Archive for November, 2018

Long Story About A Neat Car……

Friday, November 23rd, 2018

A long story about a neat car…….

In 2004, I answered an ad in the Mpls. paper for 1965 Pontiac 2+2 convertible. The car was a GM Exec car loaded with options from Alabama. I purchased the car from a person in Burnsville, MN and it came with a 1965 Catalina convertible “parts car”. I held on to both for over ten years, planning to only do the 2+2. This story is not about the 2+2 although it in itself, is a rare car as well. The more I learned about the 2+2, the “back story” to the parts car started to be unfold.

The PHS documents for the 65 Pontiac 421 green convertible show there were only 754 cars built with this spec. 421 Special Equipment 421 HO, Auto, 3-2 bbl, YK engine code.

Options and Accessories:
- Radio. Push button & Manual antenna
- Windshield Washer & Dual speed wipers
- Deluxe steering wheel
- Deluxe wheel discs
- Lamps - back up
- Vera-phonic rear speaker
- Power steering
- Power brakes
- Mirror, outside
- Clock, Electric
- Safe-T-Track rear axle
- 8:25×14 white tires
- Turbo hydra-magic
- HO-Tri-Power 421 ci

The car had a tilt column and has 8 lugs, neither showed up on the build sheet.

The Catalina parts car came to me minus the engine, front end, left door, the windshield and most of the interior. The frame looked good but the dash board and steering column were really bent up. The car was built in Kansas City, KS in June of 65. It was mint green with a black bench seat interior. The car had been stripped of a number of parts however I could see it was repairable. Shortly after I purchased both cars the story of the green car started to come out. The car was bought new by a Mpls. Fireman in 1965. He wrecked the car in September of 1966 with 1780 miles on the speedometer. He hit something really high and the engine tore loose hitting the firewall. He was propelled into the steering column and the dash board and lost his life. The story goes that his wife had the car towed home and locked the car in the garage for the next 30 years. Finally, for reasons unknown, the car was sold. The car ended up for sale on Lake Street in Mpls. for a time. The car had acquired a white 66 front clip by this time. The car then disappeared for years re-emerging with no front clip and parts missing as stated above. The right front passenger side floor pan had also rusted thru. Here is where I came in.

The car had an automatic transmission, power steering and brakes, power top and 8 lug wheels. So I kept the car thinking it would be parts for the 2+2. I sold both cars in 2015 to my friend Peter. Peter had expressed an interest in repairing the 2+2 and the Catalina. Meanwhile, in a closer inspection of the car, I found it had a Saf-T-Trac rear end and had 2.5” exhaust all the way back. Peter PHS’d the car and my suspicions were confirmed. The car came with a 421, 376 horse “YK” 3-2 engine. What the car did not show on the build sheet, was the tilt column (maybe dealer installed?). Peter started accumulating parts for the car, as did I for Peter. Many hours were spent trying to decide which way would be best for car. Original, 4 speed it, put bucket seats in….many things were considered. The car was sent to “The Works” in Fridley, MN and a spare front clip was installed on the car as was a spare left hand door. During this time, Peter purchased two other cars, one being a 1964 Pontiac Catalina, 421, 4 speed, 2 door hardtop (a former show car that was custom painted by House of Kolor’s Jon Kosmosky in the later part of the 60’s), of which I am currently doing the engine rebuild and supervising the project for Peter at “The Works”. The other being a 1965 Pontiac Bonneville convertible with factory AND a factory 4 speed. The work has not started on this car except for the engine and transmission rebuild. This car came from infamous Pontiac car collector Jon Fiedler from Pasadena, CA. Needless to say, Peter’s plate was and is quite full!

I had always regretted selling this car. Peter understood this and has allowed me to step back in as the car’s owner. So once again, the green convertible and I are together! Plans are to restore as built. I have the correct 421 (not original) for the car. My 65 Catalina 2 door sedan with factory air comes first. I have most everything however I am missing a few things. I am only able to drive automatic cars because of my stroke. Here is another version given to Peter by Brian Carlson from Bend, OR:

Hello:  It is a very small world when it comes to old cars and especially old Pontiacs.  I know this car!   I just returned from Minneapolis earlier today, where I had been for 2 weeks.  I had lived in Minneapolis for most of my life and moved to Oregon in 1995, but a friend of mine had  told me of this car about 12 years ago.  He had discovered it in a garage in South Minneapolis and told me the story, I nearly bought the car as I am a Pontiac fan with many cars in my collection including a 65 Parisienne convertible.

My friend actually was the one that bought the car from the original owners, then sold it to another local buyer.  Dave said that the story he got was that the car was crashed when it only had just over 1000 miles and it simply got stored away.  It had been in the garage for over 40 years and when he got the car it had a 66 front on it , just crudely bolted on.  It had the original motor at that time.  I asked him to check into finding out what happened to the motor and he is working on that as he is a tow truck driver and occasionally tows for the shop that bought the car from him.

Hi Peter:  Yes this was the first time that I saw the Catalina.  Steve, who will be sending the fenders found the car back in early 1980s as he would ride his bicycle thru the alleys of South Minneapolis long before he had his drivers license and look for cool old stuff.  When he saw the car back then it was in a very dilapidated garage and had been there for probably 15 years already.  My friend Dave first knew of the car when he saw a hand written add for the car on a bulletin board and immediately went to buy it.   He offered it to me, but already having so many cars and living almost 2000 miles away in Oregon, I decided against it.  At that point it did have the motor which in hide sight I obviously should have purchased the whole car at that time.  It then got sold to a repair shop whose owner knew enough about Pontiacs to grab the motor, then he resold it and the trail went cold until Les bought it.

So there is the story of a very rare 65 Catalina convertible. I know of no other Pontiac in the world with fewer miles than this car. A mere 1780 miles, with a killer back story. Les Kasten,

WANTED: 1965 Catalina Parts

Friday, November 16th, 2018

Greetings!  We need the following 65 Catalina parts:

-Complete set of power windows with wiring

-Passenger side front floorpan (no rust, no repro crap)

-Complete convertible or 4 door trunk floor (no rust, no repro crap)

-Passenger side bucket seat tracks (same as Chevy Impala)

-Air Compressor mounting hardware

-Power steering/alternator brackets

-Convertible windshield moldings

-Lower dash (with ignition switch) Need from side to side, spot welded in, either drill spot welds or cut outside of spot welds and we will drill.

Please contact Les at 651 280 9681.  Thanks!  LK 11/16/2018