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Monday, December 31, 2012

Rare Pontiac Catalina Stock Car for Sale

1963 Super Duty Pontiac Catalina coupe
courtesy of Russo and Steele

Russo and Steele always has interesting cars at their Scottsdale auction and it looks like the January 2013 version will be no exception. One of them is this 1963 Super Duty 421 Pontiac Catalina coupe. It’s one of a group of only 14 (only nine remain) known as the Swiss Cheese lightweights.

These muscle cars were meant for drag racing. As in most drag racers, the sound deadening and insulating materials were stripped out by Pontiac to save weight. They also took out one of the inside frame sections, and replaced some parts with aluminium. To make them even lighter, John DeLorean had them drill holes in the frame rails—which is how they got their nickname. The result was a car that was 800 pounds lighter and, according to Russo and Steele, “easily produced low-12s at about 115 mph on the quarter-mile.”

The particular car at auction was raced as a Super Stocker in 1963 by Harold Ramsey. He then had the wheelbase altered so he could race in the A/FX series. It was later raced by Larry Johnson. The current owner bought it, still wearing its late ‘60s paint job, in 1997, and turned it over to Thorpe’s Body and Corvettes Shop of O’Fallon, Illinois. They restored it to original specs, a 3,000 hour job, after which it grabbed a 400 point score at the June 2010 Charleston POCI Nationals. It’s picked up a few more titles since then. It’s also documented in Pontiac Musclecar Performance 1955-1979 by Pete McCarthy and John Angelis.

Russo and Steele say “the Swiss Cheese cars were equipped with the top SD 421 engine featuring 12.5:1 compression, Mickey Thompson pistons, a McKellar #10 cam, lightweight valves, high-flow cylinder heads, dual Carter AFB carbs, a special aluminum intake manifold, heavy-duty internals, and a lightweight flywheel. A heavy-duty Borg-Warner 3-speed manual transmission (with 2.10:1 first gear to prevent excessive driveline shock at launch) with aluminum tail housing and an aluminum center section for the 4.33:1 Safe-T-Track rear end rounded out the stout driveline.” That’s one serious drag racer.

1963 Super Duty Pontiac Catalina coupe
courtesy of Russo and Steele


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