What’s so special about a 1968 Pontiac Catalina? Sure, it’s in fantastic shape for a 53-year-old car but it’s pretty much a generic Pontiac sedan, not a high-flying Grand Prix. Well maybe, but there’s a bit more to the story so let’s take a deeper dive. This Pontiac Catalina is located in Perkasie, Pennsylvania and is available, here on eBay for a current bid of $7,305, with 32 bids tendered as of this writing. Thanks to Larry D for this tip!
Pontiac had four levels of full-size cars that were offered in ’68. The Grand Prix was still at the top of the heap with its stylish two-door hardtop-only body style – and this was its last year in full form before being placed on a stretched intermediate platform for 1969. Continuing downward was the Bonneville, Executive, and then the Catalina, with its Ventura trim level, residing as the anchorman. But bottom of the line didn’t mean bottom of the barrel on body styles for Catalina as there were two-door hardtops, four-door hardtops and sedans, a two-door convertible, a station wagon, oh yeah, and a two-door sedan, much like you would find over at Chevrolet on a Belair or Biscayne trim level. According to The Pontiac Registry, there were 276K Catalinas produced in ’68 but only a scant 5,247, or 1.9% of the total, were two-door sedans like our subject car. I have probably seen one somewhere in the past but I really can’t recall specifically.
Being an entry-level model, and finished off in what Pontiac referred to as Solar Red, makes this Catalina look like a Fire Chief’s car. It is claimed to be an undocumented 43K mile example that has been eternally garage kept. Regardless of the recorded mileage, this Catalina shows to have been gently used and properly stored – it is in surprising condition considering it’s over a half-century in age. The exterior’s lacquer finish has held up well, as has the chrome bumpers and trim, and there are no indications of rust or crash damage; there isn’t even a discernable parking lot ding! The overall exterior presence of this Pontiac just throws me off a bit as a ’68 Catalina was a seen everywhere occurrence, at least at one time, but not with two doors and a B pillar. I couldn’t part with this one!
Under the hood is a 400 CI, V8 of either 290 or 265 gross HP. Research indicates that the 290 HP engine was standard equipment in the Cat with the regular-fuel, 265 HP version filling in as an option. It is unknown which version of the 400 is possessed by this Pontiac. The seller claims, “Engine runs great, transmission is great“, that transmission being a Turbo-Hydramatic 400, three-speed automatic unit.
As goes the exterior, so goes the interior, condition-wise anyway. The upholstery is a standard vinyl/fabric combination, as opposed to all Morrokide as you would find in a GTO, and it has well survived the passage of time. There is a little wear with the driver’s side “piping” but the overall condition makes the low mileage recording believeable. From what can be spied, the door panels, carpet, and dash pad are all in sound nick. This is an A/C equipped Catalina, the original GM/Frigidaire system having been converted to R-134 refrigerant.
This Pontiac gets my vote! Not only for its splendid condition but its rarely encountered body style. If you’re looking for a big, standard-sized, two-door domestic car, something that is no longer produced, you would be hard-pressed to surpass this find, wouldn’t you agree?