(first posted 7/20/2013) The 1963 Pontiac was the very crest of the wave that swept the Excitement brand to glorious heights in the sixties. The upwelling first appeared out of seemingly nowhere in 1959. It continued to build momentum, year by year, but no one could have imagined how high it would peak in 1963. Anyone alive between the ages of five and eighty-five at the time remembers it well: the Pontiac waves seized the land, and one after another followed the ’63 until it died down again. The choice was to surf it, or be inundated. The latter mainly applied to the competition.
For the designers in the competition’s studios, the ’63 Pontiac was a deadly tsunami that washed up their handiwork on the beach like flotsam and jetsam. They all scurried to higher ground to redesign their cars in the Pontiac’s image, but killer waves can’t be created by so easily. It takes a seismic shift, and Pontiac somehow set one off.
Admittedly, the ’63 Pontiac wasn’t the most radically new car that GM’s divisions had to offer that year. The 1963 Buick Riviera and Corvette Sting Ray pushed the envelope further, but these were halo cars: a ’63 LeSabre or Impala had nothing in common with them. But at Pontiac, it was a different story.
Pontiac’s own 1963 halo car was the exquisite Grand Prix, and it’s all too apparent that the GP and lowest level Catalina share more than good intentions. There’s much more in common than not, right down to many of the details of that superbly handsome new face, the first to use the Pontiac trademark stacked headlights. That was the genius of Pontiac: for the price of a Chevy Impala, Ford Galaxie or Dodge 880, you could have a four door Grand Prix. Brilliant.
As is all too obvious, those bland alternative choices couldn’t touch the Pontiac’s deeply sculpted and original front end, never mind the rest of its handsome details. The ’63 Catalina exuded a poised confidence and sophistication that belied its price, which was exactly $100 more than a comparable Impala. What a deal, considering what else that one Ben Franklin bought: an additional one hundred cubic inches (389 vs 283), an inch longer wheelbase, and a million dollars’ worth of looks from the girls.
I know this from personal experience, despite being only ten at the time. My teachers were a couple of high school hot rodders across the street, who had a friend with access to a navy blue ’63 Pontiac rag top. When Saturday night came around, their perpetually half-finished greasy flat head Fords were abandoned for a good scrub and a night out in the Poncho. And I saw the results of their trolling when they drove by a few hours later packed to the gunwales with cheerleaders. The ’63 Pontiac was the consummate chick magnet; even a sedan would do in a pinch.
Although a four door hardtop like this improved the odds over the sedan still. God, what would I have given for my old man to come home with this instead of a stupid Fairlane. And for a measly $500 more, he could have. All right, that’s $3500 bucks in today’s money, but sheesh, just think how far that investment would have gone toward his children’s self esteem.
So who gets credit for the Pontiac’s million bucks/one hundred dollar face? One Jack Humbert, who joined Pontiac in 1959 and was in his mid-thirties. It’s hard to fake a youthful face, or know what will appeal to the younger set. Whatever it was, Jack had the magic. And he successfully transferred it to the mid-sized Tempest/LeMans in 1965, giving honest hard-working young Americans an even more cost-effective tool in the pursuit of their preferred sex.
That $100 premium over a Chevy also bought you genuine Morrokide, Pontiac’s trademarked and patented genetically modified vinyl upholstery that exuded irresistible male pheromones as well as resisted staining from…whatever. God forbid your parents got a sedan with the cloth upholstery; you were screwed doubly. This owner is carefully protecting his aging Morrokide for when he really needs it. A wise decision; the secret formula was lost long ago.
Or maybe it just petered out somewhere around 1970, by which time Pontiac had obviously lost its mojo. The big Pontiacs got increasingly flabby after 1965, and quickly lost their sex appeal. That got passed on to the junior Ponchos, and finally to the beaked and winged ’69 Grand Prix, which gave the ’63 GP a run for the money.
Let’s take another look at the ’63 and lose our objectivity in its seductive details. It isn’t just the brilliant front end that made it a classic. It’s imitators learned that to their peril. There was also that subtle but not insignificant bulging at the hips, both vertically and horizontally.
That first appeared in more vestigial form on the’61s (above), a feature that set them apart and above from the rest of the GM brood. By 1963, the swelling was a bit more pronounced, and lent the Pontiac a dynamic quality that was utterly absent in the ruler-straight lines of almost every other car of the era.
It was a prescient feature, and one that GM would embrace with a passion in 1965: big hips were the Big New Thing. And no one did them better in 1965 than Pontiac. But it was perhaps the beginning of the long slow decline too, as the unique qualities of the ’63 began to be copied, and bloat set in. All true new things must pass, but am I glad this particularly ’63 Catalina showed up one day, seemingly out of nowhere.
By 1965, the streetcape had changed in other ways too. After the ’63 Pontiacs appeared, the competition’s designers rushed back to their drawing tables and crumpled up whatever they had been working on for 1965 and started over – with one mental picture hovering in their imitative minds. The results were predictable, and most blatant with the ’65 Plymouth (top) and big Fords (bottom). Certain charms they may have (for some), but they failed to capture the poise, dynamism and elegance of their inspiration.
Pontiac rode its waves to ever increasing industry heights. After capturing the #5 sales position in 1959, it took number 4 in ’61, and the bronze in ’62. Sales continued to swell, reaching a heft one million in 1968.
Pontiacs exhibited signs of being mere cars from time to time, such as in their fragile Roto-Flow Hydramatics, as used in the Catalina and Ventura. But who cared about that anyway, especially then, as long as it got everyone home again before sunrise on Sunday? The ’63 Pontiac lived in the era of the Big Crush, one that Americans passed around to certain designated beneficiaries, like the Beatles and the Mustang. The 1963 Pontiac was the last big car from Detroit that could capture the excitement of the whole spectrum of Americans; sixteen to sixty. Once the Mustang appeared, the market became increasingly fragmented, and the young and young at heart came to see big cars as old folk’s mobiles.
Like all emotions, the high of excitement is intrinsically ephemeral. We savored the ’63 Pontiac briefly, but remember the golden glow forever.
I like those its a shame we mostly got Cheviacs here instead of the real thing some snuck in but more wouldnt of hurt.
We got a lot of RHD Cheviacs from Canada too Bryce.I remember seeing. them at Lendrums in London in the 60s.What great looking cars who needs a Caddy when you can have a Pontiac
Narrow tracking anyone? At least the Cheviac Laurentian was a good looker, even if it was lacking in the trousers.
We got lots of Pontiac Parisiennnes in the 60s,they were easily the most popular Cheviac of the day
A real beauty from the Golden Age of GM.
It’s weird, but Pontiacs didn’t register with me when I was young. Or maybe it was that in my working-class neighborhood, few would pony up the extra and stuck with Chevy. At any rate, seeing this Pontiac here now is almost like seeing it for the first time.
You should have lived in my Eastern European steel town (Johnstown, PA). The Slovaks and Ukranians drove Chevys. The Poles drove Pontiacs. In the old part of town where each ethinic group had its own neighborhood, you could almost tell where you were by what was parked out on the street.
Shades of Lake Wobegon!
A little bit off-topic here, but wasn’t the 1983 movie ALL THE RIGHT MOVES partially filmed in Johnstown, PA? It starred Tom Cruise, Craig T. Nelson, Lea Thompson and Charles Cioffi. Cruise played a HS football player who runs afoul of his ambitious coach (Nelson) after a particularly disheartening loss.
Definitely the finest GM big car for a long, long time. Maybe forever. The ’65’s were already starting to overdo it (sorry, putting that ’65 up against the ’63 is rather ugly), and after that last bit of restraint it was only a matter of time until . . . . ugh, broughams. And then there was the elegant simplicity of the ’63 Grand Prix.
I remember these for one of the bigger family tiffs of my childhood. My mom’s brother (WWII vet, semi-invalid due to wounds received at The Bulge) although living in Lakewood, OH had always bought cars from my dad. He never went for an Impala, but preferred a Bel Air two door sedan with automatic, power steering, brakes, etc. Mainly, all that stuff that came with standard or as a mandatory option on an Impala.
Now, this wasn’t all that easy to get back then. Dad had to order Uncle Mike his car special, went thru a few hassles as whoever ran the ordering system for the assembly plant couldn’t believe that somebody would want a mere Bel Air equipped like this. Finally the car arrived.
Only for dad to find out that Uncle Mike’s son (the one cousin I’m close to) had talked dad into a Catalina two door hardtop instead. That was a real nasty moment between the families, and I noticed that Uncle Mike didn’t visit as often as her previously did from that point on.
Knowing what I know now, I can imagine the fun that dad had selling that expensive Bel Air.
Perhaps from today’s vantage point it’s easier to regard the 1965 and later GM big cars as bloated. But the initial impact of the new designs was huge for GM buyers, and made everything 1964 and earlier seem antiquated. Their sheetmetal (at least on the Pontiacs) was curvy in ways not seen on any previous GM car.
To some extent this was made possible by the new curved side glass also offered on all of the new-for-’65 big Fords and Chryslers, but GM outdid its competitors in this area. (Another way to say this, I suppose, is that the Fords and Chryslers were so boxy they might as well have stayed with flat glass.) The large GM convertibles came with a standard glass rear window, a GM exclusive for several years.
Also for 1965, the big Pontiacs started to offer proper Turbo-Hydramatic transmissions. So there were some engineering improvements, although not as many as could have been hoped for.
Despite the (further) bloat, my choice would have to be the 1967 – the final year for stacked headlamps, plus the Pontiac-exclusive hiding windshield wipers, plus some desirable options not previously available (cornering lights, redesigned cruise control, 8-track/FM stereo), plus the newly federally mandated energy-absorbing steering column. No classic car is worth the chance of being impaled on a non-breakaway steering column.
(We owned a ’63 Catalina wagon, followed by two ’65 Bonnevilles – convertible and wagon – replaced respectively by a ’67 Executive wagon and ’67 GTO with automatic on column, the last three with factory air. Parents’ friend was a Pontiac sales manager.)
The glass rear window for convertibles was a Ford innovation. It first appeared on the 1964 full-size Fords, if I recall correctly.
Sorry, you’re correct.
For my money, I’d say that GM built some of the best-looking cars of that time period (and my birth year). The offerings from Ford and Chrysler were for the most part ugly or just plain dull. The Pontiac, especially, is one of my favorites. Simple and elegant with class. My imaginary driveway has a place reserved for either the Catalina or the Grand Prix.
What a beautiful car! Sadly, I never got to know these Pontiacs.
It’s a shame what direction Pontiac went in later years. By my time Pontiacs had become nothing but horrendously over styled, ugly pieces of ribbed plastic body cladding. I always thought they were among the ugliest cars on the road.
This is what comes to mind when I hear Pontiac:
Easy there! It’s an OLDS with a little spunk 😉
Yeah! An Olds without the bland old people’s characger 🙂
While I personally prefer the ’61, there’s a solid argument that the ’63 Poncho was the zenith of the marque in the sixties (GTO mania not withstanding).
In fact, it might be said that ’63 was the high water mark for GM, overall. The Corvair and rope-drive Tempest were still around (albeit in its final year), and there was the introduction of the Corvette Sting Ray and Riviera, two cars that many consider to be the best styled to ever come out of Detroit. Their influence, along with Pontiac, cannot be understated.
Even Oldsmobile and Cadillac, while not making the big splashes like over at Chevrolet, Pontiac, and Buick, were putting forth solid efforts. GM had it all covered and was really hitting all cylinders back in the sixties (especially during the beginning of the decade). Unfortunately, that unbridled success would eventually be a big factor in their undoing a half century later.
Here’s one instance where straying from the original mission proved to be a winning strategy.
Pontiac was originally a fancy Chevy…but when the BelAir hardtops appeared along with other premium features like Powerglide, Pontiac became increasingly irrelevant. It well could have been “game over” after the dynamic, sexy ’55 Chevies took the brand upscale.
Fortunately Bunkie Knudsen and John DeLorean saw otherwise. By reinventing Pontiac as “the excitement division” of GM, it was spared the same fate as DeSoto and Edsel (which in this context never should have been conceived).
After 1970, when Pontiac started to revert to its old ways and reassume its old role as a fancy Chevy, it well and truly lost its reason to exist. Instead two, then three and sometimes four GM brands played in the same territory, while Ford never had more than two brands tops in its playground.
Like Kenny Rogers sang, you gotta know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em.
People pine for the return of Pontiac but today Chevrolet needs to be playing in that territory…and from all accounts, finally is…free to maneuver where its models need to go to succeed in the marketplace…which has honestly been Ford’s strategy since, oh, 1958.
And as Detroit sits in bankruptcy, it’s poignant to be featuring this monument of GM – and Detroit’s – one-time dominance. I expect future generations to still point to this era Pontiac as an icon of that truly Golden Age.
I agree completely, the other GM brands all played into each other’s territory on a regular basis. My father was forever visiting Cadillac dealerships back then, and came oh, so close to buying a ’62 Cadillac. He loved to schmooze with the salesmen, and I can still remember one of them stating that GM only needed two brands, Chevrolet and Cadillac, that all the others in between were just fluffier versions of each other, and they were all cannibalizing each others stomping grounds. He maintained that Chevrolet should cover all of the lower and middle niches, and Cadillac the higher ranges, no need for Pontiacs, Oldsmobiles, and Buicks in between. And as we all know, that scenario has virtually come to pass.
That said, one of my high school friend’s family came up with a new ’63 Bonneville four-door hardtop that year, light blue with a dark blue interior and top. It was stunning, we would drool over that car every time we were at their house. The Pontiac wave was indeed sweeping over the land, and it led directly to my first car two years later, a ’64 LeMans. Exciting times they were.
Pontiac, Olds, and Buick did go after each other ruthlessly and entirely on purpose, but if you look at their combined sales numbers in the ’50s and ’60s (Buick’s late-50s struggles notwithstanding), you can see why GM was happy to allow it for so long and why Ford was so keen to get in on the action. BOP was selling about 1.2 million cars a year in the mid-50s, which was about 25 percent of the market. With that kind of market share, why should the corporation have cared if there was overlap? It kept the individual divisions hungry and aggressive — which was useful, considering that the best that rivals like Mercury could do in a good year was maybe a quarter to a third of BOP’s combined volume. It would have been very easy for the divisions to get lazy in that kind of environment.
Nice handsome ride. Good representative of a time when GM could do no wrong in the eyes of most.
Nowadays, I’m always intrigued by how the full-sized Chevys of this era consistently command the highest prices and have the greatest following on the collector market, when the comparable models from other GM divisions are often nicer cars, as well as being somewhat rarer.
That’s a head-scratcher for sure.
Easier to find parts for 58-64 Chevys if restoring. But, there is still a strong following for Ponchs.
Paul, you crack me up with your frequent chastisement of your dad and that Fairlane. My highly educated father was very similar – we were totally stoked when he actually got power steering and brakes on our ’75 Dart (his last new car).
His last car was my well-worn Celica (140k miles, manual transmission). Although he was a large man, and well into his 60s, he drove that thing with a grin.
What we wouldn’t give for another drive with him on his ‘mystery rides’ (pretty much Dad getting lost and not admitting it).
On another note, I always felt Ford did a great job with the ’65 Galaxies….
The front end on these is great and quite a dramatic departure from the crowd but past the front wheels it looses all excitement for me and is just a rather plain generic looking car to me. The Chevy does the side and rear much much better.
That dashboard warping looks familiar, exactly what happened to my dad’s ’66 Impala.
My dad owned three of them. A ’64 Bonneville sedan, a ’65 Bonnie Safari, and a ’68 Bonnie Safari. All company cars. But my mom ended up with the ’64, and later the ’68 as our family cars. In fact, the first car I drove all by myself without anyone else in the car was the ’68 wagon.
I still love the lines of the ’63 – ’68 big Ponchos.
My family owned several of these as well, we had a ’62 Catalina wagon and I drove a ’65 Catalina, four door hardtop no less, for a couple of years in college. In addition, my grandmother replaced her ’59 Star Chief with a ’63 Catalina 2 door hardtop. All of these were well used by the time we got them, but they all served faithfully for as long as we had any of them. Out of the group the 1965 Catalina was probably the best car, simply because it was less used up when we got it. What I remember most (this was 40+ years ago) was the effortless torque provided by the 389 V8, not really all that quick but smooth. The only other Pontiac I ever owned was a 2001 Gran Prix purchased new. It wasn’t a bad car, except for eating power steering pumps on a regular basis; I got to be on a first name basis with all the service writers at the Pontiac dealer here.
The 61 is the bee’s knees for me. Very underrated design and absolutely stunning in the flesh, the 62s aren’t far behind. Really, I never got the appeal of stacked headlights on the 63s besides them breaking the mold. Once that look was widely copied and ubiquitous the reversion to horizontal quads was almost instant, and in my opinion, for the better.
You have great taste Paul, it looks so much newer than a ’63. How radical it must have seemed back then.
It took Ford until 1967 to look this modern.
Beautiful car, Paul; I hardly see these at all anymore except at car shows in Central Virginia. Brings back a flood of memories of that wonderful 1963 model year. Then came 1965, when GM’s full-size cars, especially Pontiac, shocked the competition again!
Some stats that came from either you or Aaron about GM’s heyday:
Peak US market share: 1962
Peak stock price (per share, inflation adjusted): 1965
Peak net profit (inflation adjusted): 1966
Glory days for sure, and sad to see where it all went from there…
Great write up, and the 63 is a great car, especially the GP. My favorite full size GM car from the 60’s is still the 65. It’s a little bigger, but it took that styling theme to full development. And bigger was better then! Plus, if you like smaller, the Tempest/GTO had its best year in 65 too, IMO.
Those ’60s Ponchos were about the high point for them. I just saw a ’63 at a car show today, although it was about as plain Jane as you can get. It still was a looker, though.
Looking at that 1965…it just hit me. The headlights are reminiscent of the stacked headlights on GM’s Electro-Motive GP7, GP9, and GP20 locomotives, which would have been current products at the time the Pontiacs were being styled.
I find it interesting how Pontiac went so quickly from an old-maid librarian’s car to the hot ticket for the hotter chicks. Inside of ten years, actually. And it makes me wonder, why it was that AMC and Plymouth were never able to duplicate those feats. Granted, later eras with lots of regulatory issues to comply with…but AMC, even with the Gremlin and those wacky Eagle SX/4s, couldn’t shake the old-marm car image. Plymouth just withered; in the end that was the plan but certainly not as it began.
Much as we bemoan the proliferation of lines and badges – and duplication – there really IS room for different lines based on image. A kid or an ambitious social climber wants a car for what it projects. Older persons, retirees, people with less aspiration, want a car for transportation. One brand cannot be both cutting-edge with-it imagery and timeless quality.
In the end, just as Pontiac had its trajectory rise, so, too, did it crash. Bunkie and John Z were not immortal, either; and what they created, so bright, could not be sustained.
Plymouth had a flashy image for awhile, from 65-70. Road Runner helped.
But the fuselage styling turned off average buyers from big cars, which were its bread and butter.
Hemi Cudas may be worth a mint now, but plain Cudas couldn’t get buyers, when a cheaper Duster was good enough.
I love fuselage Chryslers, but I was born after they were basically gone. What offended the market about a Fury with concealed headlamps? It’s a good example of a Dad car: not a luxury car, but a big one. Today, we call that an F-150.
Early 60’s Catalinas: strength and stylishness. Early GTOs: same, in a smaller package.
Just photographed this original ’63 Catalina 2-door HT, an excellent survivor. These are indeed the best looking (almost) low-priced cars of that era. The Dodge 880 above may have made a much better police car, but as a stripped down Chrysler, totally lacked in style.
I’m glad to see the whole 1963 big Pontiac line get its due. Too often just the ’63 GP that gets praised, as if it had a unique body, like Mustang or Riviera.
’63 Catalinas look just as classy to me as the GP and Bonnevilles, and even the Star Chief.
Re: Genuine Morrokide Perhaps some smart scientists could do some reverse engineering to find the secret formula and make the world a better place by making it available to us again. It is a mystery to me how we have survived so long without it.
We had a 1964 Catalina 4-door hardtop much like the one in the 4th picture, I think it was even the same color or at least close. Was a great car, even the Roto-Hydramatic transmission, which had a pretty poor reputation, never gave us any trouble and the 389 V8 was solid as an anvil.
Back then though the Catalina was just an everday family barge that was used until worn out and then discarded like so many others. Would love to have one like it again. This time with air conditioning and upgraded to disc brakes.
If the ’63 4-dr. hardtops in the Catalina / Bonneville / Ventura / Star Chief / Executive group had the more formal GM roofline of the Electra, 98, and deVille, i’d have died happy & gone to heaven ……… at 10 years old.
Meantime, the GP did share the spectacular concave roofline with Starfire …….. but Pontiac carried it off way better.
“What if” that concave roofline were applied to an Eldorado?! Or Wildcat?!
In the ’60’s full-size Pontiacs were not only stylish, but relative bargains. For only about $100 more than a Impala, a Catalina got you 100 more cubic inches (389 v. 283 V-8) and 3 speed Hydra-Matic over Powerglide. Recall a friend bought a lightly used ’64 Bonneville in the early ’70’s. Just a great car with a beautiful dash.
63 Ponchos were one of my all-time favorites too. My GFs parents had a brand new Catalina convertible, with AC yet! But best of all, a guy in high school had access to his parents 63 Catalina with the 421/370hp tri-power, automatic. He was very careful with it but when he nailed it….whooo boy!!
I’d have to say though, the 63 Grand Prix was an absolute classic.
Full sized Pontiac cars of this era were considered a “crude and rude”, Rodney Dangerfield type of car in the (just barely) middle class subdivision that I lived in during the early 1960’s.
A car you “settled for” on your way to “stepping up” to an Oldsmobile or Buick.
Kinda-sorta flashy in a cheap, vulgar sort of way. Pontiac drivers thought they were “too good” to own a Chevy; but lacked the financial resources to buy an Olds or Buick.
Pontiacs of this Era were way nicer than Chevrolets for very little money extra. Crude and rude they were not. Your description sounds like snobery from a Buick or Cadillac household.
Never was a Cadillac in our household driveway; never will be.
Too “Noveau Riche” for my parents or their son.
A Buick, Chrysler, or perhaps a Lincoln was/is more in line with the household’s conservative mindset and budget.
My recollection of this model year is the Viet vet next door coming home drunk in his medium blue one every night, and failing to park well. I was supposed to go inside when he came home, parents weren’t sure what he would do.
One night I was sitting on the porch steps daydreaming and suddenly he was here already, pulling in. I didn’t know what drunk was. I felt like he would feel bad if I went in because he arrived, so I stayed there on that particular summer evening.
He parked crooked, opened the door and got out. He saw me in the twilight, stopped. He walked toward me, making me a little nervous with his vibrating swerving, stood on the sidewalk in front of me. We looked at each other and then he said, “You’re a good boy ain’t ya?”
I looked right at him and nodded. Then he walked down the sidewalk and back home. I’ve wondered if I might have made a small difference that evening with his returning to civilian life.
These were commonplace, the Camry of the day in a way along with the Chevy. Yet that’s the only one I recall to this day. Otherwise this car reminds me of Dean Martin.
I have fond memories of the ’63 Pontiacs, as well. For starters, my ninth-grade Science teacher, on whom I had a bit of a crush, drove a new dark-turquoise ’63 Catalina convertible with a white top. The combination of car and driver was memorable! I also loved the GP, particularly in navy blue with aluminum wheels. The Catalina, unlike the Impala, suffered the stigma of being the bargain-basement offering in the Pontiac lineup, and didn’t get all the attention that it deserved. The Bonneville seemed to hog the limelight, and some years looked much more expensive than the Catalina. 1963 was indeed a break-our year for Pontiac, but 1965 was the true flowering of the Bill Mitchell years: five lines of gorgeous full-size cars, plus a new Corvair that looked European to the core. It’s true that there was a lot of overlap among Chevy, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and the smaller Buicks. However, each division jealously guarded its secrets and had its own engineering and design departments. This was before the days of the corpoated GM engine (Chevy) and the true look-alike cars, as portrayed on the cover of “Forbes” and in Lincoln commercials. Clearly, GM peaked in the sixties, and it’s been all downhill ever since. I’m glad that I came of age as a car lover and a driver during this period of intense creativity across the Big Three.
Hah, my 3rd grade teacher had a new ’63 Catalina hardtop, red. I too had a crush on her and even got to ride in her car a few times. Bliss …
Wow, you guys have caused a bit of a crisis for me – I have no idea what my 3rd grade teacher drove. I am sure I knew at the time and can rattle every other one off from second through 6th grade (where my elementary school handed us on to the jr. high building). But Mrs. Yoder in 3rd grade – a blank. It was probably some middle aged gold or green Oldsmobile or Buick sedan (the most boring possible car in my world at the time).
3rd grade school teacher’s car would be a stretch for me to remember, also. Prolly a lousy, silver streak Pontiac with the Indian death head horn ornament, IIRC. I do recall it was ancient looking in 1963.
5th grade teacher had a crocus yellow, Powerglide equipped split window corvette. At the urging of my friends and me; she would stomp it when leaving school, really making the PG wind up in low gear.
6th grade teacher had a brand new, blue ’66 Mustang fastback with the two tone blue & white Pony interior, She wouldn’t even let me sit in it. Perhaps my long, dusty dives for home base during recess influenced her decision?
IDK why my i-phone self-corrected “hood” to “horn”…….
I respectfully disagree with you on this, the Impala is definately the top car of the 60’s bar none. that being said……..i’m a huge fan of the 61 bonnie and the 62-63 Grand prix.
For a brief moment I had hope. Dad brought home a ‘63 Bonneville for a weekend test drive as the ‘64’s were being introduced. Would a family tradition (curse) of Kenosha Cadillacs finally end?
Nope – but for one weekend there was hope.
I even envy Paul’s Fairlane.
My brother’s ’63, still in the family, purchased from the original owner 20 years ago.
Another view, there’s really no such thing as a bad angle on these cars.
In my neighborhood growing up, these cars were EVERWHERE. jUST FROM MEMORY.
’65 Bonnie Brougham. 4 Dr hardtop, ordered and picked up in Detroit, Don’t think they missed an option box
’65 Grand Prix across the street. Wife’s car.
’64 Bonnie Brghm.
’69 Bonnie Brghm (replaced a Cadillac)
’63 Grand Prix tri-power. Wife’s car.
and of course my mom’s ’69 GP. These were all within one block.