Category Archives: 1961 Cars

1961 Pontiac had a “NEW” Shape

1961 Pontiac Shadow-box grillework
1961 Pontiac Shadow-box grillework

The “senior” Pontiac’s had restyled bodies, but managed to retain a distinct “Pontiac” flavor. All models were shortened by four inches and narrowed by 21/2 inches, wheelbases got cut from 122 to 119 on the Catalina, and Ventura series, Star Chiefs and Bonnevilles were 123 inches down from 124.

1961 Pontiac Knife-edged roof line
1961 Pontiac Knife-edged roof line

Widening the frame dropped the floors for a better seat height and two inches more headroom, also a two-section driveshaft with double centre universal joint reduced the tunnel height inside.  They installed a new front suspension, rear coil spring suspension with four rubber-bushed links.

1961 Pontiac Tempest

1961 Tempest
1961 Tempest

Based on a unit-body Chassis of 112 inch wheelbase shared with other GM compacts, the Tempest broke with engineering traditions with a four-cylinder engine, curved, torsion bare driveshaft and independent rear suspension differential transmission combination know as trans-axle. Vibration , the past enemy of four cylinder engines, was kept to a minimum by the extra-sturdy block and crankcase of the of the big four cylinder, and was isolated from the body by widely rubber mountings, The new engine developed 110 horsepower with the Manual transmission, 130 with the automatic.

New bodies for the 1961 Cadillac

1961 Cadillac
1961 Cadillac

As a result of new bodies for 61 Cadillac had easier entrance and comfort. Wheelbase was shortened 1/2 inch to 129.5 while over-all length got shortened by three inches to 222 inches. Tops of door openings got raised, sills narrowed and the “dogleg” corner of the windshield eliminated. Rear doors were six inches wider and swing open seven inches further than previous models. Headroom in the four window sedan and the coup was increased by two inches. Due to changes in the position of the engine and transmission the tunnels were lowered in both front and rear compartments. The Sixty Special four-door hardtop sedan became the top of the line in 1961 because the Eldorado Brougham was dropped. Seating comfort was improved by lowering the front floor, increasing “Chair Height”.

New Body for the 1961 Thunderbird

1961 Thunderbird Convertible
1961 Thunderbird Convertible

The 61 Thunderbird was virtually a new car except for it’s 390-cubic-inch V-8 engine and the classic Cruse-O-Matic automatic transmission. Overall dimensions were 205 inches long, 52 1/2 inch high and a 113 inch wheel base. This was the appearance of the “torpedo” and a roomier interior even tho it was still described as a four passenger car.

1961 Thunderbird Interior
1961 Thunderbird Interior