Hagerty.com

Three wagons to buy, sell or hold


#1

With all the holiday activity over the next few months, millions of American families will be piling into their cars for long hauls to visit with friends and family. These days they’re more likely to be loading up a crossover or an SUV with people and stuff, but there was a time when the station wagon was the freeway king: A functional and trusty road trip chariot. Old wagons have seen renewed popularity among car enthusiasts in recent years, and in the classic car market some are experiencing a surge in interest, some have plateaued, and some are charting a steady course.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2017/11/21/wagons-to-buy-sell-hold

#2

I’ll admit I am sad to see the secret is out on Roadmaster wagons, simply because they are cool and I don’t own one yet.

There are so many underappreciated wagons out there, it’s fun to see whats trending up!


#3

I owned a 1994 Roadmaster Estate Wagon and it was a magical experience. If you have the means, I highly recommend it.


#4

I had a 84 Volvo Turbo Wagon. My fun, practical car while the kids were growing up. Put 3 turbos on it and it made it to 350,000 miles.


#5

Well then. I’m not going to be selling my /56, LS1, Nomad so I’m ok in my hold pattern. And I recently bought a 1991 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser station wagon which is an underpowered sister of the Buick Roadmaster. Alas, the Oldsmobiles were only produced in 1991 and part of the 1992 model years and are, therefore, relatively rare. Another offsetting attraction is the absence of the woodgrain cladding. I bought mine in Oregon (rust free), had a great road trip bringing it back to Michigan and got about 22mpg in the bargain. These B Body wagons are built around light duty Chevy/GMC pickup powertrains of that era, are very reliable and beneficiaries of a good supply of reasonably priced replacement parts.


#6

I’ll just stay focused on my 1959 Nomad like I have for the last 17 years. It may have more doors than a tri five Nomad but you cannot beat those bat wings and cats eyes in the rear.


#7

I agree Mike. I bought a used 1994 Buick Estate Wagon in 2005 and drove it for eleven years. It was one of the best automobiles I have ever owned. Fast, efficient and dependable.


#8

I would take a 1957 Pontiac Safari 2dr wagon, or a 1961 Pontiac Wagon ahead of any of the 3 mentioned. Tri-Power all the way.


#9

I started with a wagon in High School by borrowing the old 1960 Rambler that my dad used on the farm. A group of us skipped school and had a blast in it, That led to chrome reverse wheels, etc, for the Rambler Moved on to a 58 Chevy Yeoman with an enhanced small block, then to a 57 Chevy Handyman 2 dr. After my stint with the Army, came home to my 57 and it had a seized motor, but there beside the tractor shed with weeds growing around it was the Rambler.and I couldn’t resist resurrecting it. I don’t currently have a wagon. My son has two old Volvo 245 wagons and like the Rambler, they have a cool factor that make me envy him,


#10

Our 1991 Buick Roadmaster is a Superior hearse. One-owner, 26k, always garaged, never raced. Buick quality, adequate power, 20+ mpg in D-Overdrive…Can’t beat ‘hearse-camping’ in Washington State parks. Everybody moves to another spot and we get the fire-pit and Porta-Potty all to ourselves. Love to cruise on week-ends, doing ‘recoveries’…“Excuse me, looking for the Alfonso residence. Don’t know them? Hate it when they send me out on a week-end with a bad pick-up address! Let’s try something else: Somebody said his wife’s cookin’ killed him. Any bad cooks hereabouts?”

My grandmother always called me a ‘Devilish Child’, so what do you expect? Grandmothers, be careful what you say to young cowboys!

Dr Norman L Wherrett, Jr
Neuroproctologist - Retired
Redmond, WA


#11

I don’t get the Buick Roadmaster, I feel the 90’s were a low point for American cars in general, and even more so for GM. But that’s what makes the hobby great and I’d enjoy seeing one at a cruise night even if I didn’t want it taking up most of my garage.
I really like the Nomad and if I had one I’d hold onto it. It’s an icon and an example of what was best about America and our cars.
I take exception to the sell recommendation for the Volvo however. It assumes we only own old cars because they’re investments. If you love a car do you really care if it’s “only” increasing in value by 4% each year?
I’ve owned several Porsche 356’s, mainly Speedsters and other open models. I think the increased value is a curse. I wish they were priced like other sports cars of the era - Alfas, Austin Healeys, Corvettes, etc. then you could afford to buy one and enjoy it. At $300k or so you’d be afraid to use it.
I have a 356 but also a Bugeye Sprite and a TR3. They have the crude simplicity of the Speedster, true without the build quality but also without the hype.


#12

You forgot to mention the Oldsmobile Vista Cruisers and the Buick Sport Wagon from the mid 60’s. Great cars! And our neighbor up in Seattle in 1968 had a Chevy Kingswood Wagon with a 390 h.p. 427 coupled to a turbohydramatic tranny. We could smoke those tires when we borrowed the car from his un suspecting mother to go to the drive in or just to go cruising in it. What a sleeper!!


#13

I had a 1996 Roadmaster Wagon I bought for $2500 as a work beater. It was a clean one owner car with no rust, but needed the usual 90’s B body attention. I didn’t intend to have it more than a year, but came to really like the car and kept it for 7 years. My son got his license and loved the car, so it became his daily driver until a drunk driver hit the car head on. No injuries, but the Buick didn’t survive.


#14

I have a 72 Chevelle Wagon - stock 350 and TH 350 - I have been searching for a 94 - 96 Roadmaster because of the LT1… Love that series wagons! Great driver!


#15

I have owned 4 Roadie wagons and one Olds wagon. The early years are underpowered but the steel LT-1 motors of 94-96 are great. My favorite was a 94 LT-1 white with blue leather, a rare non-woody one. Installing a cat-back exhaust, K&N intake (order one for 94-96 Chevrolet Impala SS, identical under the hood), running premium fuel, it pushed it to just under 300 horsepower and would smoke the back tires and get 25 mpg freeway driven sanely. Installed a 3.08 posi disc brake rear end out of a 9C-1 police package Caprice (which you have to shim for the wheels because the rear housing is narrower on the car than wagon) and installing 4 Eibach lowered springs and shocks with 17" American Racing wheels with Z-rated fat sneakers it drove and sounded like a Corvette station wagon. I shaved all the Buick emblems and moldings off and stuck 2 small GS factory chrome and red emblems on the front fenders and a red LT-1 decal on the lower right hand corner of the tailgate and painted the grille insert flat black. Fill it with people, put the seats down and fill it with a ton of stuff, or drive as a true sleeper, it was always a comfy safe cruiser. I had the car at the Big 3 swap meet in San Diego and a guy from Sweden kept throwing hundreds in cash at me until I finally caved. Miss that car… The other great wagons are the Caprice wagons converted to Impala SS wagons, if done right look awesome!!


#16

Even in the “orphan” brands, the wagons are holding value better than the coupes and sedans. I have a '59 Rambler American (compact model) 2-door station wagon, fire engine red with a little (196 cu. in.) flathead six engine and automatic tranny. The car gets a lot of attention (“google” it to check it out online) but isn’t nearly as nice as my (almost identical) '60 American coupe (2-door, auto. tranny, 196 cu. in. overhead valve six, which is a much better engine, pink with a white top and continental kit) but is definitely worth only half what I could get for the wagon if they were for sale (which they aren’t). I’m constantly getting offers to buy the wagon, particularly from folks who want to swap out the engine and turn it into a “rat rod”.


#17

Neuroproctologist! I have to steal that one!


#18

The 80s was actually the decade of detune and decline!


#19

Four years at Johns Hopkins, plus three at Mayo.
Admittedly a ‘narrow field’, but $5k cash per procedure when I can do four between 8 AM and Noon. Insurance companies think we are ‘nutz’, but very wealthy nutz. There are still so many people in America with their heads wedged.
Family going skiing in Switzerland and to ‘visit’ fortune.
HAPPY HOLIDAYS!
Cordially,
Dr Norman L Wherrett JrNeuroproctologist - RetiredDean Emeritus - College of Neuroproctology

fred
November 28 |

Neuroproctologist! I have to steal that one! Visit Topic or reply to this email to respond.
In Reply To

nlwherrett
November 23 |

Our 1991 Buick Roadmaster is a Superior hearse. One-owner, 26k, always garaged, never raced. Buick quality, adequate power, 20+ mpg in D-Overdrive…Can’t beat ‘hearse-camping’ in Washington State parks. Everybody moves to another spot and we get the fire-pit and Porta-Potty all to ourselves. Love… Visit Topic or reply to this email to respond. To unsubscribe from these emails, click here.


#20

As a kid I loved riding in station wagons that my grandparents and friends parents had. Our cars were 4 door sedans and I loved having all that area to play in and talk and laugh with my friends and cousins. Now as an older adult, I sure miss seeing them on the road. Nowadays the “family wagon” is a tall bulbous thing that you can’t see over or around and has all these features inside to make sure no one talks to each other the entire trip. One made now even has seats that will slide away from each other should the kids get into a squabble, God forbid! Anyway, I’d love to get a '65 or '66 Chrysler Town and Country or Newport wagon as I love the styling and admire the sheer size of those behemoths.