1962 Royal Bobcat Pontiac Cataline
421 Dual Quad-cid
In the late 50's a man by the name of Ace Wilson,Jr. purchased a Pontiac franchise in the suburbs of Woodward in Royal Pontiac Michigan, in Detroit. Wilson's new Pontiac store was located on North Main Street, not far from Jim Wanger's home in Royal Oak.
But the story starts with Wanger, his persistence for high performance Pontiac's and the general sales manager of Pontiac. Wanger had been pushing for other Pontiac dealers to modify there current cars and sell performance parts. But he was turned down time and time again. Finally, one day, it all payed off. The General Sales Manager of Pontiac, Frank Bridge, agreed to let Wanger use ONE dealership as a experimental guinea-pig. If that dealership agreed to stock special cars and special parts and get involved in special activities -read drag racing- Bridge promised to find a way of supporting it. The catch was, the connection had to be covert. "I don't want anyone to know it," Bridge told Wangers.
That's when Wanger met Ace Wilson,Jr, as mentioned earlier he had recently purchased his own dealership and had already been a fan of racing performance. "Wilson liked racing," Wangers recalled. "He liked performance, he was a relatively new Pontiac dealer and he thought this was a swinging idea." Since Wagner practically lived down from Wilson's dealership, he was close, active, and motivated.
Half a year later the dealership was open and rolling. They had both high performance Pontiac parts and after market, as well as the right people that can work in and around performance Pontiac's that were sold to the public. Not long from then Wagner took the name 'Royal Pontiac' to the press in 1960 at the Stock Eliminator title at the NHRA Nationals in Detroit.
"In this day and age of professional drag strip racers," stated Royal's 1963 brochure, "car dealers who sponsor Super Stocks are a dime a dozen. At Royal Pontiac, there's a difference. Most dealers who sponsor these hot jobs at the drag strip are content to sit back and wait. They figure a winner or even reasonable success at the strip will mean that all the local enthusiasts will "knock down the doors" to do business at their dealership. This just doesn't happen. At Royal, we go a step further. A successful Super Stocker at the strip is only the beginning. We want to pass our experience on to you. We want to satisfy your performance needs and problems. We are prepared to offer all the Pontiac factory options plus a custom performance tune-up that is guaranteed to outperform any equivalent Pontiac in showroom stock condition. This treatment is called the 'Royal Bobcat' tune-up package." Said Wilson. Bred by GM, tuned by a Michigan native in a garage in Detroit, OH-RAH! How can this get any better?
"One of the first things I convinced Ace Wilson to do was to package a car that incorporated some of the special services and the special parts that he was putting into these cars and that's how the Royal Bobcat was born," Wangers recalled. "The Bobcat was created in 1961 off of a Catalina, and it's funny how we arrived at the name Bobcat. Back in those days Pontiac was putting their nameplates on their cars in big, separate letters with little holes drilled in the sheetmetal. They had model names like Catalina, Ventura and BonneviIIe. Out of the words BonneviIIe and Catalina, we came up with the name Bobcat and the letters fit into the same number of holes that Catalina did." Said Wagner.
The Bobcat was a packaged performance car, utilizing many of the performance options offered by Pontiac. Starting with the 389 Tri-Power, Royal used the factory's free-flowing exhaust manifolds and dual exhausts, aluminum wheels with the integral drums, four-speed manual gearbox and limited-slip rear. Royal then made special modifications to the car to make it a Bobcat. The distributor curve was reworked, as were the carburetor jets. The vacuum car-buretor linkage was scrapped for a mechanical setup, and less restrictive mufflers were installed.
It was the emergence of the GTO that ended the short reign of the Bobcat. Much that Wangers had learned in building the Bobcat package he related to the GTO. "When Pontiac finally created the one symbol of what Pontiac was all about in a total package called the GTO, there wasn't any room for a Royal Bobcat. So the Royal Bobcat became a tuning package or a performance package for the GTO, the 2+2 and later the Firebird."[link]
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Pre-Woodward Dream Cruise
Wednesday, August 12th, 2009