Though this Catalina was originally equipped with cast-iron exhaust manifolds, it now spor
Though Larry wasn't sure what it was, he knew the Pontiac's aluminum body panels made it very special. "Larry came back to the office and described the car to me," says Pete. "My eyes lit up like saucers. We went back to her house and found a Super-Duty 421 Catalina. Though we knew it was rare, in 1968, no one knew exact production numbers. She owed Pacific Bell around $1,500, so Larry and I pooled our money and bought it for the amount of her bill."
The Catalina was very original and retained nearly all of its unique Super-Duty components. "Someone had replaced the No. 127 heads with a set of '64 No. 716 castings," says Pete. "I wanted SD heads on it, and the '63 SD No. 980 was a little better than the No. 127. I had a new pair of No. 980s I purchased over the parts counter, so I installed these and a pair of modified, custom-made Doug's headers I had from my '62 Grand Prix."
Pete was a member of a local car club, the Riverside Pontiacs, and affixed the club's placard to the Catalina's package tray. The club joined forces with others to form the Inland Empire Racing Association (I.E.R.A.), which maintained Riverside International Raceway in exchange for track time. This gave Pete the opportunity to test the Catalina's performance more than once. "Riverside was roughly 2,500 feet above sea level. With just a pair of Casler slicks, the Catalina consistently ran 13.20s at 105 to 106 mph without any correction factor," he recalls.
A previous owner replaced many of the Super-Duty components that disappeared over the year
A transfer back to Los Angeles in late 1969 forced Pete to relinquish his half of the Catalina. With the pending move on his mind, he let Larry handle the transaction, simply collecting his portion of the selling price, and subsequently lost track of both Larry and the Catalina. It's unclear if Larry kept the car or sold it to another party, but Yuba City, California-resident Lanny Johnson acquired it in the early '70s.
As a new-and-used auto-parts retailer, Lanny Johnson was continually buying and selling vehicles. He recalls the Catalina's owner approaching him about accepting it on trade. "I had a '58 Bonneville when I was younger," says Lanny. "I had a soft spot for Pontiacs and knew that the Super-Duty cars were rare. So I took it on trade for a pair of early Corvettes." He found that a few of the Super-Duty components had been replaced. "It had a Mallory ignition system and different wheels, and it didn't have the correct carburetors," he recollects.
Immediately after taking possession, Lanny contacted Mickey Thompson, soliciting his interest in the Super Duty, but Thompson politely declined. The Catalina then remained in storage while in Lanny's possession. Though started occasionally, Lanny never registered it with the California DMV or drove it on the street.
When deemed time to sell, Lanny placed an ad in the classified section of the Nov. '74 issue of Hot Rod magazine. That's when then-21-year old Terry Weber came along. The Tulare, California, resident recollects: "I was into early Pontiacs and really wanted a Super-Duty Catalina. The ad said the car was in mint condition with 12,000 miles, and he wanted $2,000 for it. I really didn't intend on buying it but had to have it when I saw it. My friends thought I was crazy, but I paid the full amount."
The 421-SD engine generated over 400 hp and featured two 500-cfm Carter AFB carburetors, a
Terry recalls the No. 980 heads and headers that Pete installed were still in place. "It also had Cragar S/S wheels with Stahl tires up front and modified 15-inch wheels with cheater slicks on the rear. It came with a bunch of extra non-SD engine parts in the trunk and some wild side pipes. Someone had also painted the driveshaft bright yellow or orange, so I painted it black. But overall it was very clean."
For the next four years, the Catalina sat on blocks while Terry served in the Navy. After returning home, the two began terrorizing the area streets. It wasn't long, however, before he had to replace the original T10 transmission's cast-iron main case with an aluminum unit. The original 4.30:1-geared limited-slip differential was another casualty, which Terry replaced with a similar 3.42:1 unit from another '62 Pontiac.
While owning the Catalina, Terry met hobbyist George Knevelbaard, who then lived in Hanford, California. George expressed interest in purchasing the Catalina if Terry ever chose to sell. "I assured him that I had no intent of selling, but I kept it in the back of my mind," says Terry. The two kept in friendly contact over the next few years, and in that time, Terry added about 1,000 miles to the Catalina's odometer, primarily racing it on the street.