Once upon a time in the 1970s, most moms hauled their kids around, not in silver silvermist combover pseudo-lux conveyances, but in large, ornate and oftentimes wood-sided station wagons. V8, rear wheel driven, glorious station wagons.
The 1971-76 GM ‘clamshell’ station wagons were the biggest around when they debuted in Autumn 1970.
So called due to their ‘disappearing’ tailgate and rear window glass, they were available in the expected Chevy, Pontiac, Olds and Buick versions. And as usual, were available in higher-trimmed versions with Di-Noc woodgrain appliques along the sides, further accentuating their road-going Chris-Craft image.
And they, along with their Big Three brethren, were seen on countless interstates, grocery store parking lots, marinas and schoolyards. Grand Safaris. Sport Suburbans. Town & Countrys. Colony Parks. To know them was to know suburbia. To know middle class freedom and peace.
Every car had a specific purpose. Trucks were for hauling. Vans were for hauling people, if they had windows, and stuff out of the rain, if they were a panel job. Sedans were for Dad. Wagons were for Mom. And personal luxury coupes were for swinging singles who wanted to stand out a little-or maybe just a middle manager who wanted a little more cosseting on the way home from the office. Luxury cars were for his boss.
Yep, none of that ‘I must have a car that can do everything, albeit poorly, instead of one thing very, very well.’ You know, crossovers. But I digress. Let’s take a closer look at this Pontiac. Pontiac. I still can’t believe they don’t make them anymore…
I first saw today’s featured car around five years ago on the electronic bay. A ’75 model, it was the next to the last year for the truly large Pontiac station wagon. I was a little surprised to see the lower-level Catalina wagon with woodgrain.
Though it was technically available, you generally saw the Catalina with painted sides and the full-on lux Grand Safari, with its Bonneville grille and quad rectangular headlights, with the simulated tree trim. But you could get a slick-side Grand Safari too. There was so much more appearance and dress-up items on cars back then.
At any rate, the woodgrain flanks contrasted nicely with the deep metallic red paint and matching red Morrokide (Pontiac’s name for vinyl) interior.
These also boasted excellent glass area. Dig those wraparound quarter windows! High style and great visibility, all in one Broughamtastic conveyance.
Yes, that is a seriously RED interior.
This color is not screwing around. We spend most of our time inside our cars, so why are there more OUTSIDE colors than INSIDE colors?
I guess someone wanted most of the look of the top Pontiac wagon, but without the higher cost of it. These wagons had a forward-facing third-row seat too. The far side of the middle bench folded up and out for access to the third row as well.
The old eBay auction link is still accessible (1975 Pontiac Catalina Safari) and more recently it turned up again on CL for a far higher price. Seems to be a common thread these days. Someone gets a car cheap, thinks he can triple his money, doesn’t back down, then the car haunts the online classifieds for the next fifteen years. Oh well!