Tri-Power 4-Speed! 1965 Pontiac 2+2 Drop Top

There’s something fascinating about a full-sized convertible equipped with a big motor and a manual transmission that feels wholly American. There are no such cars today, but if that’s your style, check out this 1965 Pontiac 2+2 near Jamison, Pennsylvania. Apologies in advance as the listing here on craigslist includes no pictures of the entire car. It’s rusty, but a rare and interesting way to spend $8500. Thanks to reader Levi A. who spotted this classic in need of a new home.

While owners of many brands refer to their trio of two-barrel carburetors as ‘Tri-Power,” Pontiac invented that moniker. When properly setup, it delivers economy (running on the center 2-barrel carb during mild driving) and awesome power (engaging the two outboard carbs) when needed. Is that an “Ah-oogah” horn? The 338 HP 421 cid (6.8L) V8 is original, but this car actually came with a four-barrel setup (included with sale). That Tri-Power combo is the ticket, though, a flashy addition guaranteed to draw a crowd when you pop the hood.

Though worn, most of what you see here is original. Despite the rough appearance, this car runs and drives! the Catalina-based 2+2 was Pontiac’s sporty option in a full-size. The seller claims the convertible’s reinforced frame is better able to handle the car’s torque than a hardtop.

Again the photographer either cleverly chose to avoid pictures of the whole car because it’s super-rusty in the lower portions, or took all the snapshots while tethered to the car by a dog leash. Click here to see what the car might look like some day in the future. Who do you picture owning this drop-top, manual shifted muscle-barge?


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  1. poseur Member

    man, i can smell the interior from here.
    super sweet car but dang the body is pretty far gone.
    do they make repo sheetmetal for these?
    if so i s’pose it’s worth fixing but way beyond by ability.
    would’ve loved to rock this thing when it was a decent driver.
    so fun to load it up with pals and gals top down and cruise it

    Like 6
  2. Fahrvergnugen Farhvergnugen Member

    would rather think that instead of a klaxon, what we have here is the fire chief’s ride, with a nice syreen under hood.

    Like 2
    • JOHN Member

      More than likely the siren is part of an old-school alarm system, they used a key switch (usually a hole drilled into the fender… back in the day this was very common) and used pin switches in the doors, trunk and hood to activate the alarm. This car would make an excellent big brother to my 65 GTO tri power 4 speed convertible!

      Like 3
  3. Charlie Mullendore

    That’s not an “Ah-oogah” horn, that’s a siren. Maybe the car belonged to a firefighter.

    Like 4
  4. flmikey

    The seller’s description is an entertaining read…he or she says the body was rebuilt in ’86 or ’87 with Miller beer footing the bill…been there, done that…with that said, I am guessing this former beauty is too far gone…the ad also said this car, in stock form, had 0-60 times at 3.8 seconds…I highly doubt that…

    Like 7
    • schooner

      Guessing dyslectic 0-60 posting.

      Like 2
    • Scott Williams

      Car and Driver clocked a 65 2+2 at 3.9 seconds from 0-60.
      For years, that stood as the quickest car they had ever tested.

      Of course, the car had been highly modified by Pontiac (and Royal Pontiac IIRC), and on top of that, the time wasn’t recorded correctly, either.
      So it’s true, but it’s not true.

      Like 9
      • Charlie Gaffen

        That was the info at the time. I was 18, and already a muscle car fan. The details about mods and all the rest may be true, but the time stated, 3.9 was what I and many other fans read about in 1965.

        Like 3
    • v

      the year it was actually quoted was 1966 with the center tri being the larger 2 bbl. it was 3.9 seconds and was quoted in a hot rod magazine. i have the article but it would take 3 months of looking in my 30 year collection of stuff to find the article. but GOOGLE THIS ARTICLE IT TALKS ABOUT THE 3.9 SECONDS AND THE CAR CAME FROM ROYAL OAK PONTIAC
      Google ( 1965-’66 Pontiac Catalina 2+2 | Hemmings Daily )

      it talks about the excellent weight ratio from front to back. what a gto killer this car was…

      Like 1
      • Gaspumpchas

        That’s amazing. I drove a fire breathin’ 16 challenger srt with 475 hp; best I could do with 0-60 was 5.2 seconds and that was with a 6 speed and 3 pedals. Still amazed how the heavy cars of the 60’s kicked @$$ on the strip. Great days indeed…

        Like 3
  5. Maverick

    Pull the running gear scrap what’s left.

    Like 2
  6. local_sheriff

    This is truly a rare Poncho; a ’65 2+2 is rare on it’s own but a ‘vert 3×2 stick car is something many of us may never actually see IRL ever! Such a shame this example is so rotten…anyone have a base ’65 Cat who’d like to build a clone…?

    Like 4
  7. tom71mustangs

    I love the vanity plate! “You one to try?” Or maybe “You want to try?”

    Like 3
  8. Tom71mustangs

    Strange that it has the same plate (front / back) from 2 different eras- both are PA plates.

    Like 2
    • Harry

      PA is a one-plate state; the rear one would be current.

      Like 3
  9. Gaspumpchas

    Too bad its so rotten. Looks like it was a mud queen from the last paint job. Possibly grab the mill, tranny linkages and put in a cleaner Poncho? Being the 2+2 and a ragtop, sure is a neat car. Sorry to see in this condition. One could imagine ripping thru the gears on a warm summer day with the top down!

    Like 2
  10. Wayne

    Too bad the tin worm has raped this car. The mechanicals alone are worth about $4,000. Find a nice ’61 Catalina and mix in the parts. The only thing missing would be the 8 lug wheels.
    Now that, my Poncho fans would be a dream car.

  11. Anthony in RI

    put the drive train in a 64 – 66 A-body, that would be a monster street machine…

  12. Jamie

    He said the engine needs to be sleeved. Doesn’t really have the value in it if that’s the case. A lot of hot air. Cool car but way too much needed to make it worth while. Too bad.

    Like 2
  13. gbvette62

    I worked with a guy around 72 that had a yellow with white interior, 65 or 66 Tri-Power 4 speed, 2+2 convertible. He was given a 4 door Impala company car and sold the 2+2. I would have loved to have that Pontiac, but as a teenager I was already struggling to pay for the car I had. As big boats go, that car really flew, and it was just different enough to be really cool.

    My guess is that it’s an alarm siren, that’s mounted on the right inner fender.

  14. Classic Steel

    Engine sleeved or bored out?
    Wheres the underneath frame and floor boards shots?

    Its a shane on-car being gone and engine toast to me if that badly worn.

    “Damaged and worn cast iron and aluminum engine blocks have long been repaired using dry sleeves. Installing a repair sleeve can often save the block if a cylinder has excessive taper wear, or is cracked, scored or otherwise damaged, and boring out the damaged cylinder. Likewise, to restore the cylinders to like-new dimensions, all the cylinders in the block can be re-sleeved if all of the cylinders are heavily worn.“

    Good luck to seller and its a $2500 car but that’s being its cheaper to move on

    Like 3
    • local_sheriff

      It’s always cheaper to move on…most of us aren’t in the classic car hobby to make $. However always passing will never bring any old vehicles back on the road

      Like 6

    A little body work????????????????????????????

    Like 2
  16. Miguel

    I wonder if the seller thinks the stick shift lever sticking out of the floor makes it worth the asking or is it the amount of rust it has?

    I mean it is a 1 of 1 with the rust it has, so that has to make it more valuable, right?

    Like 2
  17. v

    the year it was actually quoted was 1966 with the center tri being the larger 2 bbl. it was 3.9 seconds and was quoted in a hot rod magazine. i have the article but it would take 3 months of looking in my 30 year collection of stuff to find the article. but GOOGLE THIS ARTICLE IT TALKS ABOUT THE 3.9 SECONDS AND THE CAR CAME FROM ROYAL OAK PONTIAC
    Google ( 1965-’66 Pontiac Catalina 2+2 | Hemmings Daily )

    it talks about the excellent weight ratio from front to back. what a gto killer this car was…

  18. TimM

    It’s just nice to see another Pontiac besides a GTO or GTO clone!! They did have other cars!!

    Like 1
  19. Mountainwoodie

    What a freakin shame! What a freakiin ride!

    See this would be the kind of car my stupid young self would have snatched up in 1972….rust…schmust…but today all I can see is rust. rust. rust. bondo. bad body repair. neglect. hacking.Everywhere.

    Still if you had money to burn what the hell!

    Somebody do it!

    Like 1
  20. mark

    my brother owned a 1965 royal bobcat 428 catalina that rar
    ely got beat on woodward back in the day, that car was bad ass, it had a beefed automatic that would give you whiplash when shifting into second gear

    Like 1
  21. v

    im sure the underside is the same as the rest of the vehicle. but if you think about it if this car is purchased by the wrong hands , the end for this car is very near. the only way some of these rides can be saved is the true love and money thrown after this car. i would say if the seller is to greedy this drive train is destined for another car. maybe MAACO can take it on and show some of there outstanding work. what you say MAACO how about those deep pockets of yours. its going to take a person that loves big pontiacs has a 3 car garage and lots of tools. and they have to live in a dry state where it rains once every 5 years. how about a mercy call to CHIP FOOSE and hope his magic wand is working. MECUM SOLD 1 EXACTLY LIKE THIS IN 2012 FOR $50,000 LOT T296 INDY 2012 MAY 15-20

    Like 1
  22. v

    2+2 ah is this a math question….wait i know this answer……421

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