We did some extensive research on a 1964 Pontiac Catalina Ventura which was listed by a collector from Plainfield, Illinois. The seller told us it was not born a 421 HO but was converted later in life. Of the 73,793 Catalinas produced by Pontiac, only 15,194 had the Synchromesh 4-speed transmission. This one was exceptional because it came with 25 factory options. The Ventura package was the Interior Décor Group.
1963 was the last year for the Super Duty 421 big block made by Pontiac. With the Super Duty program terminated, the biggest big block you could get in ’64 was the 421 HO with a Tripower like the one you see here. They made only 245 of the 370 horsepower 421 HO Catalinas. This is the way you wanted your muscle car to be equipped, a hard charging big block with a Pontiac Tripower and a 4-speed. The Catalina with the Ventura trim was also treated to some creature comforts. At a time when muscle car buyers were very weight conscious, not many would have been ordered this way with 25 options. When current owner Jim Minick found this tribute car he decided to make it fully optioned. He figures this is the only Catalina that ever to be equipped this way.
The original 1964 Pontiac Catalina with Ventura trim was sold at Monohan Pontiac in Hayward, California, and was originally equipped with a 389 ci engine and an automatic transmission. At the time that Jim found the car it had already had its driveline replaced with the 421 HO Tripower and a Borg Warner T-10 4-speed. Jim purchased a rare wood steering wheel from a Grand Prix and a center console unit for his Catalina. He said those were the most expensive items which he added to the car. Other items included a factory tachometer, power drivers bucket seat and the Saf-T-Track rear end and 8-lug wheels. The Ventura interior Decor Group and air conditioning were already on the car from the factory, along with power steering and power brakes. He was able to find an actual set of factory power windows regulators and controls so install power windows.
Jim says his Pontiac Catalina represents the best options package a new car buyer could have ordered in 1964. One magazine article called it a “one of none” since there probably was never a Catalina ordered just this way. Jim noted, “The chances of someone buying a ’64 with the options that are on my car are probably slim and none.”