(first posted 1/27/2014) Right off the bat, I don’t mind admitting that I have a borderline unhealthy attachment to Mayfair Maize 1965 Catalinas. After all, a Ventura that looked very similar to the above 2+2 is my “one that got away,” the car that keeps me up at night. If I had let a Tri-Power 421 get away, I may be beyond help at this point.
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I’ll take you back thirteen years, to when I was a 23-year-old looking for a winter car. I wanted an old car to drive around, so I drove three hours to look at a 1965 Catalina Ventura Sport Coupe for sale. It was a 389-2V equipped hardtop with 8-lug wheels(!). It had zero rust, one tear in its black interior, and a dent in the quarter. I’m pretty sure I could have taken it home for under $3000. I didn’t have much money at the time, and it felt like it would have needed some engine/suspension work. I decided to pass, and it’s probably good I did, because subjecting that sweetheart to the salt would have been one of the dumbest things in the world.
That was the last time I saw that particular car, for better or for worse, but this attractive 2+2 edition floats around Michigan car shows and the Stanton Pure Stock Muscle Car Drag Race just to taunt me year after year. Even Uncle Tom McCahill loved the 2+2s, considering them to be neck and neck with the Riviera as the best looking car of ’65. Since the one I passed up was Mayfair Maize, I have a sweet spot for that color, and it seems like that was a featured color for ’65, considering that several of Pontiac’s beautiful advertisements featured a 2+2 in that yellow hue.
Speaking of advertising, I don’t think anybody in the 1960s could hold a candle to Pontiac’s. As a collector of antique car ads, I am lucky enough to have observed them all. By 1965, many advertisements were banal and lifeless, but Pontiac was smart enough to employ Art Fitzpatrick and Van Kaufman to illustrate their ads throughout from the late ’50s until the early 70s, and they’re works of art. Every single one of them is beautiful; head and shoulders above the rest. The ad copy was usually intriguing, as well. I wonder if Jim Wangers was the principal writer for these. (a few more F & K Pontiac ads here)
By comparison, the 1965 ads for my beloved Buicks almost universally used a photographed car in front of a plain white background; even a pretty model thrown in couldn’t help much. It’s no wonder so many people bought Pontiacs in the 1960s.
Under the hood, the 2+2 option meant that the lucky owner automatically got the 421-cubic-inch Pontiac instead of the 389. The standard 4-barrel was rated at 338 horsepower, while the Tri-Powers wielded 356 or 376. This 2+2 runs down the quarter mile in the mid-14s or so, which is not too bad considering its bulk; it looks like a big, beautiful, yellow aircraft carrier moaning down the quarter-mile. This one’s even air-conditioned!
It seems like GM dusted most of their magic on the exterior of the 2+2, as the interior is standard GM, with a longitudinal speedometer and fairly nondescript dashboard. The 2+2 had buckets (and this one had a console with a vacuum gauge on it), but regular Catalinas would have been bench-seat equipped. As an aside, I think a vacuum gauge is underrated. Having one permanently mounted inside the car is an outstanding tuning tool for someone who’s ever messed with an old car’s carburetion.
While I like the tri-gauge pod in the center of the dashboard, the interior is a bit ho-hum. I think that, in this time period, the coolest dashboards had to belong to the full-size Chrysler and Mercury.
photo courtesy of www.330gt.com
Car and Driver thought enough of the 2+2 to test it against a Ferrari 330GT 2+2 in its March 1965 edition. It actually proved itself better than you might expect, but Pontiac did have a reputation for providing “ringers” to the car magazines, so that may be an invalid test.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t return to the 8-lug wheel. The pictured Catalina 2+2 and the one I passed up both carry this option, and I think it’s the best looking wheel of all time. The finned center section is actually the brake drum, and the wheel surround bolts to it. Try finding a new drum for that at your local parts store!
The 2+2 only lasted through the 1967 model year, when it became clear that full-size muscle cars were not the sales force they once were. After all, Pontiac was selling all the GTOs they wanted, so the 2+2 became somewhat superfluous in its lineup. For four model years, however, Pontiac created arguably the best full-size machines of the Big 3, maybe the rightful heir to Chrysler’s 300. And they look glorious in Mayfair Maize.
Nice! And yet another GM engine could that smoke a small block Chevy but nobody noticed because it cost a wee bit more….GM’s customers were as bad as their bean counters…
I always liked those real Pontiacs. The Canadian versions were just Catalina bodies mounted on Chevrolet frames and running gear. Those 7:00 tires tucked well inside the wheel openings made the Canadian Pontiac look like a roller skate compared to those wide track beauties from the south. Mind you, they could be ordered with the full Chevrolet engine line up. There was a guy in our neighborhood that had a 61 Bonneville 4 door hardtop loaded with options. I was told he paid more than a Sedan de Ville for that long and wide beauty. Those were the days before the free trade agreements. Huge surcharges were tacked on making them too expensive for most. You couldn’t even import a used vehicle into Canada. The only way was as part of “settler’s effects” and I believe couldn’t be resold for at least a year.
I’ve seen period pre-Auto Pact Canadian Pontiac ads where they features ALL the Pontiac models – North and South . . . . just think: A pre-Auto Pact American Grand Prix with duties must’ve cost as much as a Cadillac Fleetwood 60 special !! . . . . .
I didn’t know Pontiac used photos for their full-size range during AFVK.
Beautiful car. Thanks Aaron65.
You may have misread that. He said that Buick used photos, while Pontiac ads had the AF & VK illustrations.
Second image in this article is a double page spread of a 65 full-size. Headline ‘A flying machine for people who can’t stand heights.’ That’s not an illustration. Even if it’s a brochure spread, I thought AFVK did all images. The only photo work I’ve seen from this period for Pontiac is an ad for the intermediate, using the Tiger theme I think.
AFVK did not do all the Pontiac renderings. In the brochures, there were many not done by them. And Pontiac started using more and more photos in their ads about this time; this ’65 2+2 is an example.
Ah, I see what you meant now.
The “Flying Machine” ad and others using photographs were for magazine publication. Many were written personally by Jim Wangers, who headed the Pontiac account for ad agency MacManus, John and Adams (some think Jim was a Pontiac employee, but that was never the case)
Now that is beautiful, and I’m not a big fan of the color but it works on that car.
On one hand it’s too bad the 2+2 doesn’t get the same respect as the GTO and 409 et al, but I’m glad it doesn’t. I can still hold out hope that I’ll be able to purchase a 66 2+2 before the prices get out of hand.
There is a guy who sells new brake drums for the 8 lug wheels and even makes 15″ versions so its easier to find tires that are the correct diameter vs. what you can get in 14″ radials (there is still a large difference in the diameter of a 14″ bias and what the supposed same size radial is)
Wow, yet another car that is near the top of my “Power Ball” list. I have long felt that the 1965-66 GM two door hardtops were among the most attractive vehicles of their time. When you factor in that GM still had (usually, anyway) good build quality, that just makes these cars all that more appealing. For me the Pontiac two door hardtops are the most attractive of the bunch, with Chevrolet second and Oldsmobile/Buick tied for third. Many years ago I had a 1965 Catalina for a couple of years when I was going to college. It was a four door hardtop and was just your basic, inexpensive used car when I got it. I remember it as a fast, comfortable cruiser, the perfect car for a spur of the moment road trip.
I agree…I think this is the best ’65 B-Body, followed by the Impala, then the LeSabre/Wildcat, followed by the 88/98…just my opinion, of course.
They’re obviously all really well done, however.
My screen name’s no fluke; there were a lot of good options in ’65.
Pontiacs were great looking (and performing)cars then.When did it go wrong?I was looking at a horrible late model Firebird with weird nostrils in a magazine the other day.I like the feature car a lot,not usually a fan of full size cars but this site is changing me
I do like the 65 Pontiac. My Uncle Bob bought a used Catalina sedan. The interior was so much flashier than the 64 Galaxie 500 that they also had.
I particularly liked the translucent steering wheel and those center gauges that were canted towards the driver. This 2+2 is a very nice car.
Beautiful! The 65 2+2 is one of my personal favorites. I have that photo ad framed on my wall!
I even like the dash and interior. By 60’s standards it may be a bit plain, especially the unsporty bar speedo, but by the 80’s standards I grew up comparing it to, it is awesome! And the dash’s metal trim and high quality fake wood really show off GM’s heyday handiwork.
There’s no fake wood in the 2+2’s dashboard; it’s a sort of nubbly black surface. In 1965 and ’66, only Bonnevilles and Grand Prixs had woodgrain on the dash, and it was real walnut veneer. For 1967, fake wood became available on the outside (i.e., the Executive wagon) and replaced real wood on the inside.
Loved this era of Pontiacs… my father purchased a 67 Catalina wagon, which had just about all the options inside you could get (air, power windows – seats, AM_FM etc), including the 421-cubic-inch engine. Quite the sleeper when you consider the exterior chrome was basically the windshield trim and the bumpers. Black wall tires with dog dish hubcaps. Apparently it was cheaper to register and insure a Catalina because the state went by the basic price of the car not what you actually paid for it.
I’ve driven a couple of 2+2’s before, they drive much sportier and firmer than most other full size B-bodies from the day.
I also agree with the styling, in a decade of pretty cars, this was one of the best of the era.
Drool, drool… I vividly remember that first ad, and I’ve since associated these cars with that color, which thanks to you, I now know is Mayfair Maize.
At the time as a 12 year old, it was getting harder to get turned on by full-size muscle cars, but this one did it quite effectively. I just imagined that I was 40 instead of 18 (for the GTO). Thanks for the wonderful breakfast flashback.
Beautiful. I am obviously a fan of fullsize cars, especially if they also have fullsize engines. I’ve also said that Pontiac did the stacked headlight look better than anyone, and this is exactly what I’m talking about. If I was to consider adding a non-Mopar to my stable, this would rank highly.
Nice 2+2, I prefer the 60-64’s myself but still a very nice car and the color is a flattering choice.
Anyone have a link to the full C&D test? You certainly don’t hear about Walt Hansgen too much these days, he was one of the great 1960’s sports car drivers out of the eastern US. Drove a lot for Briggs Cunningham.
Also, a lot of good Pontiac articles are linked at
For articles and links to all things 2+2 (including the Car & Driver test) , go to
Very few cars are better than sex. Just about any ’65 or ’66 Pontiac is on that very select list.
I’m in love.
The comparison to the Chrysler 300 is apt. For once, Chrysler seems to have read the market correctly when they discontinued the 300-letter series in 1965, and Pontiac picked it up with the 2+2. Pontiac execs must have figured they could make a go of it, maybe due to Pontiac’s seeming ability to do no wrong during the mid-sixties.
Unfortunately, the market for a mid-level trim, full-size, ‘businessman’s express’ equipped with the biggest, most powerful engine a manufacturer had, just wasn’t there, anymore (the higher trim Bonneville with less powerful engines was selling just fine), and the 2+2 was gone by 1968.
Those last letter cars are stunning.I don’t care that they have a few horses less than the 64s.Elwood Engel’s time at Mopar was an injection of new ideas badly needed after the strange early 60s cars
Chrysler didn’t walk away from building fullsize muscle cars under the Chrysler marque when they discontinued the letter-model 300s. They had been watering-down the “specialness” of the 300 ever since they started offering a non-letter-model 300 alongside it for less money (in base trim).
In 1966 and up, one could still order a non-letter 300 (or a NYer or Newport/Windsor) with the then-new 440 “TNT” engine, rated 365hp (and up to 375 for 1967), or the full “TNT performance package” which also included the heavy duty suspension option for firmer handling.
Part of the reason that the letter models stopped when they did was that the exec at Chrysler who was the drive behind the series died. Also, the 300 letter-model historically had less chrome ornamentation than the other Chrysler models. However, the new Engel-designed bodies didn’t have much chrome that could be removed, so they couldn’t find a way to significantly differentiate them from the other Chrysler models.
They never sold enough letter cars to make it worth continuing them. They made a great halo car for a few years, but couldn’t have been profitable enough to justify tooling up special parts for less than 2000 cars a year. I think between the price and the mid-size muscle car revolution the writing was on the wall for the letter car.
It’s kind of interesting that the 300M didn’t cause the same kind of uproar from enthusiast as the 04 GTO did. The 300M, although a nice car, was no letter car.
Also, before 1962, there was no real performance version of the Plymouth or Dodge. With the 1962 models, the lightweight Plymouth and Dodges with big engines became natural performance cars due to a favorable power to weight ratio. Also, this was the car that the factory stock car effort went into beginning in 1962. For someone interested in a hot Mopar, there was no longer a need to pay the stiff premium for the 300 letter car. Also, with the non-letter twin, you could get a car that looked almost identical to a letter car for a much lower price. I am amazed that Chrysler sold as many letter cars in 1962-65 as they did.
Big engines being offered throughout a model range is a good way to explain the demise of cars like the Pontiac 2+2 and Chrysler 300 letter series.
This all harkens back to the whole rationale of the musclecar in the first place. It wasn’t drag racing, but the need for a ‘killer’ kick-down passing ability. Back then, there were a limited number of multi-lane freeways with most highways being no more than two-lanes (think Route 66). One of the best, visual examples of this is in the classic road-trip movie It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World at the very beginning when a long line of cars (including a few new 1962 Mopar products) winds through the California desert on a main, two-lane road.
There was a real need for low-end, big-engine torque to safely get around slower traffic on long, cross-country trips. That was the true purpose of cars like the 1949 Olds Rocket 88 and 1955 Chrysler C-300. To get that big engine, you had to pony-up big-bucks for a well-equipped touring car.
As bigger engines became more available in lower-trim lines, much of the market for the specialty, upper-tier cars evaporated. That’s the real legacy of cars like the GTO and the reason GM’s 14th floor hated John Delorean. By offering a bigger engine in a smaller, cheaper, less-equipped car meant lower profits.
I would note that even before the GTO and 2+2 were introduced, any 1963 full-size Pontiac (Catalina, GP, Star Chief, or Bonneville) could be ordered with the Tri-Power carb setup on either the 389 or 421 motor.
Philhawk, you’ve probably nailed a major reason why they started offering a regular 300 alongside the letter-model 300: selling enough volume to cover the cost of tooling.
Regarding the LH-body 300M, there probably weren’t enough Chrysler 300 fans out there to cause an uproar over it. I still scoff when I see a 300M, but I’m surely in the minority.
At least Chrysler has redeemed themselves with the current 300. The 300SRT is today what the letter-model 300 would have been back in the day, and the 300S is most like the “non-letter” 300, having the looks of the SRT but only the small engine. If I was to extend the comparison, the basic 300 is like the Newport and the 300C is the equivalent of the New Yorker.
As a Mopar guy, I think you correctly compared the current 300 models to the old Chryslers. And, I know what you’re saying about the 300M, but I never let it bother me. Several people who post on Allpar have stated that their 300M is the best handling Chrysler they’ve ever owned. I suspect they meant full-sized Chryslers, as both the Laser and LeBaron GTS, both turbo and standard model, were quite good for their time in regard to handling.
I’m sure there are far more cars on the road than when I was a young guy because traffic congestion and law enforcement monitoring and ticketing seems to be at a larger scale than before. Thus, having one of the fastest cars on the road is no longer of prime importance. This also might be where wisdom and maturity have changed my views on things automotive. Now somewhere between adequate and respectable performance must be balanced with decent fuel economy, along with comfortable ride and decent handling and maneuverability. Oh, and along with interior seating for 4 passengers coupled with a decent sized trunk. So I guess I’m now more pragmatic. And, I’d say that the 300M was a pretty good all-round car for a lot of people.
Actually, ’65 Chryslers are another “one that got away” story. I drove six hours round trip to look at a ’65 Newport back in ’05, and it was a bit misrepresented, so I passed. Last year, I was very, very tempted by a ’65 white New Yorker 2 door hardtop that I, once again, could have probably picked up for under 3 grand…unfortunately, there’s no way it would have fit in the garage with the others.
I agree – I liked my 300L well enough that I’d be quite happy to have another 65 or 66 Chrysler.
’65 and ’66 Pontiacs are pure automotive porn. Even the mundane Catalina 4 door sedans manage to look sexy. Now, about that white Studebaker to that 2+2’s left…
“Even the mundane Catalina 4 door sedans manage to look sexy.” Well said, and quite true. My old 1966 Catalina was good example of just what you’re talking about. But let’s not forget about the giant trunk, which really came in handy. Here I am in 1989, just relaxing in the shade of my trunk lid…
I wonder if “Mayfair Maize” is the same color as “Goldwood Yellow” as used on my 1964 Impala SS avatar?
It’s a shame the OEMs don’t or won’t use a nice yellow on larger cars anymore. I think if done right with the right shades it would be quite desirable.
These were very nice Pontiacs no matter what color they were!
No doubt in my mind that Goldwood Yellow and Mayfair Maize were the same beautiful shade of light yellow.
According to the charts, it looks like Crocus Yellow would be the equivalent of Pontiac’s Mayfair Maize in ’65. Chevy actually had two yellows in ’65, Goldwood Yellow being the other.
Agreed. I checked paintref.com and they show GM code WA3313 was Chevy Crocus Yellow, Pontiac Mayfair Maize, Oldsmobile Saffron, and Buick Bamboo Cream in 1965.
Beautiful cars unfortunately all we saw were the print ads our cars were Cheviacs from the Great White North. Perform they didnt.
We got a mixture of Cheviacs and real Pontiacs.The Pontiac Parisienne was sold in RHD by Lendrums the London GM dealer.This was a Canadian Cheviac but I recall seeing a non stacked headlight GTO there in the 60s
We got Parisiennes here in Oz, some I think pillarless as well. There was a 65 parked out behind my parents place in the seventies. I thought a UFO had landed. Couldn’t keep my eyes off it.
You got pillarless Chevies too a mates Cuz from NZ has one a 67 Impala he works at Winton racetrack and it can be seen there occasionally silver 350/350
Yep, I’ve seen some Chev pillarless right hookers. I turned down a RHD 72 Galaxie LTD Wagon. My body is still bruised from kicking itself.
These cars are sooo handsome! I love how the bottom of the sides turn up like the 61 and 62 Cadillac. I think Pontiac’s from this era and later had attractive dashes; the most attractive of all GM cars.
I learned something today! Never knew about the brake drum 8 lug wheels on these, that’s a really unique and stylish wheel setup. Im sure it played hell with anyone wanting aftermarket wheels, but it damn near doesn’t need them.
The Car and Driver test alleged that the Catalina 2+2 with the three-two-barrel engine did 0-60 in less than 4 seconds and 0-100 mph in 12 seconds flat. With a 3.42 axle. And what they described as a determined habit of trying to escape its fanbelt at 5,500 rpm in every gear.
If you added about 3 seconds to each of those figures, they might be borderline plausible, especially considering that the test car was prepped by Royal Pontiac and presumably had the full Bobcat-style tuning job, but there’s no way a showroom stock 2+2 was going to come anywhere near those numbers.
That thing must have been a ringer on Nitrous with 12″ tubbed drag slicks and Don Garlits Driving!
I noticed that, they didn’t mention any suspicion or surprise at the figures either. Perhaps that was what they meant by a ‘properly set up’ car from Royal…
Then there is the lack of mechanical sympathy with the Ferrari, or at least it appears a lack of experimentation of launching the Ferrari to improve times – “It should have gone faster, but the rear suspension simply couldn’t handle the massive loads of full-throttle, drag racing starts and the axle bounded up and down furiously, hammering away until we lifted slightly or changed to second gear.”
It is also strange to me that a full-size car would be set up or advertised as a 2+2. The package does sound interesting though, it sounds as though it would be much better to drive than the usual.
You’d have to ask John Z. De Lorean (were he alive) why the model name “2+2” was chosen, but I don’t believe this is addressed in On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors, which I recently reread.
The book would surely be of interest to anyone who likes 1960s Pontiacs, starting with the origin of the “wide-track” 1959 cars and the use of “wide-track” in advertising – which, of course, was underscored by the horizontally stretched front ends of Pontiacs in magazine ads throughout the ’60s. Also discussed are the GTO, the full-size Grand Prix (both the 1962 and ’63), and the ’67 Firebird, as well as the attempt to shrink the entire full-size line for 1969 so that it would be based on the existing intermediates (the only survivor of that plan was the 1969 Grand Prix).
I’ve got the book but I’ve heard conflicting stories about the origins of wide track. I’m sure it’s covered somewhere in CC so it’s on the to do list.
Of course not, there was a guy I would argue that with swore those 0-60 numbers for the 2+2 were correct. I imagine with wheelspin you could probably get the speedometer to read 60mph in 3 seconds, but that doesn’t count. John Sawruk, Pontiac engineer from the late 60’s and early 70’s later wrote an article about GM’s own internal 0-60 tests, that showed a 2+2 doing 0-60 in about 7 seconds or so, which is still quick as hell considering the size/weight of the car and the tire technology.
The ’65 and ’66 Pontiacs are my favorites also.
My wayward older cousin somehow got his hands on a lightly used ’65 2+2 sometime in the mid 60s. He showed up at our house with a friend after Thanksgiving dinner one year and took my brother and me on what remains as the wildest, scariest, and yet exhilarating ride of my life.
I was 14 or so at the time; my cousin took us on a crazy fast ride out of our residential area to what used to be largely a rural area near the Pittsburgh International Airport. I remember one driver pulling completely off the road when he saw us coming! Needless to say, my brother and I remained mum to our elders about the antics we experienced once we were deposited back at home.
I have no problem saying that I liked the looks of the ’65-’67 Pontiacs back in the day, and that I still do. Was very sad that Pontiac got killed off, when I think it was GM’s second best-selling division, after giving us a modern day GTO, the Solstice and the outstanding G8. And, I liked that a manual transmission was available in the G6 sedan, though there were few sold in that configuration.
I remember this car from 1966, in the same color, but w/ the fender skirts. My younger brother and I thought it was one of the COOLEST cars around!! 🙂
The sleek yet aggressive vertical dual headlights are mentioned a lot as being key to Pontiac’s styling success in the mid-1960s, but I think the split grille, which first appeared in 1959, deserves almost equal credit. It disappeared on the big 1960 Pontiac but then reappeared in 1961, staying around almost as though it were waiting for the vertical headlights that came in 1963, becoming the perfect “frame” for the split grille.
Decades later, there was a report in the automotive press than BMW was considering suing Pontiac for “copying” its split grille. What a laugh. I don’t know if it ever really happened, but to even be considered would have taken somebody at BMW with an ego the size of Adolf Hitler’s.
In the order book, the iconic eight-lug wheel and hub was called the “aluminum hub and brake drum assembly.” It did provide a better drum brake, with the finned aluminum giving better heat transfer to the air. They were finally swept away by disc brakes, which came to American cars all too late for anyone who remembers how drum brakes could fade, chatter, and grab unevenly at times, their servo action unpredictably pulling the car to one side or the other. Even though those Pontiac eight-lugs were lost in the process, I don’t miss drum brakes one bit.
“It seems like GM dusted most of their magic on the exterior of the 2+2, as the interior is standard GM, with a longitudinal speedometer and fairly nondescript dashboard.”
Beg to differ. This interior is awesome! Acres of chrome, dials, guages and glitz. Those big, chrome A/C vents look like they could freeze beef. Great looking buckets too. And look at the optional wood steering wheel! No one did it better than Pontiac back then.
1959 – 1969 was the zenith for Pontiac. This 2+2, the Grand Prix in ’62, the GTO and the restyled GP in ’69 – everything a winner. Even the run of the mill Catalinas, Bonnevilles, Le Mans, etc. were highly styled cars with prodigious power and a great value. For about $200 more than an Impala you had a Catalina with a hundred more cubic inches and a lot more prestige. This is what happens when your fortunate to have three successive geniuses (Bunkie Knudsen, Pete Estes and Delorean) run your division.
I love the 2+2 Pontiac, but I’m not a big fan of the ‘65-‘68 Full size GMs. If I could have one 1965 GM biggie it would be an Olds Starfire’ which had unique taillights and shared its hardtop roof with the Grand Prix. The ‘65 full sized GMs just look too big, especially next to the 61-‘64. I think Oldsmobile had the most modern look for ‘65. GM did a good job updating the ‘69-‘70 full size models, Chevy probably looked the best in ‘69 IMHO.
The ’69 Impala was certainly my favorite full-size GM of ’69. After the ’68 models, my preference for Pontiac fades, although I like the Impalas from this whole generation.
Contrarian here. I think the Impala was the only coupe that really pulled off GM’s new-for-’65 coke bottle styling. It managed to still look trim and sleek despite all that extra body volume. The Pontiac always suggested to me that there was a lot of arbitrary empty space behind those swooping lines.
It’s not easy to style cars that big and not get visually lost in acres of sheet metal IMO. Impala did it well, Pontiac…meh?
Even if the 1965 Pontiac was excessively voluminous, there were compensations. The Pontiac’s front and rear bumpers would have looked silly on the Chevy but were perfectly complemented by the Pontiac’s sheetmetal. And the Pontiac’s coke-bottle treatment allowed for rear wheel openings that looked good both with and without fender skirts, a fairly unusual trait. Yes, trim and sleek they weren’t, but you got a more substantial-looking car to accompany the step-up-from-Chevy drivetrain.
There were also the stretched-wheelbase Pontiacs (the Star Chief and Bonneville two- and four-doors), if you wanted really excessive volume without much purpose – the interiors were no bigger, although the trunks were.
The Pontiac with a 26.5 gallon tank using premium gas @ $3.18 pg today would cost $84.58 for a fill up, the Ferrari with a 31 gallon tank would cost $98.58.
The Pontiac got 8-12 mpg with a range of 212-316 miles, The Ferrari 12-16 with a range of 360-500 miles.
To put things into perspective for todays cars, my CT6 with a 3.6 V6 can do 100 at the end of the quarter mile in about 14.5 seconds. It hold 19.5 gallons of gas and I can usually get over 400 miles before I am down to the 1/8 mark and need about 15 to 16 gallons to fill. On long trips it can average 28 miles per gallon or more if there is no headwind.
I cannot look at one of these and not think of Steve Douglas (Fred MacMurray) on “My Three Sons” . In the series’ later years he always drove a full size Pontiac sedan or wagon.
This car is one of the best of the 1965 full size cars from GM. It a a timeless design and looks just as fresh today as it when it debuted 55 years ago.
I always like to compare the Catalina 2 plus 2 to the Olds Starfire. Instead of the console with a vacuum gauge, the Starfire had a console with a tachometer. I may be wrong but I believe the Starfire and Grand Prix used the same roofline with the slightly concave backlight.
Our coach at Ferguson Jr. High (Bill Quigley) had a light blue metallic 1965 Catalina Convertible. My uncle later had a metallic green Catalina two-door. Both had the temperature control that had you rotate a dial and watch the segments change from blue to red.
You know what’s amazing a Smart car can go from 0-60 much faster than one of these old tri-power Pontiac 2×2’s, gets 10 times better gas mileage and is a whole lot safer in a crash. A Smart car can be going 100 MPH and crash head on and you’ll survive with a few scratches; an big old gigantic ’60s Pontiac 2×2 you won’t survive a crash at 25 MPH even if you got a racing harness on!
I bought a new ’67 gtx with 440 4 speed, enjoyed a year of successful street racing in Queens, NYC, and never lost to a 2+2, but i always regretted not having gotten a big beautiful poncho. . Still do.