‘Swiss Cheese’ Pontiac to be auctioned in Arizona

By Marlys Good

The 1963 “Swiss Cheese” Catalina Pontiac once owned by Greybull’s Allen “Cub” Collingwood will go on the auction block later this month in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The car was one of just 14 lighter and faster cars designed and manufactured by Pontiac to ensure the company kept its position at the top of the Super Stock hierarchy. The cars were specifically designed/built as “all-out” race cars and were not designed for street use.

Built for sanctioned drag strip competition, the Swiss Cheese Catalinas built in early 1963 benefited from the most aggressive weigh-reduction program in Pontiac history. Each Swiss Cheese car was built without sound deadener or insulation, and comfort and convenience options were strictly prohibited. Knowing that frontal weight reduction placed more static and dynamic mass on the rear tires during takeoff, Pontiac chassis engineers replaced the stock steel fenders, hood, numerous inner panels and both bumpers with aluminum replicas. The stock penmeter-type steel frame was lightened by punching the side beams with nearly 130 evenly space holes, tied together by as little metal as possible. (Taken from “The story of the last 1963 Swiss Cheese Catalina” by automotive specialist Steve Magnante).

Collingwood sponsored the Collingwood Pontiac Racing Team and the car became well known and recognized in local/area races.

The car was sold in the aftermath of the demise of the local racing circuit, and GHS grad Johnny Lewis, one of the select few Cub trusted to drive the unique car, knew it was owned, and subsequently rebuilt, by someone in Paris, Texas.

In 2013, the car was spotted in “Diver’s Street Rod” in Snohomish, Wash., by Arland Howe, another GHS grad.

Howe had gone to Diver’s with a friend, who was a cousin to Diver’s owners, Tim and Deany Diver. When Howe walked into the garage, he was shocked to see a car sporting the name “Collingwood” and “Grable” — a misspelling Howe quickly pointed out.

The Divers told Howe that two old farmers, possibly from Arizona, had purchased the car and taken it to Diver’s to be restored.

The fate of car that once belonged to Cub Collingwood from Father’s Day, 2013 to 2016, is unknown. What is known is the car is expected to bring between $600,000 and $800,000 at the auction in Scottsdale. It’s on the docket for Saturday, Jan. 30.