Another Day, Another Project Car: Introducing The DT SportWagon

We’ve had a few project cars featured on DT over the years, including in no particular order, a sweet Volvo 242 that is way better off in the hands of its new owner, der Schmetterling, zee Draken, an E34 M5, a Roadmaster wagon that is passed around DT staff like a case of the clap at Woodstock, and a C36 AMG that has gotten more love/attention than any C36 in the history of AMG benzes. What is next?  Well..lemme tell ya. Another DT internal B2B (bro-to-bro) transaction was transacted the other day, when Hunsbloger passed this 1965 Buick SportWagon over to yours truly, DT Editor-in-Chief Vince for a small wad of cash.

1965 was a good year for the automobile — styling was still unencumbered by crash standards, pedestrian safety or insurance industry lobbying; technology was standardized to the point where each car didn’t have its own unique driveshaft connection apparatus; and horsepower was not restricted by anything other than displacement.  Buick launched their A-body based station wagon in 1964 using the name “Sport Wagon” because…well…you’ll see.

This car left the factory as a 1965 Buick Sportwagon (Model 44455)  (6-passenger, not 8) powered by a Wildcat 355…which was a 300 cid, V8, 4bbl 250Hp and 355 ft./lbs of torque. Buick got creative with nomenclature, and the 355 is a reference to torque values.

Options included: 4bbl Wildcat 355 V8, AM Radio, Auto Trans (2-speed), Power Steering, Tilt Steering, Power Brakes, Power Windows, Power Driver’s seat and factory A/C.  This is one of the best equipped Sport wagons that you’ll find around town.

The interior is in remarkable shape for the age and has probably been refreshed once or twice in the past 54 years of life.  Don’t worry, the steering wheel isn’t really pretzel shaped, it was just my twitchy panorama photo on the iponwed.

I really cannot stress how awesome the view is through those vista windows that the SportWagon shares with the corporate Vista Cruiser cousin.  The car does have some rust around the windows that needs addressing in the not too distant future, but all the glass is good and the power windows (all 5 of them) work like champs.

If you want any proof that is has a real Wildcat V8 under the hood, just check out the dead rat corpse I found where the windshield washer fluid reservoir should have been. Yeah, windshield washers on a 1965 automobile.  Buick really built a top-of-the-line machine when this beauty left the factory.

In case you were wondering, that is a fine coat of Buick Seafoam Green paint covering the car, with a nice shade of green on the interior too.  It ain’t easy being green, but it is easy to bring home 20 ft pieces of baseboard moulding.

There is a list of things to do on this car…which is why it is a project car.  It started when I had to replace the flexible fuel lines at the tank to get it on the road, and then slap on a new set of tires to make it all the way home.

The short list of near term items include:

Getting some shine into the paint

Rebuild carburetor

Fix oil leak(s) — oil pan gasket, valve cover gaskets.

Fix trans leaks

Fix coolant leak — water pump/lines/t-stat

New spark plugs (currently has splitfire plugs…which I think went out of business a few years ago).

Replace intake manifold gasket

R&R steering wheel (has cracks)

Fix interior lights

Fix turn signals

New brake booster/master — upgrade from single piston, to dual piston

Upgrade ignition from points to Pertronix style.

New fluids/filters.

Replace AC compressor seal

Polish bumper/roof rack chrome.

I’m probably missing a few items.


Stay tuned for more project Sport Wagon updates in the near future…and post your ideas for a car name in the comments below.