Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday – An Amazing 1964 Impala Wagon Survivor.

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Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday – An Amazing 1964 Impala Wagon Survivor.


Welcome to another Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday, and today I am going to show you a truly amazing 1964 Chevrolet Impala Wagon. Why do I find this Impala so interesting? Its what it doesn’t have that makes it so appealing. There is no V-8 under the hood of this wagon, nor is there an automatic of any kind. Let’s discover this six-cylinder, three speed manual wagon, and see if it is all that amazing.


The seller of this car states that this is an original Black Plate California Car. Since I don’t live in California, I would have to assume that the Black Plate was issued with the car when it was purchased new, which means that this car has lived in the Golden State all of its life. That news is good enough for me, but it also looks like the paint finish is original to the car as well.

The mileage is just under 80,000 miles, which is certainly commendable given the condition and the age of the car. The current seller is the third owner, and did some interior work to the car to spiff things up just a bit. Along with the new upholstery, the dash looks spot on, and the factory AM radio is all there with no aftermarket stereo system. He also added a new set of Good Year bias ply whitewall tires, just to make it more authentic.

This car should stay as original as possible because a new owner may just yank out the six and three speed, and drop in a generic SBC with an automatic, or a four-speed in its place. That would be sacrilegious in my book. Under the hood it looks authentic, with no power steering pump or dual circut master cylinder for the brakes. You should assume that the drum braking system is still intact. The only options that I can see that were added to this wagon were rear backup lamps, and full wheel covers.

This auction will have ended by the time this posting goes live, and the winning bid was $11,500. See the listing here. I would think that this is the right price for this particular car, but I could be wrong. What do you think this car is worth? And while you’re at it, what do you think of this very basic Impala Wagon for 1964? Let me know.

By |2011-09-21T09:00:12+00:00September 21st, 2011|For Sale, Wagon Wednesday|47 Comments

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47 Comments

  1. TurboBrick September 21, 2011 at 9:12 am - Reply

    If it gets any simpler than that in the engine room then we're approaching 2CV / Trabant territory. Were windshield washers optional? I don't see a reservoir bottle or a bag in there.

    • dukeisduke September 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm - Reply

      Yes, they were optional.

  2. Feds_II September 21, 2011 at 9:37 am - Reply

    As a Great-Lakes Canadian, $11,500 is a steal for this car. Something this old that has less than 70% of it's parts in boxes starts at $15,000 here. And those are real Canadian dollars, not your US "Uncle Sam's Fun Money" Damnit, we're back at parity.

    • Deartháir September 21, 2011 at 10:25 am - Reply

      We're way above parity again!
      Wait… no, we're back at par– no, we're ahead again! Shit… no, parity again.

      • Feds_II September 21, 2011 at 10:30 am - Reply

        You think Loonie v. Greenback is bad? I've placed an order for a JDM minivan. I'm watching the Yen like a hawk, and it's not moving in the right direction.

        • MrHowser September 21, 2011 at 10:40 am - Reply

          JDM Minivan? What are you getting?

          • Feds_II September 21, 2011 at 11:12 am

            In an ideal world, this:
            <img src="http://www.zenautoworks.ca/Current%20Stock%20Units/15377_1237812643.jpg&quot; width=500>
            But it is up to the Auction Gods to determine exact colour and spec at this point.
            (source of image: http://www.zenautoworks.ca/Current%20Stock%20Unit… )

          • MrHowser September 21, 2011 at 11:15 am

            Great… now my MPV and my Jeep both feel inadequate.
            Why don't all minivans have Momo steering wheels?

          • mr. mzs zsm msz esq September 21, 2011 at 12:06 pm

            Have you ever considered being a soccer/hockey coach? Cause that would be amazing if you rolled-up in that and a team jumped out the back.

          • zaddikim September 22, 2011 at 2:38 am

            They've got one of those in a really dark green Exceed model down the road in Martensville for about CAD$8600, right beside a Pajero for CAD$9200 or so.
            /wantwantwant

  3. muthalovin September 21, 2011 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Man, that is really, really clean. I would have expected some amount of rust, considering it was purchased new as the base model. If I bought a Yaris today, I would leave it parked in the rain, snow, hail, whatever. This Impala is pristine, considering.

  4. MrHowser September 21, 2011 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Perhaps I'm confused, but I remember my grandfather talking about how, in the old days, if a car got close to 100,000 miles, it was almost assuredly time for an engine rebuild. Maybe the days he was talking about were older than I imagine, but I thought he was including the 60's in his frame of reference.
    Can anyone clarify this?

    • UDman September 21, 2011 at 10:40 am - Reply

      In the old days (and I should know cause I'm, well, Old!) egines ran on engine oil that was organic by nature. The lubrication protection offered were not always the best, which reduced the longevity of the engine components including piston rings, crankshaft bearings, and pushrods. The properties in today's lubricants far exceeds what was available then.
      This particular engine probably has a crankcase full of at least a 50/50 synthetic blend which will keep all the internally lubricated parts functioning for a lot longer now than during the later 60s. The same thing goes for Transmissions (Manual or Automatic), wheel bearings, and rear ends because of the advances in lubrication technology.
      This particular inline six is really an under-stressed engine because of the low RPM range, and simple architecture. It should go another 100,000 miles without a major rebuild now.

      • MrHowser September 21, 2011 at 10:44 am - Reply

        Interesting. I had always assumed that, in addition to the old, less-developed lubricants, that the machining/assembly techniques were to blame. Thanks for the clarification!

        • mr. mzs zsm msz esq September 21, 2011 at 12:03 pm - Reply

          Also there was the detergent. They started adding it to oil in the '60s. People were not careful of adding it to cars that had run on oil without detergent for years and it would cause all the dirt in the oil along the sides to gum-up and clog. Those newer oils also had the sized of the particles more uniform, so bad gaskets and seals would leak that never had much before. A lot of people blamed the new better oil, which is funny how that works.

        • TurboBrick September 21, 2011 at 12:06 pm - Reply

          API SA and SB type motor oils were non-detergent, the first spec to require detergents was API SC which came out in 1963. I think that had a great effect on longevity. Another great step forwards was multi-grade oil. Castrol GTX was the first one in 1968 – prior to that everything was just straight weight. Can you imagine starting a car in January in Minnesota with SAE30 in the crank case?

    • skitter September 21, 2011 at 10:40 am - Reply

      10,000 mile warranties weren't unheard of in the '60s, (Chrysler? Correct me if I'm wrong.) but they weren't commonplace until the '70s.

      • P161911 September 21, 2011 at 11:46 am - Reply

        As late as 2001 VW only offered a 2 yr/24k miles bumper to bumper warranty in the US (they did offer a 10yr/100k mile power train though). The rumor that I have always heard is that when Chrysler offered the 7 yr/70k mile warranty in the 1980s (unheard of at the time) they started using Loctite. http://www.factorywarrantylist.com/

      • mr. mzs zsm msz esq September 21, 2011 at 11:57 am - Reply

        I have the original warranty card for my '67 Volvo, 6 months, plus you needed to come in at 500 miles for a check-up for it to be valid. To be fair with the Amazon at least there was a certain amount of if it does not break right away, it should last a long time and when it does need to be replaced or fixed, it's not hard.

    • The Professor September 21, 2011 at 2:02 pm - Reply

      Nope, you've got it right as far as I know, and I've heard from a lot of mechanics that I've worked with, and usually refers to a car of any year. There are exceptions of course, based on how far you want to push your luck.

  5. RichardKopf September 21, 2011 at 11:19 am - Reply

    I really hope this car stays original.

    • yellofury September 21, 2011 at 7:02 pm - Reply

      Yes before we are rolling in my Six FO smokin endo and sipping on the proverbial gin and juice I believe

  6. MusclesMarinara September 21, 2011 at 12:21 pm - Reply

    It's…. perfect. Not my favorite color, but the grey has a certain elegance to it. I've been really temped lately to pick up a mid-60s Stovebolt 6-powered Chevy to use as a summer DD, preferably a wagon for hauling stuff. Doesn't get much nicer than this for a basic, original old car, and the price is more than fair.

  7. tonyola September 21, 2011 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    I just can't get excited about 1964 Chevys in any form. With the boxy, flat front and cheap-looking stamped grille, to me the '64 is the least attractive 1960s Chevy prior to 1969. Six and three-on-tree with minimal options don't add anything either. This makes me wonder how many people here have actually driven a six-cylinder/manual fullsize '60s car. I have and the entertainment value is near zero. There are so many more interesting cars than this to be had for the money.

    • mdharrell September 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm - Reply

      "This makes me wonder how many people here have actually driven a six-cylinder/manual fullsize '60s car."
      I have. Also '50s and '30s. I enjoyed them immensely (and, in the case of the '37, still do). I agree this one is not how I would spend that much money, but I also wouldn't modify it. High performance isn't prominent among my personally compelling priorities.

      • The Professor September 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm - Reply

        Yeah, me too (except for the '30s clunkers) and a couple from the late '40s, and they're great fun to drive. They want way too much money for the thing in the photo, but it would drive just fine.

    • OA5599 September 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm - Reply

      Does a 60's pickup count? It's certainly no speed demon, but with leaf springs on all 4 corners, I wouldn't want it to go much faster.

      • RichardKopf September 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm - Reply

        I have driven both an `83 Impala with the 229 and a `84 Delta with the old 231. Sure they were automatics, but still, I fully understand slow. They could be made fun, you just need snow.

      • The Professor September 21, 2011 at 2:07 pm - Reply

        If it has leafs on all four corners, you should remove the shock absorbers. It'll handle a lot better, especially at speed.

    • dukeisduke September 21, 2011 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      The '64 is my favorite of the '62-'64 models. An Impala, with the 230 six, three-speed, and manual steering and brakes? Definitely not for wimps. I wish he'd posted the VIN, so I could figure out where it was built (probably South Gate, Calif., where my '68 Bonneville was built, or maybe Arlington or Kansas City).

    • Lotte September 21, 2011 at 2:08 pm - Reply

      No I haven't driven one. The entertainment value would be trying to drive one today. I'm also prepared for a Versa to out-accelerate it.

    • CptSevere September 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm - Reply

      I've had my '66 F100 for years, six cylinder and three on the tree, and still love the thing. My '65 Chevy 3/4 ton (in hock, as it were, but I'll have it back shortly) has a 283 and a three speed, and I miss the hell out of it. Three on the tree is a real hoot. Hey, slow car or truck driven fast, it's fun.
      Also, this is one of my favorite Chevy years, and a station wagon to boot. I respect your opinion about the boxy styling, but it has always appealed to me. Clean, unadorned, and uncomplicated after the wretched excess of only a few years before, which I like, too. The '64 Chevy looks just right to me, basic, like a Chevy should be, but with a certain panache. This wagon nails it, with the right color and yeah, I like the drivetrain. I've got nothing against a SBC, but I'm a straight six fan, too. The lovely original condition nails it for me. Nice car.

  8. Lotte September 21, 2011 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    I am pretty sure the first couple thou I make will go into buying my first car. This isn't far from what I'm looking for, albeit much less pristine. This is such a great find, seriously. I have so many questions I don't even know what to ask first. Is it a synchronized transmission? Do I have to source replacement bias-plys? Do I put 89 octane in it? Can it reach 100km/h on the three-speed, or is there a planetary gear overdrive? Should I replace the shocks, maybe make them modern ones so it handles less like a boat? Does it even handle like a boat? Will it drift?
    (I can probably find all the answers on the internet, and I probably will when I have a couple thou to throw around. Still, this has set my heart aflutter…)

    • UDman September 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm - Reply

      So many questions young Grasshopper…
      The Three speed was synchronized in second and third, you have to come to a stop to place it in first or reverse. Bias Ply tires are great if you are going to show the car, but Radials are much better for everyday, or even weekend cruising. You can put 89 Octane in it, but I would source higher octane like 93 if you plan on using it on the freeway. It will do 110 KPH, but it will take a looooooooong time getting there. and sourcing replacement shocks isn't that hard. They still make original Gabriel Shocks for these cars.

      • TurboBrick September 21, 2011 at 4:34 pm - Reply

        Now correct me if I'm wrong, but this thing is also going to require lead substitute added to the gas unless the head has been taken off and hardened valve seats have been installed.

      • Lotte September 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm - Reply

        Oh, I do want to learn the ways of the solid axle, leaf sprung rear end!
        Lemee guess, these cars were designed to run leaded, but since they won't allow that anymore a higher octane is needed to keep the engine from pinging? Especially at higher rpm, like the highway? I wonder what revs it would have to keep to stay at that speed…
        Also, theoretically, can't you do a double-clutch downshift into first?

        • Black Steelies September 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm - Reply

          I wouldn't think the engine has enough compression for that to matter, but I've also heard lead was important for valvetrain lubrication and unleaded burns hotter/harsher.

        • UDman September 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm - Reply

          You really don't want to down shift to first when moving. The six will have enough torque to keep you moving from 5 mph on up.
          Anyway, this car is an all coil spring suspension design, no leafs here. A lead substitute (like what TurboBrick suggested) would be a great idea, but an engine rebuild with hardened valve seats would be advisable.
          I don't knpw what RPM would be needed to keep up with highway traffic, but these six cylinder Chevys did. A friend of my dad had a 1964 Impala with a 2-speed Powerglide, and it would keep up with traffic no problem. I owned a Nova with a 250 CID 6 (basically the same engine) also with a 2-speed Powerglide… again, no problem.
          These inline 6 powered chevys were practically bullet proof, just like the Chrysler Slant 6,

          • Lotte September 21, 2011 at 6:05 pm

            Solid axle, coil sprung. When you mentioned that, I remembered the Mystery Chassis from a while back and lo…
            I was wondering how a two-speed would cope with modern traffic, mostly because modern cars shift so much. On the family Accord the ratios have large overlaps between its five gears, so at freeway speeds the engine would do 2500rpm in fourth and 2000 in fifth. I could see how a two-speed could work provided the entirety of the rev range was used.
            Bulletproof sounds good to me! How did the 350 compare in terms of bulletproofness?
            (So many questions, so much to know. I'll save some for later. Weekend postings come to mind. Thanks for putting up with me…)

          • CptSevere September 21, 2011 at 8:07 pm

            I had a '65 Chevy Malibu with a 283 and Powerglide, back in the early eighties when I was stationed in Italy, and it ran all day long at 80 MPH plus with that miserable two speed transmission. It must have had a fairly high geared rear end, as it really sucked up in the Alps. A three speed would have been much better. The 283 was bulletproof, and so is a 350. They're both SBC's, the most dependable and understandable engine ever built, in my opinion.
            If you're looking for a first car, and you're going to have to work on it yourself, you would do well to get something like this wagon, because there's nothing going on with this car that you can't comprehend. This is good, honest, easy to figure out technology that will not let you down if you keep up with the maintenance, and yes, upgrades like radial tires, electronic ignition (points are not rocket science, however), and hardened valve seats are not the end of the world. You could have the head off of this engine on a Saturday afternoon, the machine shop could perform a valve job that week, and you could have the head back on the engine and the car on the road the next Saturday night, no problem.

          • Lotte September 21, 2011 at 9:01 pm

            Yeah, I am totally enamored with the honest-to-god simplicity and durability of old Chevies, but just saying that is a bit contrived; I need to live with one and be able to fix one, or at least know the ins-and-outs. The engine bay is big and uncluttered, and very welcoming for someone to just jump in and see what it's all about. Like me! I usually can't tell what's going on in any given engine bay, but in this I recognize the distributor cap, spark plug wires, air intake, oil filter…yup, easy to understand sounds good to me!
            BTW, a Chevy in Italy…was it attention-getting? (even if it is the smaller one…)

          • CptSevere September 21, 2011 at 9:50 pm

            No, the timing and the price was right. I was looking for an inexpensive car to spank on while I was there, and the Malibu was for sale for six hundred bucks. It was a real beater. This was 1981, and the car had seen serious use and misuse since being imported there in 1965. Yeah, I liked the idea of driving a Chevy in Italy, instead of a Fiat 128 or a Cinquecento, or the BMWs that my buddies there drove. That car held up just fine until the rear end leaked out the ninety weight and blew a bearing. These days, I'd have it fixed over a weekend, but back then, I was not the mechanic that I am now. I sold it for cheap, but no big deal. I had fun with it, and that's enough for me.

  9. Black Steelies September 21, 2011 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    The 64's were not my favorite stylewise, pretty much all Chevys afterwards are better until about 73. Still, the price is about right given the condition, and I'm happy to see an original drivetrain. That first shot is pretty great and makes me want to have a sixties wagon.. just not this one.
    Aside from 64' styling, I would just bitch about a relatively dirty engine compartment for what is almost a show car. Maybe that just indicates a car that was driven more than stored immaculately. Now a trailer-queen straight 6 Chevrolet, that would be something.

  10. Mad_Science September 21, 2011 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    In my book, anything over about 7k for a classic starts to get into "spendy".
    Spendy is ok (just bought a spendy 69 Wagoneer), but only for a reason. The reason here is the mix of originality and super-cleanliness.
    …but I think most here would rather rent/borrow it a few times on a free Sunday than actually own such a ride.
    I understand and appreciate that, but for $11,500 you could've bought my wagon for $3k, a semi-good paintjob, disc brakes, a 4.10:1 rearend, Gear Vendors overdrive and a few other goodies.
    Fun per dollar favors something else.

  11. Mad_Hungarian September 21, 2011 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    I just love these old straight sixes with no options. If there's an easier car to work on I don't know what it is. Looks like you can practically climb in there and stand up next to the engine while you work.

  12. K5ING September 22, 2011 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    I find it curious that the car seems to be a base car without a lot of options, yet it's the upscale Impala instead of the base Parkwood(?) or whatever the base model was called back then.
    Back in the day, I used to drive cab in Northern Illinois, and we used '63 thru '66 Chevys as cabs. Did you know that the front sheet metal and doors of the '63-'64 were interchangeable? Same with the '65 and '66. We had several cars with '64 rear ends and '63 fronts, or '66 cars with '65 front ends.
    1964 was always my least favorite of the '63-'66 Chevys. My favorites were the '63 and the '66. That said, I used to have a '64 Impala 2dr hardtop that I bought in 1974 for $300. It was the days of the gas crisis, and I was looking for a cheap beater car. The salesman told me it was a 283 engine. But it turned out to be a rather special car…
    First, it had working factory A/C. Very unusual for a Chicago area car in '64 that wasn't a Cadillac. Also, a friend, who was a Chevy nut, looked at the car right after I bought it and got all excited. It turns out that the car had a 327-300hp engine, aluminum cased Corvette Powerglide transmission, dual exhaust, and a 12 bolt rear end (and a factory option Kleenex dispenser on the dash!). I did some research on the car, and found that the original owner had been employed at the local Chevy dealer where I bought the car. Typical little old man who worked in the bookkeeping department. He got a new car every 10 years, and wanted to have A/C in his '64. He asked the guys at the dealer to order him something that would handle it, and they decided to have a little fun with the old guy and special ordered the car for him. That car was crazy quick, and never beaten (before I got it that is…LOL!).

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