Featured here is a 1971 Pontiac Ventura II. The Pontiac Ventura II at it’s introduction was based on the Catalina model. During it’s run, the Ventura was sold as it’s own distinct model and at other times as a higher priced custom trim option on the Pontiac Catalina. The Catalina was the lowest-priced full-sized Pontiac and It was priced below the Chevrolet Impala. The Ventura II was produced from 1971 to 1977 however the “II” in it’s name was dropped after the 1972 model year.

1971 pontiac ventura specs
1971 Pontiac Ventura II

The Pontiac Ventura

Most say that this Pontiac model was named after the city of Ventura, California. As a side note, the word “ventura” is a derivative of the word “bonaventure.

The Ventura satisfied a void in Pontiac’s line up. What was needed in 1961 was a sporty car trim and it turned out to be a big success with car buyers. Body styles offered were either a two or four door hardtop. No station wagons, convertibles or pillared sedans were offered.

pontiac ventura IIFrom 1961 to 1970 the Ventura option for the Catalina was as a full size car. Beginning in 1971 the Ventura (Ventura II) was now designated a compact. With that said, the 71 Ventura has some characteristics of a mid size car.The theory of making the 71 Ventura II a compact gave Pontiac dealers a way to widen appeal and attract new buyers.

In 1971 the Ventura was again it’s own nameplate after being a Catalina option just the previous year. The Ventura II was Pontiac’s version of the Chevy Nova and built on the X-body frame and therefore the compact car designation.

The Pontiac Ventura II offered special packages with the intent of increasing dealer showroom traffic.

The Sprint Option Package

As an example, the 1971 to 1975 Sprint option, added on two door models, included a three speed manual with floor shift or a four speed manual with a  307 cubic inch V-8.  Also included was a sporty looking blackout grille, a custom steering wheel and custom stripes.The 1972 Ventura II Sprint had a thick side stripe that started on the nose and dropped down to the belt line as it approached the rear. A 350 cubic inch V-8 was offered with the Sprint package.

1971 Pontiac Ventura Specifications

There were two engine offerings with the 71 Ventura. These were a 250 cubic inch inline six, and,with the Sprint Package, a 307 cubic inch V-8. The six produced 145 HP and the 307 V-8 produced 200 HP. Both engines for the Ventura II were Chevy’s.

Transmissions included a three speed manual column shift or a two speed Powerglide automatic for the standard 250 engine and as an option a three speed manual floor shift. The 307 engine offered a three speed manual floor shift and a choice of a two speed Powerglide automatic or three speed Hydra-Matic  automatic.

71 pontiac ventura 2Brakes were four wheel hydraulic drums.

Dimensions for the 1971 Pontiac Ventura II included a 111.0 inch wheelbase, 194.5 inch overall length, 72.4 inch width, 52.5 inch height. Curb weight was listed as 3,045 lbs.

Out of the 50,000 1971 Pontiac Ventura’s sold, some two thirds were two door coupes and the remainder were sedans.

Additional Auto Museum Online articles are found on the links below…

1969 Pontiac GTO

1970 Chevy Camaro RS/SS

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. Pontiac Registry.

1971 Pontiac Ventura Collector Popularity

If you’re looking for an entry car to start your collection, some of the Pontiac Ventura models are a good place to begin.

71 pontiac ventura specificationsCurrently for a 1971 Ventura II Hardtop the price ranges from about $10,000 to $20,000. Asking prices should reflect mileage, general condition, originality and degree of restoration if performed. More pricey Pontiac Ventura’s (generally $29,000-$45,000 range) are those from the earliest years, 1960-62 as an example.

The Ventura Sprint 307 three speed floor shift cars are very rare. These are extremely hard to find and if you do it will sell at auction for a strong five figure price. Originality and the car’s condition will dictate the selling price.

(Article and photos copyright Auto Museum Online)