Live Extra Large in This Nine-Door, 12-Seater 1968 Pontiac Catalina Limo
Who needs a Suburban when you can have a super-sized classic Pontiac?
Custom coupes from the likes of Zagato may be among the prettiest cars ever created, but they're hardly the only coachbuilt classics worth preserving. Just as important are their commercial brethren, the hearses and limousines—wheeled symbols of grieving and celebration that can mature into time capsules as they age. And one such relic of jet-age jubilation, a 1968 Pontiac Catalina airport limousine, has just come up for sale on Facebook Marketplace.
This protracted Pontiac was built by Armbruster-Stageway, an Arkansas-based General Motors specialist coachbuilder that remains in business today. As suggested by a passage from the January 1969 issue of Bus Ride Magazine, the company was regarded highly in its industry around the time of this Catalina's construction.
"Ordinary factory-built cars are not used for the stretchout process," reads an excerpt transcribed by Coachbuilt. "Cars coming to Armbruster and Company have what is called the 'Armbruster package.' This generally consists of heavy-duty rear axle, special suspension, heavy-duty shock absorbers, maximum engine cooling package including high-capacity fan, special power steering, power disc front brakes, heavy-duty automatic transmission, oversized rear drum brakes, special heavy-duty 15-inch wheels and 8.9- by 15-inch eight-ply tires plus other special features."
And it's not just the chassis that's thoroughly "heavy-duty." Though what exact engine powers this Catalina isn't specified by its seller, it being a 1968 model means it can't have anything smaller than a Pontiac 400 V8, an engine shared with the Firebird. With the lesser two-barrel carburetor, this 6.6-liter unit produced 290 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque according to It Still Runs, which it sent through either a two- or three-speed automatic—again, the seller doesn't specify.
What the seller does disclose is that their nine-door Pontiac "runs and drives," though it admittedly won't go far on that flat rear tire. Even so, it may be worth piling your social bubble into a car for a trip to Pueblo, Colorado to take a look at this unusual limousine, said to be one of about 200 ever made. Its $8,000 asking price registers on the high side for a rough-yet-running '68 Catalina, but so does everything else about this odd automobile. So with winter coming and a second lockdown possibly with it, it may be prudent to claim this Pontiac as a quarantine project car before someone else does.
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