Cohort Outtake: 1961 Chevrolet Parkwood Wagon – Last Call for Wagon-Only Names (For a Few Years Anyway)

Constantine Hannaher, who was at the Baltimore CC Meet-up and posted a raft of great pictures from the event that I haven’t gotten to yet, also just posted this fine ’61 Chevy Parkwood wagon. AS was common at the time,Chevrolet gave their station wagons different names than the rest of their car lines/models, but the last year for that was 1961 (until they came back in 1969, oddly enough. That means in 1962, this Parkwood would be just a Bel Air wagon.

Back then, I found it a bit confusing, especially since the wagon names seemed to change over the years (but then the sedans did too, to some extent). What was really confusing though was that in the last few years of this (1959-1960), the Impala-level wagons had different names, depending on whether they were 9 passenger (Kingswood) or 6 passenger (Nomad). At least the Kingswood got axed for 1961, and all the Impala-trim wagons were now Nomads.

Back to this Parkwood:

There were no less than four distinct  (different model number) Parkwoods in ’61: 6 cyl and V8 six passenger versions, and 6 cyl and V8 nine passenger versions. I can’t tell whether this one is a 6 or 9 passenger version nor is it possible to tell if it’s a six or V8, as the V8 wagons didn’t get the requisite V emblem on the rear end. Odd. Usually Chevy was very good about letting us know if there was a V8 under the hood, as if we couldn’t tell by the exhaust sound anyway.

Chevy usually splurged on slightly bigger tires for the wagons and convertibles (8.00×14 instead of 7.50×14), but I don’t think they were offering wider (6″ wide) wheels yet. I know on later years they used 6″ wheels, but then they also offered even bigger tires a optional. I’m pretty sure the wheels were still 5″ wide in ’61.  But I can’t tell whether the ones on this wagon has later 6″ wide wheels, or they might a wee bit wider yet. I’m going to guess they are 7″ wide, as the offset to the hubcaps seems deeper than what I remember. But I could be wrong…

In any case, it’s a subtle but effective way to make this fine old wagon look a bit less under-tired/wheeled, as the stock ones are prone to being.


Jim Cavanaugh’s finally fell in love with a ’61 Impala here

And Dave Skinner wrote up a lower trim ’61 Brookwood wagon here