About ‘The Last Pontiac Safari?’
Found Custom Safari #1296: The story of it’s discovery, preservation and more!!
For more than 35 years, a 1957 Pontiac Custom Safari 2 door wagon, body # 1296, Style Model 57-2467DF had been sitting in the woods of Muskegon Michigan, slowly deteriorating while it was being used as a parts car for another Safari wagon. However, in the spring of 2018, the owner, Terry Twinning, decided to sell his parts Safari by offering it through an eBay auction. When the bidding was done, the 1296 had a new owner – Richard Plastino, long-time member of the Pontiac-Oakland Club International (POCI) and owner of California Pontiac Restoration (CPR) based in Southern California. His company specializes in selling new, reproduction, NOS and used Pontiac parts of all ages with an emphasis on the 40’s, 50’s and early 60’s. Rich has been collecting and restoring Pontiacs for over 40 years and has owned several ’57 Pontiac Custom Safari wagons.
The first step Rich will take is to inspect and assess the Safari wagon. Its absolutely important that the cowl tag and vin plate are authentic since 1296 is either the last or certainly the highest known Safari body number know. By late June, Rich plans to inspect the Safari wagon and start the first stage for its rejuvenation, road tour and display.
UPDATE: In late may, Rich, his daughter Erica and his Grandson Daniel traveled from Southern California to Muskegon, MI and with the help of fellow POCI member Paul Prinzing, saw Safari #1296 up close and personal for the first time. The body tag is indeed authentic with absolutely no evidence of tampering. The team took videos and still images which will be viewable in the BLOG section of this website soon. The effects of storage over soil for 35 years is consistent with the condition of the body and frame of 1296. Rust has penetrated the frame and both the inner and outer quarters panels. The floor is completely missing and the rockers are essentially non-existent. Thus, Rich’s hopes for assembly and a long drive back to California on Historic Route 66 is certainly no longer a viable plan. However, Rich is too dumb to quit when he finds a road block ahead. Instead, Rich now is planning to get the Safari wagon to his shop at CPR where restoration can start. He has located a very good ’55 Custom Safari from Perry Eaton of Palermo Ca. The car is already extensively parted so Rich is not destroying one Safari to save another. He also has a ’57 complete chassis which he plans to borrow from another project.
The tour will now do a “U” turn and start at the pier in Santa Monica and drive East on Route 66, hopefully joined by other car buffs. The tour will stop in Pontiac, MI at the Pontiac Oakland Museum and then drive East to the POCI 2019 convention in Erie, PA.
That’s the plan at this point. Follow along with us or better, join us in this Mad Hatter adventure.