Variety Pack! The phrase conjures up images of humongous cheese and cold cut platters, multiple bags of potato chips wrapped in cardboard and cellophane, four-packs of bottled champagne, and paper dinner napkins in every color known to man. Just the sorts of things that wagons were built for hauling. How appropriate that these handy vehicles should come in a variety pack of their own, as featured today.
The first item is this gorgeous 1960 Dodge Polara hardtop wagon. I’ve never seen another old wagon with a hardtop configuration like this one. I have no idea what exactly engines came in these, but I’m guessing either the Poly 318 or 361 wedge were options.
Dig that funky early ’60s Mopar interior. Pushbutton trans, translucent steering wheel, and those weird top-mounted AC vents. Nothing screams “jet age” quite like these.
The exterior styling of late 50s / early 60s Mopars has always been rather polarizing, and the mug of this one certainly doesn’t buck that trend. It may not be exactly pretty, but it has a tough, purposeful look that screams “get outta my way- it’s the annual office picnic and we just ran out of hot dogs and beer!”
This neat little 1963 Ford Falcon two-door wagon is the polar opposite of the hulking Dodge featured above. At over a foot shorter, a ton lighter, and an engine packing half the displacement, this compact family truckster reflects Robert McNamara’s practical ( if not for everybody ) vision for family haulers. Available engines included a 170 or 200 cubic inch six. I’m not sure if the optional v8 “Sprint” package was available on the wagons or not. If it was, that would make for vehicle that was fun as it was practical.
While not nearly as flamboyant or controversial as the massive Mopar profiled before it, the Falcon has its own stylish flair and is quite an attractive vehicle. And the rare two-door configuration makes it all the more desirable. If I had one on these, I’d drop a healthy small block under the hood, upgrade the chassis, but leave the exterior looking as-is. Can you say “Q-Ship”?
This slick ’65 Malibu belongs to a former co-worker who was dropping by the shop one day. At first glance one notices the shaved roof rack, but there’s much more to this bad-ass ‘Bu than that.
The original 327 is long gone, replaced with a healthy late-model LT1. Note the updated serpentine accessory drive, the custom polished aluminum shroud covering the intake plenum, and the A/C compressor. It also sports the police / taxi spec green coolant hoses. This car means business- just the thing to get the kids to little league in a hurry, and do it in style.
Early factory c5 Corvette rims shod with 45-series rubber and four wheel disc brakes make sure this car corners and stops as good as it goes.
A quick peek inside reveals a custom dash panel, updated audio system, and apparent controls for an aftermarket airbag suspension system. The light turquoise vinyl upholstery with dark blue cloth inserts is a neat touch, if not exactly kid or dog proof.
The generous rear cargo area provides plenty of room for a folding picnic table, three cases of beer, a half-dozen large pizzas, and everything else you need for a fun weekend. With a healthy V8 underhood, this draggin’ wagon should make it to the beach long before the ice melts.
This killer custom chop-top 1963 Mercury Comet sedan delivery is one of the many cars I’ve shot at Bob’s Big Boy in Burbank over the years during their Friday night cruise in. I took this pic nearly three years ago, and never posted it anywhere until now.
This photo shows the car’s humble origins. Despite all of Mercury’s efforts to distinguish itself as a separate car line, its Falcon heritage is clearly visible. The coupes did a somewhat better job of hiding it. If you look closely, you can spot the yellow Duster in the background, under the carport. I wonder if that car is still around…
The interior is a curious mix of stock and hot rod. The stock instrument panel and controls are augmented by a-pillar mounted gauges, a B&M ratchet shifter, and Grant GT billet / leather steering wheel with the classic Mercury logo in the center. I’m not sure if the ribbed chrome center console was a factory option or not. It does appear period correct, even if it isn’t stock.
I didn’t get a good shot of the engine for some reason, so this will have to do. Under the unassuming matte black air cleaner and valve covers and Ford Blue paint lurks a very heavily tweaked 347 stroker small block. A ride like this should make every trip to Home Depot a blast, even when all you need is a drill bit.
When this gorgeous ’72 Chevelle Concours wagon showed up at my job, I literally dropped everything I was doing to snap some photos and talk to the owner. He’s one of the bigshots at a different division who frequently visits this one. Despite the demands of career and family, he still has time to enjoy this awesome ride, and told me the story of how he acquired it.
According to the current owner, he bought this car already fully restored. The previous owner spent several years and countless dollars resurrecting this car to perfection, only to sell it to finance his kids’ college education. He says he paid around $15K for it, which is still less than the previous owner put into it.
Maybe this would make me a bad parent, but I’m not sure I could go so far as to sell my prize vehicle to continue my kids’ education- especially when there’s no guarantee of a high paying job when ( and even if ) they graduate. Even as a devoted family man, you gotta draw the line somewhere.
The squeaky-clean interior looks pretty stock except for the LeCarra billet wheel. The factory A/C controls and original-looking power window / lock switches show that this car was quite generously optioned when new, or else very carefully installed later. If my wagon’s interior was this nice, I’d freak if my toddler spilled grape juice on the seat.
A view from the driver’s side, better showing the car’s overall profile, as well as a few clever touches by the owner.
This 1977-79 Cadillac DeVille ambulance created quite a stir in Bob’s parking lot.
It’s no secret to anyone who knows me how much I absolutely despise hospitals. Even so, if I absolutely had to be rushed to one for some unfortunate reason, I’d much rather ride in this than some boring diesel Econoline van.
I’ll end this post with a car I covered in a CC post a couple of years back- this 1974-1976 Ford Gran Torino. In the 24 months since I shot the original photos, I’ve seen this car there a few more times, parked in the exact same spot.
The last time I saw this car ( about 3-4 months ago ), it looked pretty much the same as when I first spotted it in 2013. It doesn’t look any worse for wear, but unfortunately still sports those hideous aftermarket wheel covers. On the bright side, it looks quite well cared for by whoever currently owns it.
I hope everyone has enjoyed this CC Station Wagon Variety Pack. With all the different sizes and flavors, there should be something for everybody. Just don’t hog all the leftovers 🙂 .