Build it Your Way! 1962 Pontiac Catalina Wagon Roller

From a dusty pole barn, this 1962 Pontiac Catalina Wagon comes to market here on Philadelphia, Pennsylvania criagslist, sporting an empty engine bay and a seller full of optimism. Thanks to Eric H. for spotting this rolling tribute to a simpler time before minivans, SUVs, and cross-overs complicated a family’s vehicle choices. Wagons flourished across suburbia and families gathered around the dinner table each evening to discuss the space race and whether or not to build a bomb shelter for when the nukes came.

Freshly facelifted for ’61, the Catalina shed any remnants of the ’50s with Wide-Track styling and the 389 cid “Trophy” V8 (thanks to wikipedia for some details). Having come from Washington State nine years ago, the Catalina appears to be solid and largely unmolested. Bad news includes the missing drivetrain, missing title, and the seller’s intention to sell it without the nifty Pontiac wheels.

The handsome full-width dash features attractive chrome and polished trim. The market for ’60s wagons may be, shall we say “focused,” but envision an enterprising go-getter outfitting them with modern engine and transmission, a stealth stereo with Bluetooth, 28 speakers, sub-woofers, and multiple DVD screens, and they could stack up as a classy retro SUV one notch above the twenty first-century look-alikes at the soccer park.

I say “LS that beast!” With the Catalina coming in around two-tons, it’s at least 1000 pounds lighter than most full-sized SUVs and pickups, which equals more power and MPG. Besides, if you’re driving this classic, why hurry? Picture yourself living the idyllic life of a time when jobs were for life and Face Book meant photo albums stacked next to the encyclopedias. Who will liberate this classy Catalina and put it back to work hauling sticky-faced kids and muddy-pawed dogs?

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Comments

  1. Todd Fitch Staff

    Also if you like this wagon be sure to check out Scotty’s write-up of a ’69 Buick wagon with a later 455… https://barnfinds.com/455-v8-sleeper-1969-buick-sportwagon/

  2. Beatnik Bedouin

    Being old enough to have seen people I know on The History Channel. I’d go for a SD 421/four-speed combo (or a 428 or 455).

  3. Whippeteer

    Weird ideas of values for parting it out. To begin with, you would have to find someone with the same car… Honestly, I wish I was in a position to get this to play with.

  4. 68custom

    nice looking wagon! be cool either looking stock with a poncho 421/428/455 under that hood OR with a 6.0 litre LS and a T-56 tranny! dont forget the eight lugs and you would have a macho poncho! I love it, and the body looks pretty nice!

  5. geezerglide85

    Super Duty clone or tribute (whatever you want to call it) , 4 speed, big Hurst shifter, 421 or 428 , poverty caps and big meaty tires on the back. You would have the only one.

  6. glen

    The seller lists $6200.00 in parts, twice what he’s asking. He may be right, but without an engine or tranny, it seems expensive.

  7. John Ryan

    I would never LS this! Pure Pontiac power only! Drop a nice built 400 and Turbo 400 in it and you have a powerful bullet proof drivetrain! No overdrive needed!!!

    • 68custom

      The beauty of the LS platform is it addressed pretty much all of the deficiencies of the older GM motors, all of which were pretty darn good to begin with. (six bolt mains anyone?) anyway I like pontiac motors but once you look into the LS platform you must realize that its just better. but a 428 would be alright as well. just not as good as an LS!

  8. JW

    Nice Poncho and I also would definitely keep it all Pontiac, enough LS engines in cars they don’t belong in.

  9. Ken Carney

    I’m with you John. There are still a lot of Pontiac big blocks around that
    would fit this car nicely without cutting it up. I’d use a 455 mated to a beefed
    up T400 tranny. That way, you’d have enough power to move everything and
    enough torque to pull anything.

    • BOP Guy Member

      I’m with you Ken. Keep it Poncho all the way ! I too would go with a 455, a real torque monster, and a beefy 400 tranny. She really has a lot of potential. Wish I was looking to buy !

  10. Ken Carney

    Hey! How ’bout that Pierce Arrow RV you featured last night? Once done,
    the Poncho would pull that very nicely.

  11. OIL SLICK

    wasn’t this one on here before?

    • carsofchaos

      Probably. It’s been on the Philly area CL for about 3 years now with no buyers.

  12. mike D

    I am assuming that the seller thinks since there is no title, means “parts” I would happily take it ( In NY titles are not needed b4 73) Loads of possibilities!

  13. GearHead Engineer

    Looks cool. I like wagons, although I would paint it white and leave the red interior.

    While I like the idea of a big Pontiac engine, I also like to drive my cars regularly. I need much better than the 10mpg this probably delivered when new. I’d go LS and modern automatic and drive it every day in the good months. You could probably get close to 20mpg if you keep your foot out of it.

    I think it’s a reasonable asking price if it is as solid as it looks. Bring cash and negotiate. He can keep the Pontiac wheels.

    -John

  14. Lance Newberry

    Would be a cool Gasser !

  15. Ralph Foore

    As far as the engine/tranny…I came across a 63 Buick wagon missing the drive train…wanted to keep it Buick…but hat a very low mileage Caprice wagon LT1 engine and 700 4R tranny….got it in..ran it all over the east and central states for 3 yrs…25 mpg…still smoke the tires a bit..but plenty of power to spare driving….guy I sold it to still hauls an ra with it.

  16. Maestro1

    It’s great. Put engine of your choice (within reason) and fix the car.

  17. James Martin

    Can’t believe nobody said it,: Hey Hey Were The Monkeys

    • Whippeteer

      But the Monkee Mobile was based on a ’66 GTO.

  18. Wayne

    I love it. 400-421-428-455 with an aftermarket throttle body injection and a manual 5 speed. You should easily be able to get 20 MPG on the highway. Used to get 16 MPG all day long at 70 to 80 MPH with a stock 2BBL 400. In a 1967 Executive wagon. (all the internal molecules were very friendly as the car was at 400,000 miles. My Mom blew it up when the oil pressure switch came apart and she kept driving it. Easily 30+ miles with no oil in the engine.

  19. ACZ

    Nice wagon! I had one of these when I was in college. 389, tri-power, 4speed, buckets and console. Painted 1967 Royal Plum and dechromed except for the bumpers. That car as SO much fun. 2.56 rear was the only bad thing. Not much off the line, but once you got her rolling, holy cow!

  20. gaspumpchas

    This jewel has Jr Stocker written all over it- super duty tribute— a monument to a great car that’s no longer made. I’m sure the new owner will have a blast with it!!!!

  21. ArtSpeed

    OK, lemme get this straight: over $3K for a non-descript Catalina wagon with no driveline…

    What’s wrong with this picture??

  22. Henryfrederick

    A guy who owns a small repair shop a few miles from me has a 66 Bonneville wagon. Its a factory 421 4spd. Car. Runs well and is solid. I have tried to buy the car a few times. It has sat outside for at least 10 years. Says he is gonna restore it one of these days and won’t sell period. We have all heard this story many times. What a shame.

  23. Rolf Poncho

    Damn what am I doing in South Africa why cant
    I go live in the USA that wagon whode of been mine
    love them old poncho’s

  24. tim

    I owned one back in early 70’s. body was perfect as interior, 389 4bbl ran smooth only paid $50 bucks for it off back row at Chrysler dealer. lots of good times in it

  25. Billy

    This wagon has been for sale for years

  26. Jan

    Well to all those who commented on this one, its in my driveway now , my brother bought it on Saturday. Our folks had a twin to it . My brother has been restoring cars for 40 + years so it this one will be as pure as he can make it !

    • Todd Fitch Staff

      Hi Jan. That’s great! Please post some updates and pictures as it moves along. Good luck to you!

    • carsofchaos

      Jan you did the seller a solid this wagon has been for sale forever I mean to the point I thought it was a b.s. add. Let us know how it turns out

  27. Jan

    The seller is a stand up guy , a preservationist he has a huge collection of GM project cars from the 60 & early 70’s in his barn . I thought I was reliving my childhood when I saw what he has.
    As PT Barnum said “there is a butt for every seat and my brother fit in this one” !!

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