It’s always fun to delve into the little variation that you find in collector cars. Years ago we enjoyed reading articles that got into the difference between, say, a 1937 and a 1938 Ford or maybe a 1950 and 1951 Mercury.
It’s even more fun to explore the differences that could be found in just a single model of a car. You really have to be an expert to know the different ways that one particular car could be ordered from the factory.
Take the 1966 Pontiac Catalina 2+2 for instance. A couple of years ago we were hired to help a man purchase such a car and then to do some work on it. One thing the new owner wanted on the car was fender skirts. That sounds like a simple request, right? You just buy some skirts and snap them in place!
Not so fast my friend.
First we found a pair of New Old Stock fender skirts for sale on eBay. They were in top condition, but they didn’t come with the chrome trim used on cars with fender skirts. That’s right, the chrome trim changed if a car had fender skirts.
On a car without skirts, Pontiac used wheel opening moldings along the rear wheel wells. But on cars with skirts, the wheel opening moldings were removed and then Pontiac added a molding that ran across the middle of the fender skirt, continuing the lines of the regular body moldings.
We had to purchase a set of used fender skirts to get the proper skirt moldings. Then, we had to have the used moldings polished to look like new. The skirts also didn’t come with attaching hardware. We had to find a set of NOS clips or brackets to hold the skirts in place.
We resold the used skirts once the trim was removed from them and got some of the customer’s money back. But even at that, there was expense and a great deal of hassle involved in making the skirt trim correct. We must have done OK because the car won an award at the next Pontiac-Oakland Club Internal (www.poci.org) international convention.