23. Pontiac Catalina 2+2
In the mid-’60s, the Pontiac GTO was the car to have since it was at the forefront of the exciting new muscle car movement. With its performance, powerful engine, and great Pontiac styling, the GTO was the perfect car for the moment. But it wasn’t the only stellar performance machine coming from Pontiac. In 1965, there was another pure muscle car icon in the form of the Catalina 2+2.
Behind this strange name hides a full-size Catalina model, available as a coupe or a convertible, but with a performance twist. The regular Catalina was an attractive, decent selling model. But in 2+2 form, it turned into a true Gran Turismo with a luxury interior and fire-breathing engine.
Since the Catalina was a full-size model, it was eligible for engines over 400 CID according to the GM rules of the time. This meant the Catalina 2+2 came with the famous 421 V8. Also, if you wanted, you could get the Tri-Power intake system. It was the same as in the GTO, which boosted your car’s power to 376 HP.
Buyers could order limited-slip differentials, heavy-duty steering and brakes, and a lot more, making the Catalina 2+2 well appointed. But unfortunately, all that made it expensive. The top of the line 2+2 cost over $4,000, which was a hefty sum. In fact, it was much more than the similarly equipped GTO, for example. However, Pontiac produced around 11,000 of these fine machines in 1965 but only around 200 convertibles.