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Thanksgiving Weekend – Wagons from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. Which would you choose?

Jim Brennan November 25, 2012 For Sale, Weekend Edition 18 Comments

This is the Sunday edition of the Thanksgiving Weekend on Hooniverse, and it is the second most heavily traveled day of the year. With family members trekking their way back home, I thought I would take a nostalgic look back to the wagons that might have made that trip with their original owners. However, I decided to put four relatively unique wagons in a showdown, to see which one really gets your motor revving. They are from different decades, so let’s see who comes out on top…

This is a 1966 Pontiac Bonneville 3-Seat Wagon. According to the listing:

I have owned this car since 2007. It runs great and is solid. This car came out of California. I just got a new car and need to make room for it, so this one is going. Three rows of seating, 9 Passenger, rear seat is rear facing! No rust, the underneath is solid, look at the floor pan pictures!

Automatic, A/C, floormats, p/s, p/b, power rear window, dual exhaust, am radio, factory gauge speedometer, reconditioned 8-lugs – I have the PHS documentation on it. Rare factory rear window screens. The rear window swtich is currently under dash, I have and will include a NOS rear window switch and a correct rear window switch dash bezel which will need to be installed.

I just put on brand new tires with less than 100 miles on them. The headliner was replaced and is perfect. The front bench seat was recovered by the previous owner and looks new. The dash was redone and is perfect. Back and 3rd row seat covers are original and look great, no rips or tears. The door panels are original and look good. The carpet was replaced by the previous owner.

In last six months, the fuel system has been gone over (thank you ethanol). New fuel pump, new rubber fuel lines, new originial style fuel filter, and the carb was rebuilt. It runs great now. Bumpers were rechromed by previous owner. I was told the engine was rebuilt before I got it. It runs great so I believe it to be true, but I don’t have any documentation. Previous owner wanted to put fender skirts on it, so I have a set of matching fender skirts if wanted. An aftermarket stereo with auxillary jack is installed in glove box hooked up to speakers in the stock location. All of the gauges work, including clock which as been rebuilt.

Area’s that need work: The steering wheel is cracked. The paint on the front end is tired compared to the rest of the car. The A/C was rebuilt by the previous owner and is complete, but it does not blow cold. The car does have a couple of chips in the paint – I have included pictures of these areas, they are on the drivers door and the right rear tail lamp area. There is also some bubbling starting in the drip rails, I have included pictures of these too. The plastic front grills have some cracks. The dash was cut for an aftermarket radio earlier in its life, it now has a stock AM radio in position, but it is not hooked up and I don’t know the working condition.

With over a day to go before the close of the auction, the top bid so far is $6,850 with an unmet reserve. What do you think this car should sell for? See the listing here:1966 Pontiac Bonneville 9 Passenger Station Wagon

Here is a perfectly aged 1963 Ford Country Squire Wagon, and according to the listing:

Thanks for looking at my 63 Country Squire wagon. This wagon runs and drives great now. I have spent a lot of time and money getting it sorted. It is a real survivor with 100% of it’s original paint and trim. It has never been wrecked or repainted. It has a beautiful original finish by Mother Nature (or patina) that everybody is looking for. She has some bumps and bruises from 50 years of use but nothing major. Kinda like us, the scars tell the story. No amount of money can replicate it even though many have tried. Faux-tina is just not the same! It has all the impossible to find “wood” trim and all of the wood grain on the side is still original also. It retains all of its original FORD LOF glass. The rear window is electric and I have cleaned and lubed the regulator and replaced all the rollers so the window glides up and down like a new one.

All of the gauges and dash lights work as designed. The headlights, brake lights, turn signals, windshield wipers all work perfectly. The factory AM radio makes noise but no music – the antenna mast is missing which might have something to do with it. I bought an NOS antenna but I can’t seem to find it now. If it shows up, it’s yours.

This wagon was built in Atlanta and appears to have spent most of it’s life in a warm, salt free environment. It has it’s original 289 engine with Cruise-O-Matic transmission. The rear gear is a 3.55. At some point, it made its way north and I purchased it from a New York family where it was used mainly as transportation from NYC to the Hamptons during the summer. It has obviously been garaged. It has a perfect frame with no rust evident. All of the floor pans are original and in great shape with no rust through or soft areas. The only rust on the entire car is what is shown on the rear quarters, a small spot in the cargo area and a small spot at the base of the front fender. There is some slight damage to each rocker panel (but no rust) where it looks like the car was driven over something during the last 50 years.

During the last three months I have restored the factory steering wheel, installed new ACC carpet and pad, reupholstered the front seat with original materials from SMS fabrics at a cost of over $2000. The interior is very nice with a perfect, crack free dash pad, padded visors and a good factory headliner. Three of the door panels are great and one needs some attention. The vent window on the drivers side leaked at some point, which allowed water to seep in and warp the bottom of the panel. I was going to pull off the upholstery and reinstall it on a new back board or buy new ones from SMS. The make them complete and ready to install.

The chassis is super solid but it sat too high so I installed new Eaton front springs with a 3″ drop and a 2″ block on the rear axle for a smooth and comfortable ride. Has new shocks in the front and nice KYB gas shocks in the rear. Two weeks ago I replaced the entire factory exhaust and hangers with a new 2″ dual exhaust with turbo mufflers.

Under the hood, I spent days degreasing this critter. When I got it, every gasket was the dry original and had been leaking for a long time. I’m sure that the oil preserved the underside of the car as it was covering everything under the hood and chassis. I took off the intake manifold and had it acid dipped and then powder coated gloss black. I have replaced all the gaskets on the front of the motor as well as the intake manifold and carb. I replaced the water pump and the front main crank seal also. The engine is nice and tight now with no oil leaks or smoke. There is a very slight leak from the power steering reservoir but it works perfectly and I have not had to add fluid in over a 1000 miles of driving. I do have a seal kit for it, but have not had the chance to stick it in. Radiator is beautiful. No patchwork or repairs. All new antifreeze three weeks ago.

During my work on the engine, I changed the oil and filter, installed a new fuel filter and housing, rebuilt the carb, installed new points and condenser, set the valves and the timing according to factory specs. I replaced all of the belts, radiator hoses and heater hoses as well as all the correct “tower” style clamps. All of the engine accessories like the brackets, pulleys and damper, have been degreased, sandblasted and painted with the correct colors. I also replaced the valve covers and air cleaner (factory parts are included for those who prefer a factory look). The engine fires up easily when hot or cold with a new starter and battery. The automatic choke and fast idle work correctly. The Cruise-O-Matic transmission shifts cleanly. I have also replaced the u-joints and the transmission mount as the original stuff was a little tired also.

As you can see in the pictures, I’m currently running a rare, vintage set of Cragar hub covers but I do have a full set of beautiful, factory wheel covers that go with it. Wheels are factory 14″ in the correct Corinthian white color. Car retains all five date coded wheels and complete jack. Tires are newer radials with lots of tread left. When I purchased this wagon I was told that the mileage was actual with a little over 40,000 miles on it. As original as it is, it could be correct, but I did not get odometer statement and cannot verify actual mileage. Could be 140,000 or 240,000 or ONE MILLION MILES! I have no idea. It is still using the original FORD keys and they are in pretty good shape. The seats are nice and firm, the pedals have little wear.

With over two days to go before the close of the auction, the top bid so far is $6,101 with an unmet reserve. What do you think this car should sell for? See the listing here:1963 Ford Country Squire 6 Passenger Wagon

Here is a rare 2-door 1956 Studebaker Commander Parkview Wagon. This is the very unsuccessful facelift of the 53 to 55 Studebaker Conestoga wagons, but I think still quite desirable in its own way. According to the listing:

Super Rare 1956 Studebaker Commander Parkview 2 door station wagon. Not many made and even less around now. V8 259 c.i. ,dual exhausts, auto transmission (no pb/ps), lights work, fan works , gauges work,, transmission works, car runs smoothly and without any smoking . Runs and drives very well for a 57 year old car. Has some minor rust in floors but solid underneath as you can see in the photos, dry western car from CO. Center cap for steering wheel is in the car. Replacement glass for drivers window is in the back of the car.

Drive it today for cruise nights or trips to the country with the car club or take it to shows. Drive it around as you restore it or build the cool street rod you might have wanted. Roughly 100,000 miles (shows 24 miles, so I assume it has gone over). As this is a 57 year old used car, there are no warranties what so ever and it is being sold as/is, where is. Located in S. Florida.

This car has a Buy-It-Now price of $11,500. At the very least, this car is in need of come interior work in the form of a new headliner, and maybe the recovering of the front seats. I think I would just use a blanket of some sort for the front seat, make sure the engine and transmission is working fine, check how the brakes work, and drive it as is… but what about you? See the listing here: 1956 Studebaker Commander Parkview Wagon

Our last contender is this 1979 Chrysler LeBaron Town & Country Wagon. According to the listing:

1979 Chrysler Town & Country Station Wagon. Original Arizona Car. Absolutely Rust Free. Brown Original (Survivor) Paint with Factory Woodgrain. Now, this car is a Survivor and still has it’s original paint and Woodgrain Sides. It certianly shows that it is all original. This Car has never been painted on or repaired. It shows it’s age, but grew up in Arizona and has been in a Garage every day of it’s life. Brand new Chrysler 340 engine with approximately 2,000 miles on it. Best of Everything in engine. Steel Crank Engine with X Heads. New TRW Pistons, Sealed Power Engine Kit, Comp Cam and Valve Train, Weiand Intake Manifold, Edelbrock 650 CFM Carburetor with Electric Choke, Cloyes Timing Set, TTI Ceramic Coated Headers, Dynomax / Chrysler Hemi Mufflers, Mopar Performance Electronic Ignition. Automatic Transmission. This Car sounds like a Muscle Car but is very easy to drive. It gets a lot of attention wherever it goes.

Chrysler AM/FM/CD/Cassette Radio from a late ’90s Chrysler Product. The Tan Cloth Interior is absolutely Beautiful. 15″ X 8″ Magnum 500 Wheels with P235/60 15 BF Goodrich Raised White Letter Tires. Classic Auto Air / Sanden Air Conditioning Compressor and underhood equipment. Front Suspension Completely Rebuilt with All MOOG Parts. Brand New Steering Box from Steer & Gear in Columbus, Ohio. 3.23 Chrysler Sure Grip Differential from a Town & Country with a Towing Package. Certified Speedometer. New Brakes (Original Style). This Car may have Every Option that Chrysler Offered except Trailer Towing. We added the Rear End. The Radiator has been replaced.

This auction has less that a day to go, and the top bid so far is $3,300 with an unmet reserve. I like this car, but what do you think about this Faux Woodie? See the listing here: 1979 Chrysler Town & Country Station Wagon

Which of these Wagons would you drive on the 2nd most heavily traveled day of the year?

View Results

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  • Sjalabais

    The huge Pontiac Battlestar is my clear favourite, although the Studebaker is the most interesting in my humble eyes. That LeBaron on the other hand is all grannypanties and firewood to me…

  • detroitmuscle

    I really enjoy the interest in wagons,Thanks
    Say,did I miss the answer to the Mystery Car red louvers?

  • From_a_Buick_6

    The Pontiac is just cool. Great styling, good color combo, decent condition and…it's got the 8-lug wheels!?! Want.

    That Chrysler is beter than I thought it would be at first glance, but…ugh. This vintage Town & Country is what I expected the mythic "Antarctic Blue Super Sports Wagon – with the CB and optional Rallye Fun Pack" from National Lampoon's Vacation would look like.

    • Battles

      I logged in to post exactly this sort of comment.
      Looks better in Dog Dirt Brown than it would in Antarctic Blue, in my opinion…

  • Dean Bigglesworth

    The Ford is perfect as is.

  • $kaycog

    Even though I like the blueness of the Pontiac, I choose the Ford, as I like '63 Ford styling and, also, I'm a Fordfan. The detailed engine compartment is lovely.

  • Synchromesh

    I like the Ford, Chrysler and Studebaker. Went with Chrysler – it's the freshest of the bunch.

  • TurboBrick

    Brown, woodie, Magnum 500's and 340cid motor? Yes please!!!

  • CherokeeOwner

    The Chrysler. Easily the cleanest and most well-kept of the wagons. That, and I'm a bit of a sucker for fake wood paneling.

  • viking

    holy chevy chase! O.O
    the chrysler was sold that way? seriously?
    <img src="http://www.abload.de/img/23874d1338860284-why-8fuxo.jpg"&gt;

  • stigshift

    The Pontiac hands down! Yes, I'll take the skirts, please. I would add a luggage rack to it, though.

  • C³-Cool Cadillac Cat

    As tempting as the malaise Mopar is, I had to vote Bonnie blue.

    • Dean Bigglesworth

      Now i admit i've had one or three too many coffees at work today… but Bonnie blue made me think of it breaking down on a desert highway, and "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" coming on the radio just as you coast over to the shoulder in a cloud of smoke.

      [youtube a3yzpl5wZYc http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3yzpl5wZYc youtube]

  • danleym

    I'd be all over that fake woody Lebaron. Whenever I have kids I intend on having a hotrodded old station wagon for toting them around, and that is just about perfect. That wagon has all the right elements- lots of original stuff that would usually classify it as a boring old POS (brown paint, fake woodgrain, a Lebaron), but with just the right badass elements added on. If I was closer to having kids I would be thinking hard about bidding on it.

  • We had that exact same Pontiac station wagon when I was a kid, same color and everything, but it was a Catalina. Yeah, those dreadnoughts are just way too cool. However, I like the Ford and the Chrysler, too, with the hot rod engine. Tough choice, but I'd have to go with the Pontiac.

  • Mid-'60s Pontiac wagon with eight lug wheels and room for nine.


    <img src="http://www.mindjumpers.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Facebook-Want-Button.jpg&quot; />

  • mike england

    I love that 63 Mercury wagon. The rest are all nice.

  • mac

    luv the bonnie.i had a 65 bonnie 9 pass,w/ a 421 h/o 6 pack . what a car…