Bowing for the 1960 model year, the Pontiac Ventura shared the full-size B-body platform with the Chevy Impala, Bel Air, Biscayne, Olds Super 88, Buick Invicta, and others. Its name came from the practice of naming cars after places – think Pontiac Catalina, Pontiac Bonneville, Mercury Monterey, and Chevy Malibu. The Ventura featured unique deluxe wheel covers, a sport steering wheel, exterior badging, and tri-color seats upholstered in Pontiac’s leather-look vinyl, Morrokide.
The Pontiac Ventura received a facelift and restyling for the 1961 model year. The front end had what would become Pontiac’s signature “beak” that divided the “lay-back” grille into two sections, while a style line arced rearward from the beak. Headlights were still horizontally arranged in pairs. The fenders had chrome fender markers just aft of the fenders’ leading edges. The front bumper had a smooth line across the front and wrapped around the front fenders.
Our feature 1961 Pontiac Ventura, a rare radio-delete example, has been the recipient of a body-off nut-and-bolt restoration. Its factory Richelieu Blue finish is glossy and vibrant. Chrome bumpers and trim are brilliant, and the stainless has been well polished. Glass and weatherstrip both appear to be in fine condition. With the windows down, the Bubble Top has a clean, uninterrupted appearance, and a bullet beltline that runs the length of the body. The eight-lug wheels are fitted with whitewall radials.
Inside the Pontiac Ventura, the seats are a complementary tri-color blue, and show no signs of wear or creasing. The loop-style blue carpet appears recent, with no wear or fading observed. There are three auxiliary gauges mounted beneath the radio-delete dash. A chrome shifter protrudes from the floor, topped with a white shift ball.
The Pontiac Ventura was originally equipped with a 389 cubic-inch engine topped with three two-barrel carbs. That mill has been replaced by a more potent 455 cubic-inch powerplant generating 425 horsepower, backed by a four-speed manual transmission. The engine bay is relatively clean. A Smokey Yunick sticker graces the passenger side of the firewall.
This striking 1961 Pontiac Ventura Bubble Top will cross the auction block at the Mecum Auctions Kissimmee, Florida sale in January, 2022.