Longest Find Of The Day: 1974 Pontiac Airporter

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Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

Thanks to reader BentleyGuy, who sent us this l-o-n-g and cool 1974 Pontiac Catalina Airporter find! It’s located in Las Cruces, New Mexico and is for sale here on craigslist for $4,500.

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The full length of this vehicle can be appreciated in this picture. Got a huge family? Want to move an entire baseball team at the same time? This is the classic for you! Said to run and drive (although I really hope they replace that left rear tire), we unfortunately don’t know much else about the car except from the pictures.

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I’m guessing someone started the restoration of this mammoth car and decided it was too much. They did get some of the car stripped to bare metal, and either exposed or applied body filler in the right rear. Since they didn’t get any farther, I’m guessing exposed and were put off by the filler? One of the things that surprised me in this picture was the trailer hitch–who needs a trailer with that much space in the car?

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We don’t get to see much of the interior, but from what I can tell, it looks serviceable. I’m guessing the front area and dash don’t look as nice, especially if it’s been in the sun for a long time. There sure is a lot of room there…we’ve had grandkids over and squabbling recently; I’m thinking it would be nice to give each one their own ROW of seats when we take our next trip!

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The seller tells us it’s a 454 engine; as best as I can tell, it should have a 455 V-8 with only 250 emissions-strangled horsepower. It’s nice to see that AC compressor there, though. Honestly, it wouldn’t matter that much to me if it were a 454, either one should have enough oomph available to move the limo down the road fast enough for me. I think the seller is being a little ambitious on price, but they do say “O.B.O” (or best offer), so who knows what you could actually get this car for if you showed up with cold cash. How much do you think this one is worth, and what would you do with it if you ended up with the car? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments

  1. fred

    Not a bad looking car restored- but who has the garage that can contain it?

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    • Nessy

      Wow Fred, I did not expect to see another photo of a restored one just like it pop up. I remember a few of these floating around airports and train stations in both Pontiac and Chevy Impala versions.

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  2. JamestownMike

    Cool being soooooo long but it’s FUGLY! Reminds me of that awful “Wagon Queen Family Truckster” in the 1983 National Lampoon’s Vacation movie.

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  3. PaulG

    I purchased a beautiful, 1 owner “89 Country Squire wagon a few years back, and while traveling in Southern California , windows down, some guy yells out: “Hey Griswold”!. We laughed for quite a while…

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    • JamestownMike

      Jesse, I don’t know how to email you guys directly, so I’m posting this here. Above my comment it said, “Your comment is awaiting moderation.” Now it appears as if it’s been removed. May I ask why my comment was deleted? I’d like to know when I do something wrong, so I don’t do it again. You might want to consider removing the reply above because it doesn’t make any sense now that my comment has been removed. Mike

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      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        Not sure, but we just approved it. Thanks!

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  4. Ryan

    I’d love to have that car but I guess I’ll have to be happy with my stetched 59 suburban instead!

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    • Walter

      Ryan that is awwwwwwwwwwwesome!!!!! Got any plans for it??

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      • Ryan

        I’m building it into my roadtrip vehicle, basically stock is the plan.

        We’ve already done a ton of work to it and hope to have it on the road in the summer.

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  5. Marty Wilke Marty Staff

    In response to the “practical applications” question, I encountered a local band who transported themselves around to local gigs in a vehicle like this. Seemed like a good idea.

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Marty, believe it or not, my high school used two Checker airport limos (four doors per side) as activity buses for the smaller sports teams…

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  6. Bryan

    I think these 8-door airporters were built by Stageway in Arkansas.

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  7. Alan (Michigan )

    Appears to have most of the glass, if not all of it. That’s a good thing. Buying windows for this ride could bust a restoration budget!

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  8. Bill McCoskey

    Bryan – Yes, this is a Stageway product, from Ft. Smith Ark. I’ve owned several Stageway extended cars, including a 1964 Pontiac 8-door sedan [all the other Stageway 8-door cars I’ve seen were wagons.].

    Then there was the 1971 Ford Country Sedan with 6 doors, it had an opening hatch in the roof center [not a sliding sunroof, but an actual steel removable hatch, later welded shut]. I was told by the former owner it had been sent to Stageway by one of the big news groups, to allow mobile TV camera use up thru the roof during various public events, & the 1973 presidential inauguration. By folding down the back seat, they had a flat floor to hold the TV camera support, & I was told they had a gasoline powered generator in the back, with the exhaust system routed out the floor [and yes, the holes were there, covered by pop riveted tin patches .]

    My last Stageway [so far] was a bronze 1976 Chrysler Town & country 8-door, loaded with all the options including wood graining all the way down the sides, dual A/C, and power windows. I remember seeing the driver’s door panel for the first time & realizing they had to shorten the armrest & lengthen the switch panel to put all 8 power window switches in place! This grand cruiser was not an airporter, it was used by an upscale retirement home in Silver Spring, MD. I had asked the place to call me if they ever wanted to sell it, and once day they called. I got it in beautiful condition for $800.

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  9. Alan (Michigan )

    Great automotive specialty ya have there, Bill!

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    • Bill McCoskey

      Alan – I’ve always had a soft spot for large cars and petite girls!
      At one time I had a vintage limo service in the Washington DC area with 8 British limousines.

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