Seeing Larry Jr. (nvss) is a no show for the second month in a row, I had to dig out my story, (well, actually cut and paste it)
My Ride of the Month Story!
I bought my first wagon somewhere in the neighborhood of 1967, a 1957 Chevy 210, I believe it was a two door. It was a six cylinder three on the column. Pretty basic car, if I remember right it was a $100 special, something a 17 year old kid could afford. I kept it for a long time, probably 3 months, before I killed the engine.
My next wagon I bought 1968. It was a 1963 Ford Country Squire loaded, paid $450. I’m a GM guy, but I think I would take it over my Roadmaster, in fact I know I would. It was 2 tone, gold body, black roof, and no wood. Besides looking like a very stylish wagon, it had the HP to back it up. It was powered by a “390”, I believe 335 HP. But what really made this a hot wagon was that it had a 3 speed standard on the column with manual overdrive. Boy I wish I still had that, but traded it in for a 1967 GTO ($2295).
Fast forward to about 1996, I was reading my local “nickel shopper”, when I stumbled across an ad for a 1957 Chevrolet Nomad for $1800. I said to myself this can’t be right, no way. So I called the number and sure enough it was right. It was only 2 miles from my house. I couldn’t believe it. I went to look at it. It looked pretty decent on the outside; but on the inside it needed some floor and interior work. But this is a 40 year old NE car, it wasn’t bad. It ran and had a 350 w/ 4 speed. I paid him his money and drove it home.
I figured this would be a perfect project for myself and my son to bond with, he was in the 7th grade I think. Well we got it home and gave it a basic cleaning just to get the crap out of it. I think that was the first and only time my son worked on it. He had other interests, cars were not among them; today he is a lawyer in Atlanta and still doesn’t understand me and cars.
But that wasn’t going to stop me. I took that car completely apart; frame off and engine out. I carefully boxed and bagged everything. I next cleaned the frame and painted it---and that’s how it stayed for about 5 years. I either had the money and not the time or the time and not the money. I guess that’s how life goes.
November 1997 it was time to replace our full size Dodge passenger van; which our 3 kids hated. One Sunday, I hit the GM garage to see what they had. Well there was a light Metallice Blue, big station wagon. I kind of liked it. Not quite sure what it was, but I knew it was a big GM. A 1995 buick Roadmaster wagon, hmm; It had a lot of features I liked: pleanty of room, V8, vista glass and pleanty of room for stuff. I’ve always been a Buick guy, I have owned a 72 Electra, 77 Park Ave, 78 Electra and an 84 Park Ave. I realized I didn’t need the Nomad, this was the answer. Sold the Nomad, made a grand, and happy as hell that I got rid of it. It just wasn’t going to get done as long as I owned it
If I liked it, I knew my wife was going to hate it. Well to my surprise she loved it. She said her father always had station wagons. Great! The next day I bought it for $16,500. My neighbor who is a diehard Toyota guy, looked it over and said “you know this is a Corvette engine in this”. I liked it more.
We had that car for 11 years, without a doubt the best car I have ever owned. I bought it with 49K and sold it with 234K. Ran as good when I sold it as when I bought it. Original engine, transmission, OPTI, alternator, waterpump and AC was cold.
About 2005 I started looking for another RMW, for Sunday best. Well, I was reading Craigslist, Boston, and I saw one listed, a 1994 for $800. Ad said had some problems with battery staying charged and paint was peeling. For some reason I had to call. I found out it was another LAB and the paint peeling was the trim. It was owned by a young woman whose grandfather was the original owner. She hated it, asking $800, 130K.
I went to look at it, found out the car was from Florida and was just driven up to Massachusetts. Having a NE wagon, I knew all the secrets and where to look for the dreaded “R” word, rust. This car was pristine, but filthy. Dog hair on everything, coffee stains carpet and rubber molding was hanging off, but not a dent of scratch. I offered her $600, she said how about $700, Sold. She probably thought she got the best of me.
Drove her home, wife rolled her eyes, Oh well. Cleaned her for 3 days took the seats and carpet out. Scrubbed, shampooed and cleaned; and at the end of 3 days, it looked like it just came off of the showroom floor.
Pictures of the old Buicks will be posted.
Part II "The Subtle Changes"
The look of my RMW is pretty much a stock one, I guess it reflects my conservative nature. The first thing that I tackled was the wood trim. It was peeling real bad. After a lot of thought I decided to remove to repair. I then sanded it down with a foam sanding block. It was very easy to remove. I then decided to create a wood look similar to what was there. I then went to the hardware strore and bought two cans of rustoleum paint, one a sand color and the other a dark brown. I painted the sand as the base color and sporadically painted the dark brown on top. I think it came out real good and it doesn’t peel.
I was reading Craigslist and stumbled on a 94 RMS being parted out, being the scavenger that I am, I gave the guy a call. It was a 94 blue leather interior, I went at it and stripped everything that I could use or thought I could use. I took front and rear seats, twin fans, tanks, door panels, cruise control, seat belts, PCM and a lot of other stuff. Gave the guy $125 and we both were happy. For the hell of it, I tried the bottom half of the sedan rear seat in the wagon. It fit and what a difference. I knew the wagon seat was going. I took the back half of the wagon and sedan seat, took them all apart, grafted them together and got them ready for the upholsterer. Two days and $80 later, I’ve got the sedan seat in the wagon. Big time improvement.
Well, now I had an extra, passenger side front seat. Out goes the driver seat and in with the 2nd passenger. Two bucket seats, I like the look. I searched and found a 1999 Blazer console (non shifter). I got it to fit decently. Being gray I SEM’d it to blue. Perfect match!
The last thing I did to the interior was the radio, the stock radio was an AM/FM Cassette, no CD. Time for it to go. I found a 2000 Yukon radio with CD, same plug. I had to fabricate the brackets but it is a great improvement.
I recently picked up a set of fender skirts and had them painted. That is my next project.
A couple of months ago I picked up this:
My intentions were to make it a DD. When I looked at it in March, I couldn’t believe how good of a body it has. There was 18 inches of snow and I couldn’t really see underneath too well. Well I found out that it has a few tender spots underneath, where I only paid $400 for it, I decided to make it a part out. I plan on keeping a lot of the parts and selling the rest. I know I will make my $ back. Anyone need anything let me know. With my two oldest kids having moved to Atlanta, why mess with a rusty wagon when for $1500 to $2000 I can get a southern wagon.
Anyways, that’s my story, I hope to update with some of my old Buick pictures.