Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Finding the "Right" Wagon

A bunch of years back I decided to build a B-body wagon as street/strip car. I hadn't yet settled on the idea to build it into an awb yet since the ideas were still just budding. Our friend Duffy, who lives in Creston B.C. (about an hour away) informed me of a '65 Coronet wagon that he had and wasn't going to get to. It had the usual cowl and floor rust issues as well as signs of large rodent infestation which had made short work of most of the under-dash wiring and chewed through the main electrical bulk head in the fire wall. It came with a four door parts car and after some haggling they were mine. (enter maniacal laughter) I had this car for probably a year but due to a funds shortage and time going into my '63 Poncho, the wagon just collected dust. Although this model is the quintessential awb car (Dick Landy, Roger Lindamood etc) my heart lies with the '64 model year and the lower the trim level the better. Chris Barnes at Wagons of Steel HQ in Vashon Isl Wa. informed me that he had picked up this '64 330 wagon that could use some attention. We made a deal to trade the cars straight across and we would make the delivery and retrieval from Vashon (an eight hour haul).
This is the beast as found. It sported it's original 318 Poly and someone had thoughtfully cut the fuel line at the pump. This meant that the tank was not full of rust and varnish, so a quick patch had the fuel system sealed again. Some carb swapping and brake bleeding found us in good shape for firing.
This car had been invaded by a large congregation of small rodents that made nests in the fiber board headliner and all of the vertical pillars. The only quick solution was to gut everything non-steel from inside and pressure wash the hell out of it. This worked quite well but unearthed what we all expected...absolutely no floors. The trunk section is surprisingly mint though. The easy fix was pizza boxes and carpet, what else? Then we took the wagon out for some quick thrashing on the back streets of Vashon. It ran pretty strong and flashed the tires off with ease. Some 14" Cragars were added for some muscle car appeal and race car-esc graphics were strictly for eye candy. Many wagons of the day came with a sure grip and this one was no exception, sporting highway friendly 2.76 gears.
We had the wagon loaded on the trailer and ready to head for home but wait. You say that our friends are heading to Pacific raceway for the season closer with their '64 Plymouth stocker and a '72 T&C wagon. Well, we happened to be going that same direction with a pretend race car on a trailer. How could we not. Of course we took it to the track and raced it. Tech was a bit slippery but we told them the car would probably do 18s. Which was our realistic guess.
How surprised were we to land a 16.42 @83mph. Not too shabby for something we just pulled out of a swamp.
The drive home was half drunk and giddy as we reminisced over the weekends activities. We made it home without incident, even managing to fluster the border guards with our weird paper trail and convincing them to give us all the legit paper work to insure this beast instead of just a salvage title. We were stoked to say the least. Hibernation time.


  1. Look at you crazy blogger guy....all you needed was an outlet!

  2. Now I just need to manage it and make it purdy.