Curbside Classic keeps generating spin-offs. The Outtakes were intended to be for the cars that didn’t make the cut for a full-on CC. But I (rightly) got grilled when I put the mile stone 1978 Mercury Marquis Brougham (the last of the Ford-Mercury land barges) into a CC Outtake. But I still have this problem of too many cars shot and not enough time. Ergo; a new category: CC Capsules. It’s for cars that generally qualify for CC status, but lack the compelling qualities to inspire a lengthy tome, and might be a bit on the younger side. Anyway I do this, I’m bound to disappoint somebody. So here’s our first CCC: a mightily well preserved 1988 (I think) Pontiac Safari wagon:
Like a poker player reluctant to show his cards until the right time, I have some trepidation about exposing this car now. I’m planning a full-on CC for the ground breaking 1977 Chevrolet Impala/Caprice, and this Pontiac is of course just a badge-engineered version of that. Well, the 1980 reskin, that is. So let’s try to restrain ourselves and keep our enthusiastic attention on the Pontiac, and not on its Chevy donor.
The Pontiac B-Body has quite an interesting story of its own anyway. The downsized 1977 Catalina and Bonneville didn’t sell as well as its Chevy, Olds and Buick cousins from the start. In the midst of that nasty 1981 second energy crisis, Pontiac pulled the plug and did a 1962 Plymouth/Dodge re-enactment: forsook full size cars altogether, and transformed the mid-sized LeMans into the Bonneville Model G. It had almost the same consequence as the Chrysler fiasco; and just like Dodge quickly cobbled up a full size 880 from the family parts bins, so Pontiac reached up to Canada, where the full-sized Parisienne had never been canceled.
What makes this (sort of) interesting is that the Canadian Parisienne was truly just a badge-engineered Chevy Caprice, unlike the ’77-81 US B-Body Pontiacs, which had their own unique exterior skin and a coupe. We touched on this whole Canadian Chevy/Pontiac incest history here, and at least Pontiac had the honesty to now call it the Parisienne, instead of a Bonneville. The Parisienne also ended up with a brief lifespan, from ’83 through ’86, after which it was replaced by the new FWD Bonneville.
But the new 1987 H-Body lacked wagons, so the Safari stumbled along through 1989. I’m not certain of the exact year of this wagon, because there were very few if any changes in those last years. Being true Chevys, the Parisienne and Safari wagons only had SBC V8s under the hood, a 140 hp 305 in the case of the wagon.
This particular Safari is a mighty well-kept example. And the Collectible Automobile magazine featuring Pontiacs laying on the back seat makes it clear this is not being driven by granny anymore. It’s fallen into the hands of a dedicated Ponchophile, despite its provenance.