Pontiac Catalina Classic Cars for Sale

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Pontiac Catalina Safari
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Pontiac Catalina

The Pontiac Catalina was part of the full-sized line from Pontiac between 1950 and 1981. The name was initially strictly used to denote the hardtop body auto styles, which first appeared in the 1950 DeLuxe Eight and Chieftain Eight lines. The Catalina of 1959 became a separate "entry-level" model full-size Pontiac.

The Early History

The "Catalina" name was used first on the Chieftain Series hardtop 25/27 of 1950 and later appended to the 1954 Star Chief. Except for the Bonnville of 1958, all Pontiac hardtops between 1950 and 58 were designated "Catalinas". Pontiac introduced in1954 a 1-piece windshield while in 1956, a padded safety dash was made available.

The 1959-60 Pontiac Catalina

For the 1959, the name "Chieftain" was dropped for its Pontiac entry level model, renaming it the "Catalina", and demoting the top-line Star Chief to a mid-line status. Pontiac expanded the Bonneville nameplate into a full-fledged flagship series to include coupes convertibles, sedans, and the Safari station wagons.

All 1959 Pontiacs got completely restyled along a newly introduced General Motors B-body replacing the former A-body utilized for 1958. For 1960, the Pontiac Catalina received a minor facelift getting a new full-width horizontal bar grille.

1961- 64 Pontiac Catalina Editions

The 1962 model year Pontiacs got a heavy facelift with body contours that were more rounded and new rooflines that came on 2-door hardtops with convertible-like bows.< / p >< p >For 1963, the Catalinas featured squared-off bodylines as well as vertical headlights that flanked the split grille, although retaining the same basic 1961-62 dimensions and body shell. A 1963 Pontiac Catalina convertible that had been modified by Bill Straub, the California hot-rodder was employed as a NASA M2-FI program tow vehicle.

The 1965-70 Pontiacs

The full-sized 1965 Pontiac Catalina got totally restyled featuring the popular "Coke-bottle" profiles as well as more flowing sheet-metal plus fastback rooflines that came on 2-door hardtops. The 1966 Pontiacs only got minor facelifts with slight taillight treatment and new grilles.

For the 1967 model year, Pontiac Catalina received some heavy face-lifting getting body contours that were more rounded plus fuller fastback rooflines. A new feature was the concealed windshield wipers, which was an industry first.

In 1968, the Catalinas received only minor face-lifting with revised taillights, a newly introduced beak-nose split grille and also reverted to horizontal headlights. The Pontiac Catalina of 1969 got a major restyling with slightly more squared off sheet-metal.

The 1977-81 Pontiac Catalina Editions

In 1977, Pontiac undersized all their full sized-autos to make them lighter. With the downsizing, the Pontiac Catalina Safari was given a new 2-way tailgate which could open to the side just like a door or lowered similar to a tailgate, replacing the previously more complicated clamshell tailgate 1971-76 design.

After 1981, the Pontiac Catalina got discontinued. When production ended in 1981, in excess of 3.8 million Pontiac Catalinas had been marketed since it was launched in 1959.