Carmageddon: 1966 Pontiac 2+2 Convertible

front left

The Pontiac 2+2 cars were built as a performance car based on the Catalina platform (a shortened Bonneville), much like the Lemans based GTO. The base engine was a 338 horsepower 441. Can you imagine a big sled like this hitting 60 mph in less than 4 seconds? This convertible is listed here on craigslist in Sacramento for $7,000. For Pontiac collectors the price could seem reasonable if the car is restorable, even without the original engine. Hagerty shows the average sale price of these to be over $35,000. The 2+2 cars are somewhat rare and the convertibles even more so. This one is an example of why there are so few pictures and what you’ll actually find when you do have a look. It has been slammed but the owner says the frame was not cut. He does say “this car does need some love and has its issues.” It is rust free and it runs and drives. So, just what would you expect to find?

left rear

The car looks pretty good in these pictures, doesn’t it? Collectors would want to return it to stock and that looks possible from this picture.

gas tank

But what would you find if you did see it in person? First, a look in the trunk reveals a sad, sad, situation. To get it low, the entire trunk floor was cut out and replaced to install the fuel cell. Then, a cutting torch was used to cut openings in the pan for the air bags.

firewall bondo

Under the hood, notice the bono on the firewall. Uh wait, what? Is that to fix a rust issue or a custom feature? Either way, that can’t be the right way to fix a problem.

top frame

Inside, those are the wrong gauges and that’s a cheap aftermarket squishy dash pad. The top frame is mostly complete, only missing a few key pieces.

dash

This is an example of why you need to at least see more pictures and better yet to inspect the car in person. I was looking at this car for a collector in southern California who really wanted to buy it. I started texting him pictures and it did not take long before he declared it “Carmaggedon” and said “Please stop! I’ve seen enough!” At some price it would be worth it to a collector to purchase and restore. It might be possible with enough cash to layer on enough lipstick to make a driver out of it. Do you see any hope for this car? Is it getting rare enough for someone with very deep pockets to restore? In any case, this is a good example of why you need to see a car in person before buying.

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Comments

  1. barry Thomas

    I think that 4 second 0-60 time back in the day was extremely suspect, as a Hemi in an intermediate body would just crack 6 seconds. I would think around 7 would be closer to the right number. I always liked the 2+2, but this one is a wreck.
    Barry Thomas’ “Wheel to Wheel” blog

    • edh

      I can’t believe that either.

    • Michael V.

      I remember reading that the magazine that showed that time, Car and Driver, was given a real ringer by Pontiac, and the car was timed by them with a hand held stop watch. A Pontiac PR guy said he was there and that there was no way the car could ever do that, but of course he wasn’t going to say anything like that to them.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      At just over 4000 pounds, it’s impossible.

      • Russ

        I think the time was supposedly 4.3 seconds, and the car had a massively low (numerically high) gear ratio. And it sure wouldn’t have been a convertible, which has a frame that makes it heavier than a hardtop.

    • Paul

      The car was prepped by Royal Pontiac and tuned to perfection. The rear gears allowed 62 mph in first gear just as the valves floated. No 1-2 upshift was needed! Later they found out it had Indy “gumball” tires in the rear. The car would hook up and launch like a slingshot. It was raced alongside an f.i. Corvette in the article. I don’t recall what prep the Corvette had-if any. The Pontiac being slightly quicker. I still own one of these—An unrestored, very tired 421/338 4-speed. Still a very fast car—–
      They made about 300 2=2 convertables

  2. Puhnto

    When bad things happen to good cars. Sad.

  3. JW

    Seller must not be in a hurry to sell with the attitude of ” If you don’t know the 2+2 history ” I won’t sell you the car so don’t bother me. That right there is a turn off to me as what I know and what I do with a car after I purchase it is my business and I would never buy from a guy like this.

    • Duffy Member

      You are absolutely correct. This big mouth thinks he has got a jewel here. Number one he has an attitude problem, Number 2 he destroyed the vehicle, number 3 this guy should not be selling cars. This one is a junk, parts out the sheet metal and what’s left of the top. What a sad case.

    • Rspcharger Rspcharger

      What a douche, he’s losing half his audience with his proclamation. The money of someone new to these cars is worth just as much as a die-hard 2+2 persons, right?

      • Russ

        More – since someone who really appreciates these cars would know better than to buy this atrocity.

  4. AMC STEVE

    This guy destroyed that car. $7500 for what?

  5. JoeT

    If that’s bono on the firewall, I wonder where the edge is?

  6. Troy Member

    All engines in 66 2+2’s were 421’s.

  7. PaulG

    I believe these were equipped w/ a 421, not a 441.
    That said, about 25 years ago, these could be had in very nice condition for less than 3K…woulda, coulda, shoulda…

    • Russ

      Oops, accidentally clicked ‘report’ by mistake. Sorry.
      I just wanted to say that I was looking in the back of some Collectible Automobile magazines from when I first subscribed back in ’85… they used to have a classified ad section in the back. In one issue there were two 66 or 67 GTO’s, original, numbers matching, one a tri power, at least one a 4 speed… both clean and straight, NOT rust buckets, just buy & drive… and neither over $7000. Waaah!

  8. Rob

    I had a ’65 hardtop 421 2+2, tri-power, TH400, posi, console, buckets, 8 lugs, 8 track, power antannae, reverb, etc. Blue metallic, white interior. Same length as a standard Catalina. I bought it from it’s original owners after an electrical fire. I think they painted it with a brush or a roller…. That car was the most amazing sleeper. It would kill most anything on the street, leaving them very very confused. I wish I still had that thing :)

  9. JamieB Member

    As other posters have noted, the engine was a 421. Of course, that’s the main draw and in this car that’s missing. I had a ’65 2+2 convertible (pictured) I bought for a song ($5500) in 2008. It was in better shape than the featured car, but still needed body work, paint, re-chroming, trunk pan, floor pans, and some welding underneath to fabricate the gas-tank-strap support and radiator supports. I sold it (for $7500–stupid!) about 4 years later when a Cutlass SX in much better shape caught my eye. I should’ve kept both, since the 2+2s are appreciating quickly in value. They guy I sold it to, a retired GM engineer, just completed a nut-and-bolt restoration (did most of the work himself, except for paint). It’s now a $75K car. He’s probably spent around $35K on parts and work he couldn’t do himself, so still not a bad return on his sweat equity (and I’m sure his wife was glad he had a project that kept him in the garage 10 hours a day!)

    • David Frank David Member

      How about this 73 Pontiac Grandville for $5500 OBO? It’s a BIG red Pontiac convertible!

      • JamieB Member

        Love it! In my serial car collecting (can only afford to have one at a time, so my “collection” has been spread out over the past decade) I had a ’71 Grand Ville (was till two words in ’71). I hope you’re not in NJ or I may be tempted.

      • Duffy Member

        Where is this vehicle?

      • Russ

        In ’74 while in high school I got a job detailing used cars for a small shop. I remember a yellow Grand Ville that I neatly zipped the paint off the top of one of the fender creases. Oops.

  10. wagon master Member

    Thr seller is passionate about this, as his father had one. He also runs a rat rod custom shop aka chop shop ….. he believes nothing has been done that would prevent it from being returned to original …… really?
    It’s also a center console with shifter delete car, but retained it’s standard equipment bucket seats.

  11. Troy Member

    The dash is out of a 65 Bonneville. The round gauges in the center and walnut veneer give it away.

    • JamieB Member

      Nice catch, Troy. So…original drivetrain gone, trunk and suspension all chopped up, top and interior in tatters, incorrect dash. As with the Olds 442 W30 featured on BF yesterday, the buyer is essentially buying a VIN to reconstruct a 2+2 around. That said, it’s not a bad VIN to buy, since there were only around 1500 2+2 convertibles made in ’66. If you have a donor Catalina/Grand Prix on hand, it might be worth it.

  12. Darren

    No way 338 HP is pushing this boat to 60 in under 4 secs but really cool car anyway!

  13. Charles

    All hacked up and missing the 421…

  14. Rspcharger Rspcharger

    I’m tempted to reply to the CL post with a link to this page, open this D-bags eyes a bit.

    • JamieB Member

      And the irony is, all of us who know what a 2+2 is are APPALLED at how he desecrated this one. He should WANT someone who doesn’t know better!

  15. Charles

    I am in the market for a 66 full size Pontiac with the original 421, but am not interested in a Frankinstein.

  16. Bobsmyuncle

    Once again Barnfinds roots out the closed minded and ‘elitest’.

    At least one reader thinks this is irreversibly customized others are using words like “ruined” and, “desecrated”.

    LOL this site attracts a very unique group, that consistently amuses, and confuses me.

  17. scooter8

    what a goober!

  18. newsguy_x

    Years ago I bought a gutted ’66 Bonneville convertible from a junkyard (no motor, tranny, front ball joints etc). Found a good “donor” Catalina and had it back together and running in a few months. Got a LOT of stuff from Ames Performance and found a good body and interior guy. In the end the restoration was just over half the cost of my daily driver. It can be done! BTW- I know the bumpers still need re-chroming and the hubcaps are ’65’s…but I like ’em.

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