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16k Mile Beauty! 1973 Pontiac Catalina Safari

Sharp styling and factory 15 inch Rally II wheels lend a sporty appearance to this mostly-original wagon. The 1973 Pontiac Catalina Safari in New Baltimore, Michigan accumulated all of its 16,000 miles under the care of one owner, according to the description here on eBay. The 400 cid V8 powered Safari goes to the highest bidder in a No Reserve auction. Bidding has eclipsed $7000 with about two days left. A similar wagon brought just over $10,000 in 2020.

A tachometer strapped to the steering column hints that this Pontiac took a safari or two with high schoolers at the wheel. A friend in college said her 400-powered Catalina had taken down more than its share of later ’70s to early ’80s parental rides in high school. The claimed original Morrokide i.e. Naugahyde upholstery could support the 16,000 original mile claim, though it could just as easily look this great after 116,000 miles. They might have lane departure warnings and other distractions, but none of today’s nine-passenger vehicles can match this shiny Pontiac’s curb appeal.

The “disappearing Glide-away tailgate” with power window makes GM wagons of this vintage popular with ’70s fans. Twist the key and one way to send the glass up into the roof. Twist the other way and the tailgate slips into a well beneath the floor. Either makes a neat party trick to impress your golf buddies or create envy among the gluttons at the church picnic. Thanks to lov2xlr8 for some details.

The base 400 cid V8 gained a chrome air cleaner at some point, the only noticeable deviation from stock equipment. Air conditioning must have been a splurge for the original Brooklyn, New York owner who stated their occupation as “Waiter” on the original sales paperwork. Compressed cooled air cost $431 on a $4500 dollar car (before options). Other upgrades include the $87 Rally II wheels in 15 inch and $45 Safe-T-Track (limited slip) rear axle. The latter would have been handy in the New York snow, though it does require more finesse to avoid oversteer. It seems odd that a listing for a one-owner vehicle with original sales documents would not also show maintenance records substantiating the low-mileage claim, but even an extra 100,000 miles wouldn’t change the well-kept good looks of this three-seat Safari. What do you like most about this nine passenger long-roof Pontiac?


  1. ACZ

    Nice car, except for that damned tailgate.

    Like 1
  2. mikeh

    Can’t have a tailgate party without a tailgate.

    Like 5
  3. Maggy

    Love the clam shell wagons.This is a nice one.

    Like 15
  4. Stan

    Cool 😎 Poncho 🏁

    Like 3
  5. BA

    Give me a genuine ponitac 400 4 bbl anyday over that horrible 403 smog motor! When I saw the super low mileage Trans Am yesterday I was horrified with it had a OLDS motor as i have owned the T/A 6.6 4 speed & my fondness for pontiac 400s remains to this day. Don’t be fooled by GM trickery sticking a Olds in a Pontiac is blasphemy ! obviously the gig is up but the trickery remains & the untrained eye is fooled

    Like 3
  6. Sam

    That front and middle seat look wore out after seeing the third seat. I wonder how many Nauga’s had to give up their hyde for this.

    Like 5
    • D Brooks 47

      Pontiac used Morroka’s which explains the leather like Morrokohide interiors on Pontiacs of that era…No, I have no clue, where the rare Morraka’s are from, nor did any Pontiac salesman I ever asked.

      Like 0
  7. Paul Ravitsky

    The tailgate speaks for itself. That tailgate was from 1971 to 1976 and on all the General Motors full size station wagons. I knew a lot of people who had those wagons. Nice pieces. Love to get my hands on that one.

    Like 5
  8. Jonathan A. Green

    My folks bought a 1971 Olds Custom Cruiser; it was my dad’s favorite car of all the cars he bought. Basically a 98 wagon. He said it was fast, comfortable, built like a tank. I think it was the first expensive car he bought.
    At one point, something rusted or broke, and the bottom part of the tailgate wouldn’t go down, and it was a $500 repair or so. He ended up giving the car to some relatives, and he later told me that it was a mistake, he should have fixed the car, but their car was so unsafe he couldn’t let them continue to drive it. If this was the Olds, I’d buy it. I’m tempted because its basically the same thing (but the Olds had a 455…)

    Like 3
  9. Mike D

    My next door neighbor had one of these. He got rear ended, which severely damaged the disappearing tailgate. I always wondered what it took to have that repaired.

    Like 2
  10. John Calabro

    I wonder how it got to Michigan from Brooklyn, NY with just one owner.

    Like 2
  11. Homer

    I worked for a Pontiac dealer fron 72-82 and my furnished ride was always a wagon and always loved them, great drivers.

    Like 4
  12. Shuttle Guy Shuttle Guy Member

    I love wagons. My wife hates them because she grew up with them. The mini-van of the time.

    Like 2
  13. Glenn Schwass Member

    My Aunt had a light green one of these. She drove it at 70mph on the highway, towing a U haul to get antiques from my Grandparents in Ill. It started boiling the tranny fluid and they had to slow down…
    Brings back memories.

    Like 1
  14. George Mattar

    The 16,000 mole claim is questionable. That front seat bottom is not factory. Pontiac interiors were always superior to Chevy, at least in the 60s and 70s. My dad had new Pontiacs when I grew up in the early 60s. Top quality. Nice car here but I would want to take a close look before bidding.

    Like 1
  15. George Mattar

    Meant to say mile, not mole

    Like 0
  16. D Brooks 47

    Just me again…I took a long look at the pictures, of this possible, but to me, questionable 16K mile Safari wagon. I’m a Pontiac guy, their was a Pontiac dealer Sales manager, Ed/in my family, so I spent a lotta time at the dealership.
    All that said, and taking a long look at the Moroni sticker, to check out all the
    Options, this Safari was Ordered/Purchased to Tow stuff…I don’t think it was
    ultra heavy stuff, or they would have gone with the 455, but their aren’t any Creature comforts, like power windows, power seats, tilt wheel, remote RH mirror, upgraded interior, interior etc, etc…almost used commercially.
    Just one guys opinion, but most 60’s & 70’s Safari’s I remember, were pretty well loaded, flag ship models, showroom attractions…This is ordered more
    like a Chevroleet, than a Pontiac.
    Still a real nice Safari, that needs the front and middle seat, to be reupped, to
    Match the Third seat 👍

    Like 0
  17. Howard Smith

    Hopefully this doesn’t get snatched up by a demolition derby guy.

    Like 0
  18. Sixone

    It’s not bad, although it’s kind of a stripper… If it didn’t have those Rally IIs and the limited slip I wouldn’t even look at it twice. Nice car though…

    Like 0
  19. PRA4SNW

    SOLD for $15,500.

    Like 1
  20. Angel_Cadillac_Diva Angel Cadillac Diva Member

    This is not a power clamshell tailgate. The windows are always power operated, but this tailgate is manual. Notice the “handle” to pull the tailgate up. Plus the manual unlock around the keyhole to push the tailgate down.
    My 1973 Chevrolet Estate wagon had full power window and tailgate, operable from the single keyhole at the back and switches on the dashboard.

    Like 2
  21. BA

    If the has 16,000 moles in it I’m heading the other way ! Just kidding George

    Like 0

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