Car News: In Defense of the 1964 Pontiac Tempest Custom Safari

1964 Pontiac Tempest


Have you ever come across a hidden gem that you just couldn’t resist? That one car that captured your imagination and made you stop in your tracks? Today, we’re going back in time to 1964, where we find a curious, forgotten car that deserves our attention – the 1964 Pontiac Tempest Custom Safari. While often overshadowed by its flashier counterparts, this unassuming wagon has its own charm and practicality. Join us as we defend the barn cat of the automotive world.

A Blast from the Past

Picture this: It’s 2011, and our contributor/editor had the pleasure of stumbling upon this beauty during a trip to Evansville, Indiana. After years of neglect, this Pontiac Tempest Safari finally gets its moment in the spotlight. It may not be as eye-catching as a GTO, but it has a unique appeal all its own.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

In the mid-’60s, the automotive world was filled with vibrant and spirited cars. Our contributor recalls the fond memories of their parents’ dark metallic green Cutlass and the various Pontiacs and Chevrolets that dotted their family and neighborhood. The cars of 1964 held a special place in their heart, symbolizing a time when household upgrading was a sign of success.

The Practical Choice

When it came to Pontiac wagons, they were often overlooked for their lack of excitement. But for those seeking practicality and reliability, the Tempest Safari was the perfect choice. Equipped with a 2-barrel Pontiac 326 V8 engine, this wagon may not have had the flash of its GTO sibling, but it served its purpose dutifully. And with a smooth two-speed automatic transmission, it had everything an ordinary family needed.

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The Barn Cat of Cars

While tigers may represent power and grandeur, the Tempest wagon embodies the spirit of a barn cat. Hardworking and often overlooked, the wagon is like a member of the family, ready to take on any task. Its practicality and understated charm make it a reliable companion for everyday adventures. The barn cat analogy seems fitting for this particular Tempest Safari, especially considering its color, reminiscent of the cats seen on rural farms.


In a time when big luxury wagons dominated the market, the 1964 Pontiac Tempest Custom Safari stood its ground. Although it may not have been a bestseller, this wagon managed to carve out its own niche, attracting those who valued its extra room and luxury. Today, it stands as a rare testament to an era when cars were sturdy and unassuming. So, let us not forget the barn cats of the automotive world that continue to intrigue and captivate us.


Q: How rare is the 1964 Pontiac Tempest Custom Safari?
A: While Pontiac sold over 120,000 Tempests in 1964, the Tempest Custom Safari wagons numbered only in the mid four digits. This makes them quite rare compared to other Pontiac models from the same year.

Q: What sets the Tempest Safari apart from other wagons of its time?
A: Unlike its competitors, the Tempest Safari offered a practical and reliable solution for everyday transportation. Its unassuming appearance and efficient design made it a favorite among families who prioritized functionality over flashiness.

Q: What makes the Tempest Safari stand out in terms of design?
A: The Tempest Safari featured a distinctive color palette, with Saddle Bronze being one of the available options. While not traditionally eye-catching, these colors reflected the practicality and utility of the wagon.

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The 1964 Pontiac Tempest Custom Safari may not be the most extravagant car of its time, but it certainly deserves recognition for its practicality and reliable performance. As we look back on this forgotten gem, let us appreciate the barn cat of cars that quietly carried families and their memories. To learn more about the latest car news and interesting stories like this one, visit Car news.