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AJ's Car of the Day '63 Pontiac Catalina 421 Hardtop
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Car: Pontiac Catalina

Year: 1963

What makes it special: The Catalina was part of Pontiac's full-sized line from 1950 to 1981. Originally, 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.

What made it famous: For 1963, Catalinas featured cleaner, squared-off bodylines and vertical headlights flanking the split grille, but retained the same dimensions and basic bodyshell of 1961-62 models except for the rear flanks of the new coke bottle styling and due to this styling the rear track was extended to the 59 and 60 Pontiac's 64" wide track. Engine offerings were revised as the 389 V8 was dropped in favor of "production" versions of the larger 421 cu in V8 rated at 338 horsepower with a 4-barrel carburetor, 353 hp with Tri-Power, or a 370 hp "HO" with Tri-Power. The 405 hp Super Duty 421 was still offered to racing teams during the early portion of the model year but discontinued after General Motors ordered Pontiac to "cease and desist" from factory-supported racing efforts in February 1963. New options for 1963 included a tilt steering wheel that could be adjusted to six different positions, AM/FM radio and cruise control.

Why I would want one: It's just a big, mean-looking badass with a 421 V8 and a 4-speed. That says it all.

Fun fact: 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 ended in 1981, over 3.8 million Catalinas had been sold since 1959.

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