Get Low and Slow with This 1981 Pontiac Bonneville Safari Wagon

Just enough power to cruise.

For cruising the strip, horsepower is overrated. You don’t need a billion ponies to enjoy Woodward Avenue, nor do you need a whiny, hood-popping blower to pull over at the local drive-in burger joint. Trust us, low-n-slow is the way to go down Mainstreet. Need inspiration? Check out Bring a Trailer’s 1981 Pontiac Bonneville Safari that’s currently up for grabs.

It’s far from the snazziest Detroit battlewagon out there, but this Safari is exceptionally clean, having clocked just under 30,000 miles since new. It’s also one of the more comfortable—and practical—ways to roll into Cars and Coffee or go tailgating, roadtripping, camping, or whatever you’re into. With a fold-flat second row, the cargo area is your oyster.

The late-’70s, early-’80s box-on-wheels styling has aged better than one might have thought, and this one looks especially sharp with the forward rake, achieved through staggered tire sizes in the front and rear along with a static front suspension drop. It’s easily reversible, if you want a stock look.

Don’t expect to smoke those rear radials, though. Power comes from the standard Oldsmobile-built 5.0-liter (307 c.i.) V-8, which drinks through a four-barrel carburetor and pushes out a lazy 140 horsepower and 245 lb-ft of torque. What little power there is meanders to the rear wheels through a four-speed automatic transmission and limited-slip differential. If you’re inclined, there’s enough underhood acreage for any type of big-block imaginable, but that’s against the cruising spirit. If you do anything, swap in an unmodified LS motor for extra motivation and maximum reliability, otherwise just leave it be. There isn’t much to go wrong, as this wagon is in excellent condition. Get your bid in now at Bring a Trailer before it’s too late.

Buying Guide
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18 City / 27 Hwy

Safety (IIHS):

Best Pick

Horse Power:

205 @ 5200