Truckster Survivor: 1977 Pontiac Catalina Safari

Although this is not the family truckster from National Lampoon’s Vacation, you could easily pack your family into this excellent condition Pontiac Catalina Safari survivor. This big red beauty has only covered 42,200 miles in its 40 years of existence. Appearing nearly show room new inside and out, this family hauler is priced reasonably at $4,900. Find it here on craigslist out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Thanks to our reader Rocco B. for the awesome vacation submission!

Hopefully you like red, as there is plenty of it, on and in this Pontiac. It is always surprising to see wagons with a nice interior. How many of you remember growing up with siblings and friends, where shenanigans happened, food and drinks were spilled, and who knows what else happened. With no evidence of abuse or heavy use, this interior is beautiful. Looking over the front of the cabin, there is no real damage to the interior other than a slightly faded steering wheel. Someone has added an aftermarket cup holder, but that would be easy to do away with.

The back seat area is just as nice as the front. It does appear that there are some minor wear marks on the seat bottom of the back seat, but otherwise it would appear that there were no childhood shenanigans that happened in the back seat of this wagon.

Looking in the cargo area reveals just how much junk you could easily fit into the back of this station wagon. A black matt has been added, as I suspect there are some condition issues with the original cargo area carpet. The plastic that lines the wheel wells and both sides of the cargo area are dry rotted, and are chipping. This is a common issue with old plastics.

With a wonderful luster, the exterior of this Pontiac looks wonderful. There is no visible rust, or damage of any kind on the exterior of this wagon. All of the trim is accounted for, and the chrome bits shine nicely. Power comes from a 301 Pontiac V8 backed by an automatic transmission. One of the great things about this wagon is that it is family friendly having factory air conditioning. A beautiful example of a late 1970’s wagon, this Pontiac seems like an awesome affordable family hauler. Would you take a National Lampoon style vacation in this Pontiac truckster?

 

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Comments

  1. Curtis

    Somewhat blah exterior but with an engine, exhaust & wheels swap this would be a fun take the kids to school vehicle for sure

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  2. Squanto

    I like the Secret Service hand rails and I am very sorry my son’s hockey career is over. I could have been King Hockey Dad with that barge.

    1+

  3. Larry K

    What’s with all those chrome handles man??????

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      I’m thinking they are either to tow skateboarders/skaters or to strap 4’x8′ sheets of plywood to the roof rack. And I’m only 1/2 kidding….

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      • jaygryph

        What’s up with the difficulty replying to things today? Very odd. Had to reload the page numerous times. It kept unselecting the text box. Can’t be the vote system as that seems to have been permanently removed.

        I imagine the rails are either to have acted as tiedown points, and I think that they are a nice way to do that, or possibly were for helping elderly or disabled folks in or out of the car, though that seems less likely as only two of them by the doors would be useful for that. I’m guessing it was for lashing larger loads to the roof, which was much more common in the era of the wagon when passenger car like pickup trucks were far less common or refined. Glad to see the love for wagons. They’re neat.

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  4. Rock On

    This would look right at home at Wally World!

    1+

  5. Larry K

    Ok, secret service handles.

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  6. bob S

    Drove one of those Cross Canada and down to the LA Olympics in 84′. Slept in it many times along the way.

    1+

  7. Bill

    Like the salesman said in “Vacation”: “If you think you hate it now, just wait until you drive it.”

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  8. ronebee

    I should buy this, just to get rid of the Trailer park White Letter tires and put some proper white walls and Rally II’s on that thing

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    • DrinkinGasoline

      Agreed….the “fins” on those wheel covers broke off over time making it look like pinwheels rotating while going down the road.

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  9. Squanto

    I’m surprised The Trailer Park Boys have not commented on the tail light covers

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    • CCFisher

      Those aren’t taillight covers. That’s the factory taillight trim.

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      • DrinkinGasoline

        Correct….Chevrolet Motor Division used the bare lense and housing whereas, Pontiac Motor Division used chrome bezel accented tail lamp trim as well as Buick Motor Division.

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      • mars2878

        just like the 02-05 explorer had bare lenses, the mercury mountaineer version had chrome trim similar to this wagon

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  10. Jubjub

    One just like it for sale here in Louisville but with a 400.

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    • ronebee

      put a link up if you would please

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  11. AMCSTEVE

    Just so you know the Wagon Queen Family Truckster in the National Lampoon movie is a 1979 Ford LTD Country Squire

    http://griswoldfamilyvacations.com/maiking-the-griswold-family-truckster/

    1+

  12. Don

    The wight letter tires makes it go faster.

    1+

  13. Larry

    That reminds me, I’ve got to get around to installing those grab handles in mom’s shower.

    1+

    • DrinkinGasoline

      I’ve fallen…..and I can’t get up !!!!

      If I were you, I’d be doing it, like…..now.
      And ditch all of the “throw rugs” while you’re at it. Hip surgery is no joke 🙂

      1+

  14. Luke Fitzgerald

    White walls would change the whole dynamics of the thing..,, I always like seeing in these “late” models ghosts of the past – might be a window winder, might be interior light lens, might be speedo lettering or a glove box liner – snips of when ALL these tanks were great. Nonetheless – important find.

    1+

  15. redwagon

    needs redlines

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  16. Brent Mazur

    Here I come NHRA Stock Eliminator!

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  17. olddavid

    No tilt, no cruise? Vinyl that would scar your leg in summer – what’s not to like? I’d put ralley’s, ditch the handholds and put a lump 400 with a single four barrel and dual exhaust. A freeway flyer – in “arrest me” red.

    1+

  18. Alan

    I thought those were towel bars from Home Depot , I don’t know, laundry?

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  19. Joe Defelice

    Nice thing about Pontiac blocks is they’re all basically the same size. A 455 should bolt right in, as will a 389, 400, 421, 350, 326. Depending on where you live, it’s most likely emissions exempt. If I had the disposable income, this big red whale would be coming home to me. I love long roofs, + Ponchos!

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  20. Duaney Member

    The only worse engine it could have would be the Buick V-6. The 301 is an engine Pontiac shouldn’t have ever built. I have the same car in a four door sedan with the Olds 403, now that’s a great engine.

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  21. mike d

    this is just a base Catalina wagon, ( not a put down) something you’d get when you couldn’t afford the glitz of the Bonneville wagon ( Grand Safari??) I agree with the others about the raised letter tires , although I would go with black walls and.. MAYBE dog dish hub caps , with black wheels , I would have liked to have seen a full pic of the dash . a 301 also a base engine, probably didn’t pull it along too well, but it got the job done , ( gotta watch for steep hills tho!) a 350, or a 400 would be great!! it is a looker, and a great one at Pontiac shows!

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  22. ACZ

    Makes me think of the 62 Catalina Wagon I had years ago. 8 passenger, painted 67 Royal Plum. Buckets, console, 389 & tri-power, McKellar stage 2 cam, 4 speed Muncie. Not that good off the line but third gear was good for over 120. Memories!

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    • G2

      I had one just like this! Only it was a 63 Rambler wagon – but it was RED…

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  23. Jason

    Any update on when the voting buttons will be back?

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  24. docyrus

    It looks like it was used as a hearse that would explain the handles and the carpet in the rear that’s probably covering the holes where the rollers used to be.

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  25. Pleiku Pete

    I say it was used as a flower car by a funeral home. This would also explain the low mileage.

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  26. Neil

    Boy,
    I guess I’m pretty old school, but I just don’t associate Flaming Red vehicles with funeral homes? I agree with the assessment though, certainly looks like the type of hardware you see on mortuary vehicles. Just an odd color to me.

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  27. David Gunter

    This exact model and year, even the color, was our family car from 1977 until the very late 1980s when it was finally hauled away. It went from being the 5-kid hauler to the first-car for newly minted young drivers over the years.

    I personally took it on a trip from KC, Missouri to New Orleans, LA, just prior to the start of my senior year of high school. It was one incredible road trip vehicle.

    Such an awesome find! Thanks for sharing.

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