HomePick of the DayMysterious 1961 Pontiac Catalina convertible

Mysterious 1961 Pontiac Catalina convertible


This '61 Pontiac Catalina's full story is yet to be discovered
This ’61 Pontiac Catalina’s full story is yet to be discovered

Believed to be a one of one, the Pick of the Day is a two-owner
 1961 Pontiac Catalina convertible that has a removable hardtop and Pontiac Historic Services documentation.

“This car was purchased in November 1961 by a Mr. George Becker of Wheat Ridge, Colorado from Siefert Pontiac in Denver,” the advertisement on ClassicCars.com reports. “The car is equipped with several performance-oriented options. 1. 389 4 barrel engine 2. Heavy duty air cleaner 3. Dual exhaust 4. Safe-T-Trac rear end 5. 3:42 gears 6. Safety sentinel speedometer with low fuel warning light 7. 8 Lug wheels 8. 3 speed manual transmission (on the column).

“Along with those are the options it doesn’t have. 1. Power steering 2. Power brakes.

“Some of the other options include: 1. Circ-L-Air heater 2. Super Deluxe radio 3. Courtesy lights 4. Front seat foam cushion 5. Remote control mirror.

Car has a second fuel tank
Car has a second fuel tank

“Possibly the most interesting items were items added after the sale possibly by the dealer. These include:

1. Removable hardtop manufactured by LeMans Inc. in San Diego, California (there is an article in the June 1962 issue of Popular Mechanics about these tops on a ‘62 Pontiac convertible. I have that issue).

Two fuel filler inlets
Two fuel filler inlets

“2. Extra fuel tank mounted in the trunk. The installation was very clean using modified factory straps. The filler neck was run behind the fuel filler door and attached right next to the original tank neck. Both could be filled with the fuel door opened. The second tank contained a sending unit with a switch on the dash to switch over to whichever sending unit you wanted to view.

“3. Extra set of helper coil springs mounted inside of the factory coil springs. Again… seems to be a kit or just a well-done modification (nothing hacked together).

“4. Aftermarket cruise control consisting of a knob that matches the other factory dash knobs and a cable that runs to the factory pedal linkage.”

Car has removable hardtop

The seller reports learning that the original owner frequently traveled between Colorado and California.

“There has been much speculation as to the nature of those trips and why the car was equipped the way it was,” the ad notes. “Was he running illegal booze or drugs? Maybe some other business that required frequent trips to California. I have not been able to track down Mr. Becker to ask him directly. Mr. Becker owned the car for only 9 months before selling it to the owner I acquired it from (actually his estate). This owner and his brother (who was executor of the estate) spent many years enjoying this car. The brother actually took his wife to prom in it.

“He said he cannot remember the top being up more than once or twice in the entire time his brother owned it. This would make sense as the removable hardtop used the original latches that were on the convertible top header.”

The seller reports the car “runs, drives, steers and stops.”






“The convertible top goes up and down. I have installed new 1. Power top hydraulic lines 2. Power top cylinders 3. Fuel tank (still have both tanks).

“Overall the car is in very good condition and would make an extremely good candidate for restoration. 1. The floors are very solid. There are a few very small pinholes in the driver’s floor but the metal is still strong. 2. All of the window are intact and roll up and down. 3. Trunk floor is solid except for both rear body mounts (typical to this era Pontiac) 4. The rockers are solid. 5. There is some rust behind the doors but it is not too bad. 6. The inside edge of the right front fender has some slight rust. 7. The left front fender is dented. 8. Deck lid is near perfect. 9. Hood is near perfect. 10. No rust in either of the doors.”

The car is in Watkins, Colorado, and the ad includes 121 photos that don’t hide the flaws.

“Except for the original power top hoses, every part that has been replaced has been saved. This car is an exceptionally good, clean start to a restoration.”

The asking price is $20,000 for a car that comes with a back story waiting to be written. Maybe the next owner will find the mysterious Mr. Becker or someone who knew him.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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