Rare Safari: 1957 Pontiac Star Chief Safari

Josh MortensenBy Josh Mortensen

When we came across this 1957 Pontiac Star Chief Custom Safari 2 door on the Los Angeles Craigslist one word came to mind, “Awesome”. That’s really the best way to describe this 2 door wagon, but when we saw the seller’s asking price we started to wonder if it was that awesome. After sitting in a barn for years, this survivor is back on the road and ready to be enjoyed, but only if you have $32,500 to spend. These cars are very rare and this one is in great shape, so perhaps it’s worth the money.

As you can see, this car looks great. It shows its age nicely, with a very nice patina and great chrome work. The car has spent its entire life in California and is a black plate car. The seller claims the floors and frame are solid, but that the interior needs some attention. The exterior of the car looks to be rust free, but we would check the underside for rust just in case.

The seller only included one photo of the interior, but from what we can see here it looks good. We aren’t sure what areas are in need of attention, but hopefully it’s nothing serious. We wish the seller had included photos of the engine bay, so we could see what condition the engine is in. They claim it’s the original matching numbers 347 cui V8 and that it runs and drives great. They say it has been tuned up and that the transmission has been rebuilt.

Pontiac only built 9,094 of these 2 door Safaris in the three years of production, while Chevrolet built more than double that number of Nomads, making this one of the rarest American wagons built. We love the styling of these cars and could be one of the best looking wagons. This one even looks good in its original Lime Fire Green with Sea Crest Green insert. The paint looks to be the original, but could be an older respray. We would go over this car very carefully, especially given the seller’s asking price

This car isn’t perfect, but it looks good for its age and could be driven as is. But that leaves the question as to whether this car is worth $32,500? These cars are very rare and perfect ones are selling for twice that much at auction, but that’s for a perfect car and this one isn’t. After doing some research, we found out that the car had been listed on eBay and only made it to $24,100. Is the seller dreaming or is this car really worth this kind of money?

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Comments

  1. DRV

    http://bringatrailer.com/2012/04/10/nomad-sibling-1957-pontiac-safari-survivor/
    I thought I saw this before. A flip – even uses some of the same pictures.




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  2. JP

    I think the seller is dreaming. Great find, but as you point out, not perfect. They should have taken the 24k…




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  3. J. Pickett

    I’d much rather have it than a Nomad, up to here with tri 5 chevies. Pontiac was an upmarket car. bigger engine, Hydromatic, rather than powerslide. But 33 g’s he’s nuts.




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  4. Charles

    primer on the left quarter – try matching that paint. The factory brochure shows the insert color also on the roof. Liftgate/Tailgate/cargo area needs alot of work, budget $10K+ for this (don’t ask me how I know). The ’57 is very rare, twice as nice as the Nomad, and 10 times more expensive to restore.




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  5. John

    Have seen this at least a couple of times on ebay. So it has been marketed to the whole world and no one else agreed with the seller’s valuations. Love these cars, but hate overpriced cars by sellers with dollar signs in their eyes . . .




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  6. Horse Radish

    definitively dreaming,

    I feel sorry for the car, it deserves better…….




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  7. scot c

    ~ unusual tin indian. i love wagons & 2 doors even better. add half a ton of chrome, margarita & guacamole paint scheme, heck– how much for the senorita? (as i said earlier)




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  8. vince

    TO “JP”. A 62 CHEVY KINGSWOOD 4DR WAGON SOLD FOR 26K ON EBAY. IT WASNT AS CLEAN AS THIS PONTIAC. THIS IS A GOOD RESONABLE PRICE FOR THIS 57 PONTIAC…… I WENT TO KINGSPORT TN TO LOOK AT AT A 55 CHIEFTON PONTIAC WAGON THAT WAS 22K AND HAD RUST IN FLOORBOARDS….




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  9. stigshift

    That’s all the money and them some. Rare car, but not highly optioned. There’s a ’55 or 6 around here (Tampa Bay) in what appears to be rougher original shape, but with literally every option on it including A/C. I’d spend more for the rarer, better equipped car. But not 32.5K for either one.




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  10. Chuck Luebke

    seems like too many folks commenting in here have to put cans of pork and beans on layaway,, and still find fault with rust issues, color originality, etc…. no garage space, mean wifey, kid’s college tuition, too many projects, etc, etc

    Ed L.: i apologize if you thought i was calling you a sleeping skunk. It was merely a metaphor for not asking a genius for answers we with normal intellect could provide! You add a ton to this website, no disrespect intended or implied. Just a colloquialism where i live. My humble apology to you, sir.




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  11. Mike W H

    Once upon a time during the last peak of the collector craze, which timed with the height of bank malpractice that crashed the global economy, an original Safari in #2 condition would sell in the 99k range, maybe a 8-10% premium to similar Nomads.

    Ten years later, there might be the same crowd at Barrett Jackson, but the age range of buyers (Boomers) that desires these is getting older and tighter with their $.

    Did these fall 60% since then? Looks like it. I know I could never spend 90 k on one. But someone might spend 60. Looks like flip potential. Barring a major hidden rust issue.




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  12. W9BAG

    Back in 1977, a friend acquired one of these, same color scheme, from his Grandma, who bought it new. She was a fairly ” well heeled” lady, and the car had every available option available for the year, including clear, factory clear plastic seat covers, with leather underneath. It still smelled like new inside. A beautiful wagon.

    My friend was a local high school track star, and his future looked promising. Unfortunately, at 17, he was running a 100 meter dash, and collapsed at the finish line, dead, of a heart attack. He never really got to enjoy the car, but she sure was a beaut.




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