Back in March I did a CC on a great ’74 Buick Estate Wagon I spotted in traffic. Recently, through stationwagonforums.com, I was able to connect with the current owner, who sought this car for years and finally got it.
The Buick Estate Wagon was the creme de la creme of GM wagons in 1974, and only 14,412 two- and three-seat wagons were built. Considering that the area I live in does in Curbside Classics with rust after 20-or-so years, it’s remarkable that this wagon survives in such fine shape.
I’ll let the owner, Swanny454, tell the story:
Good Morning Tom, loved the article. My car has a pretty short history. The original owner owned a Buick dealership and bought the wagon for his family to use as a vacation car. The man passed away and his niece saw the car at the estate auction and had to have it. That was back in 1996. She never drove it and I saw it 13 years ago at a repair facility close to where I live. I tracked her down and asked if it was for sale, which it was not. She said she would never sell it. I saw the car a few more times at the repair shop over the next couple years and then it was gone. I figured it was sold to a demo guy and long gone. Last November I was cruising craigslist and there it was! I called on it right away. The guy had taken it in on trade for some repair work he had done on the elderly lady’s house. He had told her he needed a car for his 16 year old daughter. The guy told his daughter that her new car was outside, the young teenage girl ran out the door and ran right back in and told her dad she would just walk to school [ED: Some kids just don’t know what they’ve got!]. Anyway, I bought the car sight unseen as I knew it was the same car. I picked it up later that night and to my surprise, since 1996 the car had traveled a total of 212 miles. It was all original down to the hubcaps, but extremely faded and dirty. It had been stored in a garage where cats had been laying on it and using it for a bed. The interior was musty smelling from sitting, but undamaged. The car ran rough and would not pull itself. After a new distributor, rebuilt carb and plugs and wires I have put over 2,000 miles on it. I left everything original except for the exhaust and aftermarket rims and tires. I did add a CD player to it but added it under the dash with a homemade console, ran all new wiring and even a separate antennae. I made my own speaker boxes that slide under the seat and out of sight for car shows. I did not want to cut, splice or mutilate anything in the car. The console I made has a quick disconnect at the back so it can be removed, slide the speakers under the seat and it looks completely original again. I still have the stock wheels and hubcaps, and also a set of the deluxe hubcaps for it. The car has never been smoked in, ashtray nor cigarette lighter ever used. Currently the only issues the car has is the A/C compressor locked up and the clock does not work. These issues will be addressed this winter. The car retains 99% of the original paint. When I bought it the rear bumper fillers were gone. I located a good used set from the guys on wecrash.com and repainted and installed them. About a month ago I tracked down Carol (original owner’s niece) and talked to her. She said she never wanted to sell the car but finally decided she had no need for it and could not take proper care of it. She remembered me and said she tried to contact me but the number on my card was no longer in service. I had changed jobs and my old company kept my cell number. She was glad to see pictures of it all “prettied” up but didn’t like the fancy wheels. I told her one afternoon I would like to pick her up and take her out for lunch in it if should would go. She agreed on one condition, “Only if I get to drive it” she said. Anyway, I think the car found its rightful home with me. I would have never guessed after 15-16 years I would end up with this car.
So there you have it. To all of you who have tried to get a Curbside Classic whose owner wasn’t selling, don’t give up! You just might end up with it after all. Special thanks to Swanny454 for telling me his car’s story.