THE GREAT PONTIAC SAFARI

PAGE 5

 

1975

 Grand Safaris received rectangular headlights for the first time, while Catalina Safaris retained round headlights. The full size wagons kept the 400 and 455 V8 choices, but the 400 dropped the 2bbl in favor of a 4bbl carb. The Luxury LeMans was replaced by the Grand LeMans, which for 1975 had a unique, one year only front fascia featuring three waterfall styled grill sections per side with a parking light in the outer grills. Headlights remained single round units. Inside, the Grand LeMans received the dash from the Grand Prix with optional full intrumentation. The LeMans wagons were no longer available with a 350 or a 455. The remaining LeMans wagon engine was a 400 with 2 or 4bbl carb. The Astre Safari was added to the US line up in regular or SJ trim. Astre received the Chevrolet built 140 cubic inch 4 cylinder with a 1 or 2 bbl carb.

US Models: Grand Safari, Catalina Safari, Grand LeMans Safari, LeMans Safari, (all available with 2 or 3 seats), Astre SJ Safari, Astre Safari

1975 Wagon Production:

Grand Safari 3 Seat: 4,752

Grand Safari 2 Seat: 2,568

Catalina Safari 3 Seat: 4,992

Catalina Safari 2 Seast: 3,964

GLM 3 seat: 1,501

GLM 2 seat: 1,393

LeMans 3 seat: 2,393

LeMans 2 seat: 3,988

Astre Safari: 15,322

Astre Panel: 131

1975 Sales Brochures

From Astre Brochure

From GM Full line Brochure

1975 L'il Wide Track

Jim Wangers Motortown conversion company built "L'il Wide Track" 1975 Astres

The company offered the model in an Astre Safari

1975 Grand Safari

1975 Catalina Safaris

1975 Grand LeMans Safari 3 seat

1975 Grand LeMans Safaris

1975 LeMans Safari

1975 Astre SJ Safari Postcard

 

1975 Canadian Models: Grand Safari, Catalina Safari, Laurentian Safari, Grand LeMans Safari, LeMans Safari, Astre SJ Safari, Astre Safari

1975 Canadian Brochure

 

1976

1976 was the last year that the legendary 455 cubic inch Pontiac V8 was available in full size models. While it had been weakened performance wise by lower compession and smog equipment, it was still a torque monster by todays standards. It was also the last year of the large wagons. A major down sizing was to come in 1977. The base engine in full size wagons was the 400 2bbl, with the options being a 400 bbl and the 455 4 bbl. The LeMans line went to quad rectangular head lights in 1976.  The front fascia was flattened out somewhat, with the only protrusion being the beak for the split grill. The hood was also flattened out on the ends, but retained its ironing board center. As the corporate engine program (the more frequent sharing of engines among different GM makes and the reduction of different engine platforms) continued to advance within GM, the engines available became more complex and confusing, especially in the light of ever tightening federal CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) standards, and different standards for California and high altitude areas. The LeMans base engine was a 350 V8, 2 or 4bbl, but could have been a Pontiac or Oldsmobile design. The optional engines were the Pontiac 400, with 2 or 4bbl carb. The Astre still came with the Chevy built 4 banger with 1 or 2 bbl carb.

US Models: Grand Safari, Catalina Safari, Grand LeMans Safari, LeMans Safari (All available with 2 or 3 seats) Astre Safari

1976 Wagon Production:

Grand Safari 3 Seat: 6,176

Grand Safari 2 Seat: 3,462

Safari 3 Seat:  5,513

Safari 2 Seat:  4,735

GLM Safari: 6,094

LeMans 3 Seat: 5,901

LeMans 2 Seat: 8,249

Astre Safari: 13,125

1976 Sales Brochure

1976 Grand Safaris

1976 Catalina Safaris

1976 Grand LeMans Safari Postcard

1976 Grand LeMans Safaris

1976 LeMans Safari

1976 Astre Safari

 

1976 Canadian Models: Grand Safari, Catalina Safari, Laurentian Safari, Grand LeMans Safari, LeMans Safari, Astre Safari, Astre GT Safari

1976 Canadian Sales Brochure

 

1977

In 1977 the Pontiac full sized wagons were significantly down sized along with all other GM full size models. They now rode on a 115.9 inch wheelbase, down from a max of 127 inches. Their styling became a lot less unique, as they were basically just a "badge engineered" version of their other GM counterparts. The design of this smaller full size wagon, was nicely styled, however, and required little redesign to keep wagon buyers happy until the end of the GM full size wagon production in 1989. The complex but popular "Glide Away" tail gate was no more. The smaller wagon reverted back to the double hinged design that had debuted in 1969, allowing the gate to be swung down to lay flat, or swung open to the left. The engines for the full size wagon started with Pontiacs new 301 cubic inch V8 with a 2 bbl carb. This engine was the first Pontiac V8 built around a different block design than all others before it. It was designed as an economy motor and few parts interchanged with other Pontiac V8 engines. The 301 was also the last V8 engine that the Pontiac Motor Division would produce, ending production in 1981. Optional engines were a 350 V8 4bbl that may have been supplied by Buick, Oldsmobile or Chevrolet (each one a differnt design), the Pontiac 400 4bbl, or an Oldsmobile 403 4bbl. LeMans wagon design was mostly unchanged other than minor trim updates. It, too, would be significantly dowsized the following year. Engines for the LeMans line were the same jumbled mess as the full size line. The Astre was available with the 140 cube Chevy 4 cylinder or the new Pontaic 151 cube "Iron Duke". Both engines were 2bbl only.

 

US Models: Grand Safari, Catalina Safari, Grand LeMans Safari (2 or 3 seat), LeMans Safari (2 or 3 seat), Astre Safari

1977 Wagon Production:

Grand Safari: 18,304

Catalina Safari: 13,058

GLM Safari: 5,393

Lemans Safari: 10,081

Astre Safari: 10,341

1977 Sales Brochure

From Full Line Brochure

1977 Grand Safari

1977 Catalina Safaris

1977 Grand LeMans Safaris

1977 LeMans Safari

1977 Astre Safaris

 

1977 Canadian Models: Grand Safari, Catalina Safari, Laurentian Safari, Grand LeMans Safari, LeMans Safari, Astre Safari

 

1978

  In 1978 Pontiac's LeMans wagons followed the path of the full size wagons from the year before and lost significant size and weight. Their wheel base went from 117 inches to just over 108 inches on their new "G" body platform. Styling was decent with singular rectangular headlights on each side and slab sides in a trim package. Rear lighting (tail brake, reverse) remained in the rear bunper under the body. The Grand Lemans still received the redesigned Grand Prix dash that was well laid out and featured very good optional instrumentation. LeMans engines were the 231 Buick V6, 301 Pontiac V8 and the 305 Chevy V8. All were 2 bbl only. The Astre Safari name gave way to the Sunbird Sport Safari. Engines were upgraded to the 151 cube Iron Duke as standard with the 321 cube Buick V6 as an option. Both were 2 bbl equipped. The 4 banger could be ordered with a 5 speed manual trandmission. Full size models retained the engine line up from 1977.  The Pontiac 400 V8 was in its last year of production.

US Models: Grand Safari (2 or 3 seat), Catalina Safari (2 or 3 seat), Grand LeMans Safari, LeMans Safari, Sunbird Sport Safari

1978 Wagon Production:

Grand Safari: 13,847 

Catalina Safari: 12,819

GLM Safari: 11,125

LeMans Safari: 15,714

Sunbird Sport Safari: 8,424

1978 Sales Brochure

1978 Safari Magazine Ad

1978 Catalina Safaris

1978 Grand LeMans Safari

1978 Trans Am Type K Concept

(Built by the Italian Coach Builders Pininfarina)

1978 Sunbird Sport Safaris

 

1978 Canadian Models: Grand Safari, Catalina Safari, Laurentian Safari, Grand LeMans Safari, LeMans Safari, Sunbird Safari

1978 Canadian Sales Brochure

 

1979

1979 full sized wagons were available with a 301 V8 with 2 or 4 bbl carb, 350 V8 4bbl built by Buick, Olds or Chevy, and 403 V8 4 bbl built by Olds. LeMans wagons were available with a 231 Buick V6 2 bbl, a 301 Pontiac V8 2 or 4bbl, and a Chevy 305 4bbl. Sunbird Safaris offered the 151 cube "Iron Duke" Pontiac built 4 cylinder or the 231 cube Buick built V6. Both were 2bbl only. Subird could be ordered with a 4 speed manual transmission. None of the 1979 wagons had any significant styling updates from the previous year.

 US Models: Bonneville Safari (2 or 3 seat), Catalina Safari (2 or 3 seat), Grand LeMans Safari, LeMans Safari, Sunbird Sport Safari

1979 Wagon Production:

Bonneville Safari: 16,925

Catalina Safari: 13,353

GLM Safari:  20,783

LeMans Safari: 27,517

Sunbird Sport Safari: 2902

1979 Sales Brochure

1979 Safari Magazine Ad

1979 Bonneville Safari Postcard

1979 Bonneville Safaris

1979 Catalina Safari

1979 Grand LeMans Safaris

1979 LeMans Safaris

1979 Sunbird Sport Safaris

 

1979 Canadian Models: Grand Safari, Catalina Safari, Laurentian Safari, Grand LeMans Safari, LeMans Safari, Sunbird Safari

1979 Parisienne Safari

 

1980

1980 again saw minimal styling changes for the full size and LeMans wagons. The Sunbird Safari was no longer built in 1980. A new 350 cubic inch Diesel V8, built by Oldsmobile, became available in full size models for 1980. This engine quickly gained a horrible reputation for quality. Many were replaced under warranty and a class action lawsuit against GM was won by their diesel buying customers. Other available engines were the Pontiac 301 V8 4 bbl and one of three 350 V8 4 bbl engines built by Buick, Olds or Chevy. The LeMans series engines were the 231 Buick V6 2bbl, 265 Pontiac V8 2 bbl, 301 Pontiac V8 4 bbl and the 305 Chevy V8 4 bbl (in California).

US Models: Bonneville Safari (2 or 3 seat), Catalina Safari (2 or 3 seat), Grand LeMans Safari, LeMans Safari

1980 Wagon Production:

Bonneville Safari: 5,309

Catalina Safari: 2,931

GLM and LeMans Safari: 12,912

1980 Sales Brochure

1980 Bonneville Safari

1980 Catalina Safari

1980 Grand LeMans Safaris

1980 LeMans Safari

 

1980 Canadian Models: Grand Safari, Catalina Safari, Laurentian Safari, Grand LeMans Safari, LeMans Safari

 

Beyond 1980

The full sized Catalina and Bonneville wagons ceased production in 1981. In 1982 the Bonneville Safari became a mid size car and was built on the same G body platform the Lemans Safari had been. The Bonneville Safari ceased production in 1986. In 1983 Pontiac revived the full size wagon in the US by importing the Canadian built Parisienne Safari. This car was the full size Pontiac wagon until it ceased production in 1989. Few styling changes were made during the full sized wagons last years of production, and it continued to be a "badge engineered" version of its GM cousins. 1980 was the last year of production for the Lemans Safari. From 1984 to 1991 Pontiac built a front wheel drive "6000 Safari" model.

 

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