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Projects 56 Pontiac Safari Wagon.. should I?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by J.Fishbeck, Nov 22, 2011.

  1. Went at looked at this Safari, today. The engine's been replaced with a '57 347 V8, but it's spent. Machine shop said the heads weren't worth repairing. I don't know how bad it is, though! The owner has access to a 56 motor/trans, so I'd probably try and pick that up, too! The front floor pans need replacing, wondering if they're the same as the Chevy replacements. I know the Pontiac is 4" longer, with the extra length added from the cowl forward. The back glass hatch, has been repaired. The spare wheel well only has surface rust. I'm liking this thing





  2. Camaro Mike
    Joined: May 12, 2006
    Posts: 385

    Camaro Mike

    I've always had a wagon problem so I might not be the best one to comment. I know if I had the means and the space I would....
  3. marvbarrish
    Joined: Dec 23, 2007
    Posts: 207

    from SoCal

    Those are great cars! Depending on what you have to give for it. I'd jump on it.
  4. I like it too. I would get it if I could.

  5. Nomads are always a favorite of mine. But this Safari is calling my name. I need to search for floor pan replacements.

    What would I give for it.. that's always the issue, then comes space! It has the grill gaurd option, also!
  6. rattlesnakehoey
    Joined: Jun 4, 2008
    Posts: 131

    from Australia

    Oh yeah, do it. All the tri 5 chev repair panels fit. There is a 'Nomads' thread on here that has a cuppla great safari's.
  7. I have always wondered why they're not as popular as the Nomads. I love the dash in Pontiacs.. Oldsmobiles, too!
  8. Thanks, I will search that out!
  9. Are you kidding me???

    You actually have to ask a ridiculous question like this???

    There's nothing cooler than a Safari Wagon!!!!!!!

    Go for it.... or give me the guy's number!!!!
  10. grabrr
    Joined: Nov 9, 2010
    Posts: 129


    I wouldn't think twice, if you can get it, grab it!
  11. Goat for it!
  12. flamedabone
    Joined: Aug 3, 2001
    Posts: 4,973


    YES YES YES!!! BUY IT BUY IT BUY IT!!! Put in a nice 455 w/ automatic and drive that sucker.

  13. Well that's good to know.. it has resale value!

    A gentleman in Australia is interested, too!

    It's all there.. that's what got me! No time hunting down parts! Safari parts at that!
  14. scrap metal 48
    Joined: Sep 6, 2009
    Posts: 6,075

    scrap metal 48

    The Pontiacs still had the master cylinder under the floor and would make the floor pan different.. I'm sure you can improvise, though........
  15. A 700R4 w/ an adapter would be great! Ride-Clyde
  16. You're right, I thought they would be a little different. I've been around a friends 56 CDV.. the brakes set up is similar to the Cad?
  17. 40Standard
    Joined: Jul 30, 2005
    Posts: 5,867

    from Indy

    buy it. looks like a cool project
  18. Iron Dog
    Joined: Oct 28, 2011
    Posts: 267

    Iron Dog
    from Minnesota

    Would be no second thoughts here, my grandfather and dad were die-hard Poncho drivers. Had some great wagons in the 60's, including a 67 gold Executive my dad ordered from the factory. Gold outside and inside, with woodgrain. He let me pick out the steering wheel, but alas, no engine options. In my neck of the woods, a lot of great cars met their end at the County Fair demo derby, including a really nice 56 or 57 two-tone blue and white Safari wagon that I remember had power everything. My classmate bought it from his folks in the mid 60's, knocked the glass out, did whatever else was required, and ended its life in the second heat.
  19. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,136

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    I've always liked the Safari's, they don't quite have the same following as a Nomad..but that's ok, right? Dare to be different.
  20. Floors are not the same as 55-57 Chevy, the frame is completely different and nothing interchanges, but if you're not afraid to alter them the Chevy pans can be made to work. No one is making the Pontiac pans right now, they have been repro'ed in the past and if you dig they turn up now and then.

    Master bolts to the frame rail under the toe pan, heater is under the front seat, with a defroster right on the firewall where a booster would go for a normal firewall mount master; you can use a Chevy pedal and re-engineer the heater to convert it, it's just a pain in the ass.

    Motor mounts on 55-58 use a single front mount on the bottom of the timing cover, there is not a lot of room on the left side because the steering and starter motor are there and the left exhaust actually exits at the front, wrapping around and connecting on the right side of the engine. The crossover piece can be tough to find. Some guys when they do a late motor offset it to the right an inch or two to get room.

    It's not hard to put a GM 605 steering box on, which lets you change the column and gain some room on that side. Basically bolts up to the pitman arm and into one existing hole, you just add two new holes and you're done.

    Or you can just clip it, normally I'd say to avoid that but these have a kingpin front end and with all the issues to rebuild one and get it right it's just as easy to change it to something else.

    Rearend is acceptable for moderate use, if you need something stronger, the 70s Camaro 10-bolt is a drop-in, as are a few others.
  21. Mule Farmer
    Joined: Jun 1, 2005
    Posts: 1,508

    Mule Farmer
    from Holland MI

    I had a 56 chieften 2 door wagon, I loved that car, wish I had never sold it.

    Buy it
  22. koolkemp
    Joined: May 7, 2004
    Posts: 6,006


    Lol I was thinking the same thing, well except for the"give me the guy's number" line :D Hey man if its in the budget I wouldnt think twice...the only way it could be cooler was if it was a 55 :rolleyes: Very cool car....I think I can hear it calling your name!
  23. papajohn
    Joined: Nov 2, 2006
    Posts: 886


    I had a project one and sold it and shipped to Cali about 6 yrs ago. Wish i never sold it!

    Unless you are doing a full original restoration, dont worry about the motor or floorpans if you can make due with the Chevy pans and fit them well, only the pontiac purists will know.

    As for the motor, i would keep it all Pontiac. maybe 389 with three deuces.

    Dont wait too long or someone will snatch it up on you.
  24. Iron Dog
    Joined: Oct 28, 2011
    Posts: 267

    Iron Dog
    from Minnesota

    Someplace tucked away I have a squeeze toy we played with at my grandparent's house called "Chief Pontiac". My grandfather told me you could get one at the Pontiac dealer in the 50's. Does anyone else remember anything about the Chief?
  25. That would be a sweet ride with some work. I say get it. After all, what's another project added to the mix?
  26. 59KUSTOM
    Joined: Nov 16, 2007
    Posts: 912


    No Brainer! Unless the price is obscene. Wagon's don't get much cooler than this!
    Joined: Mar 30, 2010
    Posts: 3,253


    NO COMMENT.......just do it .Rustynewyorker done told ya all ya need to know.
  28. JJK
    Joined: Feb 9, 2005
    Posts: 889


    Baller!!!!!!!!!buy it fast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  29. Redz Rodz
    Joined: Oct 4, 2002
    Posts: 490

    Redz Rodz

    i'm diggin' that ride ,had the chance to buy one @ 20 years ago, wish i would have ,go get'er J.
  30. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 27,423

    Jalopy Joker

    coooooooooool -hope you got it, or at least put a deposit on it. recently saw a standard two door '55 Pontiac wagon in need of work on a trailer being towed by another driver condition ' 55 Poncho wagon-couldn't get a good angle to take a picture while on the freeway.

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