Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday – Five Affordable Wagons Offered in Hemmings

Welcome to another Wagon Wednesday. Yes, this is another posting about Wagons that are for sale, and they are actually affordable. Yes, they are in fact Malaise Mobiles. No, I won’t be doing a posting on Modern Wagons anytime soon. Yes, I have consumed some alcohol, so what? Let’s see what I came up with…

I was searching for wagons through the classified ads in Hemmings, and there are some real bargains to be had. I’ll start with this 1974 Chevrolet Impala Wagon. There is not much to go by here, but it is being offered by a private seller, who’s mother used to own it. It has a claimed 25,000 miles on the odometer, and its equipped with a V-8, automatic, and factory air. Remember, this is a GM wagon from the early 70’s, and comes with the clam-shell tailgate, one of my all time favorites.

This wagon is honest, unique, and most of all, affordable at only $10,200. This is the perfect way to start enjoying the last of the truly full-sized wagons. See the listing here.

Two years newer, and a lot more miles under its belt, this is a 1976 Buick Estate Wagon, equipped with the very same clam-shell tailgate as the Chevy above. What is really unique about this Buick is what it lacks: No Woodgrain, at least on the outside; No Power Passenger Seat, No Leather – just vinyl. The trim has also been “Blacked Out”, similar to what Buick did on its own later in the decade. Overall, this car is rather unusual.

However, with over 100,000 miles on it, the asking price is also a bit unusual, at $6,500. Imagine a true collectors item like this Buick wagon that is priced reasonably. Will wonders never cease? See the listing here.

Another GM Wagon, only this time it’s a wagon that didn’t originate from a GM factory. This is a custom 1974 Cadillac Fleetwood Wagon with 3 row seating, saddle leather interior, vinyl roof, and instead of using the clam-shell tailgate, the builder of this wagon used an earlier GM tailgate design.

The front end is truly pimpalicious, with a chrome grill cap, and the square headlamp update (remember, 1974 Cadillacs still had quad round lamps). Sunroofs were still rare in 1974, but this wagon came with one, and look at all the brown…. Asking price for this Caddy Wagon is $9,500. See the listing here.

Our next wagon comes from a group of wagons I called The Worst Wagons Ever Produced, and I stand by that statement. They may be crap, but they are still a wagon, and take a look at this one. Its a 1983 Pontiac Bonneville Wagon (This is a renamed Grand LeMans) with what looks like only 15,400 miles on the odometer. Yes you get horrible build quality, rear windows that don’t roll down, and crappy velour upholstery…. but you do get a 305 CID V-8, A/C, and two sets of wheels and tires.

The interior plastics are falling apart and all the plastichrome seems to be fading, but so what. This car is affordable at only $5,900. With the low mileage, cheap entry price, and with enough distinctive features that you could own this car, blow-up the engine and tranny at a later date, and then swap in a monster V-8 and manual for an awesome sleeper. That is if the rest of the car doesn’t fall apart in the process. See the listing here.

Our last affordable wagon is a Ford, and one the Clint Eastwood would approve of. This is a 1976 Ford Gran Torino Squire, with a little over 53,000 miles on the odometer. It comes with a 351 Cleveland, Automatic, A/C, Tape Player, and more. This is a one owner car, so that has to mean something… right?

This car has the right color combination for the 70’s, with just the right amount of woodgrain to set this car apart from all the GM vehicles above. The asking price is pretty tempting as well, at $10,000 (and its negotiable!) See the listing here.
[poll id=”82″]

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  1. Feds_II Avatar

    The Buick almost got my vote, but at the end of the day, the Ford is a little bigger. Which is important, because I'll have to sleep in it for a couple of days if I were to drag it home to show Mrs. Feds_II. Also, do you think I could fit a powerstroke in there?

    1. tonyola Avatar

      The Ford is smaller than the Buick. It has a 118" wheelbase and 221" overall length. The Buick has a 127" wheelbase and 231" overall length (longer than a Cadillac DeVille), plus it's much roomier inside. That's the one to sleep in.

  2. muthalovin Avatar

    For my money, the Buick. The lack of wood-grain intrigues me, and the price is right. Second place goes to the Gran Torino Squire, mostly because of one owner.

  3. BЯдΖǐL-ЯЄРΘЯΤЄЯ Avatar

    A beige car with wood that´s not "beige" at all FTW

  4. Matt Avatar

    I voted for the Pontiac. Same car as my very first car, except a wagon and 2 years older.
    Nostalgia factor off the charts.

    1. Jim-Bob Avatar

      I did too because I love G Bodies and feel that it is the only one that I might reasonably be able to afford to put gas in. Yes, I hate 78-88 A/G body 4 door rear windows but I can overlook it for the cool styling and size of the thing. Plus, this was made after GM changed it's plastic formula to one that lasts a little longer so I could reasonably expect to find replacement pieces in a salvage yard if I look hard enough.

    2. Jim Brennan Avatar
      Jim Brennan


  5. Joe Btfsplk Avatar
    Joe Btfsplk

    Ford always made the best wagons….Chrysler the worst.

  6. Alff Avatar

    Once again, some tough choices from our man Jim. My prioritized list:
    1) Torino Wagon and I don't know why. Maybe because the family of very tall people next door to me had three of them.
    2) Caddy Estate. Rare luxury FTW.
    3) Pontiac. Craptastic or not, this is probably the best looking of the bunch. I like the intermediate size, too.
    4) Buick Estate. Grampa was a long-time Buick man but he know better than to blank out the chrome. He even had faux chrome luggage straps on the trunk of the Cimarron, once he moved up the GM life stage ladder. RIP, JB.
    5) Chevy. The power of the clamshell is not enough to overcome the Maalox green finish and that sticker in the window that proclaims "I'm a peacenik francophile dope grower".

    1. FЯeeMan Avatar

      that sticker in the window that proclaims "I'm a peacenik francophile dope grower".
      Are you referring to the Maple Leaf on the passenger side of the windshield?

    2. Maymar Avatar

      Hey, can't really paint us all as Francophiles. Quebec hates everyone, and everyone sort of hates them back (of course, BC, Alberta, and Ontario are all also equally unloved and apathetic to the rest of the country). Of course, the guys in Prairies, the guys up North, and the guys in the Maritimes just sort of quietly go about their business. And as Vancouver proved tonight, we're not all peaceniks either.

  7. OA5599 Avatar

    I voted for the only choice with a padded vinyl roof. What better way to show off Malaise?
    My runner up is the Ford.

  8. citroen67 Avatar

    While that Caddy wagon is, well, interesting…I would think that being a custom job, one might run into insurance issues. I can just hear my agent: "Who are you going to have fix it if you get rear-ended?"

  9. tonyola Avatar

    Haven't we seen this Buick before? Out of these five, it's probably my choice. The Buicks were the best-looking of the clamshell wagons. This one actually looks pretty clean without the usual woodgrain. I don't know if the blacked-out window chrome was a Buick option, but it goes nicely with the sport wheels. As for the others…
    The Ford is too ugly, curvy, and piggish. These Torinos/Montegos (and the follow-on LTD II/Cougar) were terrible cars – the worst Fords in the whole Malaise era. $10K is too much. The Chevy is far less distinctive than the Buick. The Pontiac might be the most practical choice but it's too generic A/G-car. The Cadillac is intriguing but if I was going to look for a Fleetwood wagon, I'd hunt down a '75-'76 Castilian even if it costs more money.
    <img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2578/4149026489_8c61b66dba_z.jpg?zz=1&quot; width=500>

    1. Alff Avatar

      This is the Caddy wagon of my dreams…
      <img src="http://www.cadillacstationwagon.com/1968/1/Dr68elwa.jpg"&gt;

      1. tonyola Avatar

        Here's a better picture of the wagon you posted. All I can say is "gack!".
        <img src="http://blog.hemmings.com/wp-content/uploads//2009/10/Cadshootingbrake_01_1000.jpg&quot; width=500>

        1. Alff Avatar

          Lose the fender bulges, vinyl roof, brown accents and butt-heavy stance and it will look much better.

          1. tonyola Avatar

            Cadillac actually did some styling studies for a 1971 Eldorado wagon. It's a shame they never got any farther.
            <img src="http://www.carstyling.ru/resources/concept/71eldorado_wagon_2.jpg&quot; width=400>

          2. Van Sarockin Avatar
            Van Sarockin

            Needed more angle in the B-pillar and a little less in the rear. And it would have been good to go. maybe an button for automatic rear gate closure. And they could have integrated a bit of Vista Cruiser in there without any problem.

  10. P161911 Avatar

    Hemmings Classic Car had an article on a very similar Caddy wagon a few months ago. Seems most of these went to either Texas or the Middle East.

  11. tonyola Avatar

    I agree. Either before Malaise or after. In addition to something pre-1972, a downsized GM B-body or Panther wagon from the mid '80s forward would be a better day-to-day choice than any of the five Malaise boats.

  12. topdeadcentre Avatar

    The Caddywagon is wild, weird and wonderful. It may "only" have a two-way tailgate, but those are far more easy to maintain than the finicky clamshell arrangement. The rear side window arrangement is a little weird, but I can live with it. The rear interior fit and finish looks to be pretty good, which is important in wagon conversions. Needs some B-pillar opera lights, and a trailer with a Gar-Wood boat.
    Ahoy there! Climb aboard! We set sail at six bells of the forenoon watch, sharp!

  13. Smells_Homeless Avatar

    Before I vote, I need to know if that 305 in the Bonneville is really a 305 or if it's indeed the most vile, evil, shitalicious, not-good-enough-to-hold-my-boat-still Pontiac 301.

  14. B72 Avatar

    I had to vote for the Chevy, because I owned a '74 Impala, albeit a 4 door. These things are so durable that one man cannot kill them. It takes a conspiracy to bring one down. My neighbor had a '76 sedan, and drove 75K without opening the hood once. Upon learning this I opened it myself and topped off the oil for her. It smoked something awful, but drove just fine. Ah the memories.
    Having said that, $10K is way too much.

  15. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    WHY CAN'T I VOTE!?!? (it no worky)
    I must have the LTorinoD. No wait, the Caddywagon. No, the TorinoSquire. No, the Buick… Impala….
    I'm sorry, I just get really emotional when I think about wagons. I want to hug them all and stick them in a basket, and ride a rainbow…

  16. From_a_Buick_6 Avatar

    I'm a wagon nut and I like a lot of Malaise junk way more than I should, but all of these are just garbage. The B-bodies are freakishly huge, the A/G sedans/wagons were decontented turds and the Torino/LTD II was quite simply one of the worst cars of the era.
    KIll them all with fire.

  17. alewifecove Avatar

    I was gonna ask who has a garage big enuff for these beasts. Then Mutha pointed out that I do. If I ditch the brewery.
    Which is not happening….

    1. Maymar Avatar

      Transfer the brewery to the back of the wagon! There's no way that's a bad idea!

      1. alewifecove Avatar

        It might work. Brings a whole new meaning to drinking and driving

  18. smokyburnout Avatar

    The curved glass where the D-pillars should be on the Buick and Chevy is fantastic… Don't think I'd want to be upside-down in one.

  19. Lotte Avatar

    That Buick is magnificent. I like my windows big and my cabins airy! If only it also had the non-split bench like the Chev, then it'd be perfect! (Actually, cloth seats would be nice. But really for six-and-a-half you'd buy it first then ask questions later. I think.)

  20. Armand4 Avatar

    I saw that Buick at a car show last month… the owner told me that he had purchased it last year so that he could take his young family to Yosemite the way his parents used to take him on road trips when he was a kid. It's not original, but it's a pretty awesome car.
    Unfortunately for the Buick, that class at the show also included a '59 Mercury Colony Park. That thing was just sex on wheels.

  21. Maymar Avatar

    More people hate all that is good in this world than would choose the option to have each of these in their driveway? Something's not right, and I demand someone's head for it.
    I voted for the Pontiac though, as it's just so right-sized to spend way too much money to undo all the 80's GM-ness, and end up with a car that doesn't do anything an E39 wagon doesn't do better for less (except look cool). That Buick is captivating though.

  22. dukeisduke Avatar

    The Impala has the manual clamshell tailgate (notice the handle). I'd probably pick the Buick, but the Grand Torino is the best-looking, though I wish it had power windows.

  23. MP69 Avatar

    My parents gave me their '74 Torino wagon when I was 17. I loved that thing and drove the wheels off of it to the tune of 234,000 miles, mostly from a 90 mile round trip to work. It finally succumbed to too much rust and rot, but the 351 still ran great. Plenty of room to sleep in it at the campground with the back seat folded down, the Torino wagon could fit a 4×8 plywood sheet just like the full size LTD wagon. It was a gas hog, but gas was only around a buck a gallon at that time.

  24. MX5racer Avatar

    Ahh yes….I did part of my growing up in a Pontiac LeMans (LeMons) sedan in turd brown and with the retarded fixed rear windows. The 3.8L (carb'd) was craptacular. I like the wagon version better, and the V8 makes it far more appealing, but whose idea was it to put the taillights in the bumper!? What could possibly go wrong…..

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