Formerly owned by the lead singer of The Kingston Trio
1956 Pontiac Safari Two-Door Station Wagon
Chassis no. W756H11116
'Motorama' inspired design
317ci V8 engine
Formerly the property of Bob Shane of the 'Kingston Trio'
Twice as rare as a Chevrolet Nomad
Approximately 1,000 miles since restoration
The legendary GM Motorama shows of the 1950s introduced dramatically styled dream cars to a wide-eyed and astonished public. Many of these 'cars of the future' directly influenced those which found their way into GM showrooms and from there into the garages of America, delivering an unmistakable dash of color to suburban driveways just a few years after the privations of WWII.
The Pontiac Safari and its sister the Chevrolet Nomad were two such cars. Two-door station wagons styled with sporting lines, they brought a rakish insouciance to what had previously been thought of only as a family hauler. Pontiac's Safari was more powerful, longer and more expensive than the Chevy Nomad, and only about half as many examples were produced. Rare when new, they are seldom encountered today, with some estimates stating that of 4,042 1956 Safari wagons built, only a few hundred may remain.
As befits its rarity, this fine example has been the recipient of a thorough restoration, completed circa 2005. The wonderfully period colors of Sun Beige and Sandalwood Tan in which it is finished are those in which it was delivered from the factory in Wilmington, Delaware, as confirmed by the data plate. It also boasted the 'Comfort and Convenience package', including tissue dispenser, from new. Since completion of the restoration this Safari has seen very limited use but has enjoyed regular and diligent maintenance.
We recently drove the wagon and confirmed that it goes down the road as well as it looks and would be a perfect cruise night companion (just think of what you could do in the back seat!) or beach transport. An interesting footnote to the history of this Safari is that it was once owned by Bob Shane, lead singer of 'The Kingston Trio'. A large binder of documentation including an original owner's manual and historical information accompanies the car, including a photo of the car during Shane's ownership, with his autograph.
For the discerning collector of 1950s American Iron, the chance to buy such a finely presented wagon, both 'rare and well done', is one which should be eagerly pursued.