Questions about 80's Custom Cruisers - ClassicOldsmobile.com


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Old March 10th, 2017, 06:50 AM   #1
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Questions about 80's Custom Cruisers

I'm a newbie here - My name is David and I LOVE Custom Cruisers. I have 2 now and always looking for more, lol.

OK, on to my questions.

I have studied many pictures online and looked at quite a few Custom Cruisers on the road and I see many different colors of wood grain siding. They range from a light oak to almost a walnut brown. Since they do not make replacement vinyl to exactly match these wagons anymore it seems quite hard to keep these older wagons "original". I have a few questions that maybe some of the experts here might be able to help me with.

1. Where can I find the original paint colors offered and woodgrain colors available with each color? Is there a place that might still offer that information?

2. I can't tell if the original vinyl was matte or had a gloss. Can anyone tell me?

3. Does replacing the vinyl alter the value of the wagon for resale?

Here is my thought... Since you cannot exactly match the color - would putting a better color (since so many better options are available today than in the 80's) actually increase the value because the car would look more appealing? I have seen several "custom wagons" with obviously different siding and they look very attractive. Would they be worth more than one with a "ho hum" brown "almost match"?

I hope to hear from you guys and gals!
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Old March 10th, 2017, 07:29 AM   #2
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David, as far as Custom Cruisers are concerned anything you do to it short of a frame off restoration isn't going to effect the value considerably. Since there is so little demand for these cars, do what you want to it. Don't worry about the resale value because you will never make money on it anyways.

You can find paint chips for GM cars based on year. Here's a link:

http://paintref.com/cgi-bin/colorcod...mobile&rows=50
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Old March 10th, 2017, 08:59 AM   #3
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Thanks, great resource. I know they aren't collectible yet but they are going up in value constantly and I am not sure if being original has anything to do with the popularity.
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Old March 10th, 2017, 09:13 AM   #4
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To keep a car "concourse" original takes a lot of work. Things like assembly line markings, overspray patterns and even OE parts like spark plugs, hoses and belts need to be correct.
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Old March 10th, 2017, 10:49 AM   #5
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I know they aren't collectible yet but they are going up in value constantly
No, they really aren't. I paid $200 for my 84, drove it for a number of years until the 307 spun a bearing, and have been trying to part it out for a while now. I was going to drop in a 350 when I realized I could be spending that time and money on a much more desirable Vista Cruiser, so I got one of those instead. Getting ready to scrap the 84 (and matching 86 Caprice wagon).
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Old March 10th, 2017, 04:08 PM   #6
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There's an 83 CC and a 77 LeSabre Estate here that can probly use some parts off those B wagons Joe. Don't crush 'em before you see Tim and I at Spring Carlisle!
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Old March 10th, 2017, 05:53 PM   #7
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No, they really aren't. I paid $200 for my 84, drove it for a number of years until the 307 spun a bearing, and have been trying to part it out for a while now. I was going to drop in a 350 when I realized I could be spending that time and money on a much more desirable Vista Cruiser, so I got one of those instead. Getting ready to scrap the 84 (and matching 86 Caprice wagon).
what condition is the interior of the 84 CC? And what color is it? I have an 84 and need a few things. I may even be able to use some of the interior parts of the 86 caprice if they are the right color too.
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Old March 11th, 2017, 01:34 PM   #8
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Olds64: Nice site for paint chips. Hi David: I could talk station wagons for a long time. I have had full size but mainly Vista Cruisers and Sport Wagons for the style. I drove several of the 77-90 full size wagons over the years and they are nice cars with many changes over the years. The 92-96 full size wagons brought back the roof windows which of course I really like. Wagons in general are becoming collector items since the SUV (tall wagons) seem to get the press.

Wagons are not the biggest draw to this site and again Vistas get most of the space. I recommend you join ASOWA and tell Tim the manager that Trent Plungas sent you. I was in that club for years and only pulled out because of the economy. They have a convention every year usually part of another show/swap. This year it will be Grand Rapids, MI in August. They have all types of wagons and many 77 UP GM full size examples. Membership gives you 4 newsletters per year. Here is a link:

http://www.aswoa.org/aswoa_002.htm

Wagons in general will never by worth the prices for coupes and convertibles with few exceptions. That being said, I have been maintaining and restoring wagons for many years now and I tend to replace things with factory parts and keep them original. I just think the factory was right in most cases. Radial tires are better than bias ply tires and converting an older car to dual master cylinders just makes sense. The original brakes on my 65 Vista failed on the freeway. I have also researched wood paneling for wagons and there is some nice new stuff available and I would try to match the original decal with new stuff just because to me it looks right. Many people paint the wood areas a contrasting color and not replace the decal which looks to me that something was missing. Even when most wagons had wood and I see one without the option, it might still look missing to me. I don't see doing the "concourse" level of restoration to many Olds wagons at all. A 57 four door holiday might qualify some day and some woodies.

There are real nice aspects to the 77 up full size cars that is - options. Many of the Olds and Buick varieties were loaded with options that were never available in Vista. In addition a higher percentage had more options than the earlier cars. Full sized cars were more expensive and got more options in general. So a loaded 80's B body still makes a good contemporary family hauler or daily driver like my 84 98 Regency.

It seems to me that original wood decals were semi gloss, parts shined a little and they was some grain area that were darker which didn't reflect so much. So back to your car. If you find some great looking wood decal that was not original go for it. I might stay away from wild Peter Max wild stuff which would look very funny but be attractive at Woodstock reunions. I could see using a lighter decal rather than the really dark brown that would show more wood grain. You are most welcome to PM for more wagon chat. Welcome to the Classic Olds site!! Trent in Los Angeles

PS: I also have a history with 71 - 76 Full Size GM Clam Shell wagons. I owned two and parted one a few years back.

Last edited by vistacruiser1971; March 11th, 2017 at 01:47 PM. Reason: adding PS:
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Old March 11th, 2017, 02:28 PM   #9
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what condition is the interior of the 84 CC? And what color is it? I have an 84 and need a few things. I may even be able to use some of the interior parts of the 86 caprice if they are the right color too.
The 84 is medium blue, the 86 is dark blue. Neither is beautiful. The front seats on both need recovering. The middle and back seats are passable. The load area panel are scuffed up and sun-faded.
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Old March 11th, 2017, 02:29 PM   #10
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There's an 83 CC and a 77 LeSabre Estate here that can probly use some parts off those B wagons Joe. Don't crush 'em before you see Tim and I at Spring Carlisle!
Glenn,

PM me with needs. I need to start weeding out the parts cars I no longer need.
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Old March 11th, 2017, 07:37 PM   #11
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I think the wagons will be coming up in value. Whenever I take my old beater Vista out I can count on good comments. Back in the 90's I was fixing up my Cutlass convertible and I changed some things. I DID THEM! I can remember doing them. In some cases now I pay good money to reverse my changes to go back to original. My point is I think its better to keep things original even if you think your "old car" isn't worth much.
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Old March 13th, 2017, 06:02 AM   #12
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I think the wagons will be coming up in value.
One would hope. I might buy a 91/92 Olds CC or 71-76 Olds CC. However, I wouldn't do it with the thought they would sky rocket in price. I would just buy them to enjoy.
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Old March 13th, 2017, 09:09 AM   #13
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I think the wagons will be coming up in value.
I sure hope you guys are right, but frankly, with few exceptions, I don't see it. The 1964-72 VCs will always be in demand. Clamshell 1971-76 wagons have a following. Any factory manual trans wagon will command a premium. The 1977-1990 box wagons? Not so much. There is almost no demand that I've seen for any of the 1977-1990 B/C-body cars (wagons or sedans), with the possible exception of the 1977 Pace Cars. Most sellers can't give these cars away.
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Old March 13th, 2017, 09:50 AM   #14
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Most sellers can't give these cars away.
Which is too bad because the 77-79 B body Delta 88s were cool cars with the SS wheels and big spinner. Plus, the early 80s B/C bodies are just too cool. Sort of like a Caprice only better in pretty much every measurable way. Unfortunately, the price of a few rare pristine cars makes everyone think they should charge an arm and a leg for their grandma's grocery getter.
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Old March 13th, 2017, 02:17 PM   #15
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There are sure some nice full size 77-90 B bodies. 77 to early 80's had the Holiday 88's with buckets which were great rides. I had a nice loaded 84 98 Regency that got 20 MPG with 307/Overdrive. The loaded cars are nice but none will likely be valuable. Even nice ones with high prices are slow to sell. Then you see a shot example with no options for a big price tag that you figure will go to the crusher. Yes, Vistas will always be popular because of the great styling. They do have rust issues and many were worn out. The full size cars might be better drivers because of options and they are relatively cheap to buy. Joe summarized it well. The box wagon won't be ever high on the price list and it is a shame since they have many nice attributes.
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Old March 18th, 2017, 07:16 PM   #16
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Do follow-up on the suggestion to join ASWOA, we have fun. I may have to miss the convention this year because the Hurst/Hurse has been invited to be at the Hurst Nationals at Carlyle this year.

I had a '84 CC with 14k original, and it was mint. It took me 6 months of hustling to get $7k for it. It went to a gent in IL to be parked next to his '73 Cutlass with 83 (yes, 83) miles on it.

Everybody loves wagons, but no one will buy them, except wagon nuts like us, and we're cheap!

Because the '91-92 CC was only TBI, and never had the LT1, it is exceptional if they exceed $4000, whereas any '94-96 LT1 Chev or Buick will easily exceeds $6k. It's the engine, nobody cares about the car.

Remember, Soccer Moms drive kids in mini-vans,
Mothers drive their families in Station Wagons.

Keep the faith

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Old March 20th, 2017, 01:06 PM   #17
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Don't worry about the resale value because you will never make money on it anyways.
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but they are going up in value constantly
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Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
No, they really aren't.
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I think the wagons will be coming up in value.
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I sure hope you guys are right, but frankly, with few exceptions, I don't see it.
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Everybody loves wagons, but no one will buy them
Given the back and forth on this, I thought I'd have a little fun. I have every issue of the Old Cars Price Guide going back to February 2013. That's only four years' worth, but maybe its long enough to catch any trends. I realize that many people poo-poo this and other price guides, and I'm not here to start another debate on that. Even if the OCPG doesn't get the values right, at least their monitoring of the situation might catch any trends.

After going through the various issues (different issues carry different ranges of model years, and not all include up through or beyond 1984), this is what I found for the value of a 1984 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser.

The OCPG shows prices at six different levels, ranging from parts car only (#6) to over-restored trailer queen (#1). The values below are for #3 condition, which is "car show" quality but not quite "showroom" quality.

The only change has been a $450 decrease starting last year. Joe Padavano gets the prognosticator's prize.

Feb 2013: $4730
Jun 2013: $4730
Feb 2014: $4730
May 2014: $4730
May 2015: $4730

May 2016: $4280
Nov 2016: $4280
Jan 2017: $4280
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Old March 21st, 2017, 05:43 AM   #18
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That's too bad that the OCPG decreased the value. I really think it requires a financially savvy artist to make money restoring cars. It's still a fun hobby though.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 07:36 AM   #19
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That's too bad that the OCPG decreased the value. I really think it requires a financially savvy artist to make money restoring cars. It's still a fun hobby though.
The only way to make money restoring cars is to either charge WAAAAAY more than the car is worth or do a half-fast job and sell to an unsuspecting buyer (as we see on all the cable shows).

OCPG is grossly optimistic on these values, by the way.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 09:10 AM   #20
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I sure do hope there is a rebound in these wagons... I am sitting on a lot of NOS parts for these vehicles... Back in 2010, there was a reasonably good market as my sales of wagon parts was excellent, and I will admit not so good in the past few years...
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Old March 21st, 2017, 09:15 AM   #21
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Back in 2010, there was a reasonably good market as my sales of wagon parts was excellent, and I will admit not so good in the past few years...
Could this be because the purchasers of those parts were keeping these cars on the road as daily drivers, not as collector cars, and now these cars are getting old enough that interest in them as daily drivers is dropping off and is not being replaced by people who want to collect and restore them?
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Old March 21st, 2017, 09:33 AM   #22
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Could this be because the purchasers of those parts were keeping these cars on the road as daily drivers, not as collector cars, and now these cars are getting old enough that interest in them as daily drivers is dropping off and is not being replaced by people who want to collect and restore them?
Actually, the people I sold to back then were collectors... One in particular has a Custom Cruiser that is shown quite frequently at the OLDS NATIONALS and that person was stocking up to help preserve his wagon now and in the future... A few others were weekend cruisers, but I see that changing as more time passes and the interest in these vehicles lowers... My most recent sales were, as you stated, just to keep the vehicle in good appearance... But, who knows times and trends do change...
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Old March 21st, 2017, 10:37 AM   #23
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Wagons sure have an interesting history. Woodies went way up in price and still command a high price. The 50's, 60's and 70's wagons have lots of style. The 80's were more concerned with MPG than style. However, the option list was growing big time so those 80's cars are some of the best for x-country treks. There ride and safety are hard to beat. Big Suburbans have a harder suspension so don't have the same ride quality. John might be sitting on valuable parts that might take another 10-20 years to pay off. The price climb back up takes a while and hope we can enjoy them while we have these middle value cars.
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Old March 21st, 2017, 03:17 PM   #24
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John might be sitting on valuable parts that might take another 10-20 years to pay off. The price climb back up takes a while and hope we can enjoy them while we have these middle value cars.
Fortunately, my invested cost has already been recouped 3 fold, so other then taking up storage space in my shop there will be no loss to me should I never sell anymore of those parts... My concern is from a hobbiest/collector stand point, how long am I really willing to keep parts like this if the future is dim...
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Old March 21st, 2017, 03:28 PM   #25
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John: Glad to hear you are ahead money wise. Excellent! I hate to see good parts go away especially parts that will never be reproed. I just sold a load of 73 Grand AM parts in storage about 25 years. The foam covered steering wheel looks new plus other parts. The buyer was very happy to find those rare parts. If you have the space, cool. Likely prices will go up slowly but over many years not anytime soon. The question will be if gas is available at a cost that makes them reasonable to drive. Gas prices are back up here in Calif to $3/gallon. It is up and down and much faster to go up than come down. We were at $2.30/gallon for a long time. Trent in Los Angeles
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Old April 17th, 2017, 06:18 AM   #26
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David,

Honestly, do you whatever you want to your car and don't worry about "value" if it is an 80's model, because it's only true value is to you. The 70's models are few and far between, but there is so little market for those still, partly, I think because everyone knows how much of a pain in the butt the clamshell tailgate is going to be to work on and source parts for. The 90's models are just... ok.

But if you have an 80's CC, then do what you want to make it YOUR car. You won't sell it for much anyway unless you find another die hard Custom Cruiser guy like yourself who is looking for a really good car.

I have an 85 that is currently off the road due to some issues. =/
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Old April 17th, 2017, 06:48 AM   #27
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The 70's models are few and far between, but there is so little market for those still, partly, I think because everyone knows how much of a pain in the butt the clamshell tailgate is going to be to work on and source parts for.
I'll disagree with this.

There is so little market for the '70s wagons simply because there's little market for station wagons, period, unless we're going way back to the '50s and before. As a recent owner of a '73 Custom Cruiser, I can attest to the fact that the tailgate was really no problem at all.

If your wagon is one with the manual tailgate, there are really no parts at all that will fail unless the whole wagon is a rustbucket. You sometimes see tailgates that are out of alignment, but this can be fixed.

If your wagon has the power tailgate, the motor, of course, could be an issue, but it's the same motor as was used for the power windows, and power window motors are easy to get or to have rebuilt. The only real unobtainable parts for the rear ends of these cars is the rubber weatherstripping for the rear window. No one reproduces it, and you often see otherwise fine examples of these cars with weatherstrip in poor condition.

Station wagons have a small, cult following. They'll never be as valuable or sought-after as the non-wagons. So buy one and enjoy it because you like it, not because you think you'll be able to sell it someday and finance your kids' college education.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 06:53 AM   #28
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Station wagons have a small, cult following. They'll never be as valuable or sought-after as the non-wagons. So buy one and enjoy it because you like it, not because you think you'll be able to sell it someday and finance your kids' college education.
I'll drink to that!!!!!
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Old April 17th, 2017, 07:03 AM   #29
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There is so little market for the '70s wagons simply because there's little market for station wagons, period, unless we're going way back to the '50s and before.
I think another factor is that there are so few 70s Oldsmobile wagons left. I see plenty of Vista Cruisers but there aren't very many Custom Cruisers left. Or maybe there are so few left because they've all been bought for their drivetrain and scrapped?

Truthfully, I see more 50s Oldsmobile coupes, sedans and convertibles than I do 70s Custom Cruisers. The only wagons more rare than a 70s Custom Cruiser would probably be the 50s Fiesta hardtop wagon or a 40s woody wagon.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 07:14 AM   #30
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I see plenty of Vista Cruisers but there aren't very many Custom Cruisers left. Or maybe there are so few left because they've all been bought for their drivetrain and scrapped?
The clamshell wagons from Olds, Pontiac, Buick, and Chevy were among the biggest, heaviest cars ever built, and they make good demolition derby cars. So many have end up with that fate, unfortunately.
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Old April 17th, 2017, 07:15 AM   #31
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Old April 17th, 2017, 07:20 AM   #32
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Dang ol Derby drivers
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Old April 17th, 2017, 12:17 PM   #33
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Yup, those derby drivers can go thru wagons quickly. I had a 1971 Estate Wagon from new and was worried about the tailgate, but really liked the style of the Vista better. The Estate wagon with the 455 V8 could hardly pass a gas station so we went back to the Vistas and I still have the replacement Vista for that Estate Wagon. Several years ago I parted a 72 Estate Wagon and found out in the process of parting that wagon how simple the tailgate and rear window systems were. The gate was really simple with the hinge and a window motor to run it. The window just has a special cable driven lift system neither of which were a big deal. Just like jaunty said a little lube and balancing and you are good to go. Most people don't fix their own car so they don't know. The 70's wagon got more optional features and the 80's wagon even more. I sure like the 90's wagon with the return of the roof window, better water sealing and a range of options. My buddy is a foreign car collector but has had several 90's GM wagons to use ...when he needed to get somewhere... I have ridden in his wagons with 300,000 plus miles and still solid, no rattles, and felt like a new car. I sold the shell of the 72 Estate Wagon to a person that used his Chevy 455 for circle track racing, so it might have survived more than one race. I got many requests for that body and sold it to the first caller and he trailered it home. It was clear that they were popular for demo derbys. There are trade offs with all the generations of wagons and for wagon collectors there are many options. Trent in Los Angeles
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