Most Valuable Pontiac

First…I can’t stand the overtime rules in college football. (No, I wasn’t rooting for Baylor to win yesterday.) Why don’t they just have a field-goal contest? Besides, why is a tie so awful? It’s just a game; it’s not life or death. Whatever happened to concern for the safety of student-athletes? What will happen when a game goes into 19 overtimes and the final score is 146-144?

I have a theory that college football’s preposterous overtime rules, one of which is the game cannot end in a tie, have their roots in the 1966 Michigan State-Notre Dame game, which was played late in the season. Both teams were undefeated and ranked 1-2 in the national polls. With the score at 10-10 Notre Dame took possession of the ball on its own 30-yard line with a little over a minute left. Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian, in essence, played for the tie as his team did not make any attempt to move the ball into range for a potential game-winning field goal.

The late Dan Jenkins, one of the most decorated and respected sportswriters ever, led off his Sports Illustrated article about the 1966 game by writing Parseghian chose to “Tie one for the Gipper.” That open is a play on the famous, if not completely factual, remark supposedly made by Notre Dame star George Gipp, who—as the fable goes—on his deathbed in 1920 at the age of 25 urged the Fighting Irish to “Win one for the Gipper.” Parseghian was criticized almost universally and I think the criticism had much resonance all over college football. Of course, given how the NCAA “works” overtime wasn’t adopted until 1996 for all Division I games. Sorry, I will not use the stupid FBS and FCS designations. Overtime was introduced in 1981 for playoff games below the Division I level.

I think NFL overtime rules are better although far from perfect. I would only have overtime for playoff games, but each team would be guaranteed one possession regardless of the result of the first possession in overtime.


The reaction to posts like Most Valuable Packard has been very good. (What do you know? I wrote about college football in that post, too.) As you can surmise by today’s post title, I will show the Most Valuable Pontiac according to the 2019 Collector Car Price Guide by Krause Publications. Without further ado:


See the source image


From the website a picture (hopefully) of a 1961 Pontiac Catalina 2-door hardtop with the 421 Super Duty engine. According to the Krause book, one of these in Grade 1, concours-quality condition is worth $250,000. These 1961 models were really factory-produced, barely street-legal drag cars.

According to Encyclopedia of American Cars by the Auto Editors of Consumer GuideĀ®, the twin four-barrel 421 Super Duty engine had 373 HP in 1961, but 405 HP in 1962. This is probably another case where the factory understated the output; by 1962 the real output was more likely 450 HP/500 LB-FT of torque. Pontiac engines of this era were known for their torque. According to the NHRA rules of the day, at least 50 of these had to be made in order for the cars to qualify for Super Stock class. I have not been able to find a production number, but I’m going to guess it wasn’t much higher than 50.

A quarter of a million dollars for a Poncho! Too bad Pontiac is no more.






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