1981 Pontiac Catalina Safari 307 Olds from North America

Summary:

A Reliable Utility Vehicle

Faults:

Replaced original calipers, brake hoses and wheel cylinders

Water pump replaced

Alternator replaced

Heat control won't blend - either full-on or full-off

Tailgate window seal leaking - replacement unavailable

Power steering leaks slowly

Carburetor will need a refresh within a year.

General Comments:

I bought this car for $500 with 29,000 miles on it in May 2006. I needed a vehicle that could carry building supplies for rebuilding my house after Katrina. Thus, the Catalina was dubbed the "Katrina Wagon."

I have used this car to commute 80 miles a day for 16 months. It has hauled 20 4x8 boards of sheetrock, 1700 lbs of floor tile, and numerous other items. The suspension is heavy-duty, and it has the same wheels and brakes as full-size GM pickups.

The a/c still blows cold, surprisingly the factory AM/FM stereo works perfectly with no speaker buzz. Also, the speedometer is dead accurate.

I don't care for the 200R4 overdrive automatic - it's smooth, but slow to downshift and feels a little sloppy and soft. The 307 Olds engine has adequate power for the weight - just enough to hold its own on bridges.

All in all, these full-sized GMs were well designed cars that cruise comfortably and have decent handling and brakes.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th October, 2007