Who can resist this beast? 1959 Pontiac Catalina was one of the most desirable cars in history.

Early Models

The initial release of Catalina is part of their full-sized line, and it ran from 1950 up to 1958. These cars commonly have hardtop body styles since most costumers of that time were looking for airy feeling and sporty-looking cars. Hardtop models are labeled “Catalinas” and were powered with Pontiac’s 287 CID OHV V-8.

The Experimental Redesign


The Catalina replaced the Chieftain models in 1959 and it features several body styles like 2-door coupe, 2-door convertible, 4-door sedan and a 4-door station wagon. Since Catalina became a separate model, it received several redesigns including the unexpected success of the experimentally designed grille that eventually became their trademark.


Assigned Pontiac designers for Catalina gambled for designing the grille. They are looking for unique strategy for containing horizontal headlights to a full width oval grille. While being frustrated, they tried cutting the grille in half. The results ended up with positive outcomes. A unique design for the grille was made while the lights were kept on both edges.

Catalina’s wheelbase was also stretched to 122 in (3,099mm). They also gave the car a wider body. This stretching of the car doesn’t just give the car a better appearance; they also discovered that pushing the wheels outward made a lot of improvements. Moreover, it gave a better configuration of handling.


This new 1959 Catalina model has a lot more to offer than its competitors and one of its major advantage was its power-packed engine. It has a 389 CI V-8 compared to Chevy’s six-cylinder or 283 and 348 cubic-inch V-8s. Its engine was also the biggest among its class.

When Pontiac launched Catalina, it was the cheapest full-sized Pontiac that time but it has a better level of trim compared to Chevy Impala. It was packed with useful features such as full carpeting, glove box and trunk lights, dual front ashtrays, cigar lighter, glove compartment snack bar, heater-defroster and a choice of cloth and Morrokide vinyl upholstery or expanded Morrokide. For a few more dollars, customers can also order the “décor group” that gives more trimmings.

The Red Convertible

1959 PONTIAC CATALINA convertible

This red 1959 convertible Catalina went through repaint and body modification during its restoration and was finished in 2012. It also had an amazing custom interior with leather upholstery that has white and silver accents. The exterior also brags an incredible look, highlighted with its bright red convertible top, Bonneville side trim and dual outside chrome mirrors. Along with its remarkable appearance, it also had power steering and brakes that makes this car a perfect strolling vehicle.

As an avid Pontiac collector, a Tri-power convertible like this one is rare and is highly collectible. This wide car sends Pontiac to start their own trip of making powerful muscle cars. Since this has put them as an essential part in history of muscle cars throughout 1960s.


289 cubic inch Tri-power V-8 with 345 hp

4-speed Hydramatic automatic transimission

Independent front suspension

Semi-ecliptic leaf springs

Four wheel power drum brakes

122 inch wheelbase

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