Owner doesn’t realize 1963 Pontiac Catalina’s super-rare status and the surprise it’s hiding

  • The 1963 Pontiac Catalina is one of eight demonstrators
  • Pontiac built them for the Daytona Speed Week
  • It came out of the factory with a 389cu in engine, which was then replaced with a 421cu in V8

Published on Jul 05, 2024 at 12:16 PM (UTC+4)
by Alessandro Renesis

Last updated on Jul 06, 2024 at 5:14 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Tom Wood

The 1963 Pontiac Catalina is already rare to begin with, but this one is even more valuable for one particular reason.

Even though it looks like any other Catalina, this one was built as part of a limited-edition series designed by Pontiac for an iconic race.

There only eight in the world.

READ MORE: American guy turns a Pontiac into this $150,000 ‘Bugatti Veyron’

This Catalina was manufactured by Pontiac as a demonstrator.

Pontiac built eight in total for the 1963 Daytona Speed Week, and this is one of those cars.

This 1963 Pontiac Catalina hides a secret under its hood

The eight Catalinas that Pontiac built for Daytona that year all left the factory with a 389-cubic-inch V8 under their hood.

However, all eight models were then sent to a showroom in Florida, and the dealer replaced the 389 with 421s.

This engine is larger, 421 inches (6.9 liters) vs 389 inches (6.4 liters) and more powerful, producing 370 horsepower.

Interestingly, this was at the request of Pontiac themselves because the 389 model was the one with the A/C as standard, so Pontiac decided it would be easier to build it like that and then have the dealer change the engine.

This sort of thing would probably never happen today.

All eight cars were sold as new after the event, and the owner of this particular model said he had no idea this was one of eight.

The story behind the Catalina nameplate

Pontiac isn’t the same as it used to be.

These days, we often find abandoned Pontiac models in barns and garages.

Unfortunately, no Pontiac models are spared from this, not even iconic ones such as the GTO or the Firebird.

But it wasn’t always thus.

In the 1950s and 1960s, Pontiac was at the top of its game.

The Catalina was built during the golden era of American cars.

It was actually introduced in 1950 as a trim level on the Chieftain, and only became a standalone nameplate nine years later, in 1959.

It remained in production until 1981.

These days, Catalinas aren’t cheap, with some valued at almost half a million dollars.

Better start looking around in those barns, unless you’re very wealthy, then.

# Tags - Cars, pontiac


Alessandro Renesis

Experienced content creator with a strong focus on cars and watches. Alessandro penned the first-ever post on the Supercar Blondie website and covers cars, watches, yachts, real estate and crypto. Former DriveTribe writer, fixed gear bike owner, obsessed with ducks for some reason.