AJ’s Car of the Day: 1962 Pontiac Catalina Convertible

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1962 Pontiac Catalina Convertible

Car: Pontiac Catalina Convertible

Year: 1962

What makes it special: Catalina 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.

What made it famous: The 1962 Pontiacs received a heavy facelift from the 1961 design with more rounded body contours and new rooflines on two-door hardtops featuring convertible-like bows. Catalina sedans and coupes got a wheelbase shared with full-sized Chevrolets. Most regular engine and transmission offerings were carried over from 1961 with the 389 cu in Trophy V8, ranging in power ratings from 215 hp to 348 hp. A small number of 1962 Catalinas and other Pontiacs were built with a “Non-Streetable” 421 cu in Super Duty V8 with two 4-barrel carburetors and 405 hp, as a $2,250 option when the base Catalina listed at $2,725, along with various “over the counter” performance options offered by Pontiac including aluminum bumpers and even lighter frames with drilled holes, which were dubbed the “Swiss cheese” frames.

Why I would want one: This basically translates to a large Pontiac muscle car, and I love the “scowl” of the front end.

Fun fact: The Catalina, though it was the lowest-priced full-sized Pontiac, was priced and trimmed below the Chevrolet Impala due to GM’s overlapping price structure formula only a step below the Buick LeSabre and Oldsmobile 88 in trim and appointments but priced about $100 to $200 less. 

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