Solid Wagon: 1962 Pontiac Bonneville Safari

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Several vehicle types remain strong performers in the classic market, and Station Wagons fall into that category. They offer enormous versatility, and with no domestic models scheduled for production, they remain a viable alternative to new imports. This 1962 Pontiac Bonneville Safari is an excellent example of the breed. It isn’t perfect, but it is a rock-solid turnkey proposition the new owner can drive and enjoy immediately. Its original V8 should provide enough power to satisfy most owners. The buyer could choose between restoration or preservation, but it will be fascinating to discover which path you would follow.

The seller sends mixed messages with this Bonneville. They emphasize its originality before revealing it underwent a color change in the 1970s. It rolled off the line wearing Silverleaf Green, but the existing Emerald Green is also attractive. I prefer originality, and with the repaint not extending into areas like the door jambs, returning the Safari to its factory form would be straightforward. There are enough minor marks and imperfections to justify a cosmetic refresh, providing the perfect opportunity to adopt that strategy. The panels are straight, and there is no evidence or mention of rust. The Wagon is in a dry location, so there is a good chance it is structurally sound. The trim and glass look excellent for their age, and this Pontiac wins points from me due to the spotless 8-lug wheels.

One aspect of this Safari requiring plenty of TLC is its interior. It is serviceable in its current form, but its presentation and condition carry the hallmarks of a classic that has experienced UV exposure. The dashpad has cracked, and the tri-tone seatcovers exhibit wear and splits that appear beyond repair. The carpet has faded, and some of the door cards are warped. A brief online search failed to uncover complete trim kits for the ’62 Safari, but persistence by the winning bidder might yield better results. There are no visible aftermarket additions, and while it isn’t dripping with factory options, the new owner will appreciate the power seat, power rear window, and AM radio.

It would be fair to describe this Pontiac as a muscle Wagon because its numbers-matching 389ci V8 produces 303hp and 425 ft/lbs of torque. That is enough to satisfy most buyers, and with the first owner selecting a three-speed automatic transmission and power assistance for the steering and brakes, every aspect of the driving experience promises to be effortless. Potential buyers can consider this Safari a turnkey proposition. The seller indicates that its engine springs to life as soon as they hit the key. It runs perfectly, with no smoke or odd noises. The transmission is smooth, and the Bonneville rolls on new tires. Flying in and driving home is a realistic option many may find irresistible.

Pontiac sold 101,753 examples of the Bonneville across all body types in 1962, but only 4,527 buyers selected the Safari Wagon. That makes this a relatively rare beast worthy of saving. The seller listed this ’62 Safari here on eBay in Fruita, Colorado. Fourteen bids have pushed the price beyond the reserve to $15,300. It is only hours away from finding a new home, and it would be interesting to learn if the new owner will preserve or restore this classic. Reinstating its original paint shade and refreshing the interior would make it “pop,” but would that be your strategy? More importantly, are you tempted to throw your hat into the ring by submitting a bid?

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Comments

  1. Kenneth Carney

    Looks a bit hearsey to me, but I still like it. Sounds as though it needs a set of manifold gaskets but other than that, it runs fine. Also dig the spotlight on the driver’s side of the car. That Emerald Green paint looks
    really nice too. Why spend $100K for
    a new pickup or SUV when you can
    Have this for a mere $20K. And flying
    in and driving it home makes it all so
    much the better. Did I say I want this
    car?

    Like 13
    • Harvey HarveyMember

      Nice enough car. I wouldn’t compare this to a new vehicle, this is great for cruise night or limited use. No air, so so slim Jim transmission, crank up windows. Probably needs Premium and lots of it! Don’t know about the $100,000. I just priced several new F150s @ $60,000. I love to drive my 49 Flathead for fun, but let’s face it I take my Telluride when it’s any distance.

      Like 4
  2. HoA HoAMember

    Funny, not ha-ha funny tho, how time can change the perception of things, in this case, a Poncho wagon. Folks, this was the car nobody ever gave a 2nd look to. It was the workhorse of the family, often neglected, or rusted, and eventually, that motor was donated for that V8 Tempest project Johnny B had going on down the block. The ones that escaped that fate, were destroyed in demo derbies, none survived. Fast forward to today, take that same car, slap a set of GP wheels on, VOILA! Instant hit. I’ll admit, those wheels made any Poncho look good, I just never thought I’d see them on a mere station wagon. Very nice car, and who knows who drove a Pontiac wagon on vintage TV? Steve Douglas( Fred MacMurray) initially drove a Chevy, but drove a blue ’67 Pontiac wagon later, the sponsor for the show..

    Like 8
    • Will Fox

      Howard, Mr. Douglas also had a blue `66 Safari. And let’s not forget Brian Keith’s `67 Safari on ‘Family Afair”. I have to agree with the author about the color change on this. I’m a die-hard stickler for factory correctness, and would repaint this the silver green it was built with. (the teal color is a clash with the silvery green interior. The factory would never have done that) But otherwise, I’d get a set of period-correct thin whitewalls, new carpet, and repair the door cards. `62 model Bonneville wagons did not survive in any great numbers, and this one is close enough to factory stock to continue that .These wagons catch more eyes these days by us Boomers because they immediately take us back to our youth. 3rd seat anyone?

      Like 8
    • Gary Smothers

      Steve Douglas drove Pontiac Wagons from 1965 to 70 as did Brian Keith on Family Affair

      Like 1
  3. 7TTORINO

    Made a couple of KY/PA round trips in ours back in the day. Had the rear facing back seat all to myself. Made my siblings car sick!

    Like 7
  4. Kenneth Carney

    Didn’t see these all that much. Instead, we saw more Catalina wagons than anything else. And yes, here in Florida, you can sell a 20 year
    old SUV or pickup for the low low price of $35K! That’s what a salesman wanted to charge me for an
    ’07 Ford Sport Trac. The guy wanted
    $10K down and $650 a month for 60
    months! New trucks? Even worse than that. There’s a Ford dealer that’s
    selling new F-150s for $110K– and that’s supposedly for a stripper! That’s what appeals to me about this
    wagon. $20K beats $110K any day.
    Here, used anything in any condition
    is gold. Makes me wanna move to
    somewhere cheaper.

    Like 7
    • ablediver

      Kenneth Carney, I can understand the frustration of dealing with new and used vehicle dealers in Florida. It’s like a different planet here. I’ve had numerous private parties approach me about selling my vintage Broncos. As far as purchasing a new vehicle, I live 30 miles outside of a major metropolitan area in Florida with plenty of dealers. I finally ended up getting a very good deal on the ol’ interweb over 200 miles away in So. Carolina. The dealer was in a town of 1300 people surrounded by cottonfields. Go Figure !!

      Like 1
  5. John Phillips

    Looks like it has a generator. I thought all GMs went to alternators by 1962.

    Like 1
    • Ablediver

      My brother had a 62′ 389 with a generator. I remember the size of that torpedo

      Like 0
    • Jerry Casto

      1963 for GM alternators, except Corvair, which was 1965.

      Like 0
    • HoA HoAMember

      What was comical, after the switch to alternators, I believe the gauge or warning light still said generator for ’63, and changed to “battery” for ’64. It was for folks like my old man that didn’t embrace technology well.

      Like 0
  6. Nelson C

    Roll down the windows kids, we’re going for a ride!

    Like 9
  7. Wademo

    This Poncho is just screaming to be a resto-mod! Very nice condition to start from.

    Like 2
  8. 4501 Safari

    8-Lugs are 1964 editions and transmission should be the 4-speed Hydramatic 315 for a Bonneville/Star Chief. Rear glass duster scoops are a nice option. Reupholstery will cost if done accurately in the 3-tone. Real;;y needs the roof rack to look appropriate. Rear doors open almost 90 degrees and glass rolls ALL the way down. Nice car. I bet Florida can make this rust in a year so I hope it goes somewhere without excessive humidity and a cozy garage.

    Like 6
  9. Mark Clapp

    Now I do not have the imagination some of these designers have but I would revamp the front a little, remove all the trim, black this thing out, make room under the wells for some meat, pro mod the drive train, completely redesign the interior, drop it just a little for the stance, darken the glass, add AC and a new house cost later you got a head turner!

    Like 0
  10. ablediver

    My older brother had a 62′ wagon (non-Safari) with a 389. I learned how to drive on that beast. He had put a Cherry-Bomb , a glass-pack on it , and he would chuck his 9’6 surfboard in the back, with the skeg out the back window. Surfer cool for 1970, I guess. He ended up T-boning a Haus-Frau and that was the end of that car.

    Like 1
  11. Timothy Hanson

    It’s funny how some people can’t handle a car without air conditioning or electric windows and locks. I have roll up windows and no cruise control. Works fine and gets me everywhere I need to go.

    Like 3
  12. Joe Haska

    I like this car, but where is it? The cars in the background are the ones I want to see.

    Like 0
    • Jake

      Read the article.

      Like 0
  13. Joe Haska

    Thanks Jake, I was sort of joking, but now I see it and as a Colo native , I know where Fruita CO is its not very big place.

    Like 2
  14. Mark P

    Aren’t those wheels and the brake drums fairly special? Nobody mentioned them.

    Like 1

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