AJ’s Car of the Day: 1973 Pontiac Catalina 400 Coupe

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1973 Pontiac Catalina 400 Coupe

Car: Pontiac Catalina 400 Coupe

Year: 1973

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. In 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.

What made it famous: Catalina and other 1973 full-sized Pontiacs featured more full-width split grilles along with the now-federally mandated 5 mph front bumper, and revised taillight lenses. Instrument panels continued the “wrap-around” theme but the two round gauges were housed in square pods. Only the regular Catalina models and Safari wagons were offered this year. Catalinas and other full-sized Pontiacs including Bonnevilles and Grand Villes now rode on a common 123.4-inch wheelbaase for sedans and coupes though Safari and Grand Safari wagons continued on their own 127-inch wheelbase. Catalina sedans and coupes came standard with a 350 cubic-inch V8 rated at 150 horsepower with a 170-horsepower 400 2-barrel optional and standard on Safari wagons. Optional engines included a 230-horsepower 400 4-barrel and 250-horsepower 455 4-barrel V8.

Why I would want one: It’s a very nice cruiser, but does have a larger, muscle car feel to it.

Fun fact: The name “Catalina” was first used on the 1950 Chieftain Series 25/27 hardtop, Pontiac’s top trim level package at the time. ( Car shown from Dragone Classic Motorcars )

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