Name Nonsense: 1969 Pontiac LeMans Safari – Sold?

by | Oct 2022 | Classifinds, Wagon Wednesday

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November 15, 2022, Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.

Pontiac launched the “Safari” brand name for its badge-engineered version of the Chevrolet Nomad in 1955.  By the late 1960s, Pontiac applied the “Safari” name to any wagon in its lineup trimmed with faux wood paneling. The seller of this 1969 Pontiac LeMans Safari, originally listed in October 2022 on Craigslist in Marion, North Carolina (Asheville), states their car was a one-year-only model for Pontiac. While we agree Pontiac replaced the Tempest with the LeMans Safari model in 1969, our research confirmed the model carried over in 1970 before the General Motors Division dropped the sub-brand on the Lemans line for 1971.

That nuance aside, the seller reports they are only the second owner of this 47,000 original mile example.  Quick to point out that their LeMans Safari is a driver-quality example; the car features working factory air conditioning.

Once offered for $18,000, Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is well below the one-year rolling average of this guide’s summary for third-generation Pontiac LeMans produced between 1968 and 1972.  We do note, however, GTOs and convertible sales heavily influence this guide’s data. By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can navigate to each comparable car sold as a way to help you evaluate the price of the truck featured here:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls between this guide’s #2 Very Good” estimate of $17,900 and its #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $27,000 before factoring in adjustments for the 350 cubic inch engine and factory A/C.

General Motors Pontiac Division used the “Safari” brand name on various station wagons produced from 1955 to 1989. Introduced as the Pontiac counterpart of the two-door Chevrolet Nomad in 1955, the nameplate was adopted across the entire full-size Pontiac station wagon range in 1957.

As General Motors expanded into the intermediate, compact, and subcompact segments, the Safari nameplate saw additional use, in much the same manner as the term “estate” was used to demote luxury content in the Buick Estate and Chevrolet Caprice Estate. From the mid-1960s, simulated woodgrain trim became an exterior feature associated with the Safari name on Pontiac models so equipped.

Pontiac introduced a completely restyled Tempest intermediate line for 1968 with streamlined Coke bottle styling, concealed windshield wipers, and a return to horizontal headlights. Two-door models rode on a 112-inch wheelbase while four-door and wagon models relied on a 116-inch version. The same lineup of models including the base Tempest, Tempest Custom, and Le Mans continued as in previous years. The Safari wagon sub-brand could only be had on the Tempest trim. For the 1969 model year, Pontiac marketers began phasing out the Tempest brand name. As part of this move, the Safari sub-brand now applied to the LeMans wagon.

The US Auto Industry YouTube Channel features this 1969 Pontiac Brand commercial launching the start of that model year:

This 1969 Pontiac LeMans Safari station wagon for sale appears to be a nice two-owner, low-mileage survivor example in very solid condition. We would use the coming winter months to detail the engine compartment to prepare this car for the 2023 show circuit.

Here’s the seller’s description:

“1969 Pontiac safari wagon a rare one-year build car for lemans, and even rare in a safari package. The car is a good driver and has a 350 engine and 350 transmission. The car is all there and solid including floor boards not rusted at all. Under the hood is all there including the a/c that blows cold. The pictures will show floors and all other questions no cracks in the dash, good headliner, car only has 47000 miles on it I believe I’m the second owner. Don’t need help selling it.

Show or go: What would you do with this 1969 Pontiac LeMans Safari station wagon for sale?  Please comment below and let us know!

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