One-Owner 1971 Pontiac LeMans Station Wagon

I am willing to raise my hand here and now to admit my ignorance. I can remember a time when I used to view station wagons with barely disguised disdain. To me, they were the workhorses of the passenger car range. I felt that people bought them because they were forced to place practicality above such considerations as performance and style. I was wrong, and I have learned from this. In reality, full-size station wagons are undoubtedly practical, but examples like this 1971 Pontiac LeMans prove that they can also possess a sense of style and performance that is more than adequate for the needs of most owners. Our feature wagon is a stunning survivor that has served the same family since it was new. It comes with an enormous pile of documentation, and it also needs to find a new home. Located in Los Angeles, California, you will find this Pontiac listed for sale here on eBay. Frantic bidding has seen the price rocket to $17,200, but this figure remains short of the reserve.

It isn’t every day that the opportunity arises to buy a classic that has been part of the same family for half a century, but that is what is on offer with this Pontiac. It would be easy for such a vehicle to begin to look tired and worn as the novelty wears away, but that hasn’t been the case with this blue-plate survivor. The seller admits that the LeMans has received a repaint in its original shade of Canyon Copper, but the paint shop completed it to a high standard. There’s certainly not much to criticize about its presentation because the paint appears to be flawless. It holds a beautiful shine, with no evidence of chips or marks in the supplied photos. The panels are as straight as an arrow, and a life spent in California makes the complete absence of rust no great surprise. The owner’s decision to order the wagon with Rally II wheels adds a further touch of class, and like the trim and chrome, these appear to be in excellent order. He also chose to equip this classic with tinted glass, which is as immaculate as the rest of the exterior.

If I am surprised by anything with this Pontiac, it is the owner’s decision to order it with vinyl upholstery. It is a practical consideration that can withstand the types of hazards that face many family wagons. However, cloth would probably be a more comfortable option in a sunny climate like California. Anyone wearing shorts can confirm how unpleasant it can be to slide onto a set of vinyl seats that have spent a few hours baking under a blazing sun. Finding your thighs fried somewhere between rare and medium is never nice. Still, if that is an issue for potential buyers, a set of slipcovers would not only reduce the trauma but would offer protection for the spotless seat upholstery. The remaining upholstered surfaces continue the theme of immaculate presentation, while the dash and pad show no evidence of cracking or other issues. There is a slight dirty patch on the carpet below the driver’s right foot, but I think that the buyer could clean this with some success. This interior isn’t loaded with luxury appointments, although the inclusion of air conditioning, a pushbutton radio, and a tilt wheel would all be welcome.

While buyers could order their new ’71 LeMans Wagon with a six under the hood, the owner decided that there’s nothing as great as a V8. In this case, we’re talking about a 350ci unit that punches out a healthy 250hp. He also decided to equip the vehicle with a three-speed Hydramatic transmission, power steering, and power brakes. It may not be a muscle car, but its 18.4-second ¼-mile ET would be nothing to be ashamed of. I noticed that the owner had installed a tow hitch, and this wagon should put that to good use. While the body and interior have been impressive entrees, the drivetrain is a fantastic main course. The LeMans is a numbers-matching classic, and the seller indicates that it has a genuine 96,000 miles on the clock. Usually, I would place a question mark over any mileage claim, but the fact that he holds a complete set of service documents dating back to Day One leaves no doubt in this case. The engine bay presents superbly for a vehicle of this age, and it doesn’t flatter to deceive. The seller says that the wagon runs and drives as well as it did the day it left the showroom, and I don’t find that surprising. That makes it a turn-key classic that is ready to serve its second owner faithfully.

There’s no questioning the practicality of vehicles like this 1971 Pontiac LeMans Station Wagon. They offer buyers enormous amounts of cargo space, the ability to seat six people in comfort, and hard-wearing vinyl trim, which should be able to resist the worst that an owner can throw at it. However, this one offers more than that. It presents superbly, features a healthy V8 under the hood that should endow it with respectable performance, and has a fully documented history. It has style and a genuine presence, and it is easy to see why it has already attracted forty-four bids. Is this one of those cases where you might be tempted to join the bidding war? If I were in the market, I think that I would.


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  1. Stevieg Member

    What a cool old family hauler! The price is up to the point where I would tap out as a buyer, but I am envious of whoever acquires this one.

    Like 8
  2. al8apex

    FYI, the wagons ONLY choice of upholstery material this year WAS vinyl … same went for the convertibles …

    Like 6
    • al8apex

      the “edit” function appears to no longer work

      the front seat on this vehicle has been re-done, the back seat is how the front is supposed to look

      Like 3
    • Miminite

      I was curious about that too and went to SMS fabrics website. They do not list a fabric for the wagons. If you (meaning the buyer) really wanted fabric, choose one from a same yr Pontiac in another model.

      I would have thought you could order it in ’71, but guess not.

      Like 1
  3. Terrry

    How about this..drop a 455 in that people hauler, put the proper badges and graphics on it and you’d have a GTO-clone wagon!

    Like 14
    • local_sheriff

      …or how about skipping the badges and graphics and let it stay a LeMans…? There’s no reason to be ashamed of a LeMans ‘only’ when it looks like this

      Like 24
  4. Steve R

    Looks like it’s been prepped for resale. The missing AC is something that needs to be factored in. At this price a thorough and objective inspection is warranted.

    Steve R

    Like 4
    • Brian

      The ebay description says “a/c doesn’t blow cold”. Missing the compressor will cause that.

      Like 8
      • Glen

        Well? He wasn’t exactly lying.

        Like 1
    • Miminite

      I saw no compressor so hope he has the parts. He doesn’t show good photos of the interior, so maybe I’m not seeing it right, but is that an AC HVAC control? It didn’t look it to me.

  5. gbvette62

    To the author, this is not a “full-size station wagon”. The LeMans was Pontiac’s mid size, or intermediate wagon in 71. Pontiac’s 71 full size wagons were the Grand Safari’s, which were part of the Bonneville/Catalina line.

    The Canyon Copper is a relatively rare color for 71, especially on a wagon. I’m the original owner of a 71 El Camino painted the same color (though it was called Burnt Orange on Chevrolets), and even in 1971 you almost never saw another car painted this color.

    Like 12
    • Kiwie49

      Any pictures of your El Camino?? Sounds beautiful!

      Like 2
      • Sam Alexander

        Yeah, show us the pictures dude!

  6. HC

    Wow, what a clean Pontiac wagon. Lemans no doubt. Can’t understand why anyone in Los Angeles wouldn’t have ordered AC in a wagon with all this glass. Being a 71 also means it wouldn’t be subject to to all the emissions and smog devices that later 70s model years were.

  7. charlie Member

    I had the Chevy version of this wagon, special order with big V8 and heavy duty everything you could order – cooling, suspension, alternator/battery, wheels and tires – (all to pull girfriend’s horse trailer – and we broke up before I ever pulled a trailer with it) until my 2005 Toyota 4Runner it was the best vehicle I had, or have, ever owned for all around hauling stuff. Its only flaw was drum brakes, they could not stop the car from 65 mph, GM made front discs standard eventually, presumably this Pontiac has discs.

    Like 4
    • Sam Alexander

      I bet that you had a Kingswood estate. We had one that was a 71 with the 454 LS 5. Man, that thing was incredible with that Corvette powerplant in it.

  8. John taggart Member

    When in my 20s n 30 s had 3 full sized Buick wagons over years. Love my wagons. Miss them much

  9. Bob-O

    Given the mileage on this car, I think that I’d pull out the stock drivetrain, put in a mildly built 455/Sniper EFI with an overdrive automatic and install a 3.23 – 3.55 posi rear end. I’d also leave the 350 rocker badges to keep people guessing.

    Like 2
    • Frank

      Cool wagon to hot rod.

      Like 1
  10. Brian

    The ebay description says “a/c doesn’t blow cold”. Missing the compressor will cause that.

  11. HC

    Yeah GM or others didn’t start offering front disc’s until 72 and after. I’m sure one could have special ordered them before then, OK. But front discs is something you would want to upgrade on a car this size. Rebuilt drums in back would still be ok.

    Like 1
    • Marty Parker

      Disc Brakes were optional in A Body GM cars starting in 1967.

      Like 2
  12. Gary Rhodes

    Looks like it needs a front seat bottom cover, a right side grille and a a/c charge/compressor replacement. Nice car

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