Chances are when you think of powerful muscle cars or hot rods, you don’t think of a Pontiac Catalina; especially not a Catalina wagon. But this week on Big Muscle, Mike Musto is out to change your perception with just that–a 1964 Catalina Safari. Sure, it’s not your typical muscle machine, but this one also certainly isn’t your regular classic Pontiac either. Check it out in this week’s episode of Big Muscle above.
First introduced in 1950 as the hard-top model in the Pontiac Chieftain Series, the Catalina was always on the large side, congruent with transporting large families, going to the grocery store and cruising around town. Sure, over the years the Catalina would be optioned with up to a 455ci engine good for 325hp, but it’s safe to say the full-size Pontiac was never really known for being a contender in the muscle car war, especially as a wagon.
That, however, didn’t deter the owner of this particular Catalina Safari one bit.
Not knowing much about Pontiacs, owner Mike Artman picked the Safari up a few years ago as a 1962 model for just $900 through a police auction. After doing some research on the cowl tag, however, he quickly figured out that what he had actually purchased was a 1962 model that had been used as a police vehicle. Wanting to preserve some of the car’s heritage, Artman decided to build the car how it sits today.
Having dabbled in street racing back in the day, Artman opted to equip his wagon the only way he knew how–with a beefy race engine. For this, he chose Nelson Racing Engines and went with a 550hp, 468ci big block combination.
Other features the car now boasts are cut springs for a proper stance, 18-inch wheels, 245 and 275 Toyo tires, a Currie 9-inch rearend, manual disc brakes and a Timeless Kustoms paint job. All this adds up to one sweet wagon with plenty of tire-burning power.
Whether you’re a wagon person like Musto or not, there’s no denying this Catalina Safari is pretty sick–something you should remember the next time you happen to roll up next to someone in an old-school wagon at a stoplight. After all, it may just surprise you!