First H-Body! Forest find questions.

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First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby vernjeggies » Wed Nov 19, 2014 5:56 pm

Recently I was browsing a local property owned by a former scrap metal salvage company owner. The whole property was covered in jems, in different stages of rot and covered in varying degrees of wild blackberry bushes. I stumbled on something I'd never seen before. After a little research, I've narrowed it down to either a 1978 or 1979 Pontiac Sunbird Safari Wagon. I'm curious about it, and there isn't really any kind of information online about these things specifically, so I figured a forum is always best. Find the people with the passion. So, I'm curious of a couple of things:

- The car has no papers and I've never seen this car before. Wikipedia says it was only made in 78 and 79, but what is the difference between the two? Any subtle body differences that might give me a hint?
- Being that it doesnt have papers, what should I even offer this guy? He's clearing his property and selling things for dirt cheap, but whats the highest I should go?
- Are there any sources for information relating to the Safari specifically, or is it more of a general H-body thing?

Any help is huge. I'm going to make an offer on it this weekend.

Thanks!
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1975 Pontiac Astre Safari Wagon


Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby cammerjeff » Wed Nov 19, 2014 9:35 pm

The Surest way to tell the model year is to find the VIN Number on the drivers side Dash, visable thru the windshield. The 5th letter will be the model year, so if it is a 8 it will be a 78 Sunbird Safari, a 9 will indicate a 79 Sunbird Safari, but it could also be a 5, 6, or 7 if so it would be that years Astre Safari.

The only external difference between any of the years is the grills and Badging, 75 and 76 Astre's have 1 style grill and each year had different color turn signal lens that are mounted in the grill, 77 Astre's have a different grill with vertical bars running up and down and have larger turnsignals located at the outside of the grills, 78 Sunbird wagons us the same grills as 77 Astre's just have Sunbird Badges, 79 Sunbird Safari's have a 1 year only Grill, and 79's are also the rarest of any of the years. Very few built.
I attached some pic's to show the different grill/turn signals for the years 75 to 79. But on the car in question the grills look to be damaged, and they are not a positive ID as all years grills will bolt in any year car. I have 76 grills installed in my 78 Sunbird Safari. Just because I prefer the look.
From your pic's the car looks very rough, and with it sitting in the dirt I would be very suspect of the Floors being rotted out of it. It looks like it could have some good parts though. Let us know what you find out. I hope the Pictures help.
Attachments
1975 Astre.jpg
1975 Astre.jpg (167.18 KiB) Viewed 1006 times
1976 Astre Safari.jpg
1976 Astre Safari.jpg (59.4 KiB) Viewed 1006 times
1977 Astre Safari.jpg
1977 Astre Safari.jpg (74.87 KiB) Viewed 1006 times
1978 Sunbird Safari.jpg
1978 Sunbird Safari.jpg (87.27 KiB) Viewed 1006 times
1979 Sunbird Safari.jpg
1979 Sunbird Safari.jpg (56.84 KiB) Viewed 1006 times
Jeff R

78 Sunbird Safari Wagon, 3.8 N/A, 1971 Catalina Freeway Enforcer
77 Astre Formula, some day soon powered by a 215 Buick V-8
1973 4-speed Lemans Safari STOCK!!!!! 1978 Catalina Safari
1971 Lemans Safari/GTO Clone, 1969 Firebird Sprint 301 ci OHC6, T-5, 4.10 12 bolt posi
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Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby vernjeggies » Wed Nov 19, 2014 10:03 pm

Thanks cammerjeff!

Judging from the grille in some other photos I have, it looks to be a 78 Sunbird Safari. I'll be out there again this weekend and I'll be checking the VIN to be sure. The body is actually in really good shape, with all the standard soft spots intact and very little paint bubbling. All the body panels and bumpers are straight except for the grille and a minor dent on the driver side fender, and all the glass is prestine. That being said, I havent lifted the carpet yet, or had a good look through the trunk/back seat. As I said, I'll be out there to have a better look this weekend.

Thanks for the help! I'll post more pictures after I really get a good look at it!
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Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby cammerjeff » Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:04 am

Good Luck!

If it is a 78 it will either have a 2.5 Ltr four cylinder Iron Duke, or a 3.8 Ltr V-6 Buick. If it is the Buick engine they can be made to run quite well. I have spare grills and a header panel if you end up buying it. Shipping across N/A and the boarder could be a bit much though.

Check below the Battery, around the windshield, and the trim panels between the rear Hatch and the rear side windows, along with all the normal spots.
Jeff R

78 Sunbird Safari Wagon, 3.8 N/A, 1971 Catalina Freeway Enforcer
77 Astre Formula, some day soon powered by a 215 Buick V-8
1973 4-speed Lemans Safari STOCK!!!!! 1978 Catalina Safari
1971 Lemans Safari/GTO Clone, 1969 Firebird Sprint 301 ci OHC6, T-5, 4.10 12 bolt posi
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Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby vernjeggies » Thu Nov 20, 2014 12:35 pm

It definitely has a v6 in it. Wether its actually the stock 3.8L or not is somthing I'm going to have to find out still. I know it has some after market gauges in it, but I'm not sure how far the previous owner went.
Jeff

1985 Chevrolet S-10 - 2.8L 5spd 4x4 (daily driver)
1975 Pontiac Astre Safari Wagon - 3.8L V6 Auto
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Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby vernjeggies » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:41 pm

Wow! Awesome day.
Went out to have another look at the Pontiac, snap some pictures and make an offer. After a thorough once over, there is almost no rust anywhere. Both front fenders have dents and the grill is a bit caved. Couldnt get the passenger door to open (it has been sitting untouched for 10-15 yrs). The odometer has definitely rolled over, since its only showing 718 miles on it. Ended with me offering the guy $300. He accepted and might even through in a couple clean, straight fenders and a new grill in with the deal. Reading the VIN number, it seems its a 75, but as you can see in the photos, the grill doesnt match any of the photos cammerjeff posted. Any ideas what this is? Definitely 1975 Pontiac Safari something... Has what I can only assume is a 3.8L v6 in it. Anyway, here's some photos. If anyone has seen this grill before, please let me know what it is!
Attachments
grill1.jpg
Caved grill
grill1.jpg (241.14 KiB) Viewed 944 times
engine.bay1.jpg
3.8?
engine.bay1.jpg (251.96 KiB) Viewed 944 times
seat.front.jpg
Driver seat is the only damage
seat.front.jpg (245.25 KiB) Viewed 944 times
rear.jpg
Only badge left
rear.jpg (251.7 KiB) Viewed 944 times
Jeff

1985 Chevrolet S-10 - 2.8L 5spd 4x4 (daily driver)
1975 Pontiac Astre Safari Wagon - 3.8L V6 Auto
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Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby vernjeggies » Sat Nov 22, 2014 11:45 pm

So, after some very light research, the grille is from a 74 Astre. The spare that comes with the car is the same one... Might try to find the stock 75 grille somewhere down the line. I like the look a lot better.
Jeff

1985 Chevrolet S-10 - 2.8L 5spd 4x4 (daily driver)
1975 Pontiac Astre Safari Wagon - 3.8L V6 Auto
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1975 Pontiac Astre Safari Wagon

Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby vegastre » Sun Nov 23, 2014 2:00 pm

Great Find!

The pics look very interesting. Not to be negative but looking at the pics I would guess the floor boards are in pretty bad shape as deep as the car is buried. Ya, not many of these left.
Phil Kennedy~
72 Chevrolet Vega GT Hatchback
75 Pontiac Astre SJ Safari Wagon
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Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby vernjeggies » Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:41 am

Surprisingly the floors have only minor surface rust and no soft spots or holes at all! I made sure to double check haha
Attachments
floor.pass.front.jpg
Shadows look like holes, but its all surface
floor.pass.front.jpg (244.41 KiB) Viewed 912 times
floor.driver.back.jpg
Worst of it in the back seat
floor.driver.back.jpg (253.45 KiB) Viewed 912 times
spare.tire.well.jpg
Even the spare tire well is clean!
spare.tire.well.jpg (251.77 KiB) Viewed 912 times
Jeff

1985 Chevrolet S-10 - 2.8L 5spd 4x4 (daily driver)
1975 Pontiac Astre Safari Wagon - 3.8L V6 Auto
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1975 Pontiac Astre Safari Wagon

Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby vegastre » Mon Nov 24, 2014 1:17 pm

Save It! Save It! Save It!

I don't think I'm alone when I say I like to hear and see about the 'back stories' to how a member saves an H-Body. Another member here is saving a total rust bucket putting in many hours and fabrication. I applaud him and you. It's even more important because the other side of the coin we hear here on a semi-regular basis when perfectly sound H-Bodies are being crushed simply because the person is tired of having them in their driveway or back yard. The cars have lasted 40 plus years but simply have ran out of time and landed in the wrong driveway, wrong owner with little or no appreciation.

Rant Off =) Anyway, it's really refreshing to see your excitement and glad the floor boards survived.
Phil Kennedy~
72 Chevrolet Vega GT Hatchback
75 Pontiac Astre SJ Safari Wagon
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Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby vernjeggies » Mon Nov 24, 2014 7:36 pm

I'll be saving it for sure! He's going to take $300 and throw in a couple extra fenders and a nose for it. I want to bring it back up to good shape and have it as a daily driver. Probably get the 1975 nose back on it and paint and decal it like a firebird, just to make some people think about it haha.
Jeff

1985 Chevrolet S-10 - 2.8L 5spd 4x4 (daily driver)
1975 Pontiac Astre Safari Wagon - 3.8L V6 Auto
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1975 Pontiac Astre Safari Wagon

Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby SeniorSavage » Wed Nov 26, 2014 5:50 am

looks like you got a great little project there - congrats !
The fleet;
1975 Buick Skyhawk 3.8 V6 turbo - total restore ongoing (soon!)
1980 Buick Riviera 5.7 Olds 350 Rocket - restored daily driver
1984 GMC G30 5.7 350 Chevy sbc 20' Okanagan motorhome - for tight spots
1996 Fleetwood Bounder 35' Ford 460 TBI motorhome - for not-so-tight spots
2004 Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic 88ci 1450cc. - custom original.
2007 Ford Escape XLT 3.0 V6 AWD (wifes truck) - working original.
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Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby beakerztoyz » Fri Nov 28, 2014 12:03 am

Nice find, welcome to the wonderful world of h bodies.... and welcome to THE source of h body info online. whereabouts in BC are you? I am over here in southern alberta . any big plans for the car yet?
1980 notchback sunbird... 355
1980 monza spyder.... v8

If I woulda known then what I know now....I never woulda got an h body
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Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby vernjeggies » Fri Nov 28, 2014 7:23 pm

Thanks beakerztoyz!
I'm over in Victoria BC. No big plans yet. That could change once I spend some time with it. Still need to track down the registration before I go too far.
Jeff

1985 Chevrolet S-10 - 2.8L 5spd 4x4 (daily driver)
1975 Pontiac Astre Safari Wagon - 3.8L V6 Auto
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1975 Pontiac Astre Safari Wagon

Re: First H-Body! Forest find questions.

Postby HI WINDING MONZA » Fri Nov 28, 2014 8:55 pm

Old time Member "patrick1151" ( Shannon) lives just a few kilometers from you in Courtenay. I'm sure he can help you if you need any.

Doug in P.R. 8)
My Old Cadillac Powered Monza Still Lives...........now on its 5th owner!..........Somewhere ?

The 90's just keep rollin' along........
1990 Chevrolet Silverado Regular Cab Long Bed 350 TBI V8 700R4 105k miles
1992 Pontiac Sunbird Coupe 2.0 OHC MPFI I4 TH125C 143k miles
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