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Hagerty Employee

Rides from the Readers: 1961 Pontiac Catalina

Today’s featured ride is a 1961 Pontiac Catalina, the top brand’s top-selling model that year. However, this particular Catalina convertible boasts a special cocktail of options thanks to original owner Conrad Hailparn and Royal Pontiac of Michigan.


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New Driver

I've had a lot of what I consider really nice cars over almost sixty years, my first a '50 Chevy Fleetline 2dr.  Among others; a 1952 Pontiac Chieftain Catalina Deluxe ($3600 retail in '52), a couple tri-five Chevy BelAirs, a gorgeous turquoise 303hp '64 Catalina convertible with that amazing multi-colored leather interior, a 1970 Barracuda convertible ( a real POS but collectable), a '94 laguna blue Miata and an assortment of other hardtops, 2dr sedans and even some wagons and trucks that I loved. 

BUT if I could have one car back in the condition I sold it it would be my most beloved Mayan gold 1961 Pontiac Catalina Sports Sedan that I owned when I was in the Air Force.  It had great lines, it was smooth, it was comfortable, it was fast and had a huge trunk that I used when I shuttled other airman to and from the airports to earn a little extra gas money.  Behave yourself on the highway and I got low 20's, not bad for the day!

I found a '61 in a junkyard one time years ago, climbed in behind the wheel, took in the once familiar view of the dash and shed tears.  I loved all my Pontiacs but my '61 really was the love of my life!  I am truly envious ....


Great story of glory days, in its time there was nothing more heart throbbing than a 1961 convertible. Tri power was an unbelievable kick in the pants and performed like a dream. I still have one bought it just to revisit my youth, just to have it is unbelievable every time I take it out in the summer months. Cameron Stewart,  Redwood City in 1961. 


   Not only a really great year for a really great car, but to be a "Royal" makes it even better.  Really good story and I'm with ClydeSDale in the jealousy department!