By on February 2, 2011


Well, yes, there are a few wagons greater than this, but not many. An Intermeccanica Murena 429 GT, maybe, or perhaps a 9-second Buick Sport Wagon. The important thing to understand here is that this wagon is for sale, now! A painfully original, metallic-green-with-woodgrain-inserts, pinnacle-of-the-Wagon-Era 1970 AMC Ambassador SST station wagon, complete with factory 360/4-barrel engine, vertical-dial AM radio, and hundreds of square yards of slippery green vinyl. At the time of this writing, the reserve has been met with a top bid of 6 grand, and the auction has two days to go.
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65 Comments on “Could There Be Any Vintage Wagon Greater Than This?...”


  • avatar
    HoldenSSVSE

    It’s the Wagon Queen Family Truckster!  Now with airbags.

  • avatar
    ajla

    1967 AMC Rebel Rambler “Regional Wagons” > 1970 AMC Ambassador SST Wagon

  • avatar
    obbop

    The grooviest AMCs of “that era” even had an arrow telling the air what direction to go to enter the engine.
     
    How thoughtful!!!

  • avatar
    FromaBuick6

    You didn’t order the Metallic Pea?

  • avatar
    thornmark

    http://www.stationwagon.com/gallery/1961_Chrysler_New_Yorker

  • avatar
    Jerry Sutherland

    Worth every penny at 6K-best of class winner every time because…when was the last time you saw one? Great looking ride.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    Wow, my next door neighbor had a twin to this car back about 1980 or so. I replaced the oil pan gasket on it under jackstands on his driveway to pay him back some money I owed him. I know it’s not the same car, as that one was getting door rot from several indiana winters. I never understood the appeal of the “fly ass green” seen above, or the even more common, “avacado” green like my dad’s Caddy was.

    • 0 avatar
      vbofw

      The really screwed up thing was how they also made furniture and (gasp) appliances, in the avocado. 

    • 0 avatar
      tanooki2003

      Stop it you guys!  I’m getting flashbacks of my father and half of the so-called “mechanics” in the neighborhood gathering at my next door neighbor’s house almost every night for 4 weeks all offering their help to fix his falling apart 1972 Ford Country Squire wagon.  They still could not get it to run perfectly. If I remember correctly, being a kid back then and all, it had backfiring issues, leaked oil from the engine, and would take 4-5 times to finally get the engine to turn over.
       
      This also gives me flashbacks of poo brown, beige, and puke green appliances, my father’s Pioneer SX-1980 stereo receiver with those big Pioneer wood framed speakers that had grill cloths that matched our sofa and chair upholstery, reel to reel tape deck, BSR record changing turntable,….auugh the flashbacks

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      vbofw- We had a whole kitchen full of it! We moved when I was eight, and the stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher were all avacado. The first to go was the dishwasher, replaced by a stainless steel fronted one that matched the stainless countertops. My mom killed the fridge one day when she tried to defrost the freezer and ice picked the coil and that was that. We owned an appliance store, so it was no big deal to have a new one brought over at 7PM that night. Oops, it won’t fit, so a neighbor came over and cut the cabinets above it a couple inches so it fit. My mom then nagged my dad into buying a new stove, so the last of the avacodo kitchen appliances was gone. So then my dad goes out and buys an avacado Lincoln MKIII. He hated it, and traded his brother for a two week old avacado Caddilac that he decided was “gutless”, and he had the motor replaced with a seriously hopped up one. Four years later, he passed out in it, and put it up a pole, knocking out power to about a fifth of the city, and the avacado nightmare was finally over, along with my dad’s driving. I got my license the next morning.
      tanooki2003- A friend’s dad, who had a strange habit of buying bad cars, usually against the advice of his much smarter, mechanic brother, had a 72 or 73 avacado (Of course) Country Squire. He bought it in 1980, already with a moderate case of door rot. He replaced the doors with ones he got out in Phoenix on a trip, carrying them home in the back. Those doors held up well, but the rest of it began to rust badly, to put it mildly. One day, I saw him driving by and he had someone replace a large portion of the rear quarter panels with galvanized sheet steel, riveted and bondoed on. No paint, or any attempt to cover the rivets or anything else. His son borrowed it to buy some drywall and I went with him in my Caravan to carry some back too, and I was behind him on the way to his house to drop it off, and I couldn’t stop laughing when the right axle came out about 2′ as my friend turned a corner. I started honking the horn and he pulled over and I said, “Check the right rear tire out!”, He walked around and saw the axle, still hanging out about a foot, and said, “Well, it’s just another one of my dad’s shitty cars, isn’t it?” He slowly drove it to his house, and then back to his parents. We went and told his dad, who already knew about it! The CS hung around for another year, and then he scrapped it, and bought his last car, a Pontiac Bonneville, an “executive” car, white, no avacado, that was in strangely bad shape for an “executive” car. As always, he bought it against his brother’s advice, and it was a nightmare. He suffered a stroke about a year after he bought it, and then had another stroke and died. He had made one good move buying it, he bought the credit life insurance, and so it was paid off when he died, saving his widow a $200 a month car payment. She soon tired of it’ problems and off it went. She has much better luck with cars than her hubby ever did.

  • avatar
    west-coaster

    I’m holding out for a ’69 Chevy Kingswood Estate (the “Caprice wagon”) with a 427, hideaways, fiber-optics, full power, and the third row seat.

    They’re out there. Ran into a guy with one just like that, and he bought it from the original owner. Seems the guy ordered it to tow his boat and wanted the biggest engine offered. Nothing like those read “427” badges to set off the faux woodgrain on the front fenders.

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      I’ve seen a few on eBay.  That’s one really, really, pimpin wagon.  Unabashedly AMERICAN!

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      That reminds me of a comment David E. Davis made in the late seventies…he was wondering about a company called “American Motors” where they answer the phone with a French accent.
       
      Alas and alack.  Today Jeep is a fer-chrissakes FIAT product!!  The whole world’s changed; but the absurdities stay the same.

  • avatar

    While anything AMC is cool by me, I think the ultimate vintage wagon would have to be an Olds VistaCruiser.

  • avatar
    kadett72

    I regularly spot a Vovlo Duett daily driver, sometimes with the original owner behind the wheel. That”s a great wagon, and the forefather of all Volvo estate wagons.

  • avatar
    Trend-Shifter

    Definitely a rust free gem.   

    I think Murilee needs this low cost wagon as a junkyard parts chaser, beater, & tow vehicle.
    (Already has disc brake conversion done!) 
    Link: http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Wagon-thats-great-runner-and-bit-Americana-/140506678984?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&hash=item20b6d9c6c8 

    • 0 avatar
      zenith

      Dad had that car’s little brother-a ’67 Country Squire, the car only Dad ever bought brand-new. It was still a good-looking, good running car when he traded it off for a Buick in ’73. The Buick was crap.

  • avatar
    relton

    I think AMC love is worse than Panther love.

    I had one of these cars. One of worst cars I ever had, and that’s saying something for a guy who had Chevy Vegas. My AMC had a 401, too.

    Bob

    • 0 avatar

      Did you ever have an HT4100, 4-6-8, or Diesel Cadillac? Just curious to see how awful the AMCs are relative to a data point I am familiar with.

    • 0 avatar
      relton

      Sajeev,

      The AMC had a better engine than the Cad 4.1 or diesel, but the rest of the car was total crap. I got it for free, and that’s about what it was worth. I sold the 401 engine with Chrysler transmission to some kid with a Javelin for $400, so I guess it wasn’t a total loss.

      FWIW, AMC lied, sublely, in the sales catalogue. It shows a guy putting a sheet of plywood in the back of the station wagon. When I tried this, the plywood didn’t fit. Obviously the plywood in the picture wasn’t a full sheet.

      Bob

    • 0 avatar

      How ironic, because I’m finding the FWD Cadillacs with that motor to be kinda excellent, aside from what’s under the hood.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    What a memory flash!  My dad owned the 1969 version of this very vehicle.  Lovely.  As I recall, American Motors made the bold marketing move with the Ambassador line of making Air Conditioning standard.  It was my dad’s first air conditioned car, and quite a marvel to myself and my 5 siblings at the time.  Summer vacation trips to Montreal, Canada, Disney World in Florida, and countless places in Michigan were part of the fond memories….thanks a bunch, Murrilee

  • avatar
    SVX pearlie

    Ford Country Squire LTD.

    In green, with the woodie trim.

    • 0 avatar
      dastanley

      It seemed like lots of made for TV movies and shows from the 70s through the early 80s had the Country Squire wagons in them.  They seemed to be so numerous that I didn’t pay that much attention to them at the time.  Of course, I was only a kid…

    • 0 avatar
      cfclark

      There’s a guy in Pasadena, or South Pasadena (separate municipalities) who has a near-mint 60’s Country Squire, cream with woodie trim. I see him driving it around a lot on weekends.
      There are a lot of neat old cars in Pasadena–I saw the one and only Lancia Aurelia Spider (red, of course) I’ve ever personally seen in the wild there, and there’s a guy not too far from me with not one but two late-40’s Hudsons parked in front of his house. (Old money with time for hobby cars, is my assumption.)

  • avatar
    tced2

    In Wisconsin, we called all Ambassadors – Kenosha Cadillacs – in honor of the factory in Kenosha.
    My boss in the late 70’s was nearly in tears when his Kenosha Cadillac was totaled.
     

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Let me once again profess my love of all things wagon.  I have a saved eBay search: “Wagon 8 cyl, 1968-1996.”  1968 cause of the shoulder belt requirement and cutting off the search when the GM B-body wagon went out of production. 

    I love the AMCs cause they seem like a car company that deserved to “make it.”  Sort of like rooting for the underdog, guys with no money who had to make due with what they had. 

  • avatar
    Zackman

    This AMC wagon truly brings back a couple of memories. First of all, we had these as staff cars in the Air Force during the Vietnam era. Air Force Blue, every one of them with school-bus-yellow lettering for identification. The bright exterior window surrounds weren’t chrome, but extruded, ridged aluminum like on a standard home storm/screen door. The dashboard was a sea of rock-hard fiberglas or plastic. How AMC got around w/o a padded dash is beyond me. I was in Okinawa the fall of 1970, and one of my details was keeping the office vehicle clean and waxed due to the salt-laden air. I came in one morning sick as a dog from too much vodka the night before and one of the officers told me to take the car to the chow hall and eat something. I replied I didn’t have a gov’t driver’s license. He ordered me to take the car anyway. First and last time I got to drive an Air Force vehicle. Pretty decent. We also had Dodge Power Wagons and lots of little Chevy C10 short-bed stepside pickups. Those were sweet. Later, my wife’s uncle had a Matador wagon, school bus yellow. Visible from the air! It was a tank, too. Good memories. Still, any GM wagon blew these away easily. relton: NOTHING is worse than panther-love! I’m waiting for Educator Dan’s comment on this AMC. (EDIT) Dan, you beat me again!

    • 0 avatar

      relton: NOTHING is worse than panther-love!
       
      Z: I shall remember this if/when you ever email us for a Piston Slap or New or Used feature.  Just a friendly and lighthearted heads up. :-)

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Sajeev: I have nothing against the RWD Fords, I don’t care for them anymore than I care for the 1977-1996 RWD Chevys. I drove all versions and much prefer my ’04 Impala or a Fusion or Malibu over those mentioned. I was speaking tongue-in-cheek, not here to trash anyone or anyone’s favorite vehicle, I promise!

  • avatar

    While awesome, there’s no Vista Roof.
    So a 1990s “bubble” Olds Vista Cruiser with a restomod LSX swap is the ultimate wagon, and could have enough modern day performance to shame most new performance sedans!

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    I don’t get the obsession with old, terrible vehicles. Not just this, but ’60s and ’70s Detroit ‘iron’ in particular. You’re talking about an era when cars shipped with doors that wouldn’t close, windows that leaked gallons of water into the seats when it rained, and when car magazines praised a car’s build quality because the wipers didn’t hang off the windshield. This is not something to be celebrated; losing your virginity in something doesn’t make it a good car!
     
    In 20 years, are you guys going to be singing the praises of rental-stripper Mitsubishi Galants, Dodge Neons and base model Chevy Aveos? Hell, how about waxing doe-eyed on the 180hp, 3-speed slushbox 1980 Corvette California Edition? I mean, if you’re going to be showing this thing love…

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      PeriSoft: I can only speak for myself, but being 60 yrs. old and growing up with, around, in and under the old Detroit iron, the ONLY thing I miss about them is the pillarless hardtop styling and interior and exterior trimming, mainly on the Chevys, a few Fords and Chryslers. Not much love for AMC, although I once owned a Gremlin, but it’s the memories and nostalgia that these articles spark, and the cars are the focal point, that’s all. I don’t want to go back to carburetors, chokes, spark dwell adjustments and such as I’m past that. I don’t ever recollect my dad or myself or anyone I knew who had problems or characteristics you described with their vehicles, new or used. Just pleasant memories, but I do wish I had my avatar, though, and I would mess around with what I spoke of earlier! Maybe it’s all about long-gone youth for some of us.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian


      Everything was always better in the past, mostly because you can remember the good stuff and edit out the bad.  You remember losing your virginity but forget how the next night the car broke down on the way home and you had to call the girl’s dad to pick you up.
       
      Music is the same way.  Everyone remembers the timeless classics.  Everyone tries to forget Captain and Tenille.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      psar: Actually Toni Tennile does pretty good singing standards, now! The Captain? Who knows? I hear Toni Tennile’s music quite often on http://www.martiniinthemorning.com.

    • 0 avatar
      geeber

      While build quality varied among the same make and model of cars than it does today, the simple fact is that most cars of the 1960s didn’t leak, the doors did shut and they could be expected to give 100,000 miles of trouble-free service. In particular, the Oldsmobiles, Buicks, Cadillacs, Thunderbirds and Lincolns were well made vehicles for the time. Even if the detail work was less than stellar on some vehicles, the drivetrains were rock solid. Things did slide in the 1970s.

      And Love Will Keep us Together is still a catchy song that sounds better than 90 percent of the music being churned out today. Now, Muskrat Love…there’s a stinker.

    • 0 avatar
      Mike66Chryslers

      +1 geeber

    • 0 avatar
      hachee

      I really think (and maybe somebody out there wants to do a formal study!) that enthusiasts are generally, well, most enthusiastic about the cars that were new during their childhood/youth.  My father in law is in his 70s, and his thing is cars of the 1940s and 1950s, and while I appreciate them, they just don’t have the same appeal as cars of the 1960s anad 1970s.  And I see that lots of guys younger than me have a fondness (which I don’t get!) of cars from the 1980s.  Sure, there are lots of exceptions.

      No one looks at these cars and says “what a great drive” – they just look really good, and had a style that was unique and isn’t seen today.  And, of course, we have the memories of either being driven around in them, or seeing them in our neighbor’s drives, or learning to drive in them (and stuffing 11 guys into a 1973 LeMans).

    • 0 avatar
      86er

      Not to mention old cars were thought of as something beyond a toaster on wheels, were restyled every year or two, and, particularly in the classic era (pre-1965, give or take), were put together with quality materials that were clearly not meant to be disposable. That plastic signal stalk on the 1995 Neon will not last 50 years like the metal one on a 1953 Hudson Hornet.

      That fridge you bought that lasted 1/10 as long as the old one?  Yup, pretty much same mentality goes into vehicle manufacturing.  Auto companies assume everyone trades every two or three years, so who cares if everything on the car looks like crap after five?

  • avatar
    GalaxieSun

    AMC had a lot of desirable cars in the market in the late 60’s to early 70’s and this is an excellent example.  Styling was a bit on the conservative side, but it was crisp and clean and well balanced for the most part.  1970 was also the first model year for the Hornet, which replaced the ungainly and very-old-in-the-tooth Rambler.  It was a fresh new design that would also spawn the Gremlin (“Where’s the rest of your car, Bud?”) and through successive name changes, live on for many years culminating in the 1988 Eagle wagon.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    Toni Tenille peaked when she sang backup for Pink Floyd’s The Wall

  • avatar
    Mervich

    The most beautiful and absolute coolest wagon of all time was the 50th anniversary 1953 Buick Roadmaster V8 Estate Wagon. This last of the true “Woody Wagons” could be had with genuine wire wheels and full leather seating. It was a limited edition…only 670 were made. My dad had one in dark metallic green with matching dark green leather. At the time, it was the ultimate American sport/luxury car.

  • avatar
    VanillaDude

    OK – wagons.
    I love wagons because they are cars with the right amount of trunk space and streamlining.
    Before the god-awful soulless beasts like the Odyssey and the Sienna, most auto models included a wagon version. This meant you could find the perfect car, and get the perfect configuration.

    So what is the perfect vintage wagon?
    It has to be American unless you grew up in Europe or Japan. Because wagon love often comes from fond childhood memories.

    It has to have a third seat that folds into the loading floor. This separates wagons from trucks like the IH Travelall, Suburban and Wagoneer.

    It has to have unique options that other vehicles did not have; ie, Vista Cruiser roof windows, Country Squire and Torino game tables for third seat passengers, roll down tailgate window, GM clam-style tailgate, Studebaker folding roof, or similar.

    It had to be common enough within the US to have been ignored most of it’s life. Wagons rotted and were used up. Finding a vintage wagon is a bit frustrating because when considering the millions sold, such a small percentage survived.

    AMC wagons are awesome because they represent nostalgia. AMC was famous for it’s wagons from the mid-50s right down to their 4 wheel drive Eagles. AMC was the Wal-Mart of the domestics while Chevrolet, Plymouth and Ford were the Sears. AMC said working class folks.

    Depending on your age and when you were carried around in them, depends on the age of the wagon your heart prefers. However, I absolutely love 1960 and 1961 Rambler Cross Countrys because they had that adorable late 50s dual headlight with eyebrows thing going on in the front with little fins over each back fender bring up the rear. Then there is that interesting roof dip immediately past the C pillar. There wasn’t many left on the road when I was being hauled around in family wagons, but this model year looked so perfect. Perfect size, 6 cylinder, manual shift on the column, three across bench seating, and Kenosha built everyman appeal.

    http://amcrc.com/kenosha/60wagon.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Monty

      +1 Vanilla Dude – nothing I can say would improve your post.

      And it’s not so much the cars I want (certainly not as a daily driver), but the perspective of that particular time. I’m not pining for the cars themselves, I wish for the way I lusted for them though. There are plenty of modern cars I like and want, but not with the lust of my youth.

  • avatar
    stuart

    We had a three of these when I was growing up. Don’t recall about the ’68, but the ’73s had sway bars in the front and back, and all of them had discs in front. All had shoulder belts, A/C, and all of ours had the backwards-facing third seat (seat belts for nine passengers total).

    The ’73s had stylish bumpers from an earlier year, backed by shock absorbers, and standing about three inches too far from the body. Kinda ugly.

    I always thought the backward-facing rear seat was a neat idea, but I didn’t like riding there; the backward view was nausea-inducing for me. Also, it took a long time for the A/C to reach that seat.

    With all of that, ours were very reliable and easy to work on. We put a lot of miles on our wagons and we were very satisfied. The sway bars made them corner much flatter than you would expect.

    stuart

  • avatar
    panzerfaust

    My best friend in high school had a 70 SST four door.  He transplanted in a 401 engine and posi rear end out of a wrecked patrol car added a bigger carb then cobbled some headers together for it.  I remember how much body roll there was off the line, it would just about lift one of the front wheels.  It had one of those classic quirky AMC interiors, I always got a chuckle out of the labels on the A/C controls.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    The exact car I had is here:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37573576@N06/4897611048/
    400CID, turbo 400, tow package, dual exhaust, what a gas-sucking monster. It couldn’t go from San Jose to Woodland Hills without a fuel stop in Santa Barbara.
    Newly married and in need of a family car, I found this at 7 years old, 70k miles in a used car lot for $1729 out the door. It had no smog pump, Q-jet 4BBL, all factory. Passed everything but a gas station.
    After 8 years and 100K more miles, the tranny gave up. By then it had rust thru the doors, but the MB-tex interior I put in it was still perfect.  The engine was still strong too.
    Once I hauled 12 sheets of drywall on the roof rack, another time the drone at the hardware store put 27 bags of cement in the rear footwell. Wifey said the front end nearly got airborne when she punched it.
    It never looked as good as the Flickr photo, but I still miss that car sometimes.
     
     
     

  • avatar

    [http://www.crazycar.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/IMG_6485.jpg]

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Check out the HBO series Big Love. One of the “Sister Wives” drive a nice mid-80’s Crown Vic Country Squire Wagon w/ woodgrain and vent windows. In one episode her mom is mocking it calling it a heap. It seems like every TV series or sitcom the mom drives a wagon of somesort.

  • avatar
    zeus01

    Looks like the Grizwald’s wet dream— minus the double-stacked headlights….


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