Last month GM Authority ran a story on a 1963 Pontiac Catalina that was headed to Mecum’s Indianapolis auction. But this wasn’t just any 389 Cat (or even a 421HO car)—it was an honest-to-goodness Super Duty “Swiss Cheese” Catalina. Only 14 were built before General Motors decided that all its brands would no longer participate in sanctioned racing. The Detroit Free Press wrote a nice article about this specific vehicle, which was campaigned by Packer Pontiac in Detroit.
The story goes that Pontiac started to lose ground to Ford and Chrysler in National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) quarter-mile battles, so Pontiac “added lightness” with an aluminum hood and fenders, and Plexiglass windows. However, Pontiac’s trump card were the 120 holes drilled in the frame to reduce even more weight. All that equipment, combined with an improved Super Duty 421 (including a bump to 13:1 compression) putting out 410 horsepower, helped Pontiac set a NHRA record in C/Stock with an ET of 12.27 seconds at 114.64 mph.
This historic Packer Pontiac Catalina ended up being sold for $530,000—not chump change, but certainly realistic for a factory-sanctioned race car with pedigree.