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With tips for Fido-friendly travel, road trips on a budget, and much more, PlanYourRoadTrip.com is our favorite new trip-planning website.
|Not Found on eBay: 1963 Canadian-built Pontiac Parisienne Safari Station Wagon|
|Written by Rich Truesdell|
|Tuesday, 08 September 2009 08:45|
It's the Beach Boys meets muscle car grocery-getter as this ultra-rare Oshawa, Ontario-built Pontiac Safari station wagon--that came originally equipped with a factory-installed, 425-horsepower Chevy 409--surfaces.
One of the great things about writing my monthly Muscle Culture column in Musclecar Enthusiast is the flexibility editor Steve Statham gives me with regard to subject matter; basically anything goes even if it's only remotely related to muscle cars. For my September column I wrote about one of my favorite topics, noteworthy cars that fall outside of the classical definition of a muscle car, that being a big block engine in a intermediate or smaller car built after 1964. The column—featuring a 1957 AMC Rambler Rebel and a 1964 Chrysler 300K—generated extreme interest among the readers, one of who contacted me about what might be the rarest muscle car in existence, a one-of-one Canadian built (at the same Oshawa, Ontario plant that currently builds the Camaro) Pontiac Parisienne Safari six-passenger station wagon powered by a 425-horsepower dual quad 409, the same engine immortalized by the Beach Boys song "409."
When I spoke with George Kelly about his Safari the first thing I did was to verify his claim that such a car was indeed built by Pontiac/GM of Canada Limited (because of the trade restrictions at the time, GM Canada built some unique cars, among them the Beaumont which was covered previously on automotivetraveler.com). With the help of the Pontiac Historical Society (PHS) who verified the VIN and a copy of the 1963 Canadian full-line brochure, which clearly shows that such an engine was offered, we know that the car is the real deal. The car was built on 18 June 1963 and shipped the next day to Murray's Garage in Neepawa, Manitoba. (Do any automotivetraveler.com readers live near Neepawa and can verify if there still is a Pontiac dealer in the area, someone who might have additional details on the car?) In a letter dated 24 January 2001to Mr. Kelly, George Zapora, a vintage specialist at GM Canada Limited stated that the car has the same mechanical specifications as the US Chevrolet model 1835 which according to the Standard Catalog of American Cars 1946-1975 is a six-passenger 1963 Impala station wagon. Apparently the Canadian-built Pontiacs were built on the same platform as south-of-the-border-built Bowties.
"I've always looked upon the car as the Mona Lisa of muscle cars," says owner George Kelly. "As with the original Mona Lisa, she is slightly over weight being a long roof, it has a dark complexion (Tuxedo Black paint), and you definitely grin from ear-to-ear as you work your way up through the four gears to the howl of the two wide open AFBs." Former Super Chevy editor Doug Marion told George that to his knowledge no dual quad, 425-horsepower, 4-speed manual 1963 Chevy Impala station wagons were built, making this quite possibly the only such station wagon in existence, either from Pontiac or Chevy. George does note that the engine that is being sold with the car isn't the original, but it's got a history too. It's a date-correct 409 dual quad race motor built by Gordon Marks so it's probably the next best thing to a numbers-matching block.
While its condition can be charitably called rough, it is a complete car with a date-correct dual quad 409 engine. George has an $85,000 asking price on the car and while his wife says the car has to go--they need the space--if he doesn't get his price, he may just restore the car himself. Does any of us have any idea of what a fully restored 409 1963 Pontiac Safari six-passenger station wagon would be worth? Occasionally similar cars surface, like the 1967 Ford Country Squire with a 428 and 4-speed top loader with the buckets and console out of a high line XL model. When they do and are properly documented, they sell for big dollars. As no factory-installed and documented Hemi-equipped B-body station wagon wagons have yet to emerge from some barn, this may very well be the highest horsepower grocery getter on the planet and for some Poncho fan, would represent one of the ultimate Pontiac collectibles.