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Krash Kadillak


Posts : 130
Join date : 2012-02-23
Age : 67
Location : Springfield, Oregon

PostSubject: MAY LONG ROOF OF THE MONTH   Sat May 03, 2014 4:03 pm

Hello, boys and girls!

Apparently, Tom has selected my station wagon as the May, 2013 'Long Roof Of the Month'. This is quite an honor for me!

First, just a word about pics. I'm NOT a real good picture-taking guy, and my family concentrated on family-type stuff when taking pics. Also, some pics that I know I took some time ago of some of my vehicles have been lost, so the historical stuff is a little thin.....

Growing up on the west side of Los Angeles in the 50's and 60's, I  became a car nut almost from birth it seems. Not sure how I accumulated the knowledge, but my folks said I would (at the age of 4) stand by the front window and name the cars as they drove by. My dad was definitely NOT a gearhead by any means, and mom didn't drive, so our family garage had only one non-descript vehicle in it at a time. This is the first family car I remember, a '48(?) Dodge. This pic was taken in approx. 1956:

Can't say that I was anything more than 'aware' that there were station wagons at that young age. Time marched on. Dad went through a few vehicles: a '52 Pontiac 4-door fastback-type sedan; a '58 Chevy Biscayne 4-door; and finally, his first NEW car, a '63 Chevy Nova hardtop. (What I really wanted him to buy though, was his buddy's new '63 Galaxie 500XL...)

Well, you remember those GM ignition switches back then - you could take the key out in the 'off' (not 'Lock') position and someone could start the car without the key? Yes, my dad got lazy and the Nova got stolen. By this time, our family had grown, so the little Nova hardtop's replacement was a '65 Nova wagon with a big 'ole honkin Chevy 283 in it!  cheers I liked this little wagon. Downside was as only a 2-seater, my regular position in a full load of people was as cargo. You know dad, a third seat was available for very little additional cost.......  

Our family kept growing - not in numbers, just in size as us kids were getting older. Folks quickly decided that the Nova was too small, and they jumped up 2 sizes to a '66 Caprice. Now, this was not a 'luxurious' Caprice. It was basically just a bare-bones Impala with wood paneling. 327, Powerglide, AM radio, No A/C....  Got a bad pic of this one. That's my nephew in the stroller.


And, wouldn't you know it, I was still 'cargo' in the 2-seater Caprice.

By this time, I was well into my teen years, and was starting to think more about station wagons. This was also the mid 60's when the performance wars were going on in Detroit, so my interests were being tugged in that direction as well. My older sister's boyfriend (later, and still, husband) bought a brand-new yellow '65 GTO that actually scared me when he gave me a ride, then floored it.

One summer day in 1967 (had my permit, no license yet) I went to work with my dad, who was a milkman. His route was in a 'rich' part of LA, in the hills. He made a stop at one of his customers, and parked on the street was the most beautiful white and silver station wagon I had ever seen - and it had a 'for sale' sign on it. Obviously, no pic, but it was like this one:

I begged my dad, but there was really no hope for me here - house rule was no car until you graduate. Heck, I didn't even have a license yet, so I was S-O-L.

Time marches on. I graduated HS in 1969, and went shopping with dad (and my OWN money BTY) to get my first car. I loved my dad, but he knew absolutely nothing about cars. He was there more for emotional support and to keep me from making a stupid financial choice. Can't say that I was shopping specifically for a wagon as that time, but at least on that trip, we didn't see any I was interested in. Ended up buying a '63 Olds F-85 Cutlass post coupe with the aluminum 215 V8. Sorry, no pics of the Cutlass.

At this point, I had a job, was going to junior college, and I was getting bored driving the same vehicle all the time. I quickly went through a succession of vehicles over a period of 3 years:

- '64 Pontiac Catalina Ventura 2-door HT (bought this one specifically because it had POWER WINDOWS)
- '66 Corvair Corsa (turbo)
- Schwinn 10-speed (trying to save some money)
- '65 Dodge Dart 270 coupe
- '68 Pontiac Firebird (350, PG)

All during this period, I WANTED a station wagon, but the ones I wanted were financially out of reach. I didn't finance a car until the Firebird in '73. I remember looking at a beautiful '66 Pontiac Bonneville Safari on a used car lot. I think it was something like $2,500 at the time. I was used to spending a few hundred.

Got married in January, 1974. (I'm still with my beautiful wife). We went through a succession of cars at first. Sold the Firebird, because we had her 6-cyl Camaro which was free and clear. Bought a '68 4-door Thunderbird on a whim in the middle of the '74 gas crisis. Literally couldn't afford to put gas into it. Sold it and bought this from Cal Worthingtons' used car lot: ('72 Courier)

That little Courier was a great vehicle. Bad part was the missus had a hard time driving it - she never did get a handle on the clutch-shift relationship. In 1975, we bought her our first new car - a 'leftover' '74 Mazda RX-4 sedan:

A few months later, I was in need of a new vehicle to replace the Courier, and happened to drive by the same Mazda dealer where we bought the RX-4. There used lot had a slightly-used RX-4 wagon, at a considerable discount from what we paid for the sedan, so I bought it. We now owned 2 '74 RX-4's. This is the only pic I could find of the wagon. This was taken later on, after we sold the sedan. Wife was now driving the wagon, and I had a company car (1980):

Went through a lot of other vehicles after that. Kinda got tired of the poor fuel mileage on the Mazda.

This '79 Toyota was a great vehicle (automatic, not a manual:

Had some fun times with the WIFE'S '85 Nissan 300ZX Turbo:
(She got to pick the car. I told her as long as we're buying a Z, we might as well get the fast one....)

Family came along in '88 with birth our first daughter, and second daughter in '89. The 'Zippie-Z' went bye-bye  Sad and it seemed other vehicles were better for us with the kids. We had a '86 Dodge Colt Vista, then a Ford Aerostar Eddie Bauer - both excellent in their own way. In 1990, I wanted to try something different. I happened to spy at the local Chevy dealer's used car lot, a seemingly nice '84 Mercury Grand Marquis Colony Park. Brought it home, with the wifey not really won over on the wagon. Two weekends later, we took a trip to Las Vegas where the Colony Park decided to commit suicide via an under-hood electrical short and resulting fire. I looked for another nice wagon, but time being critical, had to settle for a '89 Taurus GL wagon. (The worst thing about it - the upholstery. Looked like 40's mohair.). After a while, we decided the Taurus wasn't 'for us', and we went into our SUV phase,  '93 Rodeo. No pics.

Not much going on in the mid/late 90's. Skipping forward to 2003 when I was no longer in a company vehicle. Made one of my worst vehicle purchase decisions in buying a well-used 2000 Audi A6 Avant. I've got some pics, but can't locate them right now - will add later). This wagon drove beautifully, but had a few issues, each costing me at least a grand.

In 2005, I replaced the Audi with this very nice 2003 Ford Focus ZTW. This was not your 'ordinary' Focus. it had the 2.3 liter P-Zev engine (pretty powerful for a Focus); leather, moonroof, 16" alloys. All-in-all, a great wagon. Unfortunately, on October 27, 2010 it was totaled when I rolled it into a snowbank here in Oregon. (Oh, yeah - we moved to Oregon in 2009)

OK, now on to the good part.

In 2012, we were finally in a position where we could afford to make one of our vehicles a 'special' or rarely-used one. At the time, I had a '06 HHR I was using in my auto damage appraisal business, and the wife was driving her '03 Explorer. We sold the Explorer and I started looking for a nice station wagon. I remember taking one long drive up to Olympia Washington to look at another Colony Park, but even at $1,500 it was no bargain. Folks all over the 2 main wagon forums I am on (here and StationWagonForums.com) were passing on tips. Enter the wagon in question.

I was mostly interested in finding a nice '86-'91 Colony Park, but there were others that would pique my curiosity. I first spotted this wagon back in the summer of 2011, in a Craig's List ad. The price was pretty high, but it sure looked clean. I posted it up on the SWF at the time, for others to see. I wasn't even shopping for myself back then. A year later, the ad popped up again, from the same seller, at a substantially reduced price. 'Silverfox' on the SWF (Mike) was kind enough to go check it out for me, since I was in Oregon, and the wagon was in Wisconsin of all places. Here are some of the pics from the Wisconsin CL ad:

Well, Mike said it drove like a dream. One of the questions on it was the mileage. The seller (who bought it from the estate of the original, deceased owner) said it was the original 21,xxx miles. Mike said it looked like it, and it drove like it. Unfortunately, the seller had no written documentation to PROVE the mileage was original. The wagon wasn't perfect. The headliner was hanging down in the back, as happens with virtually all box wagons. There were a couple of small dents here and there; and the rear fillers were broken. I negotiated a fair price with the seller, contracted with a shipper I would NOT recommend, and the wagon arrived in Oregon in the middle of December, 2012. Took care of the headliner almost right away, but really haven't done much of anything else on it yet. It's called The Way Back Machine....

It's a 1981 Pontiac Bonneville Safari - the last year for the full-size Bonneville station wagons. (In '82, the 'Bonneville' name was attached to the mid-size Pontiac, formerly known ans the Le Mans. In '83, Pontiac brought back the full-size wagon, putting the 'Parisienne' name on it. It did not have the specific Pontiac front sheet metal or dash on it though. It was more of a Caprice with a different grill and tail lights.  

In the future, I am hoping to make a few changes. First and foremost, I need to get rid of those wire wheel covers, and find a set of Rally II's. I good sound system would be nice, too.

Thanks for listening

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phantom 309


Posts : 5786
Join date : 2008-12-28
Age : 108

PostSubject: Re: MAY LONG ROOF OF THE MONTH   Sat May 03, 2014 8:21 pm

nice car,..
i had love affairs with 80 and 81 pontiac parisiennes/catalina's' with gassers and 5.7 diesel's, could never find a wagon tho,..i skipped years then got into the 85/86 years the last one i had was a black 85 with 16" trans am wheels, broke my heart when my ex wrecked it backing up with the drivers door open went into the ditch and screwed the door and the door frame and the dash,.stupid stoned bitch,.
If i found an 81 wagon with an olds diesel in it,.....that would be my daily driver.

your car would look great with the brougham buckets and console and shifter,.
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Posts : 5432
Join date : 2008-11-04
Location : Palm Beach County

PostSubject: Re: MAY LONG ROOF OF THE MONTH   Sat May 03, 2014 9:51 pm

Nice write and thanks for sharing!! Cool pics too Smile Nice to see where the afflicted come from lol
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Posts : 9691
Join date : 2010-06-23
Age : 44
Location : Round Rock Texas

PostSubject: Re: MAY LONG ROOF OF THE MONTH   Mon May 05, 2014 10:42 am

Enjoyed reading this and still love your Pontiac! Gotta find some Rally II wheels and the factory gauges for it! Projects!

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Posts : 3368
Join date : 2009-05-28
Age : 40
Location : Greenville, SC

PostSubject: Re: MAY LONG ROOF OF THE MONTH   Sun May 11, 2014 7:44 am

Great story and pics!!

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Posts : 3885
Join date : 2009-08-18
Location : Rochester NY 14621

PostSubject: Re: MAY LONG ROOF OF THE MONTH   Sun May 11, 2014 8:51 am

I enjoyed the story. Thanks for the post.

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PostSubject: Re: MAY LONG ROOF OF THE MONTH   Sun May 11, 2014 12:45 pm

Great story and a beautiful wagon.
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Posts : 2908
Join date : 2008-11-05
Age : 69
Location : Littleton, NH & St. Simons, GA

PostSubject: Re: MAY LONG ROOF OF THE MONTH   Mon May 19, 2014 6:29 pm


That is a great story, I can relate to much of it. I can remember my father had a 47 Plymouth, which looked like your father's 48 Dodge. Pontiac made beautiful wagons, like that 58 that you have pictured. They were works of art. Our neighbors, back in the day, had a 57 Safari two door, similar to a Nomad. That was a stylish car. Like you, I have always loved Colony Parks.

Thanks for sharing your story.

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Posts : 728
Join date : 2013-11-10
Age : 28
Location : New Carlisle, OH

PostSubject: Re: MAY LONG ROOF OF THE MONTH   Mon May 19, 2014 9:05 pm

Stunning Bonneville Safari, I would make any changes very minor and reversible since this one is so clean.
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