Parts car for my 78 Catalina Safari

cammerjeff

Member
430
1
18
Belleville MI
Well one of the 2 things I didn't care for on my 78 Catalina Wagon was the Stock Buick 350, the other was the aftermarket non working A/C the car had installed by a previous owner.

Over the Christmas New Years break I stumbled on 60,000 mile 78 Catalina Safari equipped with the optional 400 Pontiac V8 & Working Factory A/C in upstate NY. The asking price was a bit more than I wanted to pay but I got it for $3000 plus around $500 to go pick it up and bring it back to Michigan.

Unfortunatly the rust free car is only parts due to its interior condition, but I am very happy with how the engine runs, even starts right up and does not stall in the below freezing temperatures

If anyone is interested I will Post some pic's of the parts car, and document the process of swapping out the engine & the A/C Systems.
 

cammerjeff

Member
430
1
18
Belleville MI
Here are some pictures of the Parts wagon as bought, it is actually a strangely optioned car, from the outside it looks like a base model car with the dog dish hub caps, no roof rack & no passenger side rear view mirror.
But besides having the biggest available engine for the year, a Pontiac 400 4bbl, Automatic A/C, Power windows, Locks, and Drivers seat, it has the upgraded interior with the split bench front seat with a fold down armrest, a Gauge package with indash clock, Cruise control, Tilt column, factory air shocks, and a 4-speaker AM/FM stereo radio.
My other car has a few different options, including rear window defroster, and intermittent wipers, along with a economy meter (vacuum gauge) in place of the clock.
My plans are to swap the engine and A/C, and possibly the rear axle & air Shocks
 

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cammerjeff

Member
430
1
18
Belleville MI
As for the engine I just plan on adding a Harmonic Balancer, cleaning it up, painting it, and adding the set of Ram Air 3 exhaust manifolds that I have sitting on the shelf.
This is a Late Pontiac 400 V8, and most 76 to 78 400's did not come from the factory with a harmonic balancer, just a cast iron hub to bolt the crankshaft V-belt pulley.
Another odd thing about the car is the type of A/C compressor mounted in it, it has the small B4 style compressor usually seen on 301 or 265 V8's. But have been told that late in the 78 Model year the smaller compressor was mounted on some Catalina's & Bonneville's. This is the 1st one I have actually seen so equipped. I actually like the access the smaller compressor gives me on the passenger side of the engine.
As you can see the car is actually pretty solid, but with the headliner missing, the drivers seat needing recovering, and the dash cracked it is really only good to drive or for parts, as the cost of restoring the interior alone would be more than the car is worth.
______________________________
 

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92 Sunbird LE

Active member
Reminds me of one of my old winter cars (77 Chevy wagon $75 special, just needed the starter cable cleaned
and the oilpan JB welded .) Motor and trans went on to power a 12 second Chevelle after my friend swapped the drivetrain into a 80 Cutlass first.. which was another winter car for me the next year..lol I then sold the Cutlass to my son's friend which had the motor built, then gave up on it and sold the motor to the Chevelle's owner.

When my friend junked the body, it came off the frame when they lifted it up in the air. Never got stuck in the winter with that tank, was even good for pushing snow that was 40" high.

Good drag week canidate, just needs a twin turbo ls, or a stroked 455.

If you could take it apart and mail it in flat rate boxes , I would take it off your hands, Jeff. Lol ;)

Doug in P.R.:)
 

cammerjeff

Member
430
1
18
Belleville MI
I know what you mean Doug, the car is so solid its a shame to part it, but its not as nice as the Brown Wagon, and my wife hates Blue Cars, and really hates Blue interiors, so parts it is.
 
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