In 1965, all full-size Pontiacs received curvy new styling, and the 2+2 package now included a 421-cid V-8 in place of the previous 389.

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By 1964, a new age of high performance had dawned in America, marked not so much by a horsepower race as by a sophisticated balance between power, handling, and efficient design. Chrome and tailfins were out, bucket seats, mag-style wheels, center consoles, and floor shifters were in -- and just about everybody had them. With the 1964-1967 Pontiac Catalina 2+2, Pontiac achieved a combination of power, road-holding, and fine styling superior to any other big Pontiac, and most of the competition's models besides.

The 2+2 package was first offered as a $291 option on Catalina hardtops and convertibles in 1964. This money bought a potent 389 V-8 with 267-283 bhp, bucket seats, center console with vacuum gauge, special Morrokide interior, and unique exterior badges. Both a four-speed and Hydra-Matic transmission were available. The package was a trial balloon in 1964, and only 7,998 Catalinas were so equipped.

A year later, Pontiac applied the huge 421 V-8 as standard in the 2+2 package, with fender louvers and special hood/deck badges to identify it. Also included in the basic option was a three-speed Hurst floor shift, heavy duty shocks and springs, a 3.42:1 performance rear axle, chrome engine parts, full wheel discs, and fender pinstriping, details that raised the price of the package to $419 for coupes or $397 for convertibles.

Adding a four-speed transmission, the "Custom Gauge Cluster" with comprehensive needle instruments, and power brakes/windows/antenna brought the cost up to about $4,000 for the hardtop. The '65s had increased in size and weight, but the 2+2's potent drivetrain nevertheless provided terrific performance. With the optional Tri-Power 421 High Output engine and four-speed gearbox, a 2+2 could routinely reach 95 mph in the standing-start quarter-mile.

The 1964-1967 Pontiac Catalina 2+2 was highly touted for its powerful acceleration and smooth handling. Go to the next page to learn more about the Catalina 2+2's performance.

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