PCH, Off-Brand Station Wagon Edition: Firedome or Provincial?

Some grumbling about the non-wagon nature of yesterday's Choose Your Eternity poll (which was won, unsurprisingly, by the '38 Traction-Avant) was heard around these parts, but I usually write PCH posts the night before... and the Maximum Wagon Day thing just sort of happened without warning. So, even though we've seen plenty of wagons here recently, we're having an all-out American Dream Station Wagon Edition PCH today... and we don't mean the kind of wagons with easy-to-find parts!


What's better than a 50s station wagon with vast expanses of chrome and crazy swooping body lines? Yes, you got it: a 50s station wagon with vast expanses of chrome and crazy swooping body lines and a Hemi! Just imagine the kind of hooned-up family vacations that were had in this 1955 DeSoto Firedome wagon (go here if the ad disappears) back in the day, with the unbelted kids and dogs wrestling in the back, Mom and Dad chain-smoking unfiltered Luckies up front, Patsy Cline on the AM, and formations of F-102s hunting Commies overhead. And, naturally, the sound of a 291-cube, 200-horse Hemi eating up the endless ribbon of asphalt. Now, to get this wagon back to that condition is going to take some doing, because the seller says it's been sitting since 1963 (actually, I suspect the seller is looking at the "63" series number embossed on all yellow-on-black California plates, meaning the car may only have been sitting since, oh, 1968). But it looks fairly complete, and most or all of the impossible-to-find glass and trim seems to be present. We're not sure what to make of the price, which is "5,000 asking ( firm )," whatever that means. A firm asking price probably has some negotiating room, we figure. Sure, every single component on this car will need to be messed with, but: Hemi Firedome Wagon!

The problem with a DeSoto, however, is that DeSoto was a division of Chrysler. Hemi or not, that's just too mainstream! Perhaps a Studebaker is the wagon for you! And not just any old Studebaker; we mean a genuine 1958 Studebaker Provincial wagon (go here if the ad disappears), available for the same price as the DeSoto. This one hasn't been sitting quite as long (a mere ten years), but the damper climate of Seattle means those promiscuous oxygen atoms have been busy gettin' down, gettin' funky with the iron atoms in this Stude's sheetmetal. The statement "Chrome removed and some sanding was done, but never finished" isn't very reassuring in this case, but compensating for that is a column-shift manual transmission with overdrive and some of the most outrageous fins ever installed on a station wagon. There's a Studebaker 289 engine, which we think is just pleading for the McCullough supercharger used on the Golden Hawk, and all the glass seems intact. How hard can this project be?

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