1978 Pontiac Catalina Safari

Discussion in 'Station Wagon Auctions, Craigs List and Other Stat' started by jwdtenn, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. jwdtenn

    jwdtenn Well-Known Member

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  2. elB

    elB Well-Known Member

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    Nice looking car, too bad about the 301... ;-)
     
  3. jmt455

    jmt455 Well-Known Member

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    True, but a 350, 400, 428 or 455 will bolt in ... :evilsmile:
     
  4. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    I wonder if that's not 122,000. As nice as the car looks, the original owners, if they are/were 94 years old now, would have been in their mid-50s in 1978. It seems hard to believe they'd buy a car like that and then hardly drive it. Not saying it's not impossible. But you wonder.
     
  5. BlueVista

    BlueVista Well-Known Member Charter Member

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    Maybe the owners were snowbirds and just drove the car down south and back every year from their winter place? Those cars just sat in the garage most of the time otherwise.
     
  6. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    Anything is possible, but wouldn't they have to get around in wherever the summer and winter destinations were? Grocery store, doctor visits, shopping mall, out to eat, and all the other life activities? If they're retirees, they likely also went out for golf, touring, who knows what else. It seems unlikely they would reach their destination and then sit in their house 24/7.

    How far does a typical snowbird travel, anyway, between their winter and summer destinations? They're not driving between Buffalo and Pittsburgh or between Dallas and Houston. I think of snowbirds as people who live in Minnesota or Michigan or New York or Maine and who drive to Florida or Texas or Arizona. That round-trip distance each year alone would easily put 3,000 miles on the car. Do that for only 10 years, and you're already up to 30,000 miles.

    No one buys a station wagon to park it. No one in 1978 said to themselves that this is likely to be the last of the Pontiac station wagons, and I want to preserve it, so I'll buy one and never or rarely drive it. I know a couple of people that bought mid-'70s Cadillac Eldorados and parked them, but not Pontiac station wagons.

    Most cars are driven the heaviest in the early years of their existence. This car is 38 years old, and the owners were in their mid-90s, which means, as I said, they were in their mid-50s when they bought it. What do people in their mid-50s do with a station wagon? They drive it. The kids are likely grown and gone. They have time and money to travel. Or they might be at the tail end of their kid-raising, and they're making college visits and then taking them to and from college. Whatever they're doing, they're likely using the car, because that's what people bought station wagons for.

    Yes, it is certainly possible that this car has only 22,000 miles on it. But it's also very reasonable to think it might just be a well-preserved, well-cared for 120,000 mile car. We've certainly seen lots of those in the various craigslist ads and ebay auctions people post on here.
     
  7. Bad Taten

    Bad Taten Well-Known Member

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    Well, they were not big spenders with the lack of options this car has.
     
  8. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    Perhaps, but I don't think option count is a good indication of people's intent for a car. People generally bought station wagons to use them. A perfect example is the '73 Custom Cruiser I owned until December of 2014. It was bought new by a family of 5 who traveled everywhere in it and sometimes towed a trailer. (I bought it from the family after the father had died and they decided to sell it in 2010 after owning it for 37 years.) But it was minimally optioned. A/C and power seats was it. No cruise control, which is surprising to me given what they used it for, no tilt wheel, no power windows or locks, base AM radio. Not even a trip odometer. They did go for a power tailgate. Power steering and brakes, of course, but I think those were standard equipment. They did spend money to equip it for towing, including a heavy-duty radiator and alternator and whatever other options the trailer-towing package consisted of.

    But the point is, you could look at this car and say they were not big spenders, which they weren't (other than the fact that they opted for an Oldsmobile instead of a Chevy or Ford as their family vehicle). But that lack of options was not an indication that the car would be used sparingly.
     
  9. SwannyMotorsports

    SwannyMotorsports Well-Known Member

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    The 74 I had was bought and only used for vacation purposes, they had every day cars to drive everyday. 42 years later it has 51,000 miles on it. So it's not hard to believe someone would buy a wagon or any vehicle and have it for available for only certain purposes. I would like to see documentation to verify the mileage though. I had a 73 Estate wagon that looked like brand new and showed 78,000 miles on it. But, the old lady kept perfect records of the maintenance and the car had 287,000 miles on it. Most people would have thought it was a "low" mileage car.
     
  10. Krash Kadillak

    Krash Kadillak Well-Known Member

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    A CarFax might help answer the question about the mileage. The one I ran on mine (claimed 21k or so at my time of purchase) showed a consistent, if slow, progression of the mileage at successive inspections. No real 'mechanical' history shown on the CarFax, but no issues, either. Also, the seller had NO prior work invoices, etc. that I could go by - only the CarFax, and the overall condition of the wagon. So, to this day, I can't prove conclusively that my mileage is only 33,xxx, and not 133,xxx .....................
     
  11. SwannyMotorsports

    SwannyMotorsports Well-Known Member

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    And older cars with 13 digit VIN's can't be carfaxed
     
  12. wagon1

    wagon1 Active Member

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    22,000 miles is actually a lot of miles on a 30 year old car if the intent is to not drive it much. It takes a while to reach that driving 1 mile to the G-store everyday. Under 10,000miles for a 30-40 year old vehicle then starts to be more of "i want to preserve it" mentality from the start.

    This looks legit to me.
     
  13. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    But who buys a station wagon with the intent of not driving it? Nobody.
     
  14. SwannyMotorsports

    SwannyMotorsports Well-Known Member

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    Apparently some people do. I have 5 verified wagons with less than 60,000 miles. So some people buy them and don't drive them.
     
  15. jaunty75

    jaunty75 Middling Member

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    60,000 miles is not 20,000 miles. 60,000 miles is a reasonable "low mileage" car that has also seen some use. 22,000 is so low that it invites disbelief. It's certainly possible the car has only that many miles, and I'd be more inclined to believe it if we were talking about a '75 Caprice Classic convertible or something like that someone bought with the intention of keeping it for many years without putting many miles on it.

    But people don't buy station wagons with that intent. Certainly some documentation would be desirable. Certainly circumstances can change and a car that was bought with plans to use it regularly ends up not being used as much as intended. But it's more likely that it's just a well cared-for 120,000 mile car. We're talking percentages here. What's more common? A 38 year old station wagon with 22,000 miles on it? Or a 38 year old station wagon with 122,000 miles on it?

    The onus is on the seller to prove it's a 22,000 mile car. It's not on us to prove it's not.
     

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