B Pillar Delete: 1964 Dodge 880 Hardtop Wagon

Jeff LaveryBy Jeff Lavery

Although the current consumer sentiment leans heavily towards buying crossover vehicles that excel at nothing, there was a time when wagons roamed that combined both functionality and style. The Dodge Custom 880 series was your bread-and-butter passenger car, but pillar-less wagons like this example here on craigslist remind us that function doesn’t have to negate form. 

With no B-pillar, passengers could cruise with cross-flow, open-air ventilation. Not every wagon body had this design, but the Custom models like this one did. 1964 models marked the final year for the hardtop wagons, and what a shame that this design hasn’t come back en masse. Despite the temptation to leave the windows down all the time, the interior of this 880 appears quite sound, a major plus since the Custom line received higher-end trim and other details.

The seller pegs the production numbers for this model year hardtop wagon at a mere 1,639, and further estimates only 30 or so survive. While those numbers are not readily available elsewhere, the design was polarizing in a way that perhaps wagon shoppers didn’t see the value for a modified pillar design. Regardless, 1964 proved to be one of the 880 line’s more successful sales years, and given how well the interior of this example has held up, it’s not hard to see why. Handsome, logical design, and for ’64 drivers even got a standard oil pressure gauge.

This 880 is pleasingly honest, and has been a Colorado car since new. It has minimal rust and comes with its original folding rear seat and functioning power rear tailgate window. The seller says the numbers-matching 265 b.h.p. V8 still runs well, and has been tidied up with fresh paint. Although it has some minor cosmetic issues here and there, it’s tough to beat the mixture of scarcity and honesty that this Custom 880 provides. The asking price is $8,700 but the seller welcomes cash offers.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    I had to do a “double take” on this car. 20 years ago, I had a friend with this exact car. Aside from the “unusual” styling ( ugly is such a harsh word) I thought these were the nicest wagons. Bullet proof, carry 10 sheets of plywood, take everybody out to gramma’s on Sunday, this was the family cruiser. My old man had wagons for a while to pull our travel trailers ( just like as shown) After the ’66 Dodge wagon( mechanically, not much different) started on fire pulling the camper up Monteagle hill, he never bought another Chrysler product again. Wonderful car here.

    12+

  2. Luke Fitzgerald

    Never seen one – good work

    6+

  3. ulm210

    Love the pillar less windows. Those and the back window down and I bet it can’t be beat on a family vacation to Disney…

    7+

    • Dave Wright

      The back window down sucks the exhaust into the car………not the beat plan

      4+

  4. Sam

    Great looking wagon. Thanks for not using the “p” word. Its a coin toss as to preserve or spend some money on rust repair and paint in the original color scheme.

    Home Depot by day (Menards for Howard)…cruise in by night!

    3+

  5. George Livesley

    I never paid much attention to anything but Fords & Chevy 2drs until I bought my Charger in 1966, but I lived in fear that Dad, who was neither a drinker nor drug crazed addict, was going to not only buy a Rambler, but a Rambler Station-wagon which would have been a double humiliation whamo to a teenage boy. Although I dreaded station-wagons, I had ridden in a few and one was a pillar-less Chrysler which was a [gads, can I even say this] a pretty nice car [probably only because it was jettisoned by the big engine] and “nice” ouch looking. These days, I good enjoy a restored one painted in a more striking color if for nothing other than the gawking it would get.

    2+

    • Loco Mikado

      I am just the opposite, I loved the Rambler station wagons we had in the 50’s-60’s. They were better looking to me than the sedans, but the hardtop wagons were the cats meow for me especially the ’58-59 Ambassador 4dr hardtop wagons. This wagon is on the same plane as far as I am concerned.

      7+

  6. Ben T. Spanner

    No power brakes! Why wouldn’t they be standard on any wagon? Mopar did some strange things. I had a 1966 Chrysler wagon with no back up lights. The wiring was there, but no lenses; instead there were circular stainless steel plates that probably cost more than a light.

    My giant 1966 Chrysler also has 14 inch rims, thus restricting the size of the brakes. At least mine were power. The plastic connector for the hose to the booster became petrified and broke. The car was a bear to stop w/o the power assistance.A booster would be easy to add.

    2+

  7. Dave Wright

    Grew up with Chrysler wagons, wonderful cars……..took my drivers test in a red 63 wagon that my dad kept pristine. In later years it was used as a shop car, when people had to leave there cars overnight dad would loan them the old Chrysler……..he could have sold it a hundred times……everyone loved it. Used it until the body rusted away in the 80’s.

    3+

  8. racer99

    First off — I love the style of this car BUT a 5,000 lb car towing a trailer with smallish single pot drum brakes without a power booster would scare me to death. I can see why the owner decided to go a different direction to tow his trailer. A vintage air a/c setup and a brake upgrade (maybe larger wheels to house some disc brakes up front) would make this a great way to haul the family or visit those out of town swap meets. Very nice car.

    2+

    • Miguel

      I bought a 1963 Fury from the original owner back in the ’80s. It is optioned weirdly as it has power steering, A/C, power windows, but no power brakes. The woman told me that when her husband ordered the car she was able to talk him into the power steering, but he did not trust power brakes for anything in the world. We have to remember that if an older person bought a car back in the ’60s, they had been driving cars from the ’20s on up. They didn’t need power brakes and the like.

      2+

      • Old Car Guy

        Peoples leg muscles much like their arm muscles were in much better shape for driving cars without power anything in those days. We didn’t have to pay for a fancy gym membership or expensive workout equipment to stay in shape. Working our jobs, driving our cars and life in general kept us in way better shape than today’s whining, complaining, scared of doing anything pussies. I never had a car with power anything until the 1990’s(been driving over 25 years at this point) when I couldn’t find a newer car without power everything. Give me a car with the basics no power or electronics dodads and I would be perfectly happy.

        2+

      • Dave Wright

        My grandmother and grandfather bought a new Dodge about 1965…….ordered it without Power steering……my dad objected strenuously to no avail. Grandma always drove like a bat out of hell, was still teaching and driving 20 miles to school. One early morning she hit a big dog in the road, it tore the wheel out of her hands, she flew over an irrigation ditch, 50 yards across a lawn and crashed into the corner of a house…….2 weeks in the hospital they ordered there new car with power steering. My buddy in high school was my chemistry teacher. He had a brand new 68 Dodge power wagon crew cab. Dodge would not put power steering in 4X4’s yet so it came with manual steering, one night after a long day hunting…..I was not with him…….he hit a big pot hole at speed on a back road, it tore the wheel out of his hands, broke his thumbs and sent him 200 yards down the side of a mountain, they found him the next morning in the truck with his dog……..both went to the hospital. People didn’t (don’t) realize that power steering works both from the wheels down and up………many old truck drivers thought non power steering trucks went straighter down the road….and some did but they got better with time.

        1+

      • Howard A Member

        Hi Miguel, thanks for bringing that up. Many people were leery of new fangled inventions, especially with something as important as brakes.( and new inventions were coming along fast) I still think, the reason we never had a/c in anything, was my old man didn’t trust where cold air came from on a hot day. To dispel any myths about single circuit, skinny drum brakes ( and tires) were the kiss of death, that’s just not so. Driving was a lot different, and you didn’t make 15 “panic stops” from 75 mph on the way to work, like today. The way people drive today, they NEED 4 wheel disc, with “accident avoidance” systems. But that just wasn’t the case then, they worked fine.

        3+

      • Dave Wright

        Absolutely correct Howard……and dual circuit systems are only valueable with poorly maintained brakes that are leaking fluid.

        2+

  9. Chris

    Great wagon. I’m a wagon guy. These one is a gem.

    2+

  10. Dave of Ontario

    Love Those wagons from the 60’s to early 70’s that any of the big 3 built !!
    If they hauled the family trailer any distance Most have had tranni rebuilds

    2+

  11. Paul B

    Rare wagon. The Custom 880 was rushed out after the downsized Plymouths and Dodges flopped in the market. It is really just a ’62 Chrysler with different trim, and most customers were not even aware of this big Dodge, though it helped some in the sales race against Buick and Olds. I pointed one out to my mom one time and she, who grew up in the Depression, responded casually with her knowledge from that era, “Oh, everyone knows this year’s Dodge is last year’s Chrysler.” Unfortunately, cars like this are what gave Nader an excellent platform and he was right in many ways. Little 14-inch rims (same size as my ’97 Miata) and tiny non-power drum brakes to stop this monster, with no second circuit? Practically criminal. No seat belts, hardtop that would never withstand a rollover? We’d never put up with that today. It’s all fine if you don’t smoke the brakes or get into an accident. For old car lovers like us, this car remains a score — we know what we’re getting into — but there are reasons why wheels and brakes became bigger again and safety regulations emerged. Cool car and I hope it finds a good home.

    5+

  12. Marshall

    Until I saw this car, I thought 1963 was the last year of Chrysler Corporation’s “typewriter” (push button) transmissions. Note the interesting parking break control!
    I have been told that parking brakes were not included on these 1956-1962 Chrysler Corporation cars with the pushbutton automatic transmissions. But that instead, the parking gear was made extra heavy duty to hold the car when parked on a hill. Until 1963, that is. Can somebody out there confirm?

    0

    • Ed P

      When torqflite was introduced for 1957 there was no park position. Only the parking brake was there to hold the car. That changed for 62 when the 727 torqflite was introduced.

      0

  13. C Carl

    I never heard of a Dodge 880 and this is the second one I’ve seen today. 1964 Dodge 880 sedan 4 door for sale on Los Angeles CL for $2200. I like the dash.

    0

  14. Bob C.

    Hey Paul B, You hit it exactly on the money. In 1962 they took the plucked chicken chryslers and added the front clip to the 61 dodge line to make the 880, pretty much a salad car. The same platform soldiered on until 64, including the wagons. It was unique to the 880 only beginning in 1963, keeping tooling costs down.

    1+

  15. Donny

    That is a fantastic dash. It looks like it’s floating.

    2+

  16. Iggy from NW Ontario

    The seller welcomes cash offers… How else would you purchase the car? I’m assuming checks are the only other option. eTransfers also, I guess. With all that said, I don’t know why one wouldn’t go to the bank and just pull out cash!

    0

  17. David Zornig

    `61 Plymouth wagon rear sheet metal…

    0

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