1964 Pontiac Catalina – A Big Hot Poncho

In 1964 the North American performance car was starting a rapid transition from being a full size car to a smaller car.  At General Motors, the Pontiac Division had the Catalina 2+2 as their full size performance car.  While the Catalina was a full size Pontiac, it was the lightest of the full size Pontiacs.  And in 1964 the Catalina could still be had with performance options.

1964 Pontiac Catalina 2+2

The styling of the 1964 Pontiac was a rounded version of the 1963 models.  As a result, I think that the 1964 styling modifications make the 1964 model more attractive than the 1963 Pontiacs.

1964 Pontiac Advertisement

The Pontiac Catalina Was a Full Size Pontiac

The big engines were what made the 1964 Pontiac Catalina a significant performance car in 1964.  There were a large number of different 389 cubic inch V8 engines available, some dependent upon the choice of transmission that the buyers selected; but the really fast 1964 Catalinas had one of the three optional 421 cubic inch V8 engines:

  • 421 with 1 x 4-barrel carburetor, 10.5:1 compression – 320 HP
  • 421 with 3 x 2-barrel carburetor, 10.75:1 compression – 350 HP
  • 421 with 3 x 2-barrel carburetor, 10.75:1 compression – 370 HP

The picture of the Pontiac’s engine below shows that the engine has three two-barrel carburetors.  I am not familiar enough with the visual differences between the 389 cubic inch engine and the 421 cubic inch engine, to tell which engine was in this particular Pontiac.  If someone can help identify which engine this is, then I would appreciate being able to clarify this matter.

This Big Pontiac V8 Engine Has Three Two-Barrel Carburetors

The other thing that makes this 1964 Pontiac Catalina a performance car was the floor-mounted 4-speed manual transmission.  The photograph below shows that the Catalina had some additional gauges from some of the more sedate non-performance Pontiacs.

This Catalina 2+2 Has a Four-Speed Transmission

I am not really sure why Pontiac called this car a “2+2” as while the front seats consisted of two bucket seats, the back seat was a full width bench seat that would easily carry three full size people.

This is Large Performance Car

One of the reasons that I like this car is that my Dad had a 1964 Pontiac.  As we lived in Canada, the Pontiacs available in Canada were much different from the Pontiacs available in the United States.  Our car was a 1964 Pontiac Parisienne two-door hardtop in a salmon pink color just like the car shown below.

1964 Pontiac Parisienne

I think that this Pontiac was the best of a number of Pontiacs that my Dad owned over the years.

The 1964 Pontiac Parisienne Was a Canadian Model Only

The days of the fast, full size cars was starting to wane in 1964, what was surprising was just how fast it happened, so as it turns out the 1964 Pontiac Catalina was near the end of the line of the big, fast Pontiacs.

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