By on July 15, 2019

1960 Chevrolet Brookwood wagon in Colorado wrecking yard, RH side view - ©2019 Murilee Martin- The Truth About Cars

Once the original 1955-1957 Chevy Nomad two-door wagon became a sacred icon among those who prize Detroit machinery of the Eisenhower Era, all GM two-door wagons attained a certain prestige among those who enjoy cruise nights, car shows, Time Out dolls, and the 119,544th repetition of Hot Rod Lincoln (no, not the gloriously hillbilly original 1955 Charlie Ryan version, the still-excellent-but-now-overplayed 1971 Commander Cody version, which incorrectly refers to the souped-up Lincoln motor as a V8). I would have thought that a genuine two-door 1960 Biscayne wagon ought to have found someone willing to keep it on the street, but this car in a northeastern Colorado yard proves me wrong.

1960 Chevrolet Brookwood wagon in Colorado wrecking yard, LH front view - ©2019 Murilee Martin- The Truth About Cars

In the full-sized Chevrolet hierarchy of 1960, the Biscayne was considered cheap transportation, the Bel Air was a bit more flashy, and the luxurious Impala parked on the top of the pyramid. Each of these trim levels had a corresponding wagon version, with the Nomad, Kingswood, and Parkwood names going on the Bel Air and Impala wagons; the lowly Biscayne wagon got the Brookwood name.

1960 Chevrolet Brookwood wagon in Colorado wrecking yard, door tag - ©2019 Murilee Martin- The Truth About Cars

The chassis build tag indicates that this car began its life at the St. Louis Assembly plant.

1960 Chevrolet Brookwood wagon in Colorado wrecking yard, 6-cylinder engine - ©2019 Murilee Martin- The Truth About Cars

We’re looking at about the cheapest possible North American-market GM wagon for 1960, complete with two doors, three-on-the-tree manual transmission, manual brakes, manual steering, and the good old 235-cubic-inch straight-six engine, rated at 135 gross horsepower that year.

1960 Chevrolet Brookwood wagon in Colorado wrecking yard, rust - ©2019 Murilee Martin- The Truth About Cars

There’s some rust, probably from sitting outdoors with missing glass for decades and filling up with snow every winter. Maybe the two-door 1959-1960 Chevy wagon restorers are holding out for the Kingswoods.

McCook, Nebraska, lies just about 220 miles to the east of this car’s final parking space and about 650 miles to the west of its birthplace, so it appears that we’re looking at a car that spent most or all of its life on the Great Plains.


If you’re cheap, buy a Biscayne!

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43 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1960 Chevrolet Brookwood two-door wagon...”


  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    Love the vintage stuff! Surprised someone hasn’t lifted the Z-bar setup.

    Also, I think it was not until 1967 that the full size line up went to the dual chamber master cylinder. Crazy.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      The dual chamber master cylinder wasn’t required on cars until the 1967 model year after the passage of NHSTA.
      Many imports like Volvo had them going back to the late 50’s. Goes to show you how late the big 3 were to safety concerns.

    • 0 avatar
      WildcatMatt

      BIG car. tiny master cylinder.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        That’s one of the reasons why the brakes weren’t all that good. A roomie had one of these, with manual brakes and steering. The steering wheel was huge for leverage, but not huge enough, and you really needed to hit the brakes early to avoid rear-ending somebody.

        The tailgate glass was another problem, falling out of its track and jamming frequently. You could pack a lot of stuff in these, and the engine would chug along reliably, so they served their intended purpose.

        The GM motto was “a car for every purse and purpose”, but they really cheaped out on these models, aiming for those who could barely afford a new car. They’d have been better off buying a 3 year old better model, but I guess everybody yearns for a wagon that’s new, that somebody else’s kids hadn’t thrown up in.

    • 0 avatar
      ClayT

      Back around ’77, I experienced brake failure in a ’66 Plymouth wagon when the left rear mechanical adjuster backed off and dropped out.

      Coming up to an intersection where the light was red.

      Stepped on the brake, BANG, and the pedal went to the floor.
      Couple pumps told me there was nothing there so I stepped on the parking brake and grabbed the release handle.

      Not much there either, since there was now only one corner connected to it.

      I managed to maneuver around the stopped cars and slide into the intersection without hitting anything.

      Turned out, dad had swapped the adjusters left for right when he did the brakes.

      I told him he owed me because if mom had been driving it probably would not have ended as well.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Great piece & pics! Love that commercial showing these long, low, rear-wheel-drive cars in service as rural US Mail carriers on appalling rutted country roads…when today, snowbelt suburbanites insist they need AWD and ride height for the treacherous journey to Lowe’s.

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      +1000.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Lol, that is funny. Today that commercial would be considered severe off-road duty and require a 4×4 Jeep :)

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        With the air dams under modern sedans and CUVs, they wouldn’t be able to take those roads without losing that piece of plastic. Then again, one of the drawbacks of those old cars was that they pushed the air underneath the body, often lifting the nose of the car (especially one with those big wings) and making high-speed driving somewhat dicey. Now you need a pickup or 4×4 to drive those roads.

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      Did those cars come with shocks or were they optional on the Biscayne? I was getting seasick watching the swaying.

      • 0 avatar
        -Nate

        They came with “Two Dollar” shocks & mufflers, if you were lucky both would last the initial three years of the note you were paying to buy the car .

        Using a ’59/’60 Chevy to deliver _anything_ is ludicrous .

        -Nate

        • 0 avatar
          JimC2

          Suspension bushings provide a lot of damping- actually, they provide a surprising amount. I once realized this while holding a worn out shock absorber in my hand- worn out as in gravity was enough to extend it and contract it as I moved it around. You’d think the car would have been a pogo stick for the “bounce test” but even with those worn out shock absorbers, the bushings alone damped out all the motion after about three or four bounces.

          I bet a lot of those original two dollar shocks went from the showroom floor, through a few owners, and ultimately all the way to the junkyard and a lot of people were none the wiser.

          • 0 avatar
            -Nate

            Just so Jim ;

            The original shocks had a spiral stamped into the lower tube and I still see them once or twice a rear in junkyards on jalopies .

            Your point about the bushings is dead on ~ once I began using polyurethane bushings in my old cars the handling improved sharply, adding decent gas changed shocks helped a lot too .

            I don’t actually drive fast but I like to make good time and I’m usually way out in front in my 1959 Metropolitan Nash FHC because it corners better than most other oldies & sports cars out there .

            Anyone can leave me n their dust on the straightaway .

            In 1959 GM used horribly soft suspension & spring eye bushings to reduce NVH to nil, those cars were like marshmallows .

            -Nate

  • avatar
    rpol35

    This is an exceptional find! There are others, such as the aforementioned ’55-’57 Nomad and the ’64/’65 Chevelle two door wagons, that garner more interest and possess more collectability but this one definitely has value. I’m surprised to see it still here for what appears to have been a long time.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Well, y’all are gettin’ close; only one year too new. Considering her age, she’s in remarkable shape. But the wings are too angular and the taillights mere bullets, not that gorgeous horizontal teardrop with smoothly-flowing wings on the tail. Let’s call her an ‘almost’ and if she’d been a ’59 I’d be crying about not seeing before she get crushed.

    • 0 avatar
      David Mc Lean

      Absolutely with you Vulpine. I always thought the ’59 was beautiful, from the time it was new. Then ’60 came along and I wondered, what happened?
      Of course I was partial to GM ’59s, my second car was a ’59 Olds 98 Holiday (2 door hardtop), with the 4 barrel 394 engine, 4 speed automatic Jetaway transmission. Bought it in 1968 at age 17 for 460 hard earned dollars. What a sleeper that one was.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    (Grammar nerd rant on)

    Can we talk about the word “manual”? It really means “done with the hands”. I’m pretty sure nobody presses the brake pedal with their hands, unless the car is equipped with adaptive controls. And, all steering is manual.

    Could we maybe use the word “unassisted” for brakes and steering without power assists?

    (Grammar nerd rant off)

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I wanted to also add that while this one is in rough shape I don’t think it is too rough to restore but it would be a worker.

  • avatar
    bullnuke

    Dad bought a new dark blue ’59 Brookwood 2-door when I was a kid. Powerglide, the 235 cu-in 6, no power steering, brakes, windows…as a matter of fact I think that the AM radio may have been the only option. I fondly remember dad quickly operating that steering wheel all 380 turns lock to lock while maneuvering it into our small garage from a one-lane alley. He’d creep up to the front of the garage and gently but firmly plant the front bumper on a couple old tires to ensure that the garage doors could jussssst fit around the fin on the right rear fender. Even more interesting was when the old alley was iced up in winter…

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    The first car I have any memory of is my parents brand new ’59 Chevy and how excited everyone was when my dad brought it home from the dealer. I’ve been in love with cars ever since :)

  • avatar
    ajla

    So was this some sort of fleet wagon that rotted away in a field for years after its service life or was this the daily driver for a skinflint?

  • avatar
    -Nate

    THANX for the rose tinted advertisement ! .

    That certainly looks used up but I bet “Iconic Rides” could make a good job of putting it back on the road again .

    Anyone who actually knows about cars knows these were terrible but I love ’em nonetheless and hate to see even this junk getting scrapped .

    Someone needs to post up the link to the 1959 Chevy crash video again .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Back when you could be proud of your purchase even on the bargain basement side of cars. There is no equivalent to this in any way shape or form today. Aside from the obvious 2 door station wagon mix, there is no no options full size cars, and if we take midsizers into consideration there are none that command this kind of respect that you can look at and know you bought something that was produced with good quality materials that could last 75 years. I bet the sheet metal on this car is 3x thicker than what’s on my 4Runner and I consider that to be near the top of modern day quality in automotive.

    No if you lean on this there won’t be an arse sized dent in the body like a big 3 truck, just the Marlboro man gazing into the yonder.

    We have some big positives in the modern automotive world, better brakes, more reliable fueling systems, massively better safety, and much more, but the modern auto has lost all the soul we see before us from this cheap no thrills transportation.

    You cannot get 1/100 of the Class and swagger of this car at your local Chevrolet dealership today. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Give me Chrome Bumpers, a long Hood that I can lay on to watch the stars without risk of bending under my weight(same for a nice long trunk), thick sheet metal, a low and flat hood that doesn’t cut the corners with the irrational designs of today, and seats that match the finest couches in terms of comfort.

      The rest of the world never knew this level of class and luxury of American cars, they’ve put up with cramped economy cars from the beginning while drooling when some American GI would ship over his cruiser with him to a foreign base.
      Instead of embracing this we have embraced the cramped economy crap boxes from Japan and Europe. We have been told we are no better a people than those from foreign lands, we have been taught to lower our expectations and hand our freedoms over to be like lesser nations.

      • 0 avatar
        conundrum

        Thick sheet metal? Are you from the planet Zorg? These things lasted six or seven years around these parts before succumbing to the tin worm. Bloody awful things. But that was 50% longer than a ’59 Chrysler product.

        You’ve hoodwinked yourself into some fantasy world of complete nonsense.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          ’57 Chrysler products were the ones that rusted faster than their peers. Sheetmetal was plenty thick at the time, but it was utterly unprotected beyond a coat of paint. Undercoating, in its primitive asphalt form, was an option at best. Often it was installed by the dealer or a dealer contractor. Ziebart was one source.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          As Todd said, sheet metal was very thick, I’m sure northern cars didn’t last long regardless but I can bring you to my local mopar junkyard to see just how thick these cars are, if you can find a modern auto with sheet metal thicker than the 62ish Imperial, I’ll eat my words.

      • 0 avatar
        Garak

        “The rest of the world never knew this level of class and luxury of American cars”

        You do realize US cars were exported to the rest of the world even back then?

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    These cars for their time were good but everything has its time and place. Wouldn’t want to be in a wreck in one of these cars. My parents had a 59 Buick LeSabre station wagon for a few years. I would say it is not so much about lowered expectations as much as the 73 Arab Oil Embargo, EPA, NTSB, and the Department of Energy. I remember growing up in the late 50’s, all the 60’s, and coming of age in the early 70’s and seeing the change in people’s preferences. It so not so much people wanted small cramped cars in that they wanted a car with decent fuel economy that was reliable. American cars during much of the 70s for the most part were poor quality. The Japanese cars although not as flashy were among the most reliable cars during that time. The Malaise Era of cars from 1975 thru much of the 80s turned many of the loyal American brand car owners into Japanese and German car owners. It takes a long long time to build customer loyalty but it takes a short period of time to destroy that loyalty with a bad product.

    • 0 avatar

      it was a sea change, when cars went from Road Hugging Weight to What the Hell are we Doing ? My folks and grands had Murican Iron…Chrysler New Yorker….Plymouth Roadrunner (meep-meep). Pontiac Grand Prix (400 and 455 engines). My college cars were trashed 1973 Nova, and pristine 1967 Fury II with 383 Commando V8 (stolen no doubt for the motor…shouda de-badged it) My high school car was a clapped out and bondo special 1969. Firebird with 2 bbl 350 and transplanted 400 4 bbl. Upon thus I was raised.

      Malaise hit. The GM became a small Olds Cutlass with an uneven fire V6. A Malibu, then Impala with sixes. We ran screaming, and a BMW with an inline six had the solid feel the tanks had, but was modern. Other than my brief trip to Cadillac land, we haven’t been back, and aren’t likely to either…..

      The old cars weren’t great, but they were solid…

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Jeff S,
    You nailed it.
    One other thing about the domestic auto industry during the 70s was their absolute contempt for the customer and the environment. They did everything they could to lower quality while resisting any technology that could help reduce emissions if it cost more than $1 per car to implement.
    They also did everything they could get away with to trash the quality of their cars. They got away with it for a while until Honda and Toyota came to town and started their relentless attack from the bottom of the market up. I think the Iranian oil crisis of 1979 finally put the bullet in the big three. It took them way too long to respond with fuel efficient cars (with the possible exception of Chrysler who had to go that route to get federal bail out money).
    So yes, we may not have those lovable but poor crash worthy land yachts of the 50s and 60s, but I wouldn’t want to go back and give up the chance to walk away from crashes that would have been 99% fatal in the day and air quality that was dicey on the best of days.

  • avatar
    ajla

    “we may not have those lovable but poor crash worthy land yachts of the 50s and 60s”

    I disagree. The birds just turned into dinosaurs this time.

    tinyurl.com/y62u9yav
    tinyurl.com/y6gzao3c

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    We do have full size crew cab pickups which are today’s equivalent of the Olds 98, Buick Electra 225, Cadillac Deville, Caprice, Lincoln Town Car, Grand Marquis, LTD, Imperial, Fury, and Polaris sans the enclosed trunk. So yes the land yachts became the large crew cabs.


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