1959 Chevy Kingswood project

Discussion in 'Station Wagon Projects' started by Lisa, Jul 23, 2014.

  1. Lisa

    Lisa Active Member

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    Hey, all. I'm new here - and appreciate the warm welcome; thanks!

    It was suggested I start a thread here, so here goes. I'll try to keep it updated and welcome any and all advice and comments!

    Last month a friend gave my husband and me the opportunity to buy his 1959 Kingswood wagon. He'd owned it for ten years, using it to haul band equipment and decorating it each Halloween for our city's annual parade. We headed over to his house to have a look... and saw that the condition was not quite what we had hoped.

    However, the price was right, and the thing ran, though roughly and belching blue smoke, if you primed the carburetor. Plus, all the chrome and trim pieces were there, and all glass, save for two door windows, was good. But most intriguing to us was that it was just a cool old wagon, the likes of which I'd never seen before. I was familiar with Chevrolet's 1959 sedans and convertibles, but could not recall ever seeing a station wagon in this iconic style. I thought this big ol' nine-passenger wagon was deserving of being saved.

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    Still decorated from the last Halloween parade...

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    The rust looked pretty bad...

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    And the interior was grim.

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    And under the hood... the original Blue Flame straight six. I scraped a bit of gunk away with my fingernail and uncovered a bit of bright blue, the color the engine was painted.

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    So, husband and I talked things over for a few days... I talked to a few classic car people and nearly every one of them said, "Run, don't walk" away. "Buy an already-restored wagon for a lot less than what it will cost you to fix this one up." Surely common sense advice, but I guess we're not always sensible people. Then, I called a body shop owner who had done excellent work on my daily driver, a 2007 Nissan Pathfinder. I remembered that, in his spare time, he restored cars to sell at classic car auctions. He met me at the friend's house, waded through the tall grass to look it over and said, "It's do-able." So.... we decided to buy it.

    The next week, we had it delivered to the body shop.

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    More later... time for bed! :)
     
  2. snooterbuckets

    snooterbuckets Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Lisa for the history. I'm so looking forward to seeing this classic brought back to the condition it deserves.
    Best of luck with your project.
     
  3. 59 wagon man

    59 wagon man Well-Known Member

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    good luck with your project . kool wagon
     
  4. Lisa

    Lisa Active Member

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    You are welcome!

    After a couple of weeks, the crew had started removing trim, sorting through to see what could be salvaged and what would need to be replaced. Then, off came the doors, the seats, and the front fenders.

    This doesn't look good, but isn't really a surprise, either. New floor pan is on the way. The shop owner will fabricate some pans for other areas that had rusted through, like the wells behind the rear wheels in the cargo area.

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    Happy news - the rocker panels were rusted through, but the doors were fine. New panels can be made - I wasn't able to find replacement panels in the correct size.

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    Front fenders - going to bare metal....

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    And getting their first coat of primer.

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    Sanded and ready for another coat.

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    The engine awaits assessment. The stuff that drained from the radiator doesn't look too good! At this point, we know it has problems. The guys suspect a cracked block but are going to have it looked at by an engine guy. I had hoped it could be saved, but if this is the case, I may consider a V8.

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    The guys working to remove the bumper.

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    It was fun to discover the original upholstery beneath the seat covers. I contacted a few places that specialize in classic car upholstery, and looked over their samples, but ony SMS Auto Fabrics in Oregon had the exact materials for the '59 Kingswood, even down to the jute-backed real linoleum for the cargo decking. So, the complete interior has been ordered from them.

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  5. zzzizxz

    zzzizxz Well-Known Member

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    Looking good! Can't wait to see more of your wagon's restoration.
     
  6. busterwivell

    busterwivell Bill, AZ Geezer

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    WOW! Cool project! Impressive!
    If that were mine (and it's not), I'd definitely be installing a V8, probably my standard 350/700R4.........although my son-in-law is bugging me to do a LS kinda thing.
    I'm gonna keep watching this thread as your cool wagon progreses.
     
  7. Lisa

    Lisa Active Member

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    Appreciate your comments, guys! Thanks. Hubby kind of wants a V8, too. Especially since we do plan to have air conditioning.

    I sent off the upper door panel rails to SMS Auto Fabrics yesterday - they need them to build ready-to-install panel sets. The old rails were rusty and covered in 55-year-old stuffing and thick, rusted staples. A chore prying them out. Then we cleaned them up, scrubbing off the gunk with Windex and a wire brush, and primered them with Rust-oleum.

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  8. ModelT1

    ModelT1 Still Lost in the 50's

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    Nice work. Only 9523 more pieces to go!
     
  9. busterwivell

    busterwivell Bill, AZ Geezer

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    Yup, just picture yourselves with that V8, overdrive, Vintage Air A/C (yes, they can cool a wagon!) and your cruizin' and getting over 20 mpg.........
     
  10. jovibuilt

    jovibuilt New Member

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    Nice!!More pictures!! I really wanted an older wagon myself.But I have so much fox body stuff it makes working on mine easier.
     
  11. snooterbuckets

    snooterbuckets Well-Known Member

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    From the pictures of your dashboard, it looks like it had ac; I assume it was aftermarket though I could be wrong. Anybody know if Chevy offered factory ac in '59?
     
  12. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Everything that breaks starts with 'F.'"

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    As I've said in a couple other thread posts on here, I was a little kid when Dad had bought a '59 4-door with holes in the floor that allowed me to look down at the road surface and watch the stripes go by when he changed lanes! As for the drive train, here's a suggestion, if you're looking to keep the straight-six, and that's an '80s truck 250 with the Varajet 2-stage 2-bbl and factory HEI. It definitely would motorvate that wagon, and you can back it with a 200-R4 since the six and V8 have the same bellhousing. BTW, did that have a Powerslush or a 3-on-the-tree?
     
  13. shelby18

    shelby18 Active Member

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    This is a great thread, and I hope you continue to post progress! My Colony Park came from Oklahoma.
     
  14. jmt455

    jmt455 Well-Known Member

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    Please keep posting updatres; this is going to be one very cool wagon!

    I LOVE the 59 Chev tail lights; they are awesome.

    I will be the contrarian on the engine selection; I would probably go with the 6 (maybe swap to a 250 or 292), along with a 4 speed OD transmission, just because it would be a different.

    I'd probably build the L-6 and supercharge it. That would surprise everybody when you open the hood!
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
  15. Lisa

    Lisa Active Member

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    We were told the ac was aftermarket or dealer-installed. I don't know if the car was available with factory ac. We definitely want a good air conditioner, though. That's something else I'll need to learn about... not sure if the existing ac equipment can be used, or if we'd be much better off getting a newer, more efficient one.
     

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