December 3, 2020

The Car History of Alex Beloff III

A LADY APPROACHED ME IN 1989 WITH AN OLD 1965 PONTIAC SHE WAS SELLING THAT HAD SUCCUMBED TO AGE AND WAS TOO BIG FOR HER.  IN NEED OF REPAIR, IT HAD BEEN HER DAILY DRIVER AND COMMUTE VEHICLE.  SHE ALREADY HAD A MORE APPROPRIATE CAR FROM HER FAMILY AND WAS SELLING THE 1965.  SHE WASN’T SURE OF THE MODEL, ONLY THAT IT HAD BUCKET SEATS AND AUTOMATIC.  A CLOSER EXAMINATION REVEALED A CORRECT 2+2 DARK BLUE COUPE BADLY WEATHERED AND SMOKED IN.  OTHERWISE, A NICE UNHARMED IMPRESSIVE FACTORY INTERIOR BADLY NEEDING A CAREFUL MAJOR DETAILING.  THE FACTORY 421 WAS LONG GONE REPLACED BY A WELL MAINTAINED 389 2 BBL DRIVE TRAIN WITH SINGLE EXHAUSTS AND NO 8 LUGS.  BOO!  SHE APOLOGIZED FOR THE PARKING LOT DENTS, SURFACE CORROSION AND APPARENT DRIVER IMPAIRED MINOR COLLISIONS.

HER EMBARRASSMENT WAS REFLECTED IN THE PRICE.  I HAD MY IMMEDIATE CHECK READY FOR HER TRYING TO CONTROL MY HYSTERICAL ENTHUSIASM FOR THE CAR.  I DOMICILED THIS  2+2 INSIDE A PRE-ARRANGED UNDISCLOSED FRIEND’S WAREHOUSE.  IT WAS OUT OF SIGHT OF POTENTIAL THIEVES AND ON LOOKERS WITH NO FUNDS.  I COULD ENVISION A FUTURE 421 TRI POWER AND 8 LUGS REFINISHED NUMBERS MATCHING GORGEOUS 1965 2+2, MOTOR TREND’S CAR OF THE YEAR.

I CAREFULLY REMOVED AND CATALOGUED THE COMPLETE INTERIOR, SEATS, CONSOLE, CARPETS, DOOR PANELS, ALL DASH AND TRIM TO BARE METAL FOR CLEANING AND RUST PROOFING.  I DETAILED EVERY CREASE, CHROME TRIM AND REINSTALLED TO A SHOW ROOM APPEARANCE.  I REMOVED ALL FLAT BLACK FACTORY PAINTED CONSOLE AND DASH PANELS THAT CONCEALED SHOW QUALITY CHROME.  A BREATH-TAKING APPEARANCE ESPECIALLY THE LAST YEAR FOR WIDE CHROME MOLDING BUCKET SEATS.

I MUST BE LIVING RIGHT.  A BARN FIND PURCHASE DONOR CAR #95 PROVIDED A GREAT 356 HP CORRECT 421 TRI POWERS COMPLETE WITH TURBO HYDRAMATIC DRIVE TRAIN AND DUAL EXHAUSTS INCLUDING FACTORY TACH.  WITH A LOT OF HELP WHILE LISTENING TO BOSTON, WE SWITCHED ALL COMPONENTS.  ANOTHER DONOR CAR #94 PROVIDED FACTORY CORRECT 1965 8 LUGS WITH CAPS AND TRIM RINGS.

I HAND PAINTED THE 8 LUGS SILVER REMINISCENT OF THE 1963 GP LUGS.  INSTALLING THE NEW 8 LUGS REVEALED A BADLY RUSTED FRAME – BUT WHAT A SLEEPER.  MANY WHO CHALLENGED ME ON THE STREET IN THAT OLD LOOKING WRECK GOT THEIR FEELINGS HURT . . . BADLY.

I SOLD IT TO SOME PONTIAC PURISTS AT A LOCAL CAR SHOW UNDER ABSOLUTE SECRECY.  THEY ACQUIRED A RUST-FREE ARIZONA BODY, COMPLETING RESTORATION WITH A HIGH END CORRECT FINISH.  IT WAS NOW ONE OF THE FINEST 2+2’S ON THE PLANET.  I OWNED IT FOR A LITTLE WHILE.

PLEASE TAKE A SPECIAL NOTE OF THIS FEATURED ARTICLE ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY: HISTORY OF 0 TO 60 MPH.  THE 1965 PONTIAC CATALINA 2+2 IS 3.9 SECONDS.  IT WAS THE FASTEST ACCELERATING AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION CAR IN THE COUNTRY AT THAT TIME.

 

RETURN

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