BF Auction: 1963 Pontiac Bonneville Safari

Sold for $18,000View Result

In the days of old, when American manufacturers still produced Station Wagons, most buyers chose them because of their practicality. However, a few weren’t thrilled with owning boring family transport, and companies like Pontiac catered to those who wanted their Wagon with a touch of Tabasco. That was certainly the case with this 1963 Pontiac Bonneville Safari. It could comfortably seat six, but the powerplant hiding under its hood meant it was no slouch. This highly-optioned classic needs a new home, with the owner listing it exclusively at Barn Finds Auctions.

Classics from Arizona usually provide positive news, and this Bonneville is no exception. Its Kimberley Blue paint looks reasonable under the accumulated dirt and oxidization. If I were the winning bidder, I would make merry with the washing sponge and polish because I think the Wagon would present well as a survivor following that process. The panels look straight, but the lack of apparent rust could be one of the best pieces of news for potential buyers. The lower body extremities, rear quarter panels, and tailgate are clean. The underside wears the dry surface corrosion typical of older vehicles from this location, but I can’t spot penetrating rust. The chrome is excellent for a survivor, and the factory-tinted glass looks clear. The Safari rolls on beautiful eight-lug wheels that add a sense of class and purpose, indicating there could be more to this classic than meets the eye.

Every Bonneville Safari buyer in 1963 drove off the lot in a Wagon powered by the company’s fantastic 389ci V8. These motors provided performance to satisfy most owners, but some craved power that could startle muscle car owners. This Safari’s original owner went to the top of the class, ordering it with the range-topping Tri-Power unit. It sent 312hp and 430 ft/lbs of torque to the rear wheels via a three-speed Hydramatic transmission. Their decision to add power assistance to the steering and brakes means the driving experience wouldn’t cause them to raise a sweat. It may have weighed in at a hefty 4,450 lbs, but it could still cover the ¼-mile in 16.5 seconds. That made this one of the fastest Station Wagons money could buy in 1963. It appears it hasn’t moved under its own power for a while but is mechanically complete. With the bulletproof nature of this drivetrain, revival might be possible with a bit of time and effort. With summer vacations looming large, doing so would make the Safari the ideal choice for cross-country adventures.

Prodigious power isn’t this Bonneville’s only strength because its interior caters to those seeking a luxurious motoring experience. It features air conditioning, power windows, a six-way power front seat, a top-of-the-line AM radio, and a tilt wheel. The interior is a surprise because its condition is impressive. The only visible defect is on the top of the driver’s door trim. The remaining upholstered surfaces are free from rips and wear, with the dash and pad exhibiting no evidence of abuse or UV damage. It is pretty dirty, and a few days of deep cleaning in a home workshop should produce satisfying results. That might also confirm whether the carpet is faded in spots, although its lack of apparent wear wouldn’t make replacement necessary if the new owner wishes to treat the Pontiac as a survivor.

Owning a Station Wagon doesn’t always mean having to compromise. This 1963 Pontiac Bonneville Safari confirms that. It is a highly-optioned classic that would attract attention when returned to its rightful place on our roads. The Tri-Power V8 is the icing on the cake, offering a new owner an ideal blend of practicality and performance. They say you can’t have it all, but this Wagon makes it seem possible. If a classic Station Wagon is your heart’s desire, bidding on this beauty could be the perfect starting point.

  • Location: Phoenix, Arizona
  • Mileage: 39,368 Shown, TMU
  • Engine: 389 cui Tri-Power V8
  • Transmission: Automatic
  • VIN: 863A33812
  • Title Status: Clean

Bid On This Auction

Sold for: $18,000
Register To Bid
Ended: Apr 7, 2023 11:14am MDT
Winner: Paul John
  • Paul John
    bid $18,000.00  2023-04-07 11:11:38
  • rh51 bid $17,800.00  2023-04-07 11:11:12
  • Paul John bid $17,700.00  2023-04-07 11:09:55
  • rh51
    bid $17,500.00  2023-04-07 11:08:58
  • Paul John bid $17,200.00  2023-04-07 11:06:21
  • Speedwagon bid $17,000.00  2023-04-07 11:05:45
  • Paul John
    bid $16,800.00  2023-04-07 11:04:33
  • Speedwagon bid $16,500.00  2023-04-07 11:03:21
  • rh51 bid $16,100.00  2023-04-07 11:03:21
  • Paul John
    bid $16,000.00  2023-04-07 11:02:34
  • rh51 bid $15,900.00  2023-04-07 11:00:40
  • Paul John bid $15,800.00  2023-04-07 10:58:25
  • rh51
    bid $15,700.00  2023-04-07 10:57:53
  • Paul John bid $15,500.00  2023-04-07 10:56:33
  • rh51 bid $15,000.00  2023-04-07 10:54:58
  • Paul John
    bid $14,900.00  2023-04-07 10:52:08
  • rh51 bid $14,800.00  2023-04-07 10:51:18
  • Speedwagon bid $14,700.00  2023-04-07 10:49:56
  • Paul John
    bid $14,600.00  2023-04-07 10:23:33
  • Speedwagon bid $14,500.00  2023-04-07 10:18:48
  • Paul John bid $14,400.00  2023-04-07 10:15:30
  • SDS66
    bid $14,300.00  2023-04-07 09:47:56
  • Speedwagon bid $13,000.00  2023-04-07 09:42:19
  • newfieldscarnut bid $12,500.00  2023-03-31 15:53:34
  • PMD1965
    bid $10,200.00  2023-03-31 09:44:10
  • Douglas Galluccio bid $7,800.00  2023-03-31 09:39:13
  • PMD1965 bid $7,500.00  2023-03-31 09:29:42
  • freeman
    bid $2,100.00  2023-03-31 02:14:46
  • newfieldscarnut bid $1,963.00  2023-03-30 19:46:27
  • 4spdBernie
    4spdBernie bid $1,123.00  2023-03-30 13:44:40
  • Todd J.
    Todd J.
    bid $500.00  2023-03-30 13:07:36
  • 4spdBernie
    4spdBernie bid $123.00  2023-03-30 13:00:12

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Todd J. Todd J.Member

    Reminds me how nice it used to be to check boxes and order the exact options you wanted on a car. Wish I had room for this gem!

    Like 8
  2. Will Fox

    The mom of a kid in my class drove one of these `63’s–hers was nocturn blue (deep dark blue) with this same interior and even more loaded! Hers had power vent wings and door locks, but no 8-lugs.

    Like 3
    • Big BillMember

      Top dog motor under that hood back in 63 was 370 horse 421. Not sure but a special-order engine would have been one of the 421 super duty motors ranging from 390 to 405 and 410 horse. Might not have been available in the wagon and only the Catalina. But the 370 horse 421 definitely was available in this model. Even with a 4 spd on the floor!!! Pontiac built 110,316 Bonneville’s in 63. Of those 5,156 were wagons. 1,819 Bonneville’s had manual transmissions. My money is on some of those were the Bonneville wagons.

      Like 1
  3. 4spdBernie 4spdBernie

    Nothing better than the wide-open throttle sound of well-tuned 1963 Pontiac Tri-Power!

    Like 5
    • MattR

      I really enjoyed that. Thank you Bernie.

      Like 0
  4. Maggy

    Used to get 8 lug aluminum Pontiac brake drums relined for my buddy’s dad’s 63 gp..Never cared for them 8 lug wheels. Be a really cool car with a 4 speed manual not a slim Jim 4 speed hydramatic.

    Like 2
  5. Doone

    As I remember the tri pot in the Bonneville for 63 was 333 hp, and the automatic with 4 barrel was 303 hp.
    They were really nice cars, my old man had one, a drop top white with a black top and black morrokide interior, with the reverberator rear speaker.

    Like 2
    • Doone

      also appears to be missing trim cages around the taillight lenses

      Like 0
      • GHRMember

        Done, the Bonneville Station Wagons did not have “trim cages”. The “ribs” were molded in the actual lens.

        Like 2
      • Doone

        Thank you for correcting me about the tailight trim.

        Like 2
  6. Frank R

    wow. that car brings back so many memories. My whole life was in a car just like it. Big tank got through everything. Never got stuck in snow or break down. Absolutely love it.

    Like 1
    • Glenn SchwassMember

      Nice to see a station wagon and all the other Pontiacs there. Need more pics of the Caddy too.

      Like 1
  7. jimjim

    For those who have experienced one, how does the tri-power sound? The boys on Roadkill should do a show on getting this running and driving it to my place in Georgia. . .

    Like 1
  8. Mountainwoodie

    Top of the line wagon but why isnt it running? What does the seller know about that? Bidding to almost 8K already and we dont know if it starts or whats wrong with it? Impressive.
    The write up would make a Pontiac Ad man blush it was so well done.

    So “Doesnt appear to have run under its own power”, why?

    Being in such good shape all around ( though for some reason I can’t enlarge the pictures when I click on them), and it seems to be sinking into the ground in some pix, a little on its history and why it looks so good but doesn’t run would help

    Like 6
    • GHR (Seller)Member

      I bought it in Denver in 2000. Drove it to Phoenix and had the motor and transmission rebuilt. I added the 8 lug wheels and bought a rebuilt steering wheel. The bodywork and paint was done in 2003. Ran it in the 2009 “Route 66 Fun Run”. It won best car and trailer, towing a 1965 Airstream. It has not run in 4 years. I drove it to its current location then.
      It was stored undercover before that. It would need what a typical Arizona old car would need. New battery, tires, ignition wires, tune up, new fuel, etc. Then drive it anywhere.
      Mechanically sound

      Like 5
      • Duane

        Hi, I owned an identical car in Denver in the 1970’s maybe 80’s, can’t remember exact dates. I have to wonder if this could be the same one??

        Like 1
      • Wally Falco

        Boy, I am in the area and would like to see it. Is that possible?

        Like 1
      • Joshua MortensenStaff

        Route 66 Fun Run

        Like 1
      • Joshua MortensenStaff

        Route 66 Fun Run Award

        Like 1
  9. GHRMember
  10. tberd62

    Too bad it sat in the desert sun for so long. I would image the dash pad replacement would set you back $3-4K in parts and labor. Very complicated dash. Not to mention the rubber seals….

    Like 0
    • Graham H. RobinsMember

      You can buy a glue on dash cap for less than $200.00.

      Like 2
  11. Bick Banter

    They put Kennedy’s body in the ambulance version of this to go from Air Force 1 to the autopsy at Bethesda. Or did they…

    Like 1
  12. Rmander45!Member

    Is the vehicle available for viewing? Have a colleague in Scottsdale that I’d like to have look at it for me if that’s possible. How far is it from there?

    Like 1
  13. Ivan

    If I had the proper funds/money and place with plenty of room do a complete off the frame restoration, rebuild, back to originality when it was brand new or even much more better than brand new and add it to my collection. I would buy it with in a heartbeat 💓 💗.

    Like 1
  14. Ivan

    If I had the proper funds/money and place with plenty of room do a complete off the frame restoration, rebuild, back to originality when it was brand new or even much more better than brand new and add it to my collection. I would buy it with in a heartbeat 💓 💗.

    *Is it a 9 passenger?
    *Is the front bench seat fully powered?

    If I brought that Ride brand new it would have all the bells 🔔 and whistles. The entire works. The whole enchilada.

    Now that’s how I would by a ride like that Pontiac Bonneville, Granville or Parisienne Wagon.

    I would even order it as a Wide Trac

    Now that’s the only way to do it, no half stepping but giant, gargantuan titan steps…

    Like 0
  15. GHRMember

    Duane, this is how it looked when I bought it – Is this yours?

    Like 0
  16. Bruce Bethel

    I had one like this 30 years ago. It had every option except a 4 speed. Might have to buy this one. I built a 1965 Tempest Custom wagon years later with a Ram Air 3 and a Turbo 400 from a 1970 Judge. Real quick sleeper.

    Like 0
  17. LTHDDS

    The long wheelbase 1963 Pontiacs, Bonnevilles and Star Chiefs, had four speed Hydramatics, not the dreadful three speed Roto-Hydramatics found in the shorter wheelbase Catalinas, Grand Prix and Venturas. The standard four barrel 389 had 303 hp. The optional four barrel engine had 333 hp. The two engine options with three twos had either 318 hp or the hottest one 348hp.

    Like 3
  18. Robert AndersonMember

    How much was the car driven between 2009 and 4 years ago when you parked it?

    Like 0
    • GHRMember

      Robert Anderson. It was not driven much. It was stored in a garage or under cover in a seasonal home in Arizona. Only driven to local car shows.

      Like 0

    I’m guessing the “window sticker” is a repro, or recently made up

    Dumb question… why park and neglect a show winner?

    Like 0
    • GHRMember

      Corvairwild. For a fee, the Pontiac Historic Society will send you all information, including a reproduction window sticker, according to the VIN number.
      It is a good solid, straight, rust free driver. The Car and Trailer combination won the award.

      Like 0

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