The Pontiac Grand Safari was produced from 1971 through 1978 and was the company's top-of-the-line full-size station wagon. Most examples were trimmed with wood-grain paneling on the tailgate and the sides. The grille and the interior trim was sourced from the Bonneville and Grand Ville passenger cars. It had a rear suspension comprised of multi-leaf springs instead of coil springs which were found on other full-sized Pontiac and GM cars. The new 'Clamshell' tailgate was marketed by Pontiac as the Glide-away Tailgate
, where the rear power-operated glass slid up into the roof as the tailgate slid into a recess under the cargo floor. This power tailgate system was the first in station wagon history. The power system was operated by switches on the instrument panel or a key switch on the rear quarter panel. With the Clamshell system, it made loading and unloading easier.
The Grand Safari Wagons (1971 through 1976) rested on a 127 inch wheelbase which it shared with the Buick and Oldsmobile C-body cars but were designated as B-bodies. The 1974 through 1976 Grand Safaris had a 231.3 inch length which made them the longest Pontiacs ever built.
Powering the Grand Safaris were V8 engines of either 400 or 455 cubic inches.
In 1977, the Pontiac Grand Safar was downsized, with its wheelbase shrinking to 115.9 inches. With a smaller size and weight, the wagons could run with smaller engines, either a standard 301 or optional 403 V8. A 350 CID V8 became available on 1978 models.By Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2014