One Royal Driver: 1965 Catalina Wagon


Thanks to Barn Finds reader Chris B. for this great driver find! While this wagon isn’t strictly original, and no, it didn’t come out of a barn (at least recently), we know our readers like classic cars to drive as well, and this is a great example. If you want to drive it home, you’ll have to go to Evansville, Indiana to pick it up after you’ve purchased it from this eBay auction. While the opening bid is $6,799 without a reserve, the buy it now price is only $401 above that.


If you read my posts regularly, you know I like wagons and stacked headlight Pontiacs, so it shouldn’t surprise any of you that I really like this car. The seller has painted it in the color scheme of some of the Royal Pontiac race cars, which while not original surely warms the heart of many Pontiac lovers. The 8-lug wheels are original and appear on the included window sticker, and with the red line tires and the paint really set this wagon apart.


The seller is thorough enough that they tell us about rust bubbles and some body filler, and call the paint job a “10 footer.” Here are two close up shots of the issue areas. I would think that as long as paint codes could be obtained, these could be repaired properly quite easily as long as they are handled soon. Or keep the car nice and dry and drive it as is for a while–that’s certainly what it’s been aimed towards by the current owner.


The seller also includes plenty of pictures of the underside, and mentions a rust hole in the rear passenger side floor pan about an inch in diameter. That being said, I really didn’t see anything to worry about, and a hole like that should be easy to patch. Yes, I really like this car!


As the seller states, the interior is “toast”. While it does have new carpets and good door panels, there’s no headliner at all, the dash pad is pretty bad and the seats are covered with “el-cheapo” seat covers. All things that can be repaired in time, and since the car isn’t terribly original anyway, you may choose to go with less expensive aftermarket or custom solutions. I’d be looking at a set of nice bucket seats myself (I’m guessing any originality enthusiasts are either getting ready to burn me in effigy or have already moved on to the next post).


The seller tells us that it runs and drives well, and they have driven it to the national Pontiac meet last year. It’s a 389 V8 engine, and yes, that is an air conditioning compressor you see although its not currently connected, so undoubtedly that will require some work and probably a conversion. I think this car would make a great driver as is and you’d still have pretty straightforward opportunities to improve it over time. So if you are still with me, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the whole refurbished but unoriginal driver versus restored show car question. Do some of you actually prefer “drivers” over original cars? I have room for both in my dream collection–how about you?


WANTED 1972 Ford Ranchero GT Ready to go 4 speed, no restoration project, preferably white in Midwest Contact

WANTED 68 Chevrolet chevelle no 4dr car a Contact

WANTED 1983-1986 Pontiac Grand Prix Looking for (White) preferably Grand Prix – Bucket Seats – Console – Maroon interior – Original Contact

WANTED 1958-76 Lambretta Any This is a motor scooter all metal Contact

WANTED 1975 – 77 Ford Granada 2 door Would like a V8 in decent shape Contact

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  1. grant

    Nothing wrong with a sympathetic refurbishment as long as nothing is destroyed in the process. Some cars don’t need full restoration and some owners can’t afford them.

  2. Walter Joy

    GTO Wagon

    • Miguel

      How do you make a GTO wagon out of a Catalina?

  3. KeithK

    A wagon is definitely in my future. I’m wondering why it’s equipped with 8 lug wheels? My guess is extra load capacity? That would be great as I’m looking for a vintage wagon to tow a vintage camper. I think I’ll hold out for the big block Kingswood estate from my youth. Fake wood preferred.

  4. KeithK

    A wagon is definitely in my future. Im wondering why the 8 lug wheels? Extra load capacity? I’m looking for a vintage wagon to tow a vintage camper. This one is intriguing but I think I’ll wait for the Big block Kingswood estate of my youth. Complete with fake wood please.

  5. KeithK

    Oops. My youth also gave me big fat fingers. Sorry for the multiple posts. Not much else to do during a hurricane.

    • leiniedude leiniedude Member

      Best of luck Keith, on both the Kingswood and the hurricane, take care, Mike.

  6. Nova Scotian

    Love the style of this Pontiac

  7. Steve W

    Could this be a replacement engine that happened to come with an a/c compressor? Seems to me there’s not enough a/c vents in the dash.

  8. Joe Muzy

    When I was young the station wagon was the minivan of the day. Wouldn’t be caught dead in one but now that I’m older I really like them
    I’ve seem them all customized at car shows and thinking one is in my future.

  9. JimmyinTEXAS

    El Cheapo seat covers.. Brings back memories of college, el cheapo apartment, el cheapo car, el cheapo beer, more than one el cheapo girl friend.. WOOHOO, funny what turns into a trigger word…

  10. Car Guy

    How about a Cataling 2+2 wagon or is that a 2+2+2 wagon………..

  11. moosie Craig

    This long roof looks very familiar to me, I remember liking it the first time I saw it. I’d love to own it.

  12. Don E

    Good call Steve W! An AC equipped 65 full size pontiac should have an additional large horizontal vent dead center on the top side of the padded dash.

    • moosie Craig

      I seem to remember that also but the underhood shot clearly shows a factory equipped a/c setup on the firewall, maybe that center a/c outlet was for a car with COMFORTRON a/c ?

  13. Don E

    The dash pad has been changed with a non AC car.

  14. Frank M

    I agree with Don E. It has that ac vents on the outside lower dash but is missing the one in the center.

  15. Rolf Poncho

    Cool Cool Cool I say;love wagons
    and it’s a Pontiac Wagon !

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