The Catalina Model in the begining years was offered as a base-line trim package for the Star-chief line-up. In 1959 Catalina become its own model.
Starting in 1961 Pontiac Motor Company began equiping Catalinas with High-Performance 389 and 421 Cubic Engines. These cars immediately began winning national and regional oval track and drag strip records. The "Super Duty" program really took hold in 1962 with "Fireball" Roberts behind the wheel of a Special Order 1962 Pontiac Catalina Super Duty equipped with a 405 hp 421 4-speed.
Catalina began lowering horsepower for the following years and up until 1981 when the model line was completely dropped.