Mid Week Match-Up: Family Hauler For Tim

Time for another Mid Week Match-Up, where some poor unfortunate lucky person gets a full broadside of advice from the DT community.  This week’s request comes from Tim, who writes:

I need a family hauler. I’ve got 3 year old triplets and a 12 year old
step son and we often have at least one spare kid hanging out. Plus I’m
broke and while I’m a decent wrench (ever done a clutch on a b5 Audi s4?)
I want something reliable for my wife to drive the kids around. My
budget is like 6k but if I had to I could go the loan route and double
that.

I’ve done the suburban route. First was an 86 3/4 ton rwd big block. She
was great, had its issues but never left us stranded, used a ton of gas
but we loved it. What more can you ask for for $1700? Then we got an 01,
which was a lot nicer but actually left us stranded a couple times. So
we could get another Suburban, they’re usually pretty damn reliable even
with a ton of miles. I’m fine with a mini van but many of them seem to
have transmission issues, lookin at you Honda. If i was driving it I’d
look for a big ass 60’s wagon. Or a ls1 t56 Volvo. But something boring
is probably smarter. Any thoughts? 

DT E-i-C Vince: If you really want a big ass 60’s wagon, get one…specifically the 1994-1996 model — Buick Roadmaster/Chevy Caprice (the Olds Custom Cruiser was discontinued before the LT1 was added, so I’d skip it).  You get a big body on frame cruiser that fits 8 people (with belts), and is powered by GM’s legendary (cheap and reliable) LT1 V8 pushing through a 4L60E transmission into the rear wheels. This white ’96 Roadmaster Collector’s Edition can be found here on eBay bidding for $2,075, and while it does have the wood paneling (you can get them without wood) it is equipped with the towing package that adds a mechanical fan, self leveling rear, and shorter geared limited slip out back.

What do you suggest as a people hauler for Tim? Comments below.