Fuel is pumped from a Carter 110-gph mechanical unit to two Edelbrock 500-cfm carburetors, housed on a vintage Offenhauser 2x4 aluminum intake with carb adapter plates. Ignition relies upon a '61 Pontiac distributor upgraded with a Pertronix unit, which routes voltage from a stock-type replacement coil through reproduction Packard 7mm wires to ACR43S plugs.
Exhaust exits through a modern set of reproduction SD aluminum long-branch manifolds with collectors and cutouts, which are mated to 3-inch stainless-steel exhaust with two Flowmaster mufflers and turndowns at the rear bumper.
Mark had to modify the starter to work with the '64-up SFI-approved Hays steel billet flywheel mated to a Centerforce Dual-Friction clutch, which he installed.
Don drove to Phillipsburg, New Jersey, on July 3, 2009, to take home the rare 495hp (estimated) SD-421 engine. "Jim thought it was too valuable to ship, so I agreed to the 1,400-mile round trip. The engine was on the test stand when I got there, and I had the opportunity to hear it run," he says.
David installed it into the Catalina the last week of July 2009, just in time for an enthusiastic debut at the '09 Ames Performance Tri-Power Pontiac Nationals. "We had people standing around that car all weekend long. When I started it up and opened up the cutouts, people came from all over Summit Motorsports Park to see it. It sure drew a lot of attention," Don says.
Since coming out last year, Don has displayed his Bubbletop in the Greene Classic Car showroom. "Everybody takes pictures of it. Of course, we want them to," he says.
Don also shared an anecdote about the people who often come into the showroom and swear that they remember the '62 Bubbletop Catalina from back in the day. "I knew a guy who had this car back in the '60s," and "This car was badass back in the day," are some of the popular comments he hears.
"I don't have the heart to burst their bubble," Don says, smiling as we wonder if the pun is intended or not. "They get so excited that we let them enjoy their moments with the car."
That says a great deal about how accurately David and Don recreated this '62 Bubbletop, though Pontiac never created it in the first place. We wouldn't want to burst your bubble either, Don. Keep letting the fans enjoy your meant-to-be-but-never-was Bubbletop. After all, that's the way they want to remember it.