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2023-06-14 19:19:10

Is This The Best Station Wagon of All Time 1965 Pontiac Bonneville Safari (389 V8)

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Pontiac division was riding high in 1965 in 1965 .

In the mid 60 s for Pontiac in general would represent some very successful sales years .

In 1965 Pontiac sold over 800,000 vehicles and it would reach its all time best sales year to date in 1968 selling almost 900,000 cars .

But while the 1968 Pontiacs are certainly attractive and a number of models had been introduced in 1968 or just slightly before .

Versus in 1965 1 example being the Firebird 1965 at least from my perspective represents the pinnacle of styling for the full size Pontiacs .

And this 1965 Pontiac Bonneville safari represents what I believe is the best looking Pontiac wagon produced of all time , just has a wonderful style about it .

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And also it's just a very well built vehicle .

Let's talk a little bit more about it .

And when it came to full size Pontiac wagons in 1965 buyers really had two choices at the lower end of the range was the Catalina Safari , which you could get in both six and nine passenger form and the six passenger Catalin safari had a base price of 3200 and $2 and it sold about 22,400 units .

If you got the nine passenger Catalina Safari , it had a base price of 3300 and $9 and sold 15,110 units .

Now , for somebody who really wanted an upper end wagon , there was not just the Catalina Safari but this the Bonneville safari and this was a considerably more expensive wagon that was priced at 3600 and $32 base price .

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It was really above the Star chief and it was even above the Bonneville Sport Coup and the Vista sedan which stickered around $3400 and it was more expensive than the convertible Bonneville , which was 35 94 .

So it was really the most expensive Pontiac even more than the Grand Prix that you could get .

They consequently only sold about 6400 and 60 of these Bonneville safaris in 1965 .

And today they are super , super rare .

This particular example is a 20,000 mile original car , original paint , original interior and just wait till you see the condition of the interior itself .

The paint , I would say it's a five footer .

It has a number of scratches and things and things like that but is in very nice shape .

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Car is totally rust free , but let's take a little bit more of a look around the car and on the inside from this shot , you can see the really great looking rear end and this particular vehicle did have a power tailgate that went up and down .

This is not a clamshell tailgate that would come along in 1971 where the glass would go up into the roof and the tailgate would drop down .

In this case , the window just drops into the tailgate and then you could open the tailgate like a typical station wagon .

And here's a look again from the rear more dead on .

But you can see this beautiful trim piece with the midcentury modern block lettering spelling out Bonneville there emphasizing the horizontal nature of the vehicle .

And then you have these sculpted won't wanna call them fins necessarily , but certainly the rear is not just flat , like a lot of cars these days has a lot of sculpture to it .

Now , interestingly that rear quarter panel is actually two pieces and the seam is visible .

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You can see both on the left and the right side as you go down the crease , but the seam is actually finished on the top edge of that quarter panel .

It just the finishing stops right as you get to the very rear of the car .

I I don't know why Pontiac did that .

The only reason I can think of is for cost reasons , but I think that's pretty humorous that on this two piece panel , they finished it on the top edge of the surface all the way from the rear door back to the quarter panel tip , but from the tip down , it's not finished and you can pick out a little bit of the two pieces that have been seen together in this photo .

Now , let's turn to one of the most beautiful elements of the 65 Boniva Safari .

And that's the interior .

Take a look at this beautiful , beautiful interior with the loo site wheel , with the wood trim on it and the wood trim dash and that is real Walnut trim that is not fake trim on these Pontiacs .

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So while a number of vehicles pretty much everyone else in the General Motors stable , excluding Cadillac had fake wood trim .

Ponti actually went for real wood trim during these years and the interior consequently is just a masterpiece .

You can see you have those three gauges that are rotated toward the driver as well , that's above the radio .

And you also have the grab handle on the passenger side .

And above that , there's a plate that reads Bonneville and a reading light just beneath those gauges that are rotated toward the driver .

It looks like there are two radios , but it's actually not on the right is the radio with its two knobs .

Uh And then to the left of the radio is the cigarette lighter knob .

Then to the left of that is the heater control on this car .

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This is not an air conditioned car , you can tell because it doesn't have the vents at the bottom left and right and at the top of the instrument panel pad , but that climate control almost looks like it is a separate radio , but it's not kind of a funky design overall but good looking and attractive .

One of the things I love about this wagon is just how well trimmed the cargo area is .

This is a six passenger wagon , not a nine passenger , but take a look at how the sides of the wagon are padded with this beautiful vinyl padding .

And then the metal strikes that are on the floor here in the cargo area as well as on the tailgate .

It just looks so rich .

What an absolutely beautiful wagon .

This is not a wagon like the Fords would start doing where you could swing it both ways that you could either use it as a tailgate as you see here or you could open the door sideways .

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G M had not yet adopted that that would come after the clamshell wagons , but nonetheless , a wonderful , wonderful looking wagon even from the cargo area , which is beautifully detailed .

And here we have a look under hood and this particular vehicle is equipped with the standard 389 cubic inch four barrel premium fuel V eight made 325 horsepower when backed by a Turbo hydrotic 400 transmission and 333 horsepower when it's backed by a manual transmission .

This engine is also topped with a Carter A F B four barrel carburetor , wonderful carburetor .

Super , super simple , easy to work on Edro carburetors are patterned off of them .

Uh They're just great , can't say enough great about them .

And this powertrain combination is just stellar .

I think the Pontiac Va with this triple 400 is just a velvety smooth , powerful combination .

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Really the only Achilles heel for these Pontiac V eights is the timing chain and gears on these with the final gear that can shed a tooth and then you're in trouble .

So one thing to look out for on your Pontiac V eights is the timing chain .

But other than that really , not much else to say , you can tell that this is a standard 3 89 not the 4 21 because the 4 21 would have chrome rocker covers and a chrome air cleaner lid on it .

You can also identify Pontiac V eights and their horsepower ratings by the two letter digit code .

Sometimes it's more than that , but on the passenger side cylinder head just beneath the valve cover .

In this case , it was code Y E which decoded to the base 3 89 V eight that I mentioned .

You can also see that this is 1965 .

So it just has a single chamber master cylinder , the dual chamber master cylinder wouldn't come along until 1967 .

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So if you have one of these cars , make sure your emergency brake works because if you lose brake fluid , you really have no brakes and then you have a problem .

So don't put yourself in that scenario , make sure that your brake hoses and everything are in good shape and lines on one of these cars .

If you haven't converted it to a dual chamber master cylinder and make sure your emergency brake works because you may need it .

I did mention that this has the base 325 horsepower , 39 premium fuel V eight .

There were a number of other engine options .

One of which was a 338 horsepower 3d 932 barrel V eight that you could get , you could also get a 338 horsepower 4 21 cubic inch V 8 , 356 horsepower , 421 cubic inch V eight with 32 barrel carburetors .

And the highest engine option was a 376 horsepower , 32 barrel 421 cubic inch V eight .

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At the lower end of the spectrum , you could get a no cost economy engine , a 3 89 2 barrel that I believe was 256 horsepower .

So if you wanted to be cheap and just run regular gas , that's what you could get .

And despite the fact that it only has 256 gross horsepower .

I can tell you having driven those cars , they drive just fine .

They're relatively peppy and they don't have necessarily a lot of top end , but they drive just , just fine .

Um , this 3 25 horse power .

3 89 though is a sewing machine of an engine and it runs stellar .

Let's close out with a few seconds of this wonderful 3 89 cubic inch V eight purring under hood and hope you enjoyed this video on this particular 1965 Pontiac Bonneville safari with maybe even want to try to .

Thanks for watching this video .

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Be sure to like , comment and subscribe if you enjoyed it and check out the video , thumbnails at bottom left and right for some suggestions for you .


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