Nicest One Left? 1970 Pontiac Catalina

The Catalina was Pontiac’s “bread and butter” car of the 1960s and 1970s. You could equate to it being Pontiac’s version of the Chevy Impala. In 1970, more than 45% of all the Pontiacs built were badged as Catalina’s, so the demand was still there for full-size cars with lots of features. This Catalina comes across as something of a time capsule piece and may have as few as 21,500 miles on the odometer as it was grandpa’s “Sunday car” for upwards of 50 years. Located in Boulder City, Nevada, this beauty is offered by its second owner here on eBay where it could go home today for $19,500 (Buy It Now, Make Offer function available). Thanks for the survivor-quality tip, T.J!

As a standalone model, the Catalina entered its third generation in 1965 which would conclude with the 1970 editions, like the seller’s car. In that gen’s last restyle, all full-sized Pontiacs received a new Grand Prix-like V-nose grille along with ‘horn ports’ on a facelifted front end and new taillights mounted in the rear bumper. A 255-hp, 350 cubic inch V8 was standard equipment in the Catalina and offered for 1970, but seldom ordered, was a two-speed automatic transmission, the Turbo Hydramatic 300, that was available with the 350 V8. Given the shift pattern on the dashboard of the seller’s car, that tranny may be present here. Trivia: did you know that the 1965–70 GM B-platform (on which the Catalina was built) was the fourth best-selling automobile platform in history after the VW Beetle, Ford Model T, and the Lada Riva?

As amazing as it sounds, this 1970 Catalina may have only traveled 400 or so miles per year since it was built. The seller does not claim authenticity, but the overall condition of the automobile tends to back it up. He/she acquired the Pontiac from the grandson of the original owner who must have treated the car like royalty during his ownership. The body appears to be rock solid although the gold paint has been refreshed once in the past five decades. The matching vinyl top looks as nice as it did the day it was installed.

Under the hood resides the original V8 engine (we’re guessing the standard 350) and we’re told it and the automatic transmission perform exactly as they should. The seller is a bit uncertain about the factory air conditioning and recommends a full service before taking any hot weather trips. We’re told there’s plenty of rubber left on the tires which surely have been replaced at some point.

The interior looks as though it’s hardly been used and Grandpa’s CB radio (breaker-breaker, 1-9) is still hooked up. The buyer will receive the car’s original owner’s manual and protect-o-plate along with a clear Nevada title in the seller’s name, so we’re guessing the car wasn’t bought to flip it. Pontiac built 70,350 Catalina 2-door hardtops in 1970 and you’d be hard-pressed to find one any nicer. My only question is regarding the stance of the automobile. Does it look to be sitting a little low overall or is it just me?

Comments

  1. Cadmanls Member

    That is a nice car and affordable, what gives? New set of springs and shocks, go over the basics and set the cruise control and eat some hi-way. Had one very similar as a rusty winter beater, when I lived in the rust belt. It really was a decent driver.

    Like 7
  2. NHDave

    I believe the 350-V8 was standard on four-door sedan and hardtop Catalinas, and the coupes were equipped with the 400-V8 (indicated by the “400” fender badges, assuming they’re original to this car). And, I think the 290-hp 400-V8 (4V) was the standard version on coupes, while the 265-hp (2V) version could be ordered.

    Like 10
  3. Conrad A

    Thank you, Russ – I, too, thought this car was sitting too low, especially in the rear! Now I don’t feel like I’m being too picky. But other than that, this is a beautiful car, probably one of the nicest 70 Catalina’s left.

    I’ve owned a few GM cars from the 70s and 80s, and I’ve noticed that the rear coil springs, especially, seem to sag over the years. Back in the 80s I owned a 74 Cutlass Salon coupe which was sagging in the rear, so I had Ralph Oldsmobile in Smithtown NY install new coil springs front and rear. I remember them showing me the aftermarket coil springs they were going to install, and comparing them side by side with the factory coil springs that they had removed from the car. The thickness of the aftermarket springs vs the factory springs was VERY noticeable, as the aftermarket springs were SO much thicker. The car handled and took the bumps so much better with the aftermarket springs. Initially I was a bit taken aback because the car seemed to be sitting higher than I’d anticipated it would, but over time it seemed to settle down. Or maybe I just got used to the look. At any rate, I was glad that I had the springs changed. I did the same thing with my current Cutlass Supreme coupe, also a 74. The rear springs were sagging so low that the shop I go to couldn’t drive the car onto the lift without scraping the rear bumper!

    Like 8
    • joenywf64

      In this less & less for more & more money world, i am surprised it’s not true for these springs, tho i would think such springs would give the car a rougher ride on bad roads.
      Does anybody make the correct springs for this car – maybe domestically in the states?

      Like 1
      • Conrad A

        Actually, I was concerned that the beefier springs would mean a rougher ride, but that wasn’t the case. If anything, the ride improved when the car was driven over washboard like pavement. The car no longer skittered when driven over such surfaces, the way it did when the factory coils were on the car…

        Like 1
  4. Dan H

    Beautiful car. But if I bought it I’d have to do a hidden audio upgrade, so I could blast Shirley Bassey singing GOLDFINGA, du du, du!

    Like 4
  5. Jim in FL

    It definitely looks intentionally lowered. I had a 67 executive and it sat an inch or two higher. Maybe spring clamps? Don’t remember if these had springs or leafs in the rear. I like it. Nice stance. Overall, nicely presented. AC, tilt wheel and manual windows. Very detroit, when you could pick and choose your options.

    Like 5
    • Tiberius1701

      Coil springs with trailing arms in the rear. Would restore it to stock ride height if it were mine.

      Like 2
    • Chuck Dickinson

      I believe the last of the ‘big’ GM cars to use leaf rear springs were in 57.

      Like 3
      • Marty Parker

        72-76 Big car Wagons used leaf springs on the rear.

        Like 2
  6. Tony Primo

    The car appears to be sitting level. People pay big bucks to get this “stance” on their vehicles. If it doesn’t drag over driveways or speed bumps, I would drive it as is.

    Like 7
  7. Ken

    Kinda got that EDSEL look on the front

    Like 2
    • local_sheriff

      Totally agree. While all 60s big Pontiacs had something to them I get the notion that suddenly it was 1970 and Pontiac’s design crew was completely out of inspiration – until one smarta** suddenly broke the ice with ‘hey; but the Edsel look is one we haven’t tried yet!’

      With that said it’s a shockingly well-preserved specimen so it’s kinda sad to think about that the car Grampa decided to turn into his baby was a turd design-wise…

      Like 1
  8. GM Greg

    It’s gone. I think somebody got a very nice car and a good deal.

  9. Vince Scalera

    Looks like it just sold, that was a great deal. It’s a 400 with the TH350 trans.

    Like 5
  10. S

    If over 45% of the 1970 Pontiacs sold were Catalinas, that’s pretty amazing – because you sure don’t see these cars now. People didn’t keep these apparently. You see the smaller Pontiacs from this time period, but not these. If you do see a big Pontiac, it’s usually a Bonneville.

    Like 2
    • DON

      As soon as the 1973 fuel crisis hit, all these cars were living on borrowed time . Everyone was led to believe that gas was running out, and economy cars were the big sellers after that . Not only that, but these were great derby cars, so that took out a lot of them as they were real tanks , until the the big bumpered 1973 cars aged into it.

      Like 1
  11. sYc

    What a beauty! I agree with the title, very probably the nicest one left on the planet – fell in love with the Pontiac “noses” when I was younger, and still appreciate them to this day.

    Like 2
  12. Michael Berkemeier

    This is a single-exhaust, 400 2bbl car. Nice shape though.

    Like 1
  13. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    SOLD – Best Offer Accepted.

    Like 2
  14. Geoff Parry

    From every angle – magnificent.

    Like 1

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