If you had a chance to read the article on the 1994 to 1996 Impala SS Buyers Guide, good. These cars have an almost cult like following within the collector car community. Asking prices have remained steady, with unmolested and original vehicles actually increasing in value sharply. There is an alternative to this “Corvette” of four-door sedans, and that would be the Caprice Wagon – Just ask any true fan of Hooniverse. In 1955 Chevrolet introduced the breathtaking Chevrolet Nomad, and by 1957 it was offered with Fuel-Injection. These “Wagons” turned up the styling bar to “11” and forever put to rest the notion that a wagon could be anything but a pedestrian driving appliance. The Nomad had it all: Performance, style, and cargo room. In 1964, Chevrolet offered a two-door Chevelle Wagon, and it was available with most of the performance hardware of the Chevelle SS, without the nameplate. By the early 70’s, these faux-wood beasts could be equipped with high-performance 350, 400, or 454 power. During the 1991 model year, the long anticipated redesign of the GM full sized, rear-wheel-drive, sedans and station wagons made their debut. The previous version was marketed by all GM divisions, and were largely unchanged since their 1977 introduction. Originally, only Chevrolet was going to offer the wagon, but a slightly stretched model was offered by both Buick and Oldsmobile. There was nothing muscular about these cars, and the Chevy version only offered a 5.0L V-8 that produced 170 HP, and only 255 Lb-Ft of Torque, which was barely adequate to power these leviathans with anything approaching authority. However, for 1993, these cars received a needed and long awaited heart transplant in the form of a derivative of the Corvette LT-1 taking up room in the engine compartment. This engine put out over 260 HP, and 330 Lb-Ft of Torque. Car & Driver Magazine took one out on the drag strip at that time and recorded a 7.8 time doing 0-60. Quarter mile times were 15.6 seconds, with a trap time of 90 MPH. These sound slow compared to today, but remember, these were wagons that approached 5,000 pounds. These wagons were discontinues in 1996 at the same time the Impala SS, and Buick Roadmasters were. Station Wagons on a whole are one of the hottest segments within the collectible cars market, and the Caprice Wagon, Buick Roadmaster Wagon, and to a lesser extent, the Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser Wagon are leading the way. Think of these as latter day Chevy Nomads with big power in a refined package. They will never be confused with an SUV, and really stand out in the sea of sameness. It signifies an end to a glorious past of American cars. Read the entire article on the Impala SS and the alternative purchase, the Caprice Wagon here.
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