Survivor Safari: 1975 Pontiac Catalina Wagon

The seller says it simply and says it best: wagons are cool. Nothing more needs to be said, especially when the wagon in question is a survivor-grade 1975 Pontiac Catalina Safari wagon. The Pontiac resides in Ormond Beach, Florida, where it’s apparently been for quite some time as the seller purchased it from the original owner’s estate. The primary use for the Catalina prior to his ownership was to drive to Publix and the local golf course, and it certainly looks like the kind of retiree ride that hides in a Florida garage for years in bone-stock condition before the estate is eventually settled. Find the Safari wagon here on eBay with bidding at $6,000 and no reserve.

Roof racks, wraparound glass, and clamshell tailgates are three words you generally don’t hear anymore when describing a modern day production car, that’s truly a shame. The era of big station wagons from the Big 3 was a glorious time, with each manufacturer churning out a land yacht of a long roof filled with acres of glass and either seating area or storage space. This Pontiac doesn’t have the third row of seats, so there was always plenty of room for groceries from a weekly Publix run. The body does have some rust in multiple places, which the seller details with numerous pictures in the listing.

The interior is a definite highlight, and the aforementioned rust issues seem to be just an issue of time and exposure rather than prolonged neglect and/or poorly repaired accident damage. An interior like this suggests the Catalina was definitely loved by its previous owners, just not necessarily kept as a museum piece based on the rust in the panel beneath the windshield, in the doors, and in the lower rear sills. The seats appear to be in immaculate condition, and while all the A/C components are still present and accounted for, it doesn’t function at the moment. The powered tailgate still works, and the Catalina was optioned with power mirrors, glovebox light, electric clock, and AM/FM radio.

The big 400 V8 is said to fire up with ease and idle nicely even when cold, and the seller has refreshed the cooling system, which includes a new radiator. The only other tweaks he’s made are Koni dampers and GTO hubcaps, and the listing notes the replacement shocks help the wagon handle and steer better than you’d expect for such a large car. The rust issues are to the point that they’re only going to get worse, so the next owner will want to address the watch areas sooner than later, but this Safari wagon seems like a worthy candidate for continued preservation – and given the active bidding, a whole mess of potential buyers seem to agree.

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Comments

  1. Big_Fun Member

    Build sheet shows it has the 400 with the a 4bbl, so itcshould do a little better in the milage department- not that it matters too much. I just feel that a 2bbl chokes an engine.
    I can just see the selling dealer in the lower left hand corner; Wright Motors in Evansville, IN. 825 miles from Ormond Beach, FL. So, the rust is from the wonderdul salt air?
    Even though the hubcaps are appropriate for this literal grocery getter, I prefer the Pontiac rally wheels.

    Like 7
    • Moparman Member

      Came here to say that it needs a set of Rally II’s, LOL!! GLWTA!! :-)

      Like 4
  2. MB

    Hmmmm…a lifetime in humid Florida and at least some time in Ormond by the beach??

    Yeah…that surface rust can’t be all there is. On the plus side I can’t believe there is not more surface rust.

    Like 2
  3. mike

    No it’s not optioned with power mirrors. It’s a manual remote control mirror.

  4. local_sheriff

    Well, I spotted this longroof on EB a couple days back too, but even as much as I like clamshell wagons current bidding is above what it’s worth. Have a closer look at the bottom of the doors and around its greenhouse moldings – this one will need extensive work.

    Really sad it has been outside for so long, cause it gives an impression it was a cared-for wagon which now has become quite unusual…

    Like 3
  5. Luke Fitzgerald

    Looks like 64 centre caps…. – bought once for cents on the dollar. unbelievable

  6. Terry J

    Had that exact car (color and all) back in the late 80’s. Nice big driver. Winter, cold, snowy, icy. Carefully pulled up to a stop sign at a T in the street. Watched the 4×4 coming from my left, thinking “He’s driving way too fast”. Then he hit his turn signal. Oh crap I thought. The rest was like in slow motion. His front wheels turned but the truck didn’t. T-boned my big wagon in the passenger door area right behind me. Hard. That was the end of another ’70s long roof. :-) Terry J

    Like 2
  7. john p

    Gaaghhhhhhh!!! 🤨 all that rust in bad places… so crappy.. very normal for coastal cars sadly..

    Like 1
  8. 455RAIV

    John Wayne’s car of Choice – A Classic 455 Pontiac Station Wagon with Texas Long Horn’s on the Front – He was 6 ft. 5 liked lots of room :)

  9. Steve Clinton

    If you wait long enough the car will develop a nice ‘patina’. (wink)

    Like 1
  10. S

    This is bringing back memories. In the early 90s my sister’s boyfriend drove a Pontiac Safari wagon just like this. It even had a burgundy vinyl interior like this. His had a 455 though. It had so many things wrong with it and we just laughed about it. The rear window was stuck up in the roof so when it rained the cargo area got wet. The floor on the passenger side in the rear had rusted through so there was a piece of wood covering the hole in the floor. The front seat belts were stuck in the retractors so you couldn’t wear the seat belts. The heater was stuck on so it was always hot in the car. But he drove it like he was crazy! One time he was on the left shoulder of a highway racing a Trans Am that was on the right shoulder – during rush hour traffic! Even in a wagon, the 455 had some decent power. He didn’t care what happened to it so he beat the crap out of it. But it kept going for years! I think the transmission finally went out in it, and that was the end of it, but it was almost 20 years old by then.

    Like 1
  11. K. R. V. Member

    Oh boy that’s a big auto! I was very surprised to hear that Koni shocks had been installed! I thought I was the only one to add them in big American cars! I once had a 1969 LeMans Safari Sports Wagon, I bought off a Sgt in my Company I was stationed in at Ft. Carson CO, back in 74. He came down on levy for overseas duty and didn’t want the big American wagon in Germany. So I got a great deal. But it did have just over 100,000 miles, because he drove it for 5 years all over the Country! Twice a year he and his family would take off with the families 26’ travel trailer, a 5,800 lbs trailer with his wife and two kids! But the car was spec for it with a 350/4brl TH 400, with factory towing package, that included hitch, wiring and 3:42 posi rear. Plus HD disk brakes in front and HD cooling and suspension with rear sway bar. Just before I bought it I was T-Boned in my ratty but great running 69 GTO! That totaled my car! So when he offered me his wagon? I jumped on it! My friends and I spent a weekend at the Post Garage, a huge 20 bay facility with lifts Jin each bay, a complete machine shop and body shop where active duty personnel could go. You would hand the Sgt in charge your Mil ID, then he/she would hand you a key ring with numbered brass chips on it, that you hand them one for whatever tool, machine or something they had to help you, including machinists and mechanics to advise. We brought both my wreaked GTO and new wagon in for a transformation. I rnddd up with the coolest wagon I ever had! I swapped the whole front clip over the wagon, plus front bucket seats an console! Plus the 409/4 brl an TH 400 I mention above. We also added MOOG Cargo Coil rear springs, plus the front springs for a full sized wagon like the above Catalina, along with HD Adj KONI shocks, adjusted to almost max dampening! I also added the Rally Wheels from the GTO, that were at least 1/2” wider, to accommodate the huge tires I found used nearby. A like new set of the largest 14” tires I could find. A set of tires off a Dodge 1/2 ton truck. Firestone Town&Country H70-14 rears Mud&Snow, plus Firestone H70-14 rear. I used the M&S rears due to all the snow that was coming in a month or two, that with the posi rear proved almost unstoppable with added sandbags in the rear! Tires back then, like we all know we’re very limited compared to the tires available today. But that wagon was a Blast to drive! Every bit as quick as my GTO was, plus rode and absorbed big bumps with ease!

  12. John Chomiak

    My dad used to have a 1969 Catalina Wagon, loved that style…..

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