steve R

      Needs a 4spd too.

      Steve R

      Like 1
  9. Rex Kahrs Rex KahrsMember

    I can’t believe someone would swap out the awesome ’61 Pontiac steering wheel for a wood unit. People…

    Like 6
  10. Robert S

    That’s a manual transmission price.

    Like 1
  11. RH FACTOR

    I had a ’62 catalina 2 dr. hardtop that color, same interior. But mine was purchased for $25 in 1969. Everything worked but the body was toast. Interior not too much better, but would have cleaned up all right. Got me through the summer of ’69 til I was inducted. I really was impressed with the ride and handling. A neat car.

    Like 2
  12. HoA HoAMember

    Not sure how BarnFinds does it, but this,,,was my Uncle Marvs car. His was more a cream color, but was his 1st new car upon returning from the army. I remember him having an old Plymouth, and got a job at Briggs and Stratton, aside from the army, his only job for like 44 years, and to celebrate, he bought a new ’61 Ventura from Nelson Bros., Milwaukee’s biggest Pontiac dealer at the time. Marv, and others, coughed up $2971, $200 more than a Catalina, but not much more than an Impala. I don’t remember Marvs car being a highly optioned car, but Marv had a heavy foot, and was always a treat riding with him, as opposed to my old man who drove very conservatively. Marv wanted to get where he was going, and it was left lane on Hy. 41, one of the only 4 lanes then, for that car. Thanks for memories.

    Like 6
  13. Chuck Foster Chuck Foster

    I wish mine looked like this, but I think I will keep the patina. I’m having trouble finding rear brake shoes, the flanges on the shoes are too thick for the bottom cylinder rods. It’s sitting waiting for me to come back to Florida, has add on AC and under 75k miles.

    Like 4
  14. peter havriluk

    Another example of this ‘delete’ nonsense. If you didn’t BUY a heater you didn’t get one. Everything was an option.

    Like 4
    • Nelson C

      Lol. Preach, brother.

      Like 1
    • 370zpp 370zppMember

      “delete”
      “laser straight”
      “door cards”

      Take your pick.

      Like 0

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