Friday, September 09, 2022

The past was another country...

Sorry for the crap photos. It caught me by surprise and I had a lousy vantage point...

Here's a 1965 Pontiac Catalina in Fontaine Blue. The '65-'70 Catalina coupes, with their Coke-bottle flanks and fastback rooflines are some of my fave cars of the period, probably the peak years of Detroit dominance.

Of course, it also carried the seeds of the eventual fall.

See, the base setup in this car was a 256bhp 389 V-8 with a 2bbl carburetor and a 3-speed manual transmission. Or you could get the same 2bbl 389 with a higher, premium fuel only, 10.5:1 compression ratio and the 3-speed Turbo-Hydramatic gearbox, rated at 290bhp. There was also a no-cost 265bhp low-compression 389 available with the automatic, if you wanted to burn cheaper gas.

Optional engines included a 4bbl version of the 389, as well as a Tri-Power 389 (three 2bbl carburetors), a 4bbl 421 V-8, a regular Tri-Power 421, and a 421 H.O. also with triple deuces. The performance "2+2" package added further options like a Muncie 4-speed manual. 

That's something like three transmissions, seven or eight engines, no fewer than five different final drive ratios, et cetera, ad nauseum.

That's a lotta SKUs, as it were.

You could really tailor your car to your tastes that way, but when the Japanese hit the market with "You have a choice of maybe two engines, two transmissions, three option packages, and pick your color," it really simplified things.