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 A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari

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Lynol

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PostSubject: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:31 am

Just took delivery of a '76 Pontiac wagon late last night. Finally got a clamshell! More details and pics to follow after I get out of work and take some...


Last edited by Lynol on Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Andebe

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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Feb 23, 2016 12:24 pm

Awesome!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:49 pm

Congrats!
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Mark 96 Roady



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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Feb 23, 2016 8:40 pm

Pictures? Bring it to wagonfest!!
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:53 pm

Went straight to the DMV after work and got it registered, got back just before dark and took these pics. Raining here, but after I took the pics I drove it all over the place! Have to get some interior pics in daylight still. This thing is awesome! I do hope to take it to Wagonfest NY, Mark, but for Daytona, I'll be riding down with Dave in his OCC.
I'll tell you all about this wagon in the next post, but first, here's some pics of the very large, wet wagon:








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Lynol

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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:29 pm

OK... so here's the skinny on this big fat wagon:
I've been kinda casually looking for a clamshell wagon ever since I bought my LeSabre, and last week I finally found one on craigslist that wasn't a fortune, or a basket-case. Went to PA to check it out on Saturday, and was impressed with how nice it ran and drove, but also how little serious rust it had for North East car. I worked out a price with the guy, and he delivered it last night. It's a '76 Pontiac Grand Safari (Made in July '76 as a matter of fact), it's got a 400 cube Pontiac V8, and it's a 6-passenger wagon, so it doesn't have that cool forward facing third row, and as well optioned as this car is, it has a manual tailgate, which in typical GM fashion, is designed to be a PITA so you regret not getting the power option everytime you use it. The guy said that he bought this car in September, and the guy he bought it from was a car collector/hoarder and had it sitting in a barn for years. The tires are from the early '90s, so it may have been sitting since the late '90s. The underside of this car is in amazing shape; absolutely no rust repair needed there. Where the car does need rust-through repair is in the rear wheel well arches and dog leg area, and the rear driver side quarter panel, the spare tire well bottom, and one of the front fenders has a hole in the bottom. Otherwise, the rest of the body is solid. Even areas like the door bottoms and rockers are clean. The car needs a total re-paint as you can see, it also needs new woodgrain. The chrome on the bumpers and roof rack are actually pretty nice, but the grille is crummy. The interior is in great shape, not a single rip in the vinyl even!


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silverfox103
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:31 pm

Nice find Lynol (pronounced "Lionel"). Looks like you're going to have to enlarge the driveway.

Tom
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Lynol

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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:30 pm

So I just found, crumpled up in the ash tray, a New Jersey inspection sticker, expiring in October of 1992. It's still clean and sticky, so it's likely the sticker that was on the windshield until the PA inspection guys put their sticker on in November 2015. The guy I bought this from bought the car in New Jersey, and mentioned that the owner there never actually registered it -it just sat around. That owner had bought it from an old couple in north Jersey. I also found two gasoline receipts from NJ, dated 1992 and 1994. Here in NJ, re-inspection is the owners responsibility, so it's possible someone could have just driven this car for a while after the sticker expired, since it's not tied to registration like some states. I know I have! I think my record was 6 years overdue. Never got ticketed, lol. Could this car have been sitting since the mid '90s? Starting to seem to look like that.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:51 am

Great find!

A manual tailgate makes sense on a six-seater since no hurry to get into the back. The back is power keyed entry correct? So all you are missing is the power switch at dash?
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:43 am

Wagoninabox wrote:
Great find!

A manual tailgate makes sense on a six-seater since no hurry to get into the back.

You didnt enter the third row from the back on these cars. They had forward facing 3rd row seats. a seat in the middle row would fold out of the way to grant entry. Sorry if you knew this already but i dont follow that logic if you did scratch

I too have been looking for a clamshell wagon. I keep an eye on the for sale threads on the Station wagon forum and they talked alot of trash about this car. That rust along the windows is apparently a nightmare to repair on these cars as there is a weld seem somewhere in that general area. Good luck to you with your new wagon purchase.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:06 pm

Really nice looking...keep it factory looking,or something else in mind?
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:42 pm

MacMasterMike wrote:
I too have been looking for a clamshell wagon. I keep an eye on the for sale threads on the Station wagon forum and they talked alot of trash about this car. That rust along the windows is apparently a nightmare to repair on these cars as there is a weld seem somewhere in that general area. Good luck to you with your new wagon purchase.

Are you talking about the rust along the bottom of the rear-most side window? Did not appear to be rusted through, but I have to take a closer look to see what needs to be done there. And yeah I saw those threads on the SW forum. Doesn't seem like anyone actually went and saw the car, though. The guy who was selling it was asking too much, and the pictures he had on CL were lousy. I didn't expect things to be as good as they were underneath and in other places, but was surprised when I saw it.
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Lynol

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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:54 pm

Andebe wrote:
Really nice looking...keep it factory looking,or something else in mind?
Keeping it factory, although it may loose the woodgrain when re-paint time comes. Going to have to remove some of it to fix the rear wheel well arches anyway, and it's faded and cracked all over so really needs to be re-done, but that stuff is not cheap. First thing this weekend I'm going to clean it up and go over it with a fine-toothed comb and see exactly what needs what.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:06 pm

Lynol

This new addition has to reshuffle the pecking order of your wagons. This baby definitely has risen to #1.


Tom
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Feb 24, 2016 2:50 pm

Got jumbled.....since not entering through "way back" there is less need for power tailgate. What I am curious about is that I thought all of these clamshell style had key operated from the back so that would make them power gates. I think it is just the dash switch that was the option correct?

I know a true manual gate had hand cranks for the Window; never seen a hand crank on a clamshell.
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Lynol

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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:41 pm

Wagoninabox wrote:
Got jumbled.....since not entering through "way back" there is less need for power tailgate.  What I am curious about is that I thought all of these clamshell style had key operated from the back so that would make them power gates.  I think it is just the dash switch that was the option correct?

I know a true manual gate had hand cranks for the Window; never seen a hand crank on a clamshell.

So on all clams, the glass is power, and you can actuate that by a switch on the dash, or by the key switch outside. Once the glass is opened, you turn those ears on the outside key switch, and the gate pops down somewhat, then you push it the rest of the way down. If you had a power gate, you could lower it from the outside key switch, but you would also have a switch on the dash to control it as well. Too bad this one doesn't have it, the power glass and gate opening all at once is pretty cool to see.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Feb 24, 2016 3:53 pm

Okay. That makes better sense. Thanks for clearing up.

Always liked the look of this era wagon.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:25 pm

I learned to drive on a 1974 Impala clam-shell. 400 cube sbc.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:44 pm

Lynol, very cool find! I'm looking forward to some more pictures when you get a chance.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:31 pm

Mark 96 Roady wrote:
Lynol, very cool find! I'm looking forward to some more pictures when you get a chance.
If it ever stops raining, I will. Hopefully this weekend.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Fri Feb 26, 2016 3:42 pm

Got the rear glass to work properly. The motor sounded like something was stripped, and it would only actually engage and move the glass like 20% of the times you tried it. Turned out to be a loose drive cable. It's weird the way it's set up, I guess small electric motors were still way to big in the '70s, so the motor is mounted down on the floor below the right tail light, and attached to it is a long cable, (very much like those drill flex extensions) that drives a little gear box behind the key switch. This is where the cable was loose (not screwed in all the way). The gear box moves a looooooong screw-driven rod that goes up into the glass area.

So now that that is out of the way, I took some pics of the back. Just look at all that space! I moved the front seat up all the way (and at 6'-3" I can still drive fairly comfortably) and measured 8'-9" from the seat-back to the inside of the closed tailgate!



Last edited by Lynol on Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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silverfox103
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Fri Feb 26, 2016 5:07 pm

Lynol, still have the Crown Vic and pick up?

Tom
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Sat Feb 27, 2016 11:12 am

Tom, I've been meaning to ask you, please explain your new picture where you are wrangling an alligator? And, I assume you will be coming to Waonfest next month?
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Sat Feb 27, 2016 5:32 pm

Great find Lynol. Cant wait to see the cosmetic restoration. I hope there are no surprises and whomever you pick to do the body and paint does a nice job for you. The 400 Poncho is a good engine, lots of potential and torque.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:29 pm

I'm young enough that my mom grew up with a 1974ish Oldsmobile wagon. This is cool and has to be a rare model being only a 6 passenger and having the manual tailgate.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Sat Feb 27, 2016 9:27 pm

Mark 96 Roady wrote:
Tom, I've been meaning to ask you, please explain your new picture where you are wrangling an alligator? And, I assume you will be coming to Waonfest next month?

Alligator picture is easy to explain, Alligator farm & two beers at lunch. Not sure about WF as it falls on Easter and we may have to head back up north a few days early, which would put me under a real tight schedule.

Tom
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:52 am

silverfox103 wrote:
Mark 96 Roady wrote:
Tom, I've been meaning to ask you, please explain your new picture where you are wrangling an alligator? And, I assume you will be coming to Waonfest next month?

Alligator picture is easy to explain,  Alligator farm & two beers at lunch.  Not sure about WF as it falls on Easter and we may have to head back up north a few days early, which would put me under a real tight schedule.

Tom
Who had the two beers, you or the alligator? Smile And, I hope you can find a way to make it.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:26 pm

Mark, I think both of them would need to have had a few beers...

Spent some time this weekend working on the car. Changed some fluids and filters, and bled the brakes as my brake light was on since purchase, and the brakes felt OK, but not very good. After a bleeding, the light is out and the brakes work well. Tune up is next, but first. I gotta wash this thing. I can't tell the rust apart from the dirt right now, lol.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Mon Feb 29, 2016 10:14 pm

Also this weekend, I got this gate and glass working 100%. Getting the glass to move under it's own power wound up being the easy part, lol! After fixing that last Thursday, I found that the tailgate could still be opened with those dogs around the key switch even with the glass closed. I also found that while the dash switch worked, the key switch did not close the glass. Ended up being a burned away contact in the switch.

The way this works is there's a tab attached to the lock cylinder that turns side to side, one side is glass up, other is glass down. See how much smaller that inner contact on the right side is? The contact was burned down enough where when the tab pushed the contact toward the other one on the outside, it wasn't making... contact. So I wedged a piece of plastic in between the plastic of the housing and the outer right side contact, thus bringing it closer to the inner one. Works good now, but I'm going to be on the lookout for a replacement. Next I had to get the interlock thing adjusted so that when the glass closed, the tailgate could not be unlatched. Here's a picture of the dealy that stops the glass if your tailgate isn't closed. It's located in the right side glass channel.

It also has a cable on it that becomes tight after the glass goes down below that point (8" from closed), and that cable attaches to the tailgate latch mechanism, thus preventing the dogs around the key hole from being turned. I took a video of it that shows the glass and gate working properly.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Mon Feb 29, 2016 11:25 pm

Pretty cool, I remember reading about these that the tailgate is fairly heavy, so most went for the power option. How heavy is the manual gate?
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:08 am

stewzer55 wrote:
Pretty cool, I remember reading about these that the tailgate is fairly heavy, so most went for the power option.  How heavy is the manual gate?
It's heavy alright, but the thing about it is you have to do it without stopping, otherwise it won't latch all the way. In the owner's manual it says "lift tailgate with a quick, continuous motion". It's a lot like pull starting a horizontal-shaft engine, like on a snow blower. You have to pull straight up; and fast. I'm sure it might be better with some lubrication, but I would bet a lot of the Moms that drove these wagons probably had a hard time with this.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:51 am

Cleaned the engine bay!
BEFORE:


AFTER:

The motor has a pretty cool looking metallic blue paint job. Couldn't see any of it before, but you can see it now that the valve covers are cleaned.

I also removed those bumperettes. They may have been aftermarket, because they look way larger than the ones on other Grand Safaris. I think the car looks a lot better without them. I also cleaned a thick layer of algae off the bumper-body filler panel.

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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Mar 01, 2016 2:18 am

Congrats!!! Keep the updates coming too...a clamshell wagon is a bucket list ride for me. Never see them around here...

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Lynol

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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:44 am

Put it up on the ramps and took a good look at the under side. No surprises there (uh, well, except for two snapped U-bolts) but rust wise, no surprises. The original undercoating is pretty well intact, there's just a couple spots I might wire brush and coat, but for the most part it doesn't need anything. You can click the photos to see the rest of them if you want.  
From Pontiac
From Pontiac
From Pontiac
From Pontiac
From Pontiac
From Pontiac

So I found that one U-bolt is snapped on each side...

Yeah..... that's not supposed to be like that.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Mar 01, 2016 12:35 pm

Looks like shes in really nice shape! Thanks for sharing the pics.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:48 pm

Nice Grand Safari you've got there. My dream is to have a 95 RMW and an 88 Safari
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Mar 02, 2016 12:17 pm

Great job Lynol! Good call on ditching the front bumper over riders-it looks much better. It's a shame your grill is broken because otherwise the outside looks great. I wish you could bring it with you to wagonfest. Unfortunately I won't ever make it to the summer wagonfest because I have an other event that same weekend each summer. Keep up the good work!
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Mar 02, 2016 1:17 pm

I mentioned to Dave (95BRMW) that the tailgate "Grand Safari" script emblem was missing, and he suggested that it probably fell off at some point when the gate was lowered, and is probably still in that void where the gate disappears into. It seemed like a long shot, but look what I found when I peered in there with a flashlight!


I fished it out with a long screwdriver and an old antenna mast.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Mar 02, 2016 2:14 pm

Congratulations on your latest find.

Curious about the exhaust. The last section after the muffler looks like flex pipe. Is this something that was done to make it work? I assume the original setup is no longer available.

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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Mar 02, 2016 3:32 pm

YachtDriver wrote:
Congratulations on your latest find.

Curious about the exhaust. The last section after the muffler looks like flex pipe. Is this something that was done to make it work? I assume the original setup is no longer available.

Yes, and yes. The PO did that because the original pipe is not sold anymore. I'll probably just buy a length of pipe and a pre-made 90 and clamp up a replacement section.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Mar 02, 2016 4:56 pm

Any muffler shop, such as Midas or Meineke can bend that piece easily.

tom
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Mar 02, 2016 7:44 pm

I agree with Tom, any shop can do it, it might be worth seeing how the rest of the system is too.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Wed Mar 02, 2016 10:40 pm

I like how even the radio knobs are woodgrain. Does that radio even work?
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:33 pm

TheRoadmasterKing wrote:
I like how even the radio knobs are woodgrain. Does that radio even work?
Yeah, I think my '75 Buick has woodgrain radio knobs too. This AM/FM radio does work, but the speaker is shot, so everything sounds like a kazoo. And that's right, I said speaker -as in just one, right in the center of the dash top. The multi-speaker AM/FM stereo was optional.
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Thu Mar 03, 2016 2:10 pm

It was the seventies...Rig up some wood clad house speakers to leave in the back,ala Radio Shack style. lol!
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Thu Mar 03, 2016 11:04 pm

Andebe wrote:
It was the seventies...Rig up some wood clad house speakers to leave in the back,ala Radio Shack style. lol!
Ha ha, Dave and I used to set up a pair of woodgrained stereo speakers when we would ride in the back of his Dad's C20 pickup when we were kids. Fun times.

So I gave up on waiting for a sunny afternoon to take some interior pics and finally just took some interior shots of this wagon.

^Check this out, the front passenger gets their own full sized ash tray! This was apparently an option. Funny, you couldn't have any drinks, but you sure as hell could smoke.

^I love how the lighter icon looks like a Zippo!


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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:37 am

Beautiful interior!!


Tom
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:09 am

Oh I see you have the "Radial Tuned Suspension" Very Happy But no gauges Sad
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PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:21 am

That interior is beautiful! I always laugh when I see an older car with the goofy option selections. Like on your car-power seat and windows, yet no tilt and a manual tail gate! At least you have the most important option (in my opinion) factory A/C so you can enjoy your new car in the summer.
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Andebe

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Posts : 2596
Join date : 2013-02-20
Age : 48
Location : Richmond,Indiana

PostSubject: Re: A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari   Fri Mar 04, 2016 12:15 pm

Soooooo clean,whatta find.
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A Clamshell cometh... '76 Pontiac Grand Safari
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