Credit: Original article published by Classic Cars Journal.
Some 22 miles off the Southern California coastline in the Pacific Ocean lies Santa Catalina Island at 55 square miles in area. The island is only accessible by high-speed ferry, but despite its geographic isolation, over one million people travel to its beaches every year. Was this tourist destination related to the naming of Pontiac models in the 1950s?
The Pick of the Day is a 1959 Pontiac Catalina listed for sale on ClassicCars.com by a private seller in Vista Terrace, California. (Click the link to view the listing)
The Catalina name first launched in 1950 as a trim level on the Chieftain series. Most hardtop Pontiacs between 1950 and 1958, in fact, carried the name. In 1959, Pontiac made several changes to the model lineup and among them, the Catalina name was applied to the slot formerly occupied by the Chieftain and the Super Chief. The Catalina became the lowest-priced Pontiac of its time and shared the General Motors B-body platform with several other models in the GM family. The nameplate lived on through 1981 but has now been gone for over 40 years.
One of the unique things about this car is its split front grille, which reportedly came about as an experiment in the design studio that ended up being employed. This would end up being a one-year-only feature. Space-age styling adorns the rear of the car where the tailfins boast dual pointers up top, and the exhaust tips are cleverly hidden behind each corner of the rear bumper. The interior is similarly adorned in generous chrome trim including a full-length accent strip spelling PONTIAC across the face of the dash.
Under the hood, power for this Pontiac comes from a 389cid Tempest V8 fed by a two-barrel carburetor – something that set this car apart from its Chevrolet siblings. Recent maintenance to the drivetrain has been extensive: the listing states that the valve cover gaskets, hoses, air filter, oil pan gasket, timing cover gasket, spark plugs, distributor cap, and rear main seal were replaced. The carburetor was also rebuilt, and the chassis received work to the wheel cylinders and drums, brake booster, and other components.
Basically, this Catalina is ready to rock and roll down the boulevard with turn-key ease. Or perhaps it could be put on a ferry and shuttled toward Santa Catalina Island for a proper cruise!
The seller is asking $45,000 or best offer for this well-sorted Pontiac.
To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.