Home Page About Us Contribute




Escort, Inc.

Tweets by @CrittendenAuto










By accessing/using The Crittenden Automotive Library/CarsAndRacingStuff.com, you signify your agreement with the Terms of Use on our Legal Information page. Our Privacy Policy is also available there.

Pontiac Catalina

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Pontiac

Catalina
Vehicle Model

Topic Navigation
Wikipedia: Pontiac Catalina

Page Sections
History
Reference Desk
Images
Documents
Article Index
Merchandise
A car produced by Pontiac. Originally a trim designation for "hard-top convertible" Chieftain and Star Chief models from 1950-1958, it was a separate model from 1959-1981.

Magazine covers include:
September/October 2011 Tail Lights (1960 dark red)

History

The following section is an excerpt from Wikipedia's Pontiac Catalina page on 13 September 2016, text available via the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

The Pontiac Catalina is an automobile which was part of Pontiac's full-sized line from 1950 to 1981. Initially, the name was used strictly to denote hardtop body styles, first appearing in the 1950 Chieftain Eight and DeLuxe Eight lines. In 1959, the Catalina became a separate model, as the "entry-level" full-size Pontiac.

Early history (1950–1958)

The name "Catalina" was first used on the 1950 Chieftain Series 25/27 hardtop, Pontiac's top of the line model at the time, and later added to the Star Chief in 1954. Originally referred to as ""hard-top convertibles", these vehicles offered pillarless design in the door and window areas, along with the top-grade convertible appointments. The advantage this fixed-roof design offered is its sporty, airy feeling without the expense and drawbacks normally associated with convertibles. With the exception of the 1958 Bonneville, all Pontiac hardtops are designated "Catalinas" from 1950 to 1958. Powered by a flathead straight-eight engine at the time of its debut, it would receive Pontiac's new 287 CID OHV V8 four years later. A one-piece windshield was new for 1954. A padded safety dash became available in 1956.

1959–1960

For 1959, Pontiac dropped the name "Chieftain" for its entry level model and renamed it "Catalina", while demoting the former top-line Star Chief to mid-line status and expanding the Bonneville nameplate to a full flagship series that included sedans, coupes, convertibles and Safari station wagons.

In the lower-priced Catalina line, Pontiac division advertising placed higher emphasis on the top trimmed two- and four-door hardtops, convertible and Safari station wagons instead of the pillared two- and four-door sedan variants despite the fact that the four-door sedan was the best seller in this line.

The Catalina, though it was the lowest-priced full-sized Pontiac, was still a substantial step up from the Chevrolet Impala in trim and appointments and only a step below the Buick LeSabre and Oldsmobile 88 in trim and appointments but priced about $100 to $200 less. Catalinas also came standard with more amenities than Chevrolet models and included a larger and more powerful V8 engine of 389 cubic inches, compared to the Chevy's six-cylinder or 283 and 348 cubic-inch V8s. Pontiacs also benefited from a much better automatic transmission than their Chevrolet counterparts - the four-speed Hydra-Matic - versus the Chevy's two-speed Powerglide.

1961–1964

The 1961 full-sized Pontiacs were completely restyled with more squared-off bodylines, the reintroduction of the split grille first seen in 1959 and dropped for 1960 and an all-new Torque-Box perimeter frame with side rails replacing the "X" frame chassis used since 1958. The new frame not only provides greater side-impact protection than the "X" design but also improves interior roominess.

The distinctive protruding grille made its appearance on all Pontiac products during the early 1960s, and was a modern revival of a similar appearance on Pontiac products during the 1930s and early 1940s, as demonstrated on the Pontiac Torpedo.

Rooflines are more squared off on four-door models with the six-window styling dropped on pillared sedans and wider C-pillars with flat rear windows on four-door hardtops. A revised version of the 1959-60 "bubbletop" roof was used on two-door hardtops. Wrap-around windshields were dropped in favor of flatter glass work for improved entry and exit to the front seat.

The new body is somewhat smaller and lighter than the 1960 model with the wheelbase down three inches (76 mm) to 119, overall length reduced by the same to 210 in (5,300 mm) and width dropping nearly two inches to 78.2 from 80 in (2,032.0 mm) 1960. The front and rear track of the 1961-62 Pontiac was reduced to 62.5 in (1,590 mm) front and rear. The 1961 Pontiac was advertised as "all Pontiac...on a new wide track."

1965–1970

The 1965 full-sized Pontiacs were completely restyled with more flowing sheetmetal featuring "Coke-bottle" profiles and fastback rooflines on two-door hardtops. Wheelbases increased to 121 inches (3,100 mm) on all models.

A new three-speed Turbo-Hydramatic automatic transmission replaced the previous Roto Hydramatic unit on full-sized Pontiacs for 1965. The "Turbo" is a three-speed torque converter unit similar in basic design to Chrysler's Torqueflite and Ford's Cruise-O-Matic transmissions - a move that made torque converter automatics the universal design for shiftless transmissions, and relegated the original fluid-coupling Hydramatic to history. Though the "Turbo" transmission continued to use the Hydramatic name, it shared none of its design with the older transmission. The Turbo Hydramatic also adopted the standardized "P-R-N-D-S-L" shift pattern which replaced the "P-N-D-S-L-R" pattern long familiar to owners of Hydramatic-equipped Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles and Cadillacs.

1971–1976

For 1971, Catalina and other full-sized Pontiacs were completely redesigned and restyled from the wheels up with long hood/short deck proportions and fuselage styling somewhat similar to Chrysler Corporation's 1969 full-sized cars, along with a double shell roof for improved roll-over protection and flush pull-up exterior door handles - the latter two features first seen on the 1970 1⁄2 Firebird. Catalina and Catalina Brougham sedans and coupes rode on a 123.4-inch (3,130 mm) wheelbase while Bonneville and Grand Ville used a longer 126-inch (3,200 mm) wheelbase, and Safari wagons were an inch longer at 127 inches. Station wagons also got their own multi-leaf spring rear suspensions, while sedans and coupes continued to be suspended with front and rear coil springs.

New for 1971 was the Catalina Brougham series, which offered a more luxurious interior trim than the regular Catalina, available as a two-door hardtop, four-door hardtop and four-door pillared sedan. It was similar in concept to the Ventura series (1960-1961, 1966-1969) and the Ventura custom trim option on the Catalina (1962-1965, 1970). It was dropped in 1973 after its sales failed to meet expectations. 1972 also marked the final appearance of the Catalina convertible.

The Catalina Safari wagon became simply the Pontiac Safari for 1971 (though it continued to share interior and exterior trimmings with Catalina sedans and coupes) while the more luxurious Executive and Bonneville wagons were replaced by the new Grand Safari wagon. While the Grand Safari shared its grille design with the new Grand Ville series, its interior trim was identical to the optional vinyl interior offered on the Bonneville series. Pontiac now grouped its full-sized wagons as a separate series from their sedan counterparts.

1977–1981

In 1977, Pontiac and other GM divisions downsized their full-sized cars in an effort to lighten weight and improve gas mileage. The Catalina continued as Pontiac's entry-level full-size automobile with a Buick-built 231 cubic-inch V6 now standard in sedans and coupes (Safari wagons came standard with V8 power) and optional V8s of 301 CID, 350 CID and 400 CID displacements, each Pontiac-built engines and offered in all states except California. The Pontiac 350 was offered in 1977, but replaced by Buick and Oldsmobile 350 V8s from 1978 to 1980; and the Pontiac 400, offered through 1978, was replaced by an Oldsmobile 403 V8 in 1979 only. An Oldsmobile-built 350 Diesel V8 was optional for 1980 and 1981, along with another cut-down Pontiac V8 of 265 CID.

With the downsized 1977 model, the Catalina Safari got a new two-way tailgate that could be opened to the side as a door or lowered as a tailgate which replaced the more complicated 1971-76 clamshell tailgate design. The wagons also shared the same full-coil spring suspension as their sedan counterparts, rather than the multi-leaf springs found on 1971-76 Safaris.

As Pontiac V8s were completely banned from the State of California beginning in 1977 due to the inability to meet the state's more stringent emission control standards, Catalinas (and Bonnevilles) sold in California were equipped with engines from other GM divisions through 1981. Those included the Buick 231 V6 and an assortment of V8s including the Chevrolet 305, Oldsmobile 307, Buick and Oldsmobile 350s, and Oldsmobile 403 V8.

The Catalina was discontinued after the 1981 model year as Pontiac sought to abandon the full-sized car market as part of GM's continued downsizing program. When production of the Catalina nameplate ended in 1981, over 3.8 million Catalinas had been sold since 1959.

Canada and Canadian exports

From the 1950s through 1970s, GM of Canada offered a unique hierarchy of full-size Pontiac series different from the American Catalina, Star Chief, Executive and Bonneville lines. In Canada, Pontiac was marketed as a low priced car, rather than a medium price make as in the U.S. Closely paralleling Chevrolet's Biscayne, Bel Air and Impala series, by 1959 the Canadian models were named Strato Chief, Laurentian and Parisienne. When Chevrolet introduced the "Super Sport" as a distinct model line in 1962, GM of Canada soon made available a similarly equipped Pontiac "Custom Sport" (rebadged Pontiac "2+2" in 1967 to mirror a name used by Pontiac in the US for a sporty model based on its Catalina series). And when Chevrolet rolled out its topline Caprice model in mid-1965 to compete with Ford's newly introduced upscale Ford LTD, GM of Canada introduced the "Grande Parisienne" trim series for the 1966 model year.


Reference Desk

The Crittenden Automotive Library's "Reference Desk" is a collection of materials that cannot be shared due to copyright restrictions. Information from these resources, however, can be shared. Go to the Reference Desk page for more information.

TypeTitle
1983 BookChilton's Repair & Tune-Up Guide: Buick/Oldsmobile/Pontiac 1975-83; Chilton Book Company


Images

1953 Pontiac Catalina Bill of Sale 1953 Serial Number P8XH-94098
Bill of Sale

From Ed Andrezak Auto Sales to Irvin Bowman
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View 1953 Pontiac Catalina Bill of Sale (front) - 2,268KB
View 1953 Pontiac Catalina Bill of Sale (reverse) - 787KB
1960 Pontiac Catalina 2-Door Post Coupe 1960 2-Door Post Coupe
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
2011 Indian Uprising
August 7, 2011
View photo of 1960 Pontiac Catalina - 2,545KB
1960 Pontiac Catalina 2-Door Post Coupe 1960 2-Door Post Coupe
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
2011 Indian Uprising
August 7, 2011
View photo of 1960 Pontiac Catalina - 2,651KB
1960 Pontiac Catalina 2-Door Post Coupe 1960 2-Door Post Coupe
Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
2011 Indian Uprising
August 7, 2011
View photo of 1960 Pontiac Catalina - 2,245KB
Tail Lights Cover: 1960 Pontiac Catalina 2-Door Post Coupe Tail Lights, September-October 2011
1960 2-Door Post Coupe

Photo ©2011 Bill Crittenden
2011 Indian Uprising
August 7, 2011
View Tail Lights Cover: 1960 Pontiac Catalina - 323KB
Download Tail Lights: September/October 2011 - 3,172KB
1961 Pontiac Catalina 2 Door Sedan Drag Racing Car 1961 2 Door Sedan Drag Racing Car
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals
November 21, 2010
View photo of 1961 Pontiac Catalina 2 Door Sedan Drag Racing Car - 2,696KB
1961 Pontiac Catalina 2 Door Sedan Drag Racing Car 1961 2 Door Sedan Drag Racing Car
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Muscle Car & Corvette Nationals
November 21, 2010
View photo of 1961 Pontiac Catalina 2 Door Sedan Drag Racing Car - 4,036KB
1962 Pontiac Catalina 1962
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View photo of 1962 Pontiac Catalina - 3,284KB
1962 Pontiac Catalina 1962
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View photo of 1962 Pontiac Catalina - 3,144KB
1962 Pontiac Catalina Safari 1962 Safari
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View photo of 1962 Pontiac Catalina Safari - 3,548KB
1962 Pontiac Catalina Safari 1962 Safari
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View photo of 1962 Pontiac Catalina Safari - 5,010KB
1962 Pontiac Catalina Safari 1962 Safari
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View photo of 1962 Pontiac Catalina Safari - 4,968KB
1962 Pontiac Catalina Safari 1962 Safari
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View photo of 1962 Pontiac Catalina Safari - 3,174KB
1962 Pontiac Catalina Safari 1962 Safari
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View photo of 1962 Pontiac Catalina Safari - 3,549KB
1962 Pontiac Catalina Safari 1962 Safari
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View photo of 1962 Pontiac Catalina Safari - 3,567KB
1963 Pontiac Catalina 1963
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Richmond, Illinois Cruise Night:  June 29, 2007
View photo of 1963 Pontiac Catalina - 3,482KB
1963 Packer Pontiac Catalina 1963 Packer Pontiac
Driven by Howard Moreles
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View photo of 1963 Packer Pontiac Catalina - 3,851KB
1963 Packer Pontiac Catalina 1963 Packer Pontiac
Driven by Howard Moreles
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View photo of 1963 Packer Pontiac Catalina - 3,826KB
1963 Packer Pontiac Catalina 1963 Packer Pontiac
Driven by Howard Moreles
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View photo of 1963 Packer Pontiac Catalina - 3,091KB
1966 Pontiac Catalina 1966
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Indian Uprising
View photo of 1966 Pontiac Catalina - 3,525KB
1966 Pontiac Catalina 1966
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Indian Uprising
View photo of 1966 Pontiac Catalina - 4,291KB
1966 Pontiac Catalina Badge 1966
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Indian Uprising
View photo of 1966 Pontiac Catalina Badge - 3,757KB
1966 Pontiac Catalina Wheel 1966
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Indian Uprising
View photo of 1966 Pontiac Catalina Wheel - 3,977KB
1966 Pontiac Catalina Emblem 1966
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Indian Uprising
View photo of 1966 Pontiac Catalina Emblem - 4,269KB
1966 Pontiac Catalina Dashboard 1966
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Indian Uprising
View photo of 1966 Pontiac Catalina Dashboard - 4,157KB
1966 Pontiac Catalina Interior 1966
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Indian Uprising
View photo of 1966 Pontiac Catalina Interior - 3,546KB
1967 Pontiac Catalina 1967
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 The Cars Time Forgot
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina - 5.3MB
1967 Pontiac Catalina 1967
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 The Cars Time Forgot
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina - 5.1MB
1967 Pontiac Catalina 1967
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 The Cars Time Forgot
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina - 2.6MB
1967 Pontiac Catalina 1967
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 The Cars Time Forgot
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina - 3.1MB
1967 Pontiac Catalina 1967
Photo ©2012 Bill Crittenden
2012 The Cars Time Forgot
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina - 5.2MB
1967 Pontiac Catalina 1967
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina - 2,886KB
1967 Pontiac Catalina 1967
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina - 3,086KB
1967 Pontiac Catalina 1967
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina - 4,020KB
1967 Pontiac Catalina 1967
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina - 3,336KB
1967 Pontiac Catalina 1967
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina - 2,936KB
1967 Pontiac Catalina 1967
Photo ©2009 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina - 3,836KB
1967 Pontiac Catalina Convertible 1967
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Indian Uprising
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina Convertible - 3,510KB
1967 Pontiac Catalina Convertible 1967
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Indian Uprising
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina Convertible - 4,331KB
1967 Pontiac Catalina Interior 1967
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
2010 Indian Uprising
View photo of 1967 Pontiac Catalina Interior - 3,021KB
1969 Pontiac Catalina 1969
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 11, 2010
View photo of 1969 Pontiac Catalina - 3,312KB
1969 Pontiac Catalina 1969
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 11, 2010
View photo of 1969 Pontiac Catalina - 3,393KB
1969 Pontiac Catalina 1969
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 11, 2010
View photo of 1969 Pontiac Catalina - 4,008KB
1969 Pontiac Catalina 1969
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 11, 2010
View photo of 1969 Pontiac Catalina - 3,406KB
1969 Pontiac Catalina 1969
Photo ©2010 Bill Crittenden
The Cars Time Forgot Car Show
July 11, 2010
View photo of 1969 Pontiac Catalina - 3,716KB
Van Winkle Pontiac Catalina Van Winkle Pontiac
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View photo of Van Winkle Pontiac Catalina - 3,946KB
Van Winkle Pontiac Catalina Van Winkle Pontiac
Photo © Bill Crittenden
Full Size Pontiac Club Show
May 10, 2008
View photo of Van Winkle Pontiac Catalina - 3,419KB


Documents

DateDocument Name & DetailsDocuments
19 December 1973NHTSA Recall 73V250000
1974 Buick Century, 1974 Buick Electra, 1974 Buick Estate, 1974 Buick LeSabre, 1974 Buick Regal, 1974 Buick Riviera, 1974 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1974 Chevrolet Camaro, 1974 Chevrolet Caprice, 1974 Chevrolet Caprice Estate, 1974 Chevrolet Chevelle, 1974 Chevrolet El Camino, 1974 Chevrolet Impala, 1974 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 1974 GMC Sprint, 1974 Oldsmobile 88, 1974 Oldsmobile 98, 1974 Oldsmobile Cutlass, 1974 Pontiac Bonneville, 1974 Pontiac Catalina, 1974 Pontiac Firebird, 1974 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1974 Pontiac Grand Safari, 1974 Pontiac Grand Ville, 1974 Pontiac Le Mans
Suspension:Front:Control Arm:Upper Arm
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page
2 September 1976NHTSA Recall 76V132000
1977 Buick Century, 1977 Buick LeSabre, 1977 Buick Regal, 1977 Buick Skylark, 1977 Chevrolet Bel Air, 1976 Chevrolet Camaro, 1977 Chevrolet Camaro, 1977 Chevrolet Caprice, 1977 Chevrolet Chevelle, 1977 Chevrolet El Camino, 1977 Chevrolet Impala, 1977 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 1977 Chevrolet Nova, 1977 GMC Sprint, 1977 Oldsmobile 88, 1977 Oldsmobile 98, 1977 Oldsmobile Cutlass, 1977 Oldsmobile Omega, 1977 Pontiac Bonneville, 1977 Pontiac Catalina, 1976 Pontiac Firebird, 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix, 1977 Pontiac Le Mans, 1977 Pontiac Ventura
Steering:Wheel And Handle Bar
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Recall Page - 1 page


Article Index

DateArticleAuthor/Source
4 March 20162016 Edition 1962-77 Pontiac Grand Prix & 1959-76 Bonneville/Catalina Restoration Parts CatalogOriginal Parts Group


Merchandise

Type & Item #NameDetails
Model Kit - AMT 318991962 Pontiac Catalina CustomStreet Customs, 1:25 scale
Model Kit - AMT 31279'62 Pontiac CatalinaProShop, 1:25 scale, Prepainted dark red body


Connect with The Crittenden Automotive Library

The Crittenden Automotive Library at Google+ The Crittenden Automotive Library on Facebook The Crittenden Automotive Library on Instagram The Crittenden Automotive Library at The Internet Archive The Crittenden Automotive Library on Pinterest The Crittenden Automotive Library on Twitter The Crittenden Automotive Library on Tumblr  
 
 


The Crittenden Automotive Library

Home Page    About Us    Contribute