“Before I was able to drive and knew what my dad actually had, I fell in love with this car,” he recalls. “I asked him to never sell it, hoping someday we would both restore it. When I was in my teens, my dad would bring it out of the garage and blow the cobwebs out on US 40 in Centerville, Indiana, near our house and then let me clean it before he covered it back up.”
Here’s a copy of the manifest.
One day in 2004, much to his surprise, Jim came over to Bill’s house with the Catalina. He had decided that it was time to hand the car to his son. Two years later, the restoration started. Fortunately, the Catalina was in fantastic original condition, remaining complete and rust-free. There were few missing parts to locate.
It was sent to Ellsworth Auto Body in North Canton, Ohio, where it was completely disassembled and treated to a rotisserie restoration. The engine was sent to Frank Kolbl in Canton, Ohio, who rebuilt it to stock specs. It uses the stock crank and rods, and original Mickey Thompson pistons and pins in the standard bores, as well as a correct McKellar No. 10 camshaft with 308/320-degrees duration and 0.445/0.447 lift with 1.65:1-ratio rockers. A set of 2.02/1.76 valves reside in “980” heads, and compression is 11:1. A pair of Carter AFBs on the famed 9770859 aluminum intake provides fuel and air, and original SD cast aluminum No. 9772521 and -522 exhaust manifolds evacuate the spent gasses.
The rest of the driveline was rebuilt, though the original three-speed was long ago replaced with a Borg-Warner T10 four-speed. A set of 4.30:1 gears are in the aluminum rear center section. The chassis and braking systems were also restored, and their wear items were replaced.
Jim (in sunglasses), shown here with Paul Whipkey, wipes down the fender in this undated p
Since the factory aluminum sheetmetal is very fragile, the original paint was removed using a soda-blaster. The aluminum bumpers were shipped to Paul’s Chrome Plating in Evans City, Pennsylvania, for rechroming, and the body was repainted the original Firefrost Silver, using the underside of the decklid to match the paint color in the PPG Deltron basecoat/clearcoat system.
Bill’s Super-Duty Catalina was completed in 2009. When it made its show debut at the 2010 Ames Performance Tri-Power Pontiac Nationals in Norwalk, Ohio, it was reunited with Arlen Vanke, who rode shotgun as it made a parade pass down the track. It won a Second Place trophy in the SD class and returned for the 2011 edition as well.
Talk about being an integral part of the family. Bill says, “Notice on the copy of the tit
Jim Schultheis passed away in 2010 but not before seeing the completed SD in all of its original splendor. “When we picked it up, he drove it up my driveway,” Bill recalls. “He couldn’t stop smiling!”
HPP photographed this rare Cat at the 2011 Ames Performance Tri-Power Pontiac Nationals. Bill will be showing the car more in the future and has absolutely no plan to sell it. After all, it has been a part of the family almost as long as he has!
Akron Arlen and the a-stock racer
A very happy Arlen Vanke is reunited with his old A/Stock racecar at the 2011 Ames Performance Tri-Power Pontiac Nationals. He remembers the Catalina well. “George DeLorean was a good friend and raced it for a year,” he recalled. “When he decided to sell it, I told him I was interested in buying it, and did so in 1963. I had met Jim Schultheis before and he was a good guy—a real Pontiac enthusiast,” he said. “We became friends and I sold the car to him through Knafel.
“I knew that Jim had the car all these years,” Vanke explained. “When his son brought it to Norwalk, I was very happy to see it back in the light of day. There is no better feeling than to have your old car taken care of and made available to you by the current owner. It is great to be at shows together with them. Not many people can say that.”