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Muscle Car Image Gallery

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Big body, big engine -- a

It was clear to most enthusiasts by 1966 that midsize models had seized the muscle car mantle. Detroit, however, was reluctant to relinquish its time-tested biggest-car/best-engine formula. Given that, it was no accident that the leader in intermediate muscle also put together the finest full-size performance machine -- the 1966 Pontiac 2+2.

It was clear to most enthusiasts by 1966 that midsize models had seized the muscle car mantle. Detroit, however, was reluctant to relinquish its time-tested biggest-car/best-engine formula. Given that, it was no accident that the leader in intermediate muscle also put together the finest full-size performance machine -- the 1966 Pontiac 2+2.

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Pontiac first offered the 2+2 as a Catalina engine, suspension, and trim group in 1964. For '65, the 421-cid V-8 became a standard part of the option package, and for '66, Pontiac made the 2+2 a separate model, still based on the Catalina two-door hardtop or convertible. Flamboyantly styled and expansively proportioned, the 2+2 was unbeatable for sheer presence. It also could hold its own against a range of performance cars.

Pontiac first offered the 2+2 as a Catalina engine, suspension, and trim group in 1964. For '65, the 421-cid V-8 became a standard part of the option package, and for '66, Pontiac made the 2+2 a separate model, still based on the Catalina two-door hardtop or convertible. Flamboyantly styled and expansively proportioned, the 2+2 was unbeatable for sheer presence. It also could hold its own against a range of performance cars.

The basic package included the heavy-duty suspension, with even stiffer springs and shocks available. Buckets and a console were added to the top-line Catalina interior, which could be optioned with a sport steering wheel and instrumentation that included a tachometer and oil-pressure gauge. Unique exterior features included "2+2" badges, twin lens taillamps, and chrome bodyside gills; Pontiac's famous eight-lug aluminum wheels were the ultimate optional touch.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. The 2+2 was the only Pontiac with standard 421-cid power; this one has the 376-bhp Tri-Power option and automatic transmission.

This was the only Poncho with standard 421-cid power. The 338-bhp four-barrel was the base engine. Two tri-power 421s were optional, one with 356 bhp, the other with 376. The last was the 421 HO and included a high-output camshaft and valve train. It used a declutching fan, special exhaust manifolds, and chrome low-restriction air cleaners; rocker covers and oil-filler cap also were chrome.

Transistorized ignition was available. A three-speed stick was standard; a four-speed and automatic cost extra. The manuals had Hurst shifters. A limited-slip differential and gearing up to 4:11.1 were optional.

©2007 Publications International, Ltd. No breakout exists on how many of the 6,383 2+2s built for '66 were convertibles.

Calling into play enormous power and a decent 55/45 weight distribution, the 2+2 could be launched with little tire spin and guided through corners with alarming efficiency. And it cruised silently and rode with less harshness than muscle intermediates. The 2+2 reverted to option status for '67, then died, a proud relic of a time when big cars, Pontiacs in particular, ruled the streets.

Calling into play enormous power and a decent 55/45 weight distribution, the 2+2 could be launched with little tire spin and guided through corners with alarming efficiency. And it cruised silently and rode with less harshness than muscle intermediates. The 2+2 reverted to option status for '67, then died, a proud relic of a time when big cars, Pontiacs in particular, ruled the streets.

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