Badge Brother: 1955 Pontiac Safari – NOW $78,000 OBO

by | Apr 2024 | Craigslist ClassiFINDS, Wagon Wednesday

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April 8, 2024 Update – The seller replaced their expired Craigslist ad with a fresh listing. While the description and pictures carry over, the seller reduced their asking price from $87,000 to $78,000.

Chevrolet’s launch of the redesigned 1955 full-size lineup was a huge success, with 1,775,952 units produced across seventeen body and trim styles.  So successful was Chevrolet’s new lineup  that it accounted for 24% of all new cars sold in the U.S. that model year. The rarest body style for Chevrolet in 1955 was the stylish two-door Nomad wagon, with only 8,530 units produced.  If you like the “Tri-Five” (1955-1957) Nomad but find too many have been restored over the years, what is your option for something rarer?

Well, many enthusiasts forget that Pontiac offered a brand twin to the Nomad known as the Safari.  Based on Pontiac’s top trim Star Chief line, with only 3,760 units produced for 1955, it stands as the rarest Pontiac made that year. Consequently, it’s not very often we see a 1955 Pontiac Safari for sale, especially on Craigslist.

This Turquoise Blue 1955 Pontiac Safari for sale, first spotted on Craigslist in Chico, California in February 2024, appears to be a nicely restored example that features a freshly restored interior to complement what appears to be an excellent respray of the exterior paint.

Now offered for $78,000 or best offer (the original ask was $87,000 or best offer), Classic.com, the analytics and search engine for the collector car market, confirms the ask is on the high side of this guide’s one year results for all 1955 to 1957 Pontiac Safaris offered at auction recently.  By clicking on the green dots in the graph below, you can get a sense of what comparable examples sold for recently:

As a second data point, the  Collector Car Market Review Online Tool reveals the seller’s ask falls above this guide’s #1 “Excellent” appraisal of $71,600. The seller may be basing their pricing on recent Chevrolet Nomad sales which typically achieve higher results than their Pontiac counterparts.

The 1955 Pontiac Star Chief Two Door Safari Wagon represents an iconic vehicle from the mid-20th century, blending Pontiac’s renowned craftsmanship with innovative engineering and design. This technical description will delve into the various aspects of this classic automobile, covering its engine, chassis, drivetrain, suspension, and other key components.

The 1955 Pontiac Star Chief Two Door Safari Wagon was typically equipped with Pontiac’s renowned V8 engine, a powerplant that epitomized American muscle of the era. The standard engine offering was a 287 cubic inch (4.7L) overhead valve V8, which produced approximately 180 horsepower. However, buyers could opt for a more potent powerplant, such as the 316 cubic inch (5.2L) V8, which generated around 200 horsepower. These engines were mated to either a Hydra-Matic automatic transmission or a three-speed manual gearbox, providing smooth and responsive power delivery to the rear wheels.

The Safari Wagon rode on Pontiac’s robust “X-frame” chassis, which provided a solid foundation for the vehicle’s body and components. This chassis design featured cross-bracing for added rigidity and strength, enhancing overall stability and handling characteristics. The body of the Safari Wagon was constructed using Pontiac’s Body by Fisher technique, a method known for its durability and precision. The two-door body style, characterized by its sleek lines and expansive side windows, added a touch of sportiness and elegance to the vehicle’s appearance.

For suspension, the Safari Wagon utilized a traditional front independent suspension setup with coil springs and unequal-length A-arms, providing a smooth and comfortable ride over various road surfaces. At the rear, a live axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs maintained stability and control, even when carrying heavy loads. Hydraulic shock absorbers dampened vibrations and ensured optimal handling dynamics. Steering was typically of a recirculating ball type, offering precise control and responsiveness, especially at higher speeds.

The braking system of the 1955 Pontiac Star Chief Two Door Safari Wagon consisted of hydraulic drum brakes at all four corners, providing adequate stopping power for the vehicle’s weight and performance capabilities. While drum brakes were standard for the era, they required regular adjustment and maintenance to ensure optimal performance and safety.

Inside the Safari Wagon, passengers were treated to a spacious and comfortable cabin adorned with premium materials and amenities. Depending on the trim level and options chosen, the interior could feature cloth or vinyl upholstery, plush carpeting, and chrome accents throughout. Convenience features such as power windows, air conditioning, and a push-button AM radio were available as optional extras, enhancing the overall driving experience.

In summary, the 1955 Pontiac Star Chief Two Door Safari Wagon represents a quintessential example of American automotive engineering and design from the mid-20th century. With its powerful V8 engine, sturdy chassis, comfortable suspension, and luxurious interior, the Safari Wagon offered a compelling blend of performance, style, and practicality for buyers of the era. Today, it remains a sought-after classic car, cherished by collectors and enthusiasts alike for its timeless appeal and historical significance in automotive history.

The Cars & Stripes YouTube Channel features this 1955 Pontiac Star Chief silent video that was likely used for local dealer advertising:

This Turquoise Blue 1955 Pontiac Safari for sale appears to benefit from a quality restoration.  The seller makes no mention of the powertrain on their car nor shows any pictures of it, so you’ll need to contact them directly to confirm whether this Safari is a numbers matching example and whether the car benefits from a rebuild at some point.

If you are serious about buying this rare Safari, you can start the conversation by using the contact information provided by the seller in their Craigslist ad.  When you connect, please mention that you saw their Pontiac Star Chief two door wagon featured here on GuysWithRides.com. Good luck with the purchase!

Here’s the seller’s description:

“This vehicle is gorgeous! It’s in excellent condition, with a clean title, and always garage kept. Two pervious owners with newly finished interior and upholstery. Blue and white interior to match the vehicle with gorgeous chrome moldings. Please Serious buyers ONLY.

For additional photos or information please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Show or go: What would you do with this restored 1955 Pontiac Star Chief Safari for sale? Please comment below and let us know!

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