1960 Pontiac Catalina Spent 34 Years in a Backyard, It's a Rare Triple Red Gem

1960 Pontiac Catalina convertible 8 photos
Photo: IowaClassicCars/YouTube
1960 Pontiac Catalina convertible1960 Pontiac Catalina convertible1960 Pontiac Catalina convertible1960 Pontiac Catalina convertible1960 Pontiac Catalina convertible1960 Pontiac Catalina convertible1960 Pontiac Catalina convertible
First introduced as a top trim level package on the Chieftain in 1950, the Pontiac Catalina became a stand-alone model in 1959. The company's lowest-priced full-size, the Catalina was placed below the Chevrolet Impala in GM's lineup, but the Poncho came with a V8 engine as standard. And needless to say, it was quite popular.
Pontiac sold a whopping 231,561 Catalinas in 1959, followed by an equally impressive 210,934 examples in 1960. Granted, with almost a half-million units delivered, the first-generation Catalina is anything but rare. However, certain models are actually difficult to find in 2022. The 1960 convertible you see here is one of those cars.

What makes it rare, you ask? Well, for starters, the drop-top Catalina wasn't as popular as its coupe, sedan, and station wagon siblings. Of the almost 211K Catalinas built in 1960, only about 17,000 were convertibles. That's only 8% of total production, but the figure isn't low enough to impress collectors looking for rare classics.

But this Catalina is not a regular drop-top. It's a special-order car that left the factory with a red exterior, a red interior, and a red top. I guess we could call it a triple red car. And the red top is the big highlight here. Because while red-on-red cars were quite common back in the day (quite a few Chevy Impalas were ordered like that too), red soft tops were available on Pontiac's regular options list.

What's more, triple red Catalinas are far from common. Sadly, there's no way to tell how many cars were built like this, but I haven't seen one in years. I wouldn't go as far as to say that it's a one-of-one, but you'd be hard-pressed to find another Catalina like this anytime soon.

Unfortunately, this once-gorgeous Poncho is now in pretty bad shape. It's been in the same family since new, but when the owner passed away, the family left the car to sit in the yard. It happened all the way back in 1988, so the Catalina ended up rotting away for 34 years as of 2022.

The good news is that it was covered in a tarp, so the damage isn't all that bad relative to how long it's been sitting. And the soft top, which is among the first features to get ruined due to exposure to the elements, is in surprisingly good shape. On the flip side, the car sunk all the way to the rocker panels in the mud, so the undercarriage is probably in need of serious repairs.

Fortunately enough, the Catalina was saved from its grave by the folks at "IowaClassicCars," who managed to get it on a trailer still in one piece. There's no word on whether they plan on restoring it or not, but it would be great to see this unique classic back on the road. And yes, the numbers-matching 389-cubic-inch (6.4-liter) V8, which was good for up to 318 horsepower, is still under the hood.

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About the author: Ciprian Florea
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Ask Ciprian about cars and he'll reveal an obsession with classics and an annoyance with modern design cues. Read his articles and you'll understand why his ideal SUV is the 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer.
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