1964 Pontiac Catalina: the powerful jewel of Detroit

1964 Pontiac Catalina: the powerful jewel of Detroit

EngineV 8Horsepower235 HP (172.96 KW) @ 4000 RPMEngine LocationFrontDrive TypeRWDWeight3830 lbs | 1737.259 kgTransmission4 Manual, Automatic Hydramatic with synchromeshFront brakes Disc

Catalina was a great example of Pontiac’s huge torque cars: it accelerated like lightning from a standstill, and the powerful engine and sporty options made it one of the fastest full-size cars produced in Detroit at the time.

Source: Mecum Auctions

The fact that the car was the most affordable in the Pontiac lineup and, for this reason, extremely popular, did not mean at all that the car was inferior in some way to the more iconic and media-hyped models of the 60s and 70s era. Maybe it was not looking as chicly as the GTO, but still, the Catalina was no less cool! The vehicle was fascinating with an incredible radiator grille in the same style as the GTO with a profile outlined “Coke bottle” style, and the huge size of a flattened frame with a full-size body! This vehicle was an embodiment of a road movie car – a vehicle that’s always ready to cross the State’s roads.

The origins

Source: PontiacV8

The car was produced from 1959 to 1981, being the most budgeted vehicle of the brand. The history of this automobile began in 1950 when the name “Catalina” was used for the DeLuxe Eight and Chieftain Eight models with removable hardtops. However, in 1959, it became a separate, Pontiac’s “entry-level”, independent automobile. In general, the basis of the sales were four-door sedans, although vehicles were available in coupe, convertible, and family wagon bodies. Even though it was considered the “Junior Pontiac”, it was not bypassed with interesting engineering solutions throughout its 22 years of production. For example, wheels with integrated brake drums were available for it. A steel rim was connected to an aluminum, richly ribbed center insert, into which a cast-iron drum ring was fused. Such wheels implemented effective heat dissipation, partly removing the main problem of drum brakes – the rapid overheating of the pads. In station wagon bodies, the back door could open in a completely crazy and impressive way: the electric drive pushed the door glass into the ceiling and the metal lower part of the door into the trunk floor! Music lovers were offered a radio receiver with its small built-in battery, which could be removed from the car dashboard with one movement and taken for offline listening. In total, five generations of the car were produced: the first (1959-1960), second (1961-1964), third (1965-1970), fourth (1971-1976), and fifth (1977-1981) respectively. Over the entire period, about 3.8 million cars were produced. The departure of the model from the market was caused by the manufacturer’s global strategy of abandoning full-size cars.

1964 model year

Source: Barrett-Jackson

By 1964, the US automobile industry already entered a new era of high performance, marked not so much by power racing as by a complex balance between power, handling, and efficient design. In the Catalina model of 1964, the company achieved a combination of these qualities, as well as road holding and great styling that surpassed the brand’s largest vehicles and most competitor models. Auto experts noted that this model was way more powerful and comfortable than competitors from Chevrolet, Buick, and Oldsmobile. At the same time, its price was much lower: for example, a Pontiac vehicle with a 6.5-liter engine cost about the same as a Chevrolet car with a 4.6-liter engine. In addition, Pontiac also had a better gearbox. In 1964, a 2+2 package was offered for the Catalina, which was installed on two-door hardtops and convertibles, and included bucket seats and reinforced suspension. The 2+2 package was first offered as an option for an additional $291on Catalina hardtops and convertibles. The Catalina’s main engine was a 389 square inch V8 with 235 hp. The gearbox was originally a three-speed, but then it was replaced by a four-speed manual transmission, which increased engine power to 280 horsepower. This automobile was equipped with floor mats, heated seats, a snack bar, a coolant defroster, trunk, and glove compartment lighting, the interior was trimmed with vinyl – for the comfort of owners, Pontiac did a lot. 

Did you know?

Source: Hemmings

The center of gravity of the rear axle was moved as an experiment by 12.7 centimeters, and this technique of Pontiac engineers was a success: with a wide chassis, the vehicle ran smoother and better controlled. The slogan created by the company advertisers – “Wide Track Tiger” – was quite accurate. 

If you have this model or another classic car just contact us and sell it to us.

1964 Pontiac Catalina: the powerful jewel of Detroit

EngineV 8Horsepower235 HP (172.96 KW) @ 4000 RPMEngine LocationFrontDrive TypeRWDWeight3830 lbs | 1737.259 kgTransmission4 Manual, Automatic Hydramatic with synchromeshFront brakes Disc

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