Our feature automobile is the 1966 Pontiac Ventura. It’s said that the model derived it’s name from the city of Ventura, California. As a side note, the word “ventura” is a derivative of the word “bonaventure. This two-door coupe features a strong, stately styling that has become an icon of the Pontiac nameplate.

1966 pontiac ventura
1966 Pontiac Ventura

The 1966 Pontiac Ventura Styling

Ventura was sold as it’s own distinct model and at times as a custom trim option on the Pontiac Catalina model. For the 1966 model year the Ventura was sold as it’s own series. The bodywork of the Ventura was similar to that of the Catalina, but it had the Ventura name on the sides.

There were two options available in 1966 for the Ventura. This was a four door sedan and a two door hardtop coupe. Our featured model is the hardtop. It’s interesting to note that there were several more options available with the Catalina model and as mentioned above the cars were very similar except for the badging.

pontiac ventura specs
Vertical headlamps were on all Pontiac models for 1966

One very distinguishing design for every Pontiac at this time were the vertically stacked headlamps. The hood design of the Ventura gave the appearance that whatever was under it was big and powerful. The 1966 model year was the first year of curved glass being fitted.

The Ventura interior was well equipped. Pontiac came up with a vinyl which looked like leather.They called this vinyl “Morrokide“. Standard equipment with the Ventura included bucket seats and seat belts.

The 1960’s was an exciting decade for Pontiac. A decade when it jumped from middle of the sales pack to hold the coveted number three position behind Chevrolet and Ford. This was the “Wide Track Era” The two things Pontiac had going for it during this decade was styling and powerful engines. A great combination. especially in a decade where power was king. The 1966 model year was one of Pontiac’s best for both styling and sales. Another side note about 1966 is that this year represented the 40th anniversary of the Pontiac Division of General Motors. Pontiac was created in 1926 as a companion model to GM’s Oakland Division and it wasn’t long before Pontiac passed Oakland in sales.

1966 Pontiac Ventura Specifications

Engine options for the 1966 Pontiac Ventura were a 389 and 421 cubic inch V-8. The 389 V8 was first introduced by Pontiac in 1959. The 1966 Pontiac Ventura doesn’t necessarily come up when speaking of 60’s muscle cars, but the type of V-8’s offered with the Ventura meant plenty of power. This engine would end up being one of the  most popular engines of the latter 1960’s muscle car era.

Standard was a three speed manual gearbox. Also available as options were a Turbo Hydra-Matic automatic and a four speed manual.

A list of items either standard or as options included power steering, power brakes, AM/FM radio with speakers in the front and rear and air conditioning.

pontiac ventura photosNew car list price for the 66 Ventura was: $3,219.  Curb Weight: 3,715 lbs Length: 214.8 inches Wheelbase: 122.0 inches Width: 79.7 inches.

With all V-8 models there was a choice of a automatic or manual transmission. The power of the V-8’s ranged from 256  HP right up to 376 HP with the Pontiac Tri-Power package added.

See additional Auto Museum Online article found on the links below…

1969 Pontiac Firebird Convertible

1960 Pontiac Star Chief

Reference material for this article included..Pontiac Classics by the editors of Consumers Guide..American Muscle Cars: A Full-Throttle History by Darwin Holmstrom and Tom Glatch..Pontiac’s Greatest Decade 1959-1969: The Wide Track Era by Paul Zazarine.

1966 Pontiac Ventura Collector Cars

pontiac ventura model historyWhile the 1966 Pontiac Ventura offered great looking styling, excellent power under the hood, and a nice interior with bucket seats, the model itself was not considered a terrific seller.However, as mentioned above, Pontiac did have a great 1966 sales year.

The Ventura model is not considered a hot collector car at this time. Because of this, these models are quite affordable and offer a low cost way to start a car collection. In the future, the Ventura could possibly increase in popularity.

Asking prices for the 1966 Pontiac Ventura will of course be determined by overall condition, mileage, originality and degree restoration, if any.

As of this time current asking prices range from about $8,000 to $19,000.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)