New forum member with a crazy idea to find a wagon... Input appreciated

Discussion in 'General Station Wagon Discussions' started by Spartan, Oct 10, 2019.

  1. Spartan

    Spartan New Member

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    New forum member here and looking for some input from other station wagon owners/fans. Here's my situation:

    I grew up in the 70s outside of Detroit and my family had a first-generation Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser, the kind with the clamshell tailgate (which only worked sporadically IIRC). I have really fond memories of that car even though I was just a young lad at the time. We used to vacation in northern Michigan and we towed a boat up there every summer behind our wagon.

    Next summer (July 2020) my family is having a reunion in northern Michigan. We all live all over the place (I'm in Philadelphia) so this will be a big deal, especially for my father. I would love to roll up in the same wagon we used to drive. I can't imagine the look on my dad and siblings' faces.

    So my crazy idea is to try to track one of these down, solely just for this event. Here's what I am thinking:

    First, does anyone know if there are any options to rent something like this? I know there are companies that rent classic cars, but I can't imagine anyone wanting to rent an old station wagon.

    Barring that, my other option, and this one I would have to give serious consideration to, is to actually find (and buy) a Custom Cruiser that is in good enough shape that I could drive it from Philly to up north Michigan and back. Depending on timing (and cost) if I found one in the next few months I could spend the winter months getting it in shape. I've never restored a car before, but am mechanically inclined and have maintained and repaired my own vehicles for the past 20 years. So I know how to turn a wrench. If I did this, I'd buy it (and restore it) with the intention of driving it to my reunion, and then selling it. (I don't have the space, or need, for a car like this.) Plus I think the great American road trip in a car like this would be awesome.

    What are your thoughts? Dumb idea? Is it even possible to find a car and get it in shape (not concours shape, but mechanically sound enough to drive a long distance) in six months?

    The wagon we had was a cream/beige color with wood paneling. Basically this one (from Wikipedia):
    [​IMG]

    So that is what I'm looking for. My wife might kill me if I try to pull this off. But it would be awesome.
     
  2. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    What's your budget? Have you looked at listings on C/L, FB Marketplace, OfferUp, ePay? Does it have to have the same colors, the same wood paneling? A bunch of questions you need to be asking, but I think it's a splendid idea.
     
  3. Spartan

    Spartan New Member

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    Good questions. Budget has some flexibility since I don't intend to keep the car for long. So maybe seven or eight grand? Is that reasonable? Depends on the condition and how much work I'd have to put into it I suppose. I have done some searching on craigslist, eBay, and a search site I found called Trovit cars. I've seen a few listed a few listed but they above my price range. (I've only been looking for maybe a week or two though.) Color is not a must-have if I found a decent specimen for cheap, but the wood grain is a definite!
     
  4. pyasher

    pyasher Well-Known Member

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    Not out of the question but a good runner might be more than 8 K - start looking online - lots of good resources including Auto Tempest https://www.autotempest.com/ Good luck!
     
  5. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    Also, though it may not pan out, put a wanted ad on here, and comb through the wagons for sale listings. Leave no stone unturned.
     
  6. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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  7. Spartan

    Spartan New Member

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    That is a great-looking car, but it's got to have the woodgrain, which to me defines the era of the car. But it does give me hope that there are some out there.
     
  8. OrthmannJ

    OrthmannJ Hillbilly Deluxe

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    Spartan. I don't think this is a crazy idea. I actually really like it. The only thing that would make it better in my mind would be if you planned to keep it after the reunion.
    But all of that aside, you are clearly looking for a very nice, VERY reliable car if you are wanting to make the "great American road trip". I think that is going to require a fairly healthy budget. Believe it or not, the wagons, which used to be cheap and plentiful are now expensive and scarce. You can find what you are looking for, but it may surprise you how much it is going to cost.
    I don't want to discourage you, but going into something with your eyes wide open is always the best plan.
    Looking forward to following along as you progress on this adventure.
     
  9. Spartan

    Spartan New Member

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    Heh... We'll see. Depends on what happens emotionally once/if I put some real time/effort into this. Although, we have only a two-car garage, which means someone would be parking his/her daily driver outside (likely me) unless I were to find another long-term storage option.

    True. And your reply is exactly why I posted to this forum, so I could get a bit more informed. I appreciate the insight!
     
  10. OrthmannJ

    OrthmannJ Hillbilly Deluxe

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    Nothing wrong with that. That's how it works at my house. Fury and the wife's rig get to park in the garage. My DD parks outside.

    Cle Elum trip 2015 032.jpg
     
  11. Krash Kadillak

    Krash Kadillak Well-Known Member

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    You might want to measure your garage. These are BIG wagons. Before looking for a collector wagon, I measured my garage and found out the biggest ones, including the GM clamshells would fit, but barely - and with not enough room to have access to man-door to get into the house. Had to rule them out.

    The early Custom Cruisers, '71 and '72 were approx. 225" in overall length. (That's 18' 9"). The later ones, with the big bumpers, are 231" (19' 3") The 1973 model, with the one-year only bumpers, is 228" - exactly 19'.

    I'll do a bit of looking around on the internet, see what I can find......

    And, welcome to the forum!
    Marshall
     
  12. Spartan

    Spartan New Member

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    Thanks and HOLY MOLY, I didn't think of that. I'll measure the depth of my garage when I get home. I've got a 15-foot kayak hanging from the ceiling and I know there is a couple of feet on each end, but a full 19 feet could be tight...
     
  13. Krash Kadillak

    Krash Kadillak Well-Known Member

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    Only clamshell Custom Cruisers I've found so far are couple of non-wood red ones - one '75 and one '76 - and both are in the $16k+ price range.

    Would a Custom Cruiser from the NEXT generation work? These are much more plentiful on the market, and well within your budget........

    In New Millford, Conneticut:
    https://hudsonvalley.craigslist.org/cto/d/new-milford-1988-oldsmobile-custom/6996564444.html

    [​IMG]

    (There ARE more of these around. Just posted one to see if this is a possibility......)
     
  14. Silvertwinkiehobo

    Silvertwinkiehobo "Nothing is foolproof as fools are ingenious."

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    Marshall does have a point--it's nice to have that special wagon from your childhood (a '56 Country Sedan 2-door for me, even though I was three when Dad gave it to a teen), but just having a wagon, regardless of who built it, is very special these days. And yeah, woodgrain is associated with wagons for obvious reasons, but not all steel-body wagons over the years had woodgrain applied. If your dad had bought a Custom Cruiser, but it did not have the woodgrain applied, would you still be insisting on it now?
     
  15. Spartan

    Spartan New Member

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    Potentially. We also owned one of those, in the mid-80s after we got rid of the Custom Cruiser. That one was a Chevy Caprice I believe, and actually a diesel. So that might be my only option, for the reason I am about to mention in my reply to your other post. (But the 1st gen Custom Cruiser has loads more style IMHO.)
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019 at 10:26 AM

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