I don’t know about you, but I have always loved woody station wagons. And with the advent of tippy-toed, ill-handling crossovers, three-quarters of which are ugly enough to scare a bulldog off of a meat wagon, I love them more than ever.
Like this top of the line, Di-Noc clad, bechromed Plymouth from The Year Of Our Lord, 1973. Sure, it’s massive. Sure, it’s a goner in any impact with a 2000-up motor vehicle with crush zones and dual airbags. But look at her. She’s gorgeous!
1973 was the final year you could get a Fuselage-styled Mopar station wagon, coupe, sedan or four-door hardtop.
Starting in 1974, totally redesigned full-size Mopars would come on the scene with much more ornate elaborate and Broughamy styling.
But for one last year, the clean, purposeful full-sizers made their last stand. And the most expensive, finest station wagon Plymouth offered was the one you see before you right now: the nine-passenger Sport Suburban.
With a base price of $4,599 and weighing in at 4,495 lb, the Sport Suburban was the most expensive big Plymouth you could get that year. It was also the most popular big Plymouth wagon, with 15,680 built.
There was also a two seat 6 passenger woody Sport Suburban for $4,497, but only 4832 were built. Clearly, the more, the merrier, at least when it came to passengers.
For comparison’s sake the cheapest full-size Plymouth Fury was the Fury I four door sedan for $3,865. The cheapest full-size station wagon was the Fury II 2-seat Suburban, for $4,410. 5,206 of them were built.
Standard engine on all 1973 Furys was a 150 horsepower 318 cubic inch V8. But our featured nine passenger wagon, which I spotted on Facebook Marketplace in Salt Lake City has the most excellent-and Elwood Blues approved-440 cubic inch V8.
This particular wagon painted in code JY9 Tahitian Gold Metallic, is available for the first person to come up with $8,500.
Despite the faded wood grain trim (my buddy Jim Smith says a rag and some red transmission fluid will have it looking like new) and sun-baked dash, I find it immensely compelling, especially with the deluxe optional wheel covers.
So, if you’re so inclined, feel free to check out the ad and contact the owners and possibly make an offer for this immensely impractical, gas-guzzling and totally excellent and beautiful relic of the 1970s. Tell ’em Klockau sent you.
What’s with that aerial?
Maybe a CB antenna.
It looks like some sort of kitchy waving cactus antenna cover/decor.
The thing in front of the license plate? It almost looks like a trailer hitch, with some kind of novelty cover on it.
In the West, the very steep boat ramps and extreme water level fluctuations created the need for “pushing” boats into the water.
Bet the wife that had to drive this instead of the parking lot awe inspired by the clamshell Caprice Estate or the quiet elegance of the Country Squire was annoyed at her husband. Not as annoyed as the wife who was saddled with the 10 year out of date Ambassador or the manual steering only Volvo 145 provided by the husband who just wanted to show how quirky he was, but pretty close.
Do you have the right kind of wife for it? (it being a VW Samba Bus)
Can she bake her own bread?
Can she get a kid’s leg stitched and not phone you at the office until it is all over?
Find something to talk about when the TV goes on the blink?
Does she worry about the Bomb?
Make your neighbor’s kids wish she were their mother?
Will she say “Yes” to a camping trip after 50 straight weeks of cooking?
Let you daughter keep a pet snake in the back yard?
Invite 13 people over for dinner even though she only has service for 12?
Name a cat “Rover”?
Live another year without furniture and take a trip to Europe instead?
Let you give up your job with a smile?
And mean it?
VW had great ads back then, even if it was a subversive plot to take over the ad business.I even have the Franklin Mint 1/24 model of it with the same color scheme and fabric sunroof. The ad copy even accentuates the positive by not asking if the wife has a death wish regarding crash worthiness or a fantasy about being raped at the side of the road when the overburdened engine gives up.
I love those old model 241 VW Typ II’s .
I’ve driven a few clear across America, once towing a 1957 Candian standard Beetle…..
Slow but fun .
The ’73 Plymouth wagon is terrific ~ I hope it goes to someone who has indoor storage for it .
In 1973 I had a 1968 Chrysler 9 passenger wagon, it was huge (383 IIRC) and handled well .
Nate, I am born in 1969 and I believe you are older than me, so I hope you will understand why I am curious. Did you set out towing with that less than 50 hp just hoping that everything would work out of did you make changes in the bus’s gearing or maybe an oil/transmission cooler to increase your chances. To slightly more modern ears, such an expedition sounds foolhardy. Did the bus make it cross country towing?
Yes, I’m an actual Geezer .
I grew up with older low powered vehicles being used to tow and haul ~ not quickly but that’s O.K., I like to sightsee .
On that trip the VW Van had a 1500CC single port engine with a #130 main jet and matched combustion chambers, one of those little things you do to make smaller engines run at their peak .
I’m very careful about tuning .
I picked up the ’57 Beetle in Mo. at a private VW junkyard in the woods behind a farm, filled it to the brim with vintage VW parts I removed from the “worthless” old rusted out VW Beetle he had scattered along the banks of and in, the little creeek that ran in the woods .
I also had my them young wife and a teenage kid who lived down the block from me,I’d hired him to learn to be a VW Mechanic, he wasn’t very mechanically minded, drives honey wagons for the Burbank Studios now .
I took the old road over the Continental Divide, some of it in second gear, mostly on hills I was in 3rd .
Going across the Royal Gorge bridge the tow bar folded up and collapsed, I took it to a little farm equipments repair shop and had it re welded and gusseted, it was still working fine when I left that shop on 1984 .
Towing isn’t just bog engine and chrome mud flaps .
It’s understanding the capabilities of the rig , brakes, tires (why I always chalk / paint my tires) the grade, so on and so forth .
The bus went fine on the open flat , I only got into one eight wheel drift, luckily that was on a straight and narrow road, I was able to get it back under control before sliding off the edge into the ditch .
Things were different back then I guess .
Work jobs like that one are why I prefer my engines mostly stock ~ I can run them as hard as I want and they don’t break .
Many is the time I’ve zizzed past a like of stupid kids in their chromed out Hot Rod lowered Beetles in the middle of the Desert in 115* heat on the way to some VW show .
As the older VW ads said : you don’t need any water pump or radiator because there’s a free and unlimited supply supply of coolant all around you in the air .
Sounds like a great adventure. Thanks for sharing Nate
Thanx John ;
I always worry someone will complain about my stories .
I didn’t grow up in a vacuum, others were there too so I doubt my stories are all that odd although I get a lot of looks when I begin to talk…
Bodies in the tub grinder, rats in the Naval surplus potato peeler (a wonderful thing, what asshat left the drain screen off ? ) .
My siblings watching me fall through an iced over creek in January then running off to leave me to freeze to death (that was a close one) .
On and on .
I consider them all precautionary tales .
Did you marry a wife like that?
The front mounted trailer hitch is alaways a nice touch. I’ve never seen one east of the Mississippi.
I was never a fan of the fuselage style, but the woody treatment actually makes it look ok. But ATF as a “wood” restorer?
Jim said it worked like a charm. He prepped trade ins at a big Chicago Chevy dealer back in the ’70s.
There are plenty of resale detailing tricks that are short-lived at best and detrimental in the long haul at worst. .
I asked him this morning. He said the treatment was good for about two months, then it would go back to its faded state. Then you would re-apply, or just replace the Di-Noc cladding and be done with it.
Thank you, as always!
We had a Pontiac woody station wagon in the 80’s. With four of us, we went with the 8-passenger with the backwards-facing last row. We called it the “way back”, and fought to sit back there.
I saw this on Marketplace too. I think you might have posted it on your FB page. What a fantastic beast! I had a buddy in HS who had a 1969 Dodge Monaco station wagon with the 383 and Torqueflite. So much fun to put that thing into a slide and power out.
As much as I love minivans, I’d love to rock one of these things now. I’m a fan of longroofs, and the domestic ones from the late 1960s-mid 1970s are my absolute favorites.
Too bad I’m not allowed to post pictures, I took my two 13 Y.O. Foster boys out yesterday in my old Mercedes station wagon, they sat in the way back and loved every minute of it ~ waving at people and trying to get the truckers to toot their air horns & squealing in delight as I slapped the car through corners and twisty bits….
I got a nice picture of them sitting there ginning like fools .
I know everyone hates kids these days, I feel sorry for them (kids in general) and try to show them that life is a good thing if you let it be .
If I survive this covid-19 bullshit I’ll teach them how to ride the Motocycle I bought to – day .
Watch and see if John doesn’t grow up to be a serious force to be reckoned with .
If you want to put a photo up just email it to me.
O.K., I’ll try it again, did so before, no response .
It’s not much of a photo but they boys were having a whale of a good time .
I got it, will run it tomorrow!
Thanx jack .
The boys never had much fun nor went anywhere before coming to us so I’m always dragging them away from the TV / Video game and they really seem to enjoy it .
The bigger one wants me to teach him to ride a Motocycle .
Years ago I thought the SUV thing would be a passing fad and that people would want station wagons instead. Silly me. But to date I still have never owned an SUV (although I’ve contemplated it for a truck replacement), and so have a station wagon. I’m stubborn.
I like the old, long, low station wagons of those days. I’d never pay that price for that one, but I’d have one of those old land yachts.