Pick of the Day: 1975 Pontiac Grand Safari heavy-hauler family wagon

Credit: Original article published by Classic Cars Journal.

Long before the days of sport utility vehicles and crossovers, American families met their cargo-hauling needs with station wagons.  One such example was Pontiac’s Grand Safari, sold between 1971 and 1976, that at 231 inches in length, was the longest (and heaviest) Pontiac ever sold. 

The Pick of the Day is a 1975 Pontiac Grand Safari in Hopedale, Massachusetts listed for sale by a dealer on ClassicCars.com


Finished in Roman Red over a red vinyl interior, its color scheme seems better suited to a Corvette than a station wagon, but the window sticker included with the listing illustrates that this wagon was configured to stand out in every way possible.  It came outfitted with such features as automatic level control, front and rear bumper guard, and a “heavy trailer group,” in addition to that eye-catching color. 

“There aren’t many of these wagons left in the world,” the seller states. 

The Grand Safari model debuted in 1971, incorporating the grille and interior trim of the Bonneville into a family hauler that shared a platform with the Buick Estate and the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser. 

Pontiac employed forward-thinking innovation with the Grand Safari to help consumers make use of its plentiful interior space.  Its rear suspension used multi-leaf springs instead of the coil springs of its sibling sedan models, which take up room that could be better used for cargo.  There were also storage compartments built into the rear floor.  Clearly, Pontiac’s engineers had maximum utility in mind.

But perhaps one of the most distinct of Grand Safari features was its revolutionary “clam shell” tailgate – more formally known in Pontiac marketing literature as the Glide-Away Tailgate.  When activated via either a button on the instrument panel or a keyhole at the rear of the car, the back window rolled up into the ceiling and the tailgate would drop, then retract into a compartment near the back bumper.  Thus, the cargo compartment could be accessed easily for loading larger items without restriction. 


Two engines were available for the Grand Safari in 1975:  A 400cid V8 or a 455cid V8 with a four-barrel carburetor.  This example, not surprisingly given its high optioning, came with the larger of the two.  It was sold new in Illinois at a sticker price of nearly $7,000 thanks to the supplementary add-ons.  And today, it comes with all of that and more. 

“Upgrades consist of a full Flowmaster dual exhaust, new 20” Coys wheels on the rear and 18” on the front,” the seller notes.  “All-new radial tires.”


At 90,000 original miles, this wagon is ready for duty on the car show circuit or as a weekend family hauler.  The listing also shows a CB radio installed in the dash, which could be perfect for entertaining the kids on a long-haul adventure. 

The dealer is asking $24,500 for the Safari of a lifetime. 

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day

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