Older Customization: 1975 Pontiac Catalina

The 1971-76 generation of full-size Pontiacs were some of the last of the really big cars at General Motors. The large B-bodied GM models would be downsized in 1977 to become more fuel-efficient as the automotive landscape had changed after the OPEC oil embargo of 1973. This ’75 Catalina was restored 25 years ago but has only been driven about 10,000 miles since and has seen its share of cars shows. It’s not show-quality any longer but should still turn heads with a few custom touches like a Trans Am shaker hood and sunroof. Located in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania, this big cruiser is available here on craigslist for $5,500. Thanks, Pat L., for another interesting tip!

This ’75 Catalina 2-door coupe has been owned by the seller since 2006. Garage kept during his possession, the car has seen only 2,000 miles of use, used for appearances at car shows and the like when it was in neater condition. We’re told the Pontiac looks great from a distance, but its age is more apparent when you get closer and new paint would be needed to correct that. The seller says the car has no major rust issues, which is another way of saying there is a bit of rust without going into details.

The Wide-Track wears a few custom touches that would not have come from the factory. It has an aftermarket sunroof that doesn’t appear to have any issues (these kinds of things are prone to leak). The Catalina also sports a hood containing a mid-1970s Trans Am shaker scoop. The wheels are painted white and carry Spinner Rally center caps. Overall, the car looks like a mid-sized Grand Am from the same era, only bigger. White was a popular color with those intermediate Pontiacs.

Though the odometer reads just shy of 92,000 miles, the motor was rebuilt 10,000 miles ago as a part of a mid-1990s restoration on the whole car. That powerplant would be the 400 cubic inch V8 which is paired with an automatic transmission. The motor was given a mild upgrade on the camshaft which helps move the car along while also sounding good with dual exhaust. Mechanically, the Pontiac may be sound except for the A/C compressor (the seller has never recharged it to see if it works).

More recent repairs or improvements include a new brake master cylinder, starter, and fan blower motor. It comes across as a turn-key car that should attract attention even without the TLC the seller suggests. It’s a big, white, 46-year-old automobile that you don’t see too many of these days. Since it’s not priced in the stratosphere, why not drive it as-is for a while and then decide whether you want to restore it (again).

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Comments

  1. Stevieg Member

    I like big cars like this, but this car is trying way too hard to be something it is not lol.
    A sharp car none the less. Too bad they didn’t redo the seats in a stock pattern.

    Like 11
  2. Keith

    Oof. Not digging the ‘customizations’ at all.

    I mean, if the shaker were either meant to be humorous, or indicative of something uncharacteristically mean under the hood, I could get on board with that. But the rest are just cheap and tacky.

    Speaking of getting on board, that first picture is particularly unflattering… better wear a lifejacket, ’cause this one’s a boat!

    Like 6
  3. Keith

    Oof. Not digging the ‘customizations’ at all.

    I mean, if the shaker were either meant to be humorous, or indicative of something uncharacteristically mean under the hood, I could get on board with that. But the rest are just cheap and tacky.

    Speaking of getting on board, that first picture is particularly unflattering… better wear a lifejacket, ’cause this one’s a boat!

  4. OIL SLICK

    CAN AM want a be

    Like 7
    • W72WW3

      Shocked it didn’t grow a GTO rear wing spoiler or a set of Pontiac Trans Am front fender air extractors.
      It may have been beautiful in the eyes of its creator; but my eyes are screaming in pain.

      Like 4
  5. Motorcityman Member

    Define “really big”?
    My 2005 Poncho Grand Prix weighs 4,400lbs!!!

  6. Cadmanls Member

    Sporty Boat, so owner liked the mods. Not like you could order a car like that.

    Like 1
  7. Vance

    I miss the Pontiac brand, they made a lot of very nice cars and just kind of lost their identity. Large Ponchos, really caught my eye because they always had had sporty edge to them. This is a decent car at a decent price once it’s well looked over. I do have one statement to make about sunroofs, moonroofs, and T-tops. If you take care of them, clean the rubber seals, keep them pliable with the proper lubricant, they don’t leak. It’s the lazy car owner who has the problem. Door weather stripping and seals get the same treatment. If you let them dry out its your fault.

    Like 6
  8. Vin_in_NJ

    Owner states former show car – and he has the Uniontown Walmart car show participation award to prove it

    Like 2
  9. Ten50boy

    For that money…. If it runs as well as claimed…. Remove the chees-o 80’s sunroof and install a larger electric one. Remove the overriders from the bumpers. Swap out the wheels for more modern 18”-19” Pontiac snowflakes. Ditch all the races stickers. Repaint solid white with Can Am inspired decals. Make it a daily. It’s ugly, but not the ugliest. Still cool and good enough to drive daily in lieu of spending 20-25k on something like a Kia Forte or Nissan Sentra!

    Like 2
    • wcshook

      The front end, with the exception of the hood, was a factory option. Period correct rims would enhance the looks. You don’t need to put oversized rims on everything. I would agree this rims don’t do the car justice. I was around when these cars were new. Curiosity question. Were you?

      • Stevieg Member

        The front end was a factory option? What were the other choices? This is the only one I have ever seen on a 1975 Catalina.

    • wcshook

      You raised an interesting observation, about the bumpers. I had a ’76 Olds Delta 88 and it had the rub strip and bumpers on the front bumper. I Googled “factory pictures of 1975 Pontiac Catalina” and they all had the front bumper like this one. It looks to be pretty much stock, less the hood, rims and sunroof. The 400 ci was Pontiacs power house. My brother blew his ’70 Catalina 400 up and put a GTO 400 in it. Everything else was stock. It would GO!

  10. joenywf64

    IMO, the shaker would be better off on a smaller lemans.

  11. wcshook

    I test drove a Pontiac Catalina, don’t remember if a ’75 or ’76, that had been a police department detectives car. Had the 400 HO in it. Moved out REAL well. Of course it was a base model. I ended up getting a very well optioned ’76 Olds ’88 Royale. I wish I had been able to afford both of them.

  12. Troy s

    Different wheels, the shaker hood scoop vanishing, and it becomes….a street prowler especially if it was all black. That scoop fits the Trans Am and all its racy good looks but on this its like wearing a tuxedo with a ball cap on. It is just out of place. Hopped up 400 makes it interesting.

  13. Gary Fishel

    To quote Jeremy Clarkson, “THEY MADE IT WORSE”!

  14. MitchRoss Member

    I like it, I’d change the wheels and maybe try to get some Can Am ish graphics. At least it doesn’t have a SBC in it

  15. MitchRoss Member

    I like it, I’d change the wheels and maybe try to get some Can Am ish graphics. At least it doesn’t have a SBC in it

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