Tag: oldsmobile

Which $20,000-or-Less Malaise-Era Four-Door Would You Choose for Your Dream Garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

Which $20,000-or-Less Malaise-Era Four-Door Would You Choose for Your Dream Garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

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Like a kid in a candy store, we’re zipping our way around a vast, virtual car market that is the Hemmings Classifieds. In our latest edition of This or That, we’re circling around to a specific asking price point between $10,000 and $20,000, this time rounding up four-door hardtops and sedans from the 1970s that are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds. We’ve mentioned this plenty of times before, but for those new to this game, the good news about a $20k cap is that it offers options in good condition (even in our inflated market). So, given the money and space, which one would you take home?

1973 OLDSMOBILE NINETY-EIGHT LUXURY SEDAN

With exception of the Toronado, Oldsmobile’s Ninety-Eight (or, 98) continued its reign as the division’s top-of-the-line series for 1973, now offered in five body styles, including this four-door Ninety-Eight Luxury Sedan. Bested in fine accoutrements by only the Ninety-Eight Regency, the hardtop’s lengthy listed of standard features included – but were not limited to – a 275-hp 455-cu.in. engine, Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission, power steering, power front disc brakes, power windows, bench seats finished in “luxurious Bravo cloth with Morocceen trim” upholstery, windshield antenna, and more, all strapped to a 127-inch wheelbase chassis that cost $5,234 (or $34,335 in today’s currency). Olds built 21,896 four-door Luxury Sedans that year, making it the second most popular car within the Ninety-Eight series. From the seller’s description:

Talk about Old School Cool, once you see it, you won’t be able to walk away. Often turned into low-riders, or used for cruising or hopping, this car has the potential for it all. However, it’s perfect as is… a car that your Father drove and swore it was the best car ever. Finished in Honey Beige with Black 60/40 cloth upholstery, the looks are sure to get the town talking. Drive this one home now, it’s ready to go, in close to perfect condition. Solid body, chassis and drive train. Everything works and was a central part of an estate collection. Do you want to win car show trophies or just take the family out for an ice cream? Pile em’ and go. This car is an amazing drive that you don’t want to miss out on.

Price$18,500LocationCampbellsville, KYAvailability Available

1974 CHRYSLER NEW YORKER BROUGHAM SEDAN

Like the Olds Ninety-Eight, Chrysler’s New Yorker Brougham was bested only by the Imperial in terms of divisional luxury hierarchy by the time our featured 1974 four-door Brougham sedan was sold to its first owner. The Brougham’s mechanical DNA was identical to that of its base New Yorker sibling, meaning it was fitted with a 230-hp 440-cu.in. engine, TorqueFlite automatic transmission, torsion bar front suspension, power disc brakes, power steering, and 15-inch wheels, yet the Brougham also benefitted from the installation of power windows, plusher 50/50 front bench seat with additional arm rests, upscale trim, and a few other bits, all for a standard base price of $6,479 (or $39,099 in today’s currency). While pillared four-door sedans sold exceptionally well in the entry-level Newport and Newport Custom series, the pillared four-door New Yorker Brougham flopped: just 4,533 examples were built. From the seller’s description:

This highly desirable top of the line 1974 Chrysler New Yorker Brougham has only 50,500 miles! Highly optioned with the iconic big-block 440 four-barrel V-8, three-speed 727 TorqueFlite automatic, power steering, power disc brakes, working air conditioning, power windows, locks, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, vinyl top, factory AM/FM stereo, 50/50 power bench seat with dual armrests, etc. The body’s finished in Lucerne Blue Iridium, and is super straight rust free both top and bottom. All lights are in working order, the trunk trunk and engine compartment look like new. This car drives as good as it looks, and is guaranteed to draw attention. The 1974 models were the last full-size models Chrysler designed from the ground up, and one of the last to receive the big dog 440 V-8. Here’s your chance to own one at a very affordable price!

Price$12,950LocationMaple Lake, MNAvailability Available

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15 of Our Favorites From Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac Over the Last 100 Years – @Hemmings

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People born the year that GM pulled the plug on Oldsmobile will turn 18 in 2022. That means they grew to legal voting age having never seen a new car from Lansing. They might vaguely remember seeing a new Pontiac, as that brand’s demise came about after GM’s bankruptcy, bailout, and subsequent restructuring around 2009. Perhaps these hypothetical 18-year-olds might aspire to buy the new Buick Electra electric vehicle that Flint unveiled in September—if it ever progresses from a bold-looking concept car into production. Also, as long as they grew up in China, where the concept was shown and where this new Buick EV is slated to be built and sold.

Times have most definitely changed for Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac but one thing hasn’t—the popularity of the cars those storied marques produced from the prewar era through the 21st century. The B-O-P issue of HMN is one of our most popular, both with readers and with sponsors. It’s for good reason: GM’s middle three divisions produced some of the most innovative, exciting, reliable, luxurious, sporty, etc. vehicles in history and they remain popular with old-car buffs today.

Recently we polled the HMN staff to find out what B-O-P vehicles intrigue them the most and why. Some of the results were surprising and clearly there was a dearth of 1950s- and 1980s-era vehicles that we’ll need to address in a future issue. Here for your perusal are the results.

1922 OLDSMOBILE 43A

Oldsmobile already had decades of production on the road when the 1920s dawned, and the division continued to innovate. Three model lines were available for 1922: the Model M43A “Four,” which relied upon a 224-cu.in. inline-four; the Model 47 “Smaller Eight” that used a 233-cu.in. V-8; and the Model 46 “Larger Eight,” which sported a 246-cu.in. V-8. The M43A sold best, representing 14,839 of the 22,758 Oldsmobiles built that year. Sending its 40 hp to the wheels via a torque tube, the four-cylinder was an advanced design that included three main bearings, a two-stage carburetor, and overhead valves, the latter disappearing after 1923 and not returning until Olds debuted the 1949 Rocket V-8. The entry-level model came as a Roadster, Coupe, Sedan, or Tourer; it was much pricier than the contemporary mass-produced Ford Model T, the range of $1,195 to $1,795 being roughly equivalent to $19,510-$29,310 in today’s dollars. Marque enthusiasts covet surviving examples.— Mark J. McCourt

1926 BUICK STANDARD

Buick was a star of the middle-price market in the 1920s. In fact, it held third place overall in the industry four times in the 1919-’29 period, an era in which Ford was virtually unchallenged and where Chevrolet never wavered from the number-two spot. Model year 1926 was the peak of this period: Flint cranked out 266,753 units, of which 40,113 were $1,195 Standard two-door sedans like the car illustrated, making it the third-most-popular iteration of the third-most-popular car of 1926. Even a Standard was demonstrably better than a $645 Chevrolet Superior or a $580 Ford Model T, while the $1,395 Master was better yet. The Standard chassis had a 114.5-inch wheelbase, while the Master was 5.5 to 13.5 inches longer. Both cars used six-cylinders, with the Standard receiving a 60-hp, 207-cu.in. engine and the Master boasting 75 hp from 274 cu.in.— David Conwill

1932 PONTIAC MODEL 302

Established as a part of GM’s “companion makes” program in the 1920s, Pontiac proved so popular that not only did it long outlive the other companions (La Salle, Marquette, and Viking), but when its own parent faltered in the early years of the Great Depression, Pontiac absorbed it into its operations. The Model 302 was the former Oakland chassis, wearing an enlarged version of the Pontiac Six bodywork. The Model 302 also bore the 1930-vintage Oakland V-8, an 85-hp, 251-cu.in. flathead with a flat-plane crank—which caused considerable vibration but was easier to manufacture with the industrial tech of the time. The next year, the V-8, with its complicated mounts and vibration compensator, would be replaced by the first example of the long-running Pontiac straight-eight family, a 77-hp, 223-cu.in. unit, in a chassis derived from Chevrolet designs—a longstanding part of Pontiac’s formula.— David Conwill

1941 PONTIAC CUSTOM TORPEDO

In the immediate prewar era, Pontiac went upmarket, stepping further from Chevrolet and blurring the division lines between it and Oldsmobile—the next rung in the GM hierarchy—by introducing the full-sized Custom Torpedo line. These glamorous long-wheelbase cars shared their premium Fisher Body “C” bodyshells with the Oldsmobile 90 series Custom Cruiser, Buick Roadmaster, and Cadillac Series 62, with the Pontiac version offered in sedan coupe, sedan, and wood-trimmed station wagon forms. Under their long hoods sat a division-traditional 90-hp, 239.2-cu.in. L-head straight-six or optional 103-hp, 248.9-cu.in. L-head straight-eight. Total production of the 1941 Custom Torpedo Six and Custom Torpedo Eight amounted to just 25,448, with 8,257 and 17,191 units built, respectively. Arguably the most attractive, the two-door Model 29 Custom Torpedo Eight Sedan Coupe is thought to be the rarest variant remaining, making it a prize for collectors.— Mark J. McCourt

1962 PONTIAC GRAND PRIX

When its new car lineup was announced for 1962, Pontiac pitched the freshly minted Grand Prix as, “The personally styled car with the power personality!” It was a fine way of suggesting that the two-door hardtop was a new personal-luxury car, or gentleman’s grand tourer, before outlining just what it came equipped with. It turned out to be quite a list: recessed grille and tail panel design unique to the GP, a lower roofline to enhance its sleek profile, a standard 303-hp 389-cu.in. V-8 engine with a true dual-exhaust system, three-speed manual transmission (although a four-speed and Hydra-Matic were optional), aluminum wheels, an acceleration-friendly axle ratio, Morrokide bucket seats, center console, and full instrumentation that included a tachometer. In short, all the performance of a GTO, combined with the rich appointments of a Bonneville, tucked into a package the size of a Catalina. Starting at $3,490 (or $30,302 today), it found 30,195 buyers; this number quickly increased in the ensuing years.— Matthew Litwin

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The 1977 Oldsmobile 442 was Lansing’s sporty survivor from the muscle car turf wars – Jeff Koch @Hemmings

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You’ll no doubt recall that 1977 wasn’t a banner year for American performance vehicles. Two hundred net horsepower seemed unobtainable in those emissions-choked, fuel-starved years, and what was the point of a dual exhaust when it had to blow through a single catalytic converter

?Most of GM’s A-bodies had given up any sporting pretension. Chevrolet quit slapping the SS name on its Chevelle/Malibu, and even the shovel-nose, aero-slick Laguna was gone by 1977. Pontiac outsourced the LeMans-based Can Am until the mold for the rear spoiler broke, and the original GTO was just a distant memory by then. Buick’s GS program had quietly fizzled out as well.

What was left in GM’s midsize A-body lineup that had an eye toward performance? The Oldsmobile 442.

Like many of GM’s muscle car names from the past (see Z28 as an example), by the mid-to-late ’70s the “442” moniker referred to a handling-and-trim bundle. Available on the Cutlass S hardtop coupe, 442 (option code W29) consisted of the FE2 handling package (stiffer springs and shocks, 1-inch front and 0.812-inch rear anti-sway bars, and steel-belted radials on 7-inch wheels; FE2 was also available separately on other higher-end Cutlass models), some additional rocker and wheelwell trim, bold graphics, and little else. With FE2, a keen mid-’70s owner could break out of the personal-luxury, sensory-deprivation-tank mold and achieve respectable handling without resorting to something as obvious as, say, a Trans Am. The 442 added a reasonable $134 to the bottom line for the Cutlass S in 1976.

The standard engine was Buick’s 105-horsepower 3.8-liter V-6, with a choice of three-speed manual, three-speed automatic, or (intriguingly) five-speed manual transmissions. Step up to the 110-hp, 260 cu.in. V-8, and transmission choices dropped to the tried-and-true Turbo 350 and the five-speed. Other engine options more appropriate to something with the 442’s image and chassis capabilities were the 170-hp four-barrel 350 V-8 (mated to a Turbo 350 automatic), and the 185-horse Olds 403 backed by a Turbo 400. Olds’ 455 disappeared after 1976, so the 403 was as good as it got in ’77. Gear ratios varied between 2.41:1 and 3.08:1, depending on powertrain and what box you checked on the dealer’s order form. Car and Driver tested a 350-powered, 2.41-geared Cutlass in 1977 (a powertrain installed in about 85 percent of all Cutlasses for the year) and found an 11.9-second 0-60, an 18.4-second quarter-mile at 75.7 mph, and a 109-mph top speed. Sleepy, maybe, but stir in the standard FE2 suspension, and you get what Car and Driver called “something altogether different from the rubber-stamp supermarket car it might otherwise be taken for.” Well, maybe not with those stripes.

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Painstakingly preserved 1998 Oldsmobile Aurora just waiting for the day when collectors start to notice the last luxury Olds – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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Despite the fairly typical Nineties styling, the Aurora held a lot of promise for Oldsmobile, and it’s easy to see that potential in this 1998 Oldsmobile Aurora for sale on Hemmings.com. Not just an original, low-mileage car in good shape, this example seems to have been detailed and serviced immediately after each time it left the garage. It’s probably outlasted multiple shop vacs and accounted for a significant percentage of leather cleaner and conditioner sales over the last 20 years. The challenge in owning a car like this, of course, will be to continue the same preservation efforts so it doesn’t become just another used Aurora by the time the collector car hobby in general starts to appreciate these cars. From the seller’s description

Leather seats, driver and passenger electric seats, driver and passenger heated seats, sunroof, electric windows and locks, memory driver’s seat. This car is a Real Beauty in spectacular condition, a True Cream Puff!! Clean, Clean, Clean. We are the second owners and have owned for 21 years. We purchased the car in November of 2000, from Martin Buick Oldsmobile in Fenton, Michigan. At the time of purchase the car had 40,261 miles and currently has 52,658 (miles may go up a little for short drives). The car has been meticulously maintained. Always garage stored, covered, and we never drove it in the Winter, snow or salt. Never driven as a daily driver. Only used for special occasions and several vacations. The engine and transmission run smooth and tight, no leaks, vibrations or fluid use. The interior is extremely clean. No stains, rips, tears, leaks or smells. Never smoked in or pets. The leather is nearly like new. The body and paint is original and in superior condition. No dents, dings, scratches or rust. The AC compressor was installed 10 years ago and the AC does need a charge. All fuel lines and brake lines are in clean, excellent condition. This Aurora runs, handles and performs like a new auto. Just received an oil-change

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Which domestic performance car from 1957 would you choose for your dream garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

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Let’s open the floodgates of the American performance car debate, specifically when the first regular production examples emerged from assembly plants. While many will quickly give a nod to Pontiac’s 1964 GTO, others will suggest the bar was raised in a far different era. The Stutz Bearcat from the Teens is a perfect early candidate. So, too, is Buick’s Century, introduced in 1936: It was a true midsize car that made use of the larger Roadmaster’s more-powerful straight-eight engine; it was reportedly capable of hitting 100 mph under the right conditions. Then, of course, there was the 1949 Oldsmobile 88, featuring the high-output Rocket V-8 engine that tore up drag strips and stock car circuits alike. Was Hudson’s Twin-H powerplant, nestled in the Hornet, a more suitable candidate, or, perhaps, Detroit’s explosion of elaborate fuel induction systems in 1957? Let’s pause here and review a handful of arguably-muscular options from the year in our latest edition of This or That, all of which are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds.

It’s no secret that Chrysler Corporation set the NASCAR circuit on fire in 1955 and ’56, thanks to team principals like Lee Petty and Carl Kiekhaefer, the latter of whom amassed an astounding 52 wins as team owner, along with 52 poles and 139 top-10 finishes by 11 drivers in just a combined 190 starts–a NASCAR record at the time. At the dawn of the 1957 season, Kiekhaefer and his teams were gone, but not the powerful Mopars he loved to prepare for racing, such as this 1957 Chrysler 300C. Although the upscale and freshly restyled performance model was no longer a contender on the track – it went winless in ’57 – it was a winner at the dealership when 1,918 hardtops found new buyers, bolstered by the sale of 484 convertibles. The base price for each was $4,929 and $5,359 respectively (or $46,517 and $50,575 today), but that price also netted a standard 375-hp 392-cu.in. V-8 engine, its output made possible by a pair of four-barrel carburetors. According to the scant description provided by the seller of this hardtop:

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Four cylinders, two turbos, and the world closed-course speed record: How Oldsmobile proved the Quad 4 – Daniel Strohl @Hemmings

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In the automakers’ standardized playbook for promoting something new, going after a record—particularly a speed record—is a time-honored tradition. Given that the world land-speed record has for decades now been pushed beyond the reach of anything remotely resembling a production car, that meant from the Sixties onward, car manufacturers and racers have turned to the closed-course speed record.

Which was just what the team behind Oldsmobile’s Quad4 decided to pursue, albeit with a much-modified 900-hp version of the dual overhead-camshaft four-cylinder and a sleek racing body designed by Ed Welburn and refined by aerodynamicist Max Schenkel. Dubbed Aerotech, it’d be piloted by A.J. Foyt. Foyt had previously set the record in 1974 at Talladega and had racing experience in the March 84C chassis on which the Aerotech was based, so he made perfect sense as the driver to reclaim the record from Mercedes-Benz. The Sam Posey-narrated video below goes into detail how GM’s engineers and staff prepared for the record and went about capturing it in August of 1987.

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Best of B-O-P: Hemmings staffers pick their favorites from Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac – @Hemmings

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Oldsmobile and Pontiac are history. Buick, which has been hugely popular in China, currently sells only bean-shaped, badge-engineered sport-utility vehicles in North America—one of which is manufactured exclusively in China. All of the new Buick trucklets have model names as forgettable as their styling would suggest and none are badged with “Buick” emblems. This isn’t an attempt to eventually wipe the slate clean of all things Buick, assures GM—the company that in the last two decades has shuttered Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Saturn, Saab, and Hummer. Instead, we’re told, the Tri-Shield logo that appears on all new Buicks is recognizable enough to stand alone, thus making the name “Buick” redundant. Yes, we hear it too. The sound of David Dunbar rolling in his grave.As bleak as the future looks, the historic, collectible vehicles of Buick, Oldsmobile, and Pontiac, are alive and well thanks to the efforts of passionate enthusiasts—several of whom work for Hemmings. Recently, we went around the virtual room (the offices in Bennington, Vermont, are still closed and we’re all working remotely) to determine which B-O-P vehicles from the last 100-plus years intrigue us the most. It was tough to narrow it down, but here’s what we came up with.

1910 Buick Model 10

Early in its history, Buick was in a tight race for the number-one slot in the domestic auto industry, spearheaded by its Model 10. Introduced in 1908, it used an 88-inch-wheelbase chassis that cradled a 165-cu.in. four-cylinder engine and two-speed planetary transmission. Noted for its ease of control, the model’s standard equipment included acetylene headlamps, oil-burning side and taillamps, and a bulb horn, all at a very attractive $900 price tag. Buick built 4,002 Model 10s in ’08, which climbed to 8,100 a year later when its wheelbase was lengthened to 92 inches, coupled with the expansion from one to three body styles. Bolstered by its success in race trim, along with improved cooling by changing from a gear-driven water pump to a centrifugal type, the Model 10 reached its popularity zenith in 1910 when an impressive 11,000 units were built—more than a third of Buick’s staggering 30,525- unit output for the year. That was enough to catapult the Flint-based company to first place in the industry. —Matthew Litwin

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Pick of the Day: Toronado was another Olds innovation – Larry Edsall @ClassicCars.com

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Ah, Oldsmobile, how we miss you… Pity that when General Motors decided to pull the plug on one of its brands, you had the fewest dealers to pay off, so it didn’t matter that you also had a better fleet of vehicles across the board than any of your fellow GM divisions.

You introduced the Hydra-Matic transmission way back in 1940, and the Rocket V8 soon after World War II. In 1995, you gave us the Aurora, perhaps the last great American car design. And in 1966, you introduced the Toronado, the first full-size American car driven by its front wheels since the 1936 Cord.

The Pick of the Day is a 1969 Oldsmobile Toronado. The car got some styling updates that year and a power upgrade with an optional 455cid V8 rated at 400 horsepower

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At the height of the jet-set Motorama era, the 1954 Oldsmobile Cutlass show car was cutting edge – @Hemmings

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A look at the 1954 Oldsmobile Cutlass Motorama show car

Because the Cutlass had so many characteristics in common with its smaller companion, the Olds F-88 convertible, this dream car was simply called “the long wheelbase F-88” before its formal naming. Its wheelbase spanned 110 inches, compared to the 102 for the F-88. Other pertinent measurements of the Cutlass included an overall length of 188.5 inches and overall height of 51.5 inches. Shown is a GM Photographic promotional photograph taken near Miami just before the opening of the GM Motorama held at the Dinner Key Auditorium.

Photography Courtesy Gm Media Archive and Author’s Collection

Eight times from 1949 to 1961, General Motors staged lavish auto shows in major cities for the purpose of telling the public about its products. These shows included automobiles from GM’s passenger car and truck divisions, as well as its AC auto parts and non-automotive concerns such as Electro-Motive Diesel and Frigidaire. Essentially, GM’s road-going show (under the names Transportation Unlimited in 1949, Mid-Century Motorama in 1950, and The GM Motorama for the remaining years), served as a marketing tool for selling the current crop of new GM
automobiles and other products.

Furthermore, it informed people of the company’s latest developments in scientific research and engineering. The traveling show was well known for its array of dream cars, or concept cars in today’s vernacular, which tested public reactions to innovative styling and mechanical features that would either be included in the near future, at some time in the more distant future, or perhaps not to this day (i.e., turbine engine power for automobiles). GM’s vice president of the styling section, Harley Earl, knew the public did not respond well to too much change too soon, but knew people could and would view changes in most instances as desirable if given in the proper doses over time. This was accomplished through interactive exhibits, orchestras and troupes of dancers, lavish décor, and, of course, through the dream cars—all done at GM’s expense and free of charge to the public.

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Which one of these four postwar woodie wagons would you choose for your dream garage? – Matt Litwin @Hemmings

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Back in the day, those seeking outdoor adventures may have called upon the station wagon as one means to lug their gear to their travel destination. So, let’s take a step further back in our latest edition of This or That by offering four dream garage options from the immediate postwar station wagon market, when such cars were still built with a healthy amount of lumber. Commonly called woodie wagons, they are among the few vintage cars that are icons of the industry and pop culture alike. Here’s a closer look at some that Detroit offered, all of which are currently available in the Hemmings classifieds.

1947 Chevy Woody Wagon, 350 crate engine, 330hp, power steering, AC/heat, 700R4 transmission, new paint, great driver, eye catcher, award winning car.

Let’s start with Chevrolet. Although the division began offering the all-steel Suburban Carryall in 1935, regular production woodie station wagons didn’t technically appear until 1939. We say ‘technically’ because wood-bodied wagons from Chevy had been available through its dealership network on a special-order basis, with bodies furnished by a number of independent suppliers, such as the Springfield Body Company and Hercules Products.

Like others, Chevrolet’s station wagon production were among the last models to be resumed after the end of World War II. Offered only on the upscale Fleetline series, just 804 were produced as 1946 models, but that number jumped to 4,912 units a year later, this 1947 Fleetline among them. Costing $1,893 new (or $22,626 today), it originally contained the division’s svelte 216.5-cu.in. six-cylinder, which was rated for 90 hp; however this stock-appearing “woodie” has been warmed up a bit with modern mechanical enhancements.

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