Junkyard Find: 1988 Pontiac 6000 Safari

In our most recent junkyard adventure, we spotted some pretty interesting finds, but of all the cars we looked at this one was strangely the most fascinating. There was a time when family wagons with rear-facing jump seats and faux woodgrain like this were a common sight everywhere. Those days are long gone and wagons like this have since been replaced by massive SUVs. We actually spotted this Pontiac while we were looking at a Super Beetle, but its woodgrain and ’80s style somehow managed to catch our attention more than the stripped-out Bug.

Growing up in the ’90s, I have a soft spot for cars like this. It was an interesting time in the automotive world, with American manufacturers struggling to hold their ground against foreign imports. Sure, it isn’t a massive family wagon of the ’60s, but Pontiac sure tried to capture some of what made those big wagons so popular. The outside sports that classic faux wood panel look and the interior has that overly plush look to it.

Speaking of the interior, this one is in surprisingly nice condition for a junkyard find. It’s dirty but in really good shape. I think that was the part that surprised me the most, as I’ve looked at a number of GM products from this era and usually the plastics and upholstery are disintegrating. I also love that it still featured a rear-facing jumpseat, a feature that I’m sure many of you remember from your youth. By the time this wagon was built, safety had become a major concern for the auto industry, so rear jumpseats had become a rare optional feature (which was probably for the best).

Fuel efficiency had also become a big concern for most buyers, so you won’t find a massive V8 under this Pontiac’s hood. No, you’ll find a 2.8 liter V6 with just 130 horsepower. It definitely won’t smoke the tires, but these engines did prove to be quite durable and were comparable to what most of Pontiac’s competitors had to offer. It’s a smooth-running engine and was powerful enough to haul the whole family where ever you need to go. For those that needed more performance, there was an optional STE model with a higher output engine and you could even get a Muncie 5-speed manual!

I know, it isn’t as exciting as finding a muscle car, but it’s always fun to take a look at the kind of vehicles that were once mundane family haulers that are now all but gone. You never know, one day cars like this Pontiac might just be worth big money with those of us that grew up riding around in them. It will be interesting to see what happens. Either way, I hope this one can provide parts to keep another in tip-top shape! So, do you have happy memories of going on family vacation in a Pontiac Safari like this one?

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Comments

  1. Jon Green

    This was called a “Ghouly” in Detroit back in the day…

    Like 2
    • Hoss

      Today it’s called ” Junk “.

      Like 21
    • SubGothius

      For those who don’t get it:

      6000LE looks like GOOOLE

  2. gbvette62

    I had two of the Chevy twins to the 6000 wagon, 85 and 88 Celebrity wagons. I worked for a company that provided me with a new car, every three years. I really liked the STE, but we had a cap on what we could spend, and the STE exceeded it, so the Celebrity Eurosport had to suffice.

    From what I remember, the carbureted 83-84 STE’s had about 25 more horsepower than the regular 6000’s, but by 88 there was only a 5 hp difference between the base 6000’s 2.8 MFI V6 and the STE’s 3.1 MFI V6. Oh, and I believe the 6000 used a Getrag 5 speed, not a Muncie.

    I had a friend who had a 5 speed, 4 door, STE and it was a really nice performance sedan, at least for a car from the 80’s.

    Like 5
    • Steve Clinton

      I had an ’85 Celebrity Eurosport wagon in Charcoal Gray. It was the only car I have ever ordered from the factory. I got plenty of compliments on it and I really liked it. The only mistake I made was forgetting to order bucket seats, so it came with a bench seat, which I hated.

      Like 1
  3. Spudoo

    Too bad this one’s at a junkyard, so fantasies aside, it’s gone. It looks like it was in ok shape before it wound up there. Another couple of years and they could have sold it for much more than scrap value. Oh well, that’s a shame.

    Like 2
  4. Raymond

    An STE and a Celebrity Eurothing didnt equate as the same thing, pontiac felt solid, handled tight, chevy always felt like it was looking tor a place to break down, which it did, often…

    Like 3
    • Stevieg Member

      Mechanically, the Pontiac 6000 & Chevy Celebrity were the same car. If one broke down frequently, so did the other.

  5. Dave

    Why are we looking at this car?

    Like 11
    • Lothar... of the Hill People

      Dave-

      We’re looking at this car because some of us grew up riding around in cars like this. I like the variety. Not every featured car has to be a 6K mile Grand National or a ’68 Mustang… or valuable. Sometimes it’s just about memories of days long past.

      ~Lothar

      Like 21
    • Frank

      Exactly!

      Like 5
  6. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Hey Josh, when is the log in problem going to get fixed? Very frustrating on this end as a member. Also the click here to reply
    when a new comment e mail comes up would be nice to see working again. I would like to thumb up some comments but not worth the trouble to find the post. Take care, Mike.

    Like 1
    • Howard A Member

      Hey Mike, I’ve complained about the “log in” problem for a long time. A comment on early access always kicks me out, and sometimes, mid-comment on regular posts, kicks me out too, and on a long comment, that’s a PITA to start over. Also, the staff claimed it was on my end, but no other site does that.
      Far as this POS, good place for it. Not even worth starting a separate comment.

      Like 4
  7. nycbjr Member

    I like the grand Prix 4 door next to it too.. very 90’s Pontiac

  8. W72WW3

    There was NEVER a STE wagon. The S/E was available, and with its monochrome paint and wheels, was a very sharp looking car@

    Like 3
  9. Burt

    Why? Why? These were hard to keep running in their day, what makes you think you could do better now?

    Like 1
  10. Steve Clinton

    “Hey Clem, lookie here! It’s one of them station wagons that’s worth lots of money seein’ as they don’t make ’em anymore!”

    Like 2
    • DON

      Funny you say that , two years ago I tried to but an Olds Intrigue from a guy to make an Enduro car. It was sitting in his driveway with two flat tires and pine needles all over it. He told me it needed two sensors. He told me he wanted a grand because they dont make Oldsmobiles anymore ! Its still sitting in the same spot

      Like 4
  11. S

    This is an interesting find. You’re right it doesn’t look that bad. I wonder why it wound up there? How many miles were on it? Sometimes people junk cars just because they’re old and they can’t re-sell them, not because there’s anything really wrong with them. It appears to have some nice options like power windows and seats. The 2.8 w/fuel injection should at least be adequate. My friend’s mom had an 84 Celebrity wagon. It had the all vinyl interior – this is much nicer. I always thought these smaller GM wagons were a good size car – not too big while still being able to haul stuff. The wood grain adds some visual interest. What I like is it has all gauges, not idiot lights. Looks like oil pressure, temperature, voltmeter, possibly a tachometer.

    Like 4
  12. theGasHole

    I had the Buick twin of this, the Century wagon, for a bit back in 2005. Black with red interior, front buckets, and even a sunroof. Pretty sharp little wagon, especially with the all digital dash. My use for owning it quickly ended and I sold it and haven’t had a wagon since…until today when I picked up a 78 Mercury Bobcat wagon. While these will never be worth much, they are still fun to bang around town with, and will haul a surprisingly large amount of stuff.

    Like 3
  13. Patrick Anderson

    This is exactly where it belongs.

  14. Howard R

    This car is Exactly where it belongs.

  15. HR

    The junkyard is the best place for it. Let it die.

    Like 2
  16. JB

    JOSH! What the ever lasting H is this POS on barn finds for? This is just crap, and wasting space on this garbage is exactly why MANY will NEVER join barn finds! Now all you whiny butts can now speak up and voice you 4% opinion about how your mom had one or some other happy horse s###.

    • Howard A Member

      Go back to Facebook, we like it here regardless of what is featured.

      Like 6
      • theGasHole

        Personally I like seeing this type of stuff. I can only see so many ‘vettes, mustangs, and rusty mopars before it gets redundant and boring.

        Like 5
  17. V12MECH

    Junk.

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