Worth the Wait

Poncho Lover gets Dream Wagon 40 Years Later

John Gunnell - July 09, 2014 11:06 AM


Eight-lug wheels set off shiny black factory paint.

Courtesy of John Gunnell

Wagon came with rear-facing third seat that’s rare in Bonnevilles.

Courtesy of John Gunnell

Dealer paperwork verifies the long list of options.

Courtesy of John Gunnell

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      You might want to watch out what you wish for when you are only 2-1/2 years old. Dave Dembowski of Boise, Idaho, says his father wrote his first sentence in his baby book. “He said it was, ‘I like that Pontiac car’ and he noted that I said it over and over.”
      Today, Dombowski owns four ’64 Pontiac station wagons, a ’65 Pontiac parts car and other Pontiac models like a Bonneville Brougham. “I had a GTO, too,” he pointed out. “But I sold it.” 
      Dombowski drove his original, highly-optioned ’64 Bonneville Safari 1,600 miles to a show in Wichita, Kansas. He says he found this car “by looking, but not on purpose.” His father had a ’64 Catalina wagon, but as a kid, Dave wanted a Bonneville because he thought the higher-priced model would be better. A mechanic talked about having a customer with a nice Bonneville Safari posted the car on line.
      “At that time, I had just bought my own ’64 Catalina wagon out of Ohio,” Dombowski recalls. “But I had never forgotten the black one in Connecticut that the mechanic talked about. A couple of months later, I asked if it was for sale. He said if he sold it, the price would be high, but I had to ask what it was and that ended it. The number was second and the car was first; it’s the passion that motivated me. That car was what I wanted at 2-1/2 years old and close to 40 years later, it was still what I liked the best.”  
      The shiny black, all-original, 53,000-mile wagon has the 421 four-barrel engine, bucket seats, a console, air conditioning, a third rear-facing seat and 8-lug aluminum wheels. “It came exactly like you see it, except that the roof rack was put on at some later point,” Dombowski verified. “The car was built on the day that President Kennedy was assassinated and it was eventually delivered to Greenwich Motor Sales, which is on the tailgate sticker. I have the key chain that came with the car and all the paperwork.”
      The car never left Connecticut until it went to Boise. The paperwork shows it was parked from 1977 until 2006. “We drive the car to shows and to the Dairy Queen,” Dombowski stressed. “We can’t drive it with the rear window down, because the exhaust comes in, but people see the third seat and say it’s a neat old car. To me, it’s not old-it’s just a car. (Just the car he wanted 40 years ago, that is.).