May 12, 2014 update to the Pontiac Catalina Safari project car

Wagon Konis

Our wagon was back on the rack, this time for fresh dampers.
The rears looked, acted and tasted original.
Our replacements came from a familiar name: Hello, Koni.
Koni orange on a full-size wagon? Yes, please.

We love our 1975 Pontiac Catalina Safari because it’s so original, but perhaps a few pieces were too original—like the rear dampers. While we didn’t check date codes, they looked original and acted as such.

The wagon drove as you’d expect, like a big wagon, but sometimes the tail felt a little light if we had to jump off the throttle. Perhaps it was time to upgrade the shock absorbers.

Our solution came from a name that needs no introduction: Koni. Koni makes shock absorbers for Pontiac wagons? Yes, yes they do. These even come from their new budget-priced STR.T model line. The same Koni part numbers that fit so many mid- and full-size GM products from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s also fit our wagon: 8050-1046 front and 1050-1047 rear. Figure less than $300 complete for both our fronts and rears.

The fronts are an easy swap. The rears took a bit more work, mainly because GM didn’t use captive nuts for the top mount. Our solution involved two people, a drive-on lift and a long, long socket extension. It would have been so much easier with the body off.

Thanks, Geoff Thompson at Andre’s Automotive, for helping with this one.

Soon we’ll have to go for a ride.

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