American Version: ’65 Pontiac Catalina 2+2 – Part 1
The wild mid-60s created the most extraordinary American cars. It was the muscle car era and it didn’t burn itself out. It was forced out by the government after the oil embargo. And then there were the clean air acts that required technology to leap forward rather clumsily. We went from the Boss 429 to the Mustang II – a favorite of Charlie’s Angels and nobody else. Pontiac was a real player in this era and I guess we thank DeLorean and two colleagues for the idea to stuff big V-8s into a mid-size chassis. Maybe he was influenced by Carroll Shelby transplanting a V-8 into a tiny British AC Ace? Anyway, GM’s use of the GTO badge miffed il Commendatore Ferrari. He couldn’t stop them, preferring to smirk at the notion the Pontiac was anything more than a poser. The editors at Car & Driver performed a shoot-out between the 2 GTOs for a cover story. It was a great story. A year later, Pontiac decides to beef-up the Catalina and stuffs a 421 cubic inch engine into the 2-door hardtop. The interior was restricted to 4 places so they named it 2+2. Ferrari had a similar car called the 330 GT 2+2 and our Car & Driver editors held another comparison test. It is a great read. We found a copy on the Ferrari 330 Registry website and you can enjoy it by clicking on the icon.
This post was inspired by a Craigslist offering for an original Pontiac 2+2, 4-speed Coupe with 8-lug wheels. It hasn’t been driven in some time but is said to start and move under its own power. It will need a bunch of love but there were only 500 of these ’65, 4-speed Coupes built. We believe that is fewer than the Ferrari 330GT’s production run. The Pontiac will never catch the Ferrari in valuation. But wouldn’t it be great to get it mechanically sorted, make it a great driver, clean it up and go play? Here is the link to the Craigslist ad if you agree.