Half Price? 1966 Dodge Polara Wagon

Scotty GilbertsonBy Scotty Gilbertson

“One owner” doesn’t have quite the magic connotation to me after a recent purchase turned out to be somewhat of a dud, but this one owner 1966 Dodge Polara Wagon seems to be in decent condition. It’s listed on Hemmings with an asking price of $5,500 or offer and it’s located in Ferndale, Washington. Why is that a lot of the best looking vehicles are on the west coast? A lack of salt on the roads, maybe.

This car looks great from the exterior photos with nary a rust spot to be seen. It’s most likely just an oversight, but a big red flag to me is there there isn’t one photo of the passenger side at all, not even a partial hint as to what it might look like. I’m assuming that it’s ok, but I’ve learned to not assume anything ever again.

The seller lists it as being in “excellent” condition and it does look really good, but, again, additional photos and preferably a personal visit is always a good idea. They show scary photos of not-excellent, rusty portions in the rear so it’s worth checking out. NADA lists a “low retail” price of around $6,500 and I would assume that an “excellent” car would be more in line with their “average retail” or “high retail” which would be $12,600 or $32,000. That’s a long way from $5,500 or best offer. Maybe this is a great bargain? The seller says that they’re “open to ANY offers”! Could this really be as fantastic of a bargain as it sounds? A half-price Polara wagon – yes, please!

In the one interior photo that’s shown, things appear to be in decent condition, other than the windlace and the carpet. The seat cover doesn’t look original, does it? I’m assuming that it would have been a fabric or pleated vinyl. They say that it’s ready to go cross country so I’m assuming that the operating condition is excellent and when a person has owned a car for so many decades it’s hard to not love it. This is officially a 9-passenger wagon!

This is a 383 cubic-inch V8 and apparently it’s new, as is the automatic transmission. In decoding the VIN, this is a “1-2 barrel carb”, I didn’t know that a 1-barrel carb would be offered in a 383? It has to be a 2-barrel which would give it 270 hp and the seller says that it “drives excellent”. What do you think of this basic, mostly-solid wagon? This could be a serious bargain.

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Comments

  1. Tim

    Seems my version of excellent and their version of excellent are very different.

    Sorry to hear that you got burned on a recent purchase. Been there, done that. I consider it the final hurdle in being an enthusiast. Now you’re a true club member!

    11+

  2. Michael

    I’m assuming that when they say 1-2barrel carb, they mean not two or three 2barrel carbs. A 1 barrel was never offered on a V-8.

    4+

  3. Jim Masteller

    I see Rust on Pass side of interior dash.. and the rust is so bad on interior of rear I question the the fact if it was open to the weather for long periods of time..there is rust on fender and rear quarters as well and I bet the wheel well and floor of the rear seat is gone..there are pictures with the cover off a nd in the photos it is back on…???????

    2+

  4. Fred W.

    I’ve seen factory upholstery just like that in a 70’s Dodge police car along with rubber mats, but assume it was not available in a family vehicle.

    3+

    • John P

      Back in the day a person could order just about any car with ANY option–or rather “lacking” of options.. That’s what sucks that you can’t go today–manufacturers build volume and you’re stuck with what is available it the option “packages” that are pre-determined..

      4+

  5. G 1

    Great cars. Really a strippo for a 9 pass. Loved every wagon I had.

    3+

  6. Woodie Man

    I agree that the rust and general disrepair of the wagon deck and back gate indicate that either the rear window was left open repeatedly in the rain or someone hauled some wet stuff in the wagon. Nonetheless worth taking a look at.

    4+

  7. Bob C.

    Oh, if this were only a coupe or sedan. I love that dumbbell grille.

    2+

  8. John P

    That’s a good car.. Basic Polara with low options–but the front seat is re-covered as seen by the portion of rear seat that is seen from the rear-looking view. The rust seen is all surface rust–no issue in my opinion.. Cool utility wagon.. Add an intake carb and cam and she should haul well!!

    4+

  9. Loco Mikado

    No power brake booster, this must be a bear to stop with 4 wheel drum brakes. Drive anywhere, but stopping not so sure. Just allow the old rule of thumb as 1 car length for every 10 mph and I do mean 20-22 ft car lengths. Although I do doubt this car could panic stop from 70 mph in 154 feet. Neither my ’66 Chrysler Newport or my ’70 Plymouth Sport Fury could and they were basically the same car and they both had power brakes. People drove differently when these cars were new.

    4+

    • CJay

      “People drove differently when these cars were new.” You are correct.
      Bias ply tires, drum brakes, less interstate highways and a more courteous public.

      7+

  10. Robert White

    Nice barn, and I love the paint job on the barn too. In terms of the car, I sure like the barn paint job. I like the open field beside the barn too. And I’ll bet that pickup truck is worth buying.

    I wonder if the farm is for sale? Perhaps if the farm was for sale and the car came with the Real Estate deal I would go for the car, but I sincerely doubt that I would want to be caught dead driving that wagon. No, a wagon just does not float my boat, and never did. I knew a crazy guy that drove a wagon with a 396, but that’s different because that wagon was a Chev.

    Some people a wagon people I guess. Ho hum, I’ll pass.

    Bob

    2+

    • Dave of Ontario

      Nice looking Chopped Merc Bob,
      Where was it built ?

      0

  11. Ken Nelson

    Regarding a two barrel 383, I have had 2 of these in the past. One in a ’67 Dodge Polara, the other in a ’70 Dodge Coronet. Both good reliable runners.

    4+

  12. Chebby

    Open to ANY offers…definitely sounds like the real original owner, not a flipper pretending to be. You could probably get this thing cheap…add some Magnum 500s and you’re good to go.

    2+

  13. cocobolo

    This is similar…

    https://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/cto/6011522099.html

    I come across lots of interesting stuff while on lookout for a car for myself a 60 to 64 Cadillac sedan.Shipping to UK first then Scotland costs around $5k so needs to be a bargain with little work to be done :-…(

    Lots of stuff appears in Canada for very reasonable money, like this 1960 Pontiac Coupe. Surprised you guys wont take a trip up there and drive them back, much cheaper than US?

    http://www.kijiji.ca/v-classic-cars/moncton/not-my-car-so-call506-776-5160/1251008220?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

    0

  14. Howard A Member

    Dang it, I’ve got too cool a story about a car like this, so “blog bashers”,( who probably know nothing about ’66 Dodges)( thanks olddavid) get ready to pick it apart.
    In the late 60’s, my parents had pull behind campers we’d take to FL. every Christmas break. One if the many cars the old man fried ( almost literally) was a ’66 Dodge Polara wagon EXACTLY like this, same color, 383, everything ( although, I don’t remember the “secret service handles” on the back) Coming home from FL. one year, going up Monteagle Hill in Tennessee, the old ( poorly maintained, not that old, really) Dodge was struggling with the 14ft. Shasta and car load of people and gear(come to think of it, ANY car would be struggling with that) halfway up,( a 4 mile incline) she gave up, in a cloud of smoke, and we rolled to stop on the shoulder, with the old man cussing, “*#&-%#@* Dodge crap”, even though, it really had nothing to do with the car itself. He yelled to me and my brother, “OPEN THE HOOD”. Big mistake.What happened, was all the tranny oil boiled out the dipstick tube, soaking a hot motor and when we opened the hood, it gave the oil the oxygen, and WOOM, big fireball!! Everybody bailed out, we got the fire ext. from the camper, and whoosh. In my 62 years, it remains the only time I ( at 13) ever used a fire ext. The old man got a ride to the top,( try THAT today) got some more oil, ( it had cooled down by then), refilled the trans. and the trip resumed without further incident. That’s how tough a Torque-Flite was. I don’t think , aside from mini-vans, the old man ever got another Chrysler product again.
    Great find, one year only body style. Thanks for the memory, ( although, at the time, it was pretty tense)
    Ok, vultures, rip away,,,

    6+

    • Robert White

      Your father was a wise man, Howard. My father never purchased another Dodge product after his Plymouth Fury 1963 slant 6 that stalled when doing left turns especially in wet weather. Dodge did make great full sized Tradesman vans in the 80s IMHO, but that’s it. I liked the two door 1968 Dodge Monaco 318, and the Dodge Viper was cool looking. I don’t know how well they worked though? Does anyone here know how well the Viper turned out over time?

      P.S. Great old car story, Howard.

      Bob

      2+

  15. sir mike

    Love those grab handles on the tail gate.

    1+

  16. rando

    there were some old Carter carbs that look like a one bbl. They have one throat at the top instead of two separate. Some folks could visually mistake that for a 1 bbl. I did when I was younger.

    Here it is. See https://www.hemmings.com/magazine/hmn/2013/03/Carter-BBD-Carburetors/3723181.html. Even used on the 383.

    0

  17. Nova Scotian

    O-k. I’m gonna say it…changing the rims and tires on this will totally transform the look of this old roadie. I’d go with slotted mags. …and big baloney rubber out back. Yes?

    0

  18. Ben T. Spanner

    I bought a 1966 Chrysler Newport decades ago,as a cheap truck. I was a 383 4 barrel with fake wood. The plastic attachment for the brake booster broke. That thing was a bear without power brakes. It was a six passenger, with backup light delete. Instead of the light, there were neat little stainless steel plates; but the wiring was there. Those plates probably cost more than lights.

    When I was looking, a Dodge dealer had 2 1965’s; one red over black, and the other black over red. The price was $400 for both, and I had to take both. No fake wood; no sale. It came down to the Chrysler and a mid sixties Buick.

    0

  19. Bob C.

    Awesome story Howard, brought back good memories. Two thumbs up.

    0

    • Howard A Member

      Thanks Bob, to me, that’s what this site is all about, memories, and maybe find a cool project. I may not use the correct words( especially at 3am) but many memories ( and new swear words) were learned from the old man’s antics, and I’m sure I’m wasn’t alone.

      0

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