As an elongated low-riding model, the 1965 Pontiac Catalina offered many options from color and performance to engine upgrades. The full size two-door hardtop and convertible versions of the Catalina had the ability to use Pontiac’s 421 cid engine, despite the infamous General Motors ban on engines larger than 400 cid. The ban was in effect for intermediate vehicles, allowing the Catalina to skirt the rule because of its status as a full-size vehicle. This fastback further impressed with the addition of the “2+2” package option, which included the bigger engine among a handful of other upgrades. This option was phased out only 2 years later, in 1967, because it simply didn’t achieve the overwhelming successes of the GTO.
The cosmetic appeal of the Catalina was due in large part to the wide array of color options for both the interior and exterior of the vehicle. A handful of engine options, transmission types, and even body styles were available, which helped to produce a diverse line of cars that could fit the various preferences of the potential customers. One new transmission type became available in 1965 (the Catalina had first been introduced as its own line in 1959), which was a three-speed Turbo Hydromatic automatic transmission. For all the options that were available, only 271,058 1965 Catalinas were produced, but of those, a respectable portion included the 2+2 option. Both the Catalina and the station wagon version had a 121 inch wheelbase, and different in length by a little over 3 inches (the longer of the two, of course, being the station wagon).
As the Pontiac Catalina struggled to keep up with the ever-popular GTO, so did the Pontiac Bonneville. The two met their end around the same time in 1981 as Pontiac dedicated itself to bringing about the end of full-size cars. It also struggled to conform to the more restrictive regulations on emissions. These restrictions were especially hard to work with in California, which had even more stringent regulations. In fact, Pontiac V8 engines were banned in 1977, forcing the company to use other GM engines for models sold in the state of California. Once the Catalina had come to an end in 1981, over 3.8 million units had been sold since the model began in 1959.