1964 Pontiac Catalina Safari Wagon

Filed in Pontiac Catalina by on March 18, 2016 • views: 311;


Mean, Green, Family Machine.

Blending In

Want to blend in, sip coffee, and BS with like-minded people about which catalog you bought your OEM bumpers in? Want to pull into a car show and line up with 14 other cars of the same make and model to be part of the group? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then this is not the car for you.

What started out as a simple project to have some “garage alone time” for a new father, quickly took an extreme turn involving some of the industry’s top names including Nelson Racing Engines, Timeless Kustoms, Hot Rods & Custom Stuff, Currie Enterprises and Eric Thorsen Custom Upholstery.

While today we are used to seeing SUVs claiming a similar size and weight, there is just something cool about that GTO-looking front end, coke bottle hips, and boomerang taillights that scream “I am cooler than you and won’t conform.”


The interior was designed and sewn by Eric Thorsen Custom Upholstery in Agoura Hills, CA. Eric is known for stiching up such famous cars as this year’s SEMA GM Design Award winner, last year’s GM Design Award winner, and the year before tha too. At the suggestion of the car’s painter (Jason Pecikonis at Timeless Kustoms), Eric opted to match the body color with yards upon yards (upon yards) of distressed vinyl. The patterns of the bench seats and door panels were made to look as if stock, but were actually simplified to give a cleaner more aggressive look. 3-point shoulder harnesses were installed on all four corners because, well, its a family car and safety first – right?


The wagon had all of its metal work done at Hot Rods & Custom stuff in Escondido, CA where Randy and the boys pounded every dent and repaired every hole the only way they know how – the right way. You don’t get quality body work done cheaply – but as you can see, the body is flawless. Other fabrication included recessing the Ron Davis custom radiator inside the radiator support. This provided the clearance needed for the GM drive assembly and twin electric SPAL fans.

Once the metal work was complete, the car went to Camarillo, CA where Jason Pecikonis at Timeless Kustoms did the truly amazing. Here straightened every panel of this 19′ longroof to the point of perfection. There are no waves or unruly gaps here – the panels are razor straight and on a car of this size – its obvious. The car was sprayed with generous coats of PPG Pontiac Lime Light Green Paint and shot with 6 coats of clear giving the illusion you could almost reach into the paint. Videos and pictures do not do this car justice – just ask anyone that has seen it in person.


The suspension is stock but lowered, providing a smooth comfortable ride but amazingly enough handles really well for a big girl. Mike Musto, host of Big Muscle on /DRIVE Network and Laguna Seca driving instructor, was amazed how well she handled. 4-wheel disc brakes and a Wilwood master cylinder ensure she stops on on a dime. The wheels are courtesy of Rocket Racing at 18X8 and the 275x45x18 tires out back and 245x40x18 up front make sure she stays firmly planted in the corners.


One of the obvious standouts of this car is the engine. While the car looks pretty stock from the outside, the angry rumble of the Nelson Racing Engines Big Block Chevy ensures the crowd that this car needs a second look. Sporting 468 cubes, a secret grind NRE bumpstick, and “severely” ported GM heads, this combo makes appx 550hp and equal foot pounds of torque. A Holley 850cfm double pumper is fed by an Aeromotive A1000 setup.

Power is transferred through a race-prepped Waltbilt TH400 transmission with a 2800 stall converter. Currie Enterprises built a custom Ford 9″ rearend, fitting the factory Pontiac 4-link setup. The rearend holds a 3:70 gear ratio.


  • Nelson Racing Engines 468 cubic inch Big Block Chevrolet
  • Ron Davis radiator with twin fans
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes – stops hard
  • Power Steering with upgraded ratio steering box
  • Waltbilt Turbo 400 with 2800 Stall Converter
  • Currie 9-Inch, 3:70 Gears
  • Completely Rebuilt Factory Suspension
  • Rocket Racing 18×8”/18×8”
  • Aeromotive A1000 Fuel System
  • Custom Interior by Eric Thorsen Custom Upholstery
  • Hot Rod Wiring Harness
  • Custom PPG Paint by Jason Pecikonis @ Timeless Customs, Camarillo
  • 100% original sheetmetal
  • 3-Point Harnesses, Retractable Belts


Check out the 1964 Pontiac Catalina Safari Wagon – Big Burnouts Video!




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