Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday Showdown – Four 60s Wagons; So, which one would you choose?

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Hooniverse Wagon Wednesday Showdown – Four 60s Wagons; So, which one would you choose?


Welcome to another Wagon Wednesday on the newly expanded Hooniverse. To celebrate, I thought I would bring back a feature that hasn’t been done in at least a few weeks, and that is a Showdown. So for Wagon Wednesday, I combed through the classified section of Americas Favorite Collector Car Publication, Hemmings. Using the Keyword “Wagon” I was able to find four 1960s wagons with not only visual appeal, but with a relatively affordable price tag as well. So, let me introduce you to a 1963 Chevrolet Impala Wagon, A 1964 Rambler American 330 Wagon, A 1966 AMC Ambassador 990 Wagon, and a 1968 Ford Fairlane Wagon. Which one would you choose?


Let’s start with the 1963 Impala Wagon. If you recall, I highlighted a wonderful 1964 Impala Wagon for the last Wagon Wednesday Feature, and while some of you liked it, a few didn’t because of the base engine, original brakes, and the fact that the 64 looked rather cheap for what it was. Well, here is a 1963 Impala which some consider a better looking version during this period. This car also has a 327 CID V-8, and the brake booster has been updated. The car is an original Factory A/C car with most of the A/C components missing, which is rather odd. The 1963 14″ Rims are also missing, replaced with 15″ Rims, and 57 Chrysler Wheelcovers.

This is advertised as a real California Car with minimal rust. Well, minimal in the way of having the lower edge of each door fixed with Bondo, and a small rust hole on the driver side front fender. The paint is at least 20 years old, and failing, and just to add to the negative side of the equation, it has a Powerglide. However, the seller claims that a lot of work has been done to the car including front disc brakes, CPP front and rear sway bar, Edelbrock performer carb and intake, Mallory Pro-Billet HEI iginition, new heater core and radiator, new starter, new alternator, rebuilt steering gearbox, rebuilt posi differential, and a new set of tires.

Asking price for this Chevy is $8,500 firm. For the work that has been done, not bad. For the work that needs to be done, I’m not so sure. See the Hemmings listing here.

Here is a nice 1964 Rambler American Wagon that is equipped with one of the last flathead engines you could buy in a production car. This rather antique engine was equipped with one of the most advanced automatics for the time period, a Borg Warner 3-speed automatic. AMC offered 3-speed automatics, while most of GM and Ford offered 2-speed automatics during this time period. Anyway, the car only shows 72,000 miles on the odometer and a lot of work has been done to the car to get it ready for sale.

They seller states that there is no major issues but will require work eventually. Engine smokes a bit when it’s cold but all those old flatheads did. Transmission leaks a bit when it sits but a shifter seal will fix that. Driver’s seat has a hole but the rest is good and looks presentable enough. You know, the little things that drive you nuts.

Asking price for this little American living in Edmonton is $3,500, which isn’t really too bad for a fully functioning 60s compact that needs a little work. See the Hemmings listing here.

Next up in another AMC product, a 1966 Ambassador 990 Wagon. This particular car is finished in an Aqua and White two tone, with a matching interior. Unlike many quaint AMC cars of the 60s, this car is not equipped with a six, but with a 327 CID V-8, which should perk your interest. This car also comes with Factory Air Conditioning, a Factory AM FM Radio, A Working Electric Clock, as well as Power Steering and Brakes (A Dual Circuit Unit I might ad).

The car shows 68,000 miles, and also boasts a set of shiny American Racing Wheels, which I think look like crap. There isn’t much else I can criticize about this car except for the asking price, which is $13,900. See the Hemmings listing here.

Our last wagon is this 1968 Ford Fairlane Wagon that shows off its non-factory white/blue two-tone paint job nicely. It has a blindingly white interior, which can be a bitch to keep clean (Ask me how I know!), but it does come with factory A/C. There isn’t much to go on by the listing, since the sellers refused to say even one thing about this car, so we will have to make educated guesses.

It looks like it has a 289 CID V-8 under the hood, and a 3-speed Cruise-O-Matic shifted by the column. The Dog-Dish hubcaps look authentic, but those tires have to be turned inside-out. The seats, dash-pad, and door panels look great. As I said, no other information is attainable with the ad, so the mileage is up for debate. The asking price seems like its OK at $8,950, but the mileage and condition will dictate the actual value. See the Hemmings listing here.

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By |2011-09-28T09:00:37+00:00September 28th, 2011|For Sale, Showdown, Wagon Wednesday|39 Comments

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39 Comments

  1. mdharrell September 28, 2011 at 9:36 am - Reply

    Gotta go with the '64 American. I like an easy-to-reach oil filter almost as much as the absence of an oil filter.

    • MrHowser September 28, 2011 at 4:31 pm - Reply

      But it's inverted, and on top of the engine, so all the old oil will spill all over the place.
      At least, I've never found a way to avoid that with my Jeep.

      • mdharrell September 28, 2011 at 4:40 pm - Reply

        Your concern is valid, but in my experience that is a modest price to pay for such unfettered access.

    • Rabid_Koala July 8, 2015 at 5:38 pm - Reply

      I used to change the oil on a rotary engine Mazda, circa 1972. It had the very accessible, upside down oil filter. I solved that problem by punching holes in the top, allowing the oil to drain out prior to removal. It worked like a charm, and since I always let the oil drain for a long time letting the filter drain down with it was no problem.

  2. MrHowser September 28, 2011 at 9:40 am - Reply

    I'm a sucker for dual headlights, and stacked dual headlights – be still my heart!
    990 for me. I even like the rims.
    Also, that Fairlane looks pretty good with the two-tone and raised white letter tires. I know so many of you hate them. I love them, and I know exactly why, too.
    <img src="http://www.famous-cars.net/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Herbie-The-Love-Bug-550×412.jpg"width=500&gt;
    Image stolen from famous-cars.net

  3. RichardKopf September 28, 2011 at 9:45 am - Reply

    I went with the option that has whitewalls.
    That `63 looks horrible with blackwalls and Chrysler hubcaps, which, undoubtedly would have come with wide whitewalls.

  4. Devin September 28, 2011 at 9:51 am - Reply

    I am well aware the following sentence will make me sound like a 12 year old girl: The Rambler American is soooo cuuuuute.
    Seriously, it's like a the car equivalent of a puppy. I want it in my driveway.

  5. topdeadcentre September 28, 2011 at 9:52 am - Reply

    The 990 has everything i'd want in a vintage wagon. I'd replace the rims with something less godawful.

  6. tonyola September 28, 2011 at 10:00 am - Reply

    The Rambler American is too plain and slow. The Chevy doesn't really excite me and the thought of having to hunt down missing A/C components is a turn-off. The '68 Fairlane hits close to home – in high school my primary drive was a yellow '69 Fairlane 500 wagon with 351, auto, tan vinyl interior, and A/C. It wasn't much of a handler and suffered from terminal understeer, but my Airedale loved riding in it. This wagon looks mostly presentable, though, and the price isn't terrible, plus maybe the 289 doesn't weigh down the front end so much. The Ambassador would be my choice except for the wheels and the high price. It gets my vote, but I wouldn't pay nearly $14K for it.

  7. muthalovin September 28, 2011 at 10:11 am - Reply

    While the price is dear, the Ambassador has my vote. It has the nicest paint, and amenities. Also, I like those rims, so shoot me.

  8. Tanshanomi September 28, 2011 at 10:13 am - Reply

    '64 Ambassador. Those frenched headlights are what got me.

    • MrHowser September 28, 2011 at 10:37 am - Reply

      I'm confused… there's a '66 Ambassador, and a '64 Rambler. Which one are you referring to?

      • Tanshanomi September 28, 2011 at 11:05 am - Reply

        Ok, sure…now that you've replied, I can't edit out my mistake!
        I meant the '64 Rambler.

  9. Jimmy7 September 28, 2011 at 10:24 am - Reply

    You folks are all apparently immune to the cachet of the Goldwater and Nixon bumper stickers on the Chevy. I am not. Also, you can buy anything you need to fix the Impala brand new. Yes, there's rust; but here in Southern California rust moves very slowly. I dodn't think that he'll get $8,500, though.

    • mdharrell September 28, 2011 at 10:46 am - Reply

      Not immune, no, but I'd have to hold out for the superior variety of Goldwater '64 bumper sticker.
      <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4056/4443923406_8db6020436.jpg&quot; width="450">

      • Devin September 28, 2011 at 11:02 am - Reply

        I don't think a presidential candidate for either party could get away with that today, which is super sad.

        • MrHowser September 28, 2011 at 11:32 am - Reply

          Get away with, in the sense of survive politically? Or get away with, in the sense of having the general public understand it?

          • Devin September 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm

            A bit of option two, but I keep thinking if a candidate named Goldwater did an AuH2O sticker today you'd have a bunch of commentators complaining that he doesn't have a chance because people don't relate to him. Because apparently the best judge of leadership ability is who you're most willing to drink beers with.
            It might be more a problem with the people hired to do election commentary rather than actual voters though.

          • MrHowser September 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm

            You have to remember that if they weren't shouting over each other and questioning the other side's morals, the talking heads wouldn't have a job. Therefore, they'll make an issue of anything, no matter how stupidly small.

      • zaddikim September 29, 2011 at 6:51 am - Reply

        That Goldwater sticker on the bumper is awesome. I can't help think that todays generation wouldn't get it though – so many kids I work with don't seem to actually get educated by the schools they go to every day.

    • Tanshanomi September 28, 2011 at 11:20 am - Reply
  10. OA5599 September 28, 2011 at 10:31 am - Reply

    The 990 is the one I like the most, but not at that price.
    If I had to spend my own money on one of these four, I'd be driving home in the 330. I like the Ambassador more, but not $10K more.
    I'd probably pick the Fairlane next, but as noted, there are a lot of unanswered questions. I think I'd like it better in one solid color instead of two-tone, though.

  11. TX_Stig September 28, 2011 at 11:15 am - Reply

    Based only on which one would look best in my driveway, my first pick would be the 990. Then the Rambler. I never really liked that Impala rear. The Fairlane is nice looking, but still a little too plain.

  12. nofrillls September 28, 2011 at 11:35 am - Reply

    I'm sorry, but this decision is an impossible task.
    How about asking a more reasonable question, like, "Which would you choose, a rusty 1987 Cutlass Sierra wagon with plasti-wood paneling or a 1964 Rambler American wagon?" Or, perhaps, "Which would you choose, a 1996 VW Passat wagon with a dashboard lit-up like a Christmas tree or a 1966 AMC Ambassador wagon?"
    Since answering this consundrum is on par with mating astrophysics with quantum physics, the best I can do will be to rank them by sheer awesomeness:
    1 – The 1968 Ford Fairlane with that Patriotic Blue & White Paint scheme
    2 – The 1964 Rambler American 330 with a Smokin' Flathead
    3 – The 1966 AMC Ambassador 990 with a V-8, and Blingtastic Rims
    4 – The 1963 Chevrolet Impala Wagon with Chrysler Wheelcovers

  13. yellofury September 28, 2011 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    Is it bad? I kinda LIKE the American Racing Wheels on the Ambassador
    On looks alone I'm going to go for the Ambassador with those funky over/under headlights
    Cmon its an AMC! Its a piece of Americana
    It can also be a piece of …

  14. I. Borgward September 28, 2011 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Oh, man… the choice for me is obvious: The Rambler American 330, almost entirely because my very first car was a '64 American 2 door, with the same flathead, even the exact same color as the wagon, though mine had a three-on-the-tree instead of the automatic. It was cute as hell, no one else had one at the time, and to my shock and amazement, girls loved it!
    For the condition, the price on the wagon is really quuite reasonable. But be aware: finding trunions and other front end parts for it will be exceedingly difficult.

  15. Black Steelies September 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    The 63 Chevy wagon only for the fact that walking back to my car on the university campus parking lot, I stopped to look over a white 63 Impala sedan.
    It was nothing special, probably original drivetrain and paint but it made my day to see it parked among vanilla crossovers and run of the mill college beaters like my Stratus.

  16. ZomBee Racer September 28, 2011 at 2:50 pm - Reply

    This time around, I'm gonna have to go with the Fairlane, but ONLY if the white letter tires remain correct-side-out.

    • mdharrell September 28, 2011 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      I know you own and maintain more than one MGB, so let me ask you to reconsider: Did you take a good look at the oil filter location on that Rambler? Pure bliss. In contrast, I went through four different types of filter wrench with my B before I found something that brought it up to the level of just barely tolerable. Well, five types if you count "a big screwdriver and a hammer," which was far from the worst option.
      Sure, it's inverted, so R&R would make a bit of a mess, but I've found that's pretty much the case regardless.

  17. RahRahRecords September 28, 2011 at 3:32 pm - Reply

    The two AMC's are my favorites but the little Rambler is more bang for the buck and gets my vote. It reminds me a lot of the 63 Dart which I also wouldn't kick out of my driveway.

  18. UDman September 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm - Reply

    Alright, the three people who answered "NONE" Step forward, and return your Hooniverse Membership Card…

  19. west_coaster September 29, 2011 at 5:55 am - Reply

    I'd take the Fairlane, but would immdiately lose the goofball paint scheme and flip the redneck-y white letter tires around. Oh, and find a nice original radio to fill the hole in the dash.

  20. Froggmann_ September 29, 2011 at 8:24 am - Reply

    I'm gonna be greedy and say I want both the Ambassador and the Fairlane.

  21. Rabid_Koala July 8, 2015 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    I think the 63 Chevy wagon is ugly, but the Goldwater and Nixon stickers are awesome!

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