Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday – Two California Craigslist Wagons. So what would you do with them?


Continuing on with Wagon Wednesday, these two Craigslist postings landed in out in-box here at Hooniverse HQ. Since we devote at least one day of the week for odd-ball wagons, they were perfectly timed to showcase. One is a 1966 Dodge Dart Wagon, the last year you could get a wagon body on a Dart. The other is a 1957 Chevy 2-Door Wagon with issues. So, what would you do with them?


The Dart Wagon is equipped with the Slant Six, and a three-speed manual with a column shift. That alone should get your attention, but there is a problem:

A prospective buyer pointed out that there is quite a lot of gas in the engine oil, and in addition to the obvious rust problems, the floor pans are also in trouble. This is a major project and may not be safe to drive without some work on the engine at least. I don’t want to hide anything, you should know what you’re getting, I just need to get rid of this car, maybe it is just good for parts??? $750 takes it home, including all the extra stuff. If still no interest after a few weeks it will go to the salvage yard!

This is within LeMons budgetary limitations, and it would make a glorious IOE contender, if the engine doesn’t blow up first. Since this is the last year for a Dart Wagon, is it worth fixing and using as a daily driver? See the listing here.

The next wagon is a 1957 Chevrolet 150 2-Door Wagon, equipped with a six-cylinder and a three-speed manual. They didn’t get more basic than this in 1957, but it has some rust issues:

I have a 57 Chevy Handyman Wagon. NO— It is NOT a Nomad. This was Chevy’s basic model. Mine is a 6 cylinder with 3-speed trans. An original unrestored car that sat a long time.. It runs very well, has great floors and rockers EXCEPT the right rear 1/4 in front of the wheel opening and up along the bottom of the right rear side windows. The car sat next to a hedge and had debris that caused problems in this area. Interior is totally complete and original. I have all FIVE original 57 Chev wheels and dog-dish hub caps. Glass is all good, spare tire well is solid, very good tail gate. Can be driven right now.. BUT registration is in non-op status.

The asking price for this car is $6,500, which seems a bit steep. The seller also displayed a bit of frustration in selling this car using Craigslist:

I get so much scam email– hard to decide who gets a reply…. WOW!!! Not Good At All! — But one guy called and left voicemail for me to call back– I called back and his mailbox was full—— GEEZ, If you want a call, ya gotta have space for a message.. So, best you just email me with your questions, I will reply by email so no phone tag! Due to internet scams, PLEASE include your name and contact info with email. If the add is gone, the car is gone……

Preach it Brother…. See the listing here.

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  1. M44Power Avatar
    M44Power

    A acid dip would probably leave nothing to start with on the poor Dodge, but man would it look good with a two tone (with the opposite color running the width of the hood/top/tailgate).

  2. facelvega Avatar
    facelvega

    Dart: go to the picasa he links on the craigslist ad– it has new shocks, exhaust, alternator, hoses, brake lines, tires, belts, and probably more you can't see, and the floorboards don't look so bad on the images showing the bottom, probably just isolated holes in the footwells. I'd give him $500, buy a jug of POR-15, and get on the lookout for a junkyard 318 with low miles to swap in for that dying slant six. Easy peasy, and cheap if you don't need to weld in new floors. Ditch the wrecked rear seat, replace any other wear mechanicals the previous owner hasn't done, and you've got a sweetly-sorted cargo wagon for maybe $2000 all told. Not worth it if you're a restoration guy, but a peach if you're a patina guy.
    The chevy: no thanks.

    1. OA5599 Avatar
      OA5599

      "Dying slant six"? I don't believe I've ever heard that phrase.
      Gas in the oil pan is often caused by a fuel pump that's gone south. Twenty bucks for a new pump, and twenty minutes to swap it out, and the engine will be ready to go.

      1. facelvega Avatar
        facelvega

        I originally wrote "junk slant six," with the idea that I'd ditch the engine it even if it was running fine, but then changed it to dying to keep from offending slant six fans. Evidently without success. But generally, the car seems good to go. I'd like to see a pic of those floors. Come to think of it, thank goodness he's on the opposite coast from me, I really don't want to buy this car. Really. I think.

        1. OA5599 Avatar
          OA5599

          I'm not really a \6 fan or a purist, but for cost-effort-benefit analysis purposes I thought an engine swap (318, tranny, K-member or conversion mounts, exhaust, driveshaft, etc.) should not exceed the rest of the project on a low-buck patina'ed survivor.

          1. Black Steelies Avatar

            But the best projects always do haha!

      2. McQueen Avatar
        McQueen

        Could be major I suspect broken or stuck rings , compression test would be a must in this case .

  3. CptSevere Avatar

    I'm not the biggest fan of '57 Chevies, they just seem too obvious, and tend to be overpriced. However, I like this one. I'd keep it stock, put the original rims and hubcaps on it. However, I'll bet anybody a six pack of Pabst that whoever buys this will do the normal LSX swap, billet doodads, etc. restomod treatment. I like the Dart more, too bad it's a rust bucket.

  4. muthalovin Avatar

    I do like the color of the Chevy, but aside from that, and being a 2-door wagon, it does nothing for me.
    Someone could easily tow that Dart home for $500. I would take it.

  5. Hoonda Avatar
    Hoonda

    Chevy: Pass.
    Dart: Lots of fun and ill-advised ideas, mainly related to finding out just how durable the slant six and/or what remains of the car's structure is. More specifically, strap a holset HX35 to it and run a blow-thru carb. If the six is indeed trashed, take advantage of the huge engine bay and a car being old enough to swap in any engine you want. Like a 12V cummins.

  6. longrooffan Avatar

    I'll take the 150 to live in and use the Dart as a guest suite!

  7. Mad_Hungarian Avatar
    Mad_Hungarian

    Wow, how many unmolested '57 Chevy 150 wagons could possibly be left. I would restore with subtle upgrades for daily driving. New correct upholstery and door panels, but add sound deadening, and install carpeting (150's came from the factory with rubber mats). Drop in a 283 or 327 and the self-shifter of your choice (oh hush, this is for cruising, not rallying!), upgrade the brakes with front discs and dual master cylinder, upgrade to power steering, add A/C and modern sound, add seat belts, repaint the original color, go back to stock wheels or maybe some vintage mags, and you're done.

  8. Black Steelies Avatar

    It's gotta be the Dart. I like the Chevy, it's a pretty car, but '57s are cliche and overrated. The Dart isn't the car that wins best in show or is a likely restoration candidate and that is precisely why I would go for it.
    It's a worthless car and you could dump a grand into it and maybe tack about $250 onto its value but it's a rare(-er) bird.

    1. west_coaster Avatar
      west_coaster

      Plus 1 on the '57 Chevy comment (and the ones above). Within two years, it'll have all the typical $$$ modifications, and some fat older white guy in a Hawaiian shirt (another cliche, I know) will be taking it to cruise nights, to park next all the other '57 Chevys. Yawn.
      The Dart wagons are so underappreciated, and I have fond memories of riding in my aunt's '64, complete with pushbutton automatic. From the distinct ChryCo whine of the starter (the sound of which was seemingly used by EVERY Hollywood sound effects guy, in EVERY television show or movie, whenever ANY brand of car was started), to the muffled moan of the Slant Six coming to life, to the "clunk" of the Torqueflite sliding into gear, that's middle-class American motoring at its finest. Give me that one anytime, although this example may be too far gone to make for a worthy classic.

      1. Black Steelies Avatar

        They put torqueflights with slant-6's? This has a 3 spd anyway, an older friend of mine said he fondly remembers taking road trips out west with his aunt's Dart as well. Not sure if it was a wagon but it had the /6 and I believe he said he still has it.

  9. Robin Constable Avatar
    Robin Constable

    I have recently purchased the '57 chevy wagon.
    It is now living in England.
    Some restoration work has been carried out and the car is back on it's original wheels. I plan to leave the car completely stock and there will definitely not be any high tech billet nasties to take to destroy the soul of the vehicle.
    I hope that there was a happy ending to the Dodge story.

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