Pontiac first launched the Catalina in the year 1950. The production continued from 1950 to the year 1981. This car was a full -size , hard top model.
The name Catalina was first used on the Chieftain series.For 1959, Pontiac dropped the name "Chieftain" for its entry level model and renamed it "Catalina", while demoting the former top-line Star Chief to mid-line status and expanding the Bonneville nameplate to a full flagship series that included sedans, coupes, convertibles and Safari station wagons.
In the lower-priced Catalina line, Pontiac division advertising placed higher emphasis on the top trimmed two- and four-door hardtops, convertible and Safari station wagons instead of the pillared two- and four-door sedan variants despite the fact that the four-door sedan was the best seller in this line.
The Catalina, though it was the lowest-priced full-sized Pontiac, was still a substantial step up from the Chevrolet Impala in trim and appointments and only a step below the Buick LeSabre and Oldsmobile 88 in trim and appointments but priced about $100 to $200 less. Catalinas also came standard with more amenities than Chevrolet models and included a larger and more powerful V8 engine of 389 cubic inches, compared to the Chevy's six-cylinder or 283 and 348 cubic-inch V8s. Pontiacs also benefited from a much better automatic transmission than their Chevrolet counterparts - the four-speed Hydra-Matic - versus the Chevy's two-speed Powerglide.
Though the basic Catalina was well equipped with features such as full carpeting, glovebox and trunk lights, dual front ashtrays, cigar lighter, glove compartment snack bar (two cup indents on the glovebox door that could be opened for use at drive-in restaurants), heater-defroster and a choice of cloth and Morrokide vinyl upholstery or expanded Morrokide (all-vinyl trim), Pontiac buyers could add even more trimmings for a few dollars more by ordering the "decor group" which added full wheel covers, deluxe steering wheel, chrome pedal trim plates and more. Also offered from 1962 to 1970 on most Catalina models was the Ventura custom interior (which was a separate model from 1960 to 1961), which included the interior and exterior upgrades offered with the extra-cost decor group option plus a slightly more luxurious interior of cloth or Morrokide trims similar to the costlier Pontiac Star Chief or Executive depending on the year.
Over the years, the Catalina was restyled multiple times and were launched in various forms such as sedans, convertibles, station wagons etc.