1-of-14? 1970 Cadillac Fleetwood Station Wagon

Over the years at Barn Finds, we’ve seen a few examples of vehicles where someone has that thought that transforming a sedan or sports car into a station wagon would be a good idea. Some of these efforts have worked reasonably well, while others produce a vehicle that only a mother could love. ASC Custom Craft created this 1970 Cadillac Fleetwood Station Wagon, and the result is impressive. It is a wagon that can comfortably seat eight people, and it has the fit and finish that is part of a customer’s expectations when they hand over their money to own a Cadillac. It is also a wagon searching for a new home, so the owner has listed it for sale here on eBay. It is located in St. Charles, Missouri, and comes with a BIN of $44,995. If you feel that this figure is too steep, the seller leaves the option to make an offer.

ASC Custom Craft rolled many custom builds out of their workshops in Southgate, Michigan. Some of these were an acquired taste, while others were so perfectly integrated that they could’ve passed as genuine models that rolled off a manufacturer’s production line. They worked their magic on several Cadillac models, including the Eldorado and the Fleetwood. The secret to their success with the Fleetwood wagon conversion was the decision to use the rear sheetmetal from other General Motors models. This steel was grafted onto the Fleetwood from the C-pillar, creating an integrated appearance. While actual production totals for the ’70 Fleetwood Wagon are difficult to confirm, various sources place the number at around fourteen vehicles. Many were used as guest transport between motels and airports, while some found their way into private ownership. The history of this Fleetwood isn’t clear, but it has survived in impressive condition. Its Condor Blue paint shines beautifully, with no significant flaws or problems. It is strikingly contrasted by a Pale Blue landau-style vinyl top and matching highlights below the side windows. With a firm reputation in sunroof development and installation, it is no surprise to find that this car also features a power one fitted to the front section of the roof. The panels are as straight as an arrow, with no evidence of dings, dents, or rust. The chrome and trim are in excellent order, while the glass appears flawless.

While ASC made some radical sheetmetal changes to create the Fleetwood Station Wagon, they didn’t mess with the drivetrain. Lifting the hood reveals the 472ci V8 that should produce 375hp. It is bolted to a 3-speed automatic transmission, while power steering and power front disc brakes were a standard part of the 1970 Fleetwood package. The donor car would have weighed 4,982lbs, making the 15.9-second ¼-mile ET look pretty impressive. The wagon conversion will have added some extra weight, which will have undoubtedly impacted that figure. However, ultimate performance figures aren’t what this vehicle is all about. ASC conceived the Wagon to provide luxurious and refined transport for up to eight people. This one is numbers-matching, and the presentation of the engine bay is above average for a vehicle of this age. The owner doesn’t provide specific information on how well the Wagon runs or drives, but he does indicate that it has what is believed to be a genuine 72,000 miles on the clock. I have included a video clip at the bottom of this article. It provides a detailed walk-around of the vehicle and gives us a chance to hear that giant of a V8 start and run. There is no evidence of odd noises or smoke, with the exhaust sounding purposeful but not overly loud.

When we turn our attention to the Fleetwood’s interior, we find a typical collection of luxury features that were part of the Cadillac armory. These include ice-cold air conditioning, power windows, power locks, a power driver’s seat, cruise control, a leather-wrapped tilt wheel, AM radio, and rear seat footrests. Looking beyond this, what we discover is an interior that seems to need nothing. The dark blue leather on the seats is free from wear or physical damage, while the remaining upholstered surfaces are in excellent order. The dash and pad are close to perfect, and the same appears true of the carpet. Overall, the impression seems to be nothing but positive.

If you have a larger family and feel that a classic station wagon would make ideal transport, I can’t see why you shouldn’t own one that offers comfort and luxury. This Fleetwood features the versatility of a rear-facing third-row seat that is upholstered in matching leather. This feature lifts the Wagon from a six-seater to a genuine eight-seater. Once again, the condition of the Wagon’s rear section is as impressive as the rest of the interior, with no evidence of abuse or neglect.

When I examine modern new car trends, I find it sad that the station wagon appears to have been consigned to the pages of history. For years, people bought them more as a matter of necessity than choice. SUVs and vans have taken their spot in the new car market, and I doubt that we will ever see any manufacturer reintroduce them to their product range. A model that became unwanted and unloved by new car buyers has become a hot property in the classic market. Spotless station wagons can command impressive values, and this 1970 Fleetwood is no exception. It isn’t cheap, but its price is on par with many other wagons that we see today. If you do feel that a station wagon is your best option, I can’t think of any reason why that wagon shouldn’t load it with luxury touches and a unique presence. Can you?

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Comments

  1. Rex Kahrs Member

    I would opine that EVERYBODY is driving a station wagon these days. They’re just taller and uglier!

    Like 31
  2. Fahrvergnugen Fahrvergnugen Member

    Roof and tailgate from a Pontiac donor?

    Like 3
    • George

      Same as Chevy too. Same tailgate on our old 1969 Kingswood Estate.

      Like 4
  3. SirRaoulDuke

    For the first time in my life I am going to say this: this car would be better with a quieter exhaust. The rumble just doesn’t fit what it is, a serene and exquisite family hauler.

    Absolutely a beautiful specimen.

    Like 24
    • Billyray

      I am so sick of EVERYONE putting loud “mufflers” on ANYTHING with a big block V8. Sheesh!!

      Like 15
  4. KC John

    Well integrated. Definitely gives that factory vibe. Tailpipes are a big let down though. They sorta scream budget muffler shop. I know….picky picky. But for $45000 I want good looking exhaust. This looks like my neighbors old truck. Easy fix, just saying.

    Like 23
    • George

      The exhaust is one of the first things to leap out at me. Not in a good way.

      Like 15
  5. Glenn C. Schwass Member

    That is nice. The interior is great. I have never seen a wagon in person that I can remember.

    Like 1
  6. Bkimminour

    I’ve always had a fondness for these custom-bodied Cadillacs. I recall seeing two 1970 Cadillac Fleetwood station wagons in Bethlehem PA. Both wore dark blue paint. I believe they were owned by Bethlehem Steel Company executives.

    Like 2
  7. Jcs

    And the ugliest tailpipe award goes to…..

    Like 12
  8. Shawn

    A great looking car and one of the better station wagon conversions I’ve seen over the years. That exhaust job is absolute trash though. I mean come on, long as hell chrome tips?!? This car deserves a nice stainless system that’s routed and dumps hidden, like the factory. It also shouldn’t sound like a C10 idling, it needs a muffler to make it as whisper quiet as possible.

    Like 9
  9. John

    What a well preserved piece of history! Looks to be a very dry conversion which is extremely rare on these ASC models with a vinyl roof, especially with a luggage rack. ( Do not ask me how I know). That rear two way tailgate sounds very solid from the video and this wagon will hopefully go to another collector who appreciates the limited examples from that era that remain today 51 years later.

    Like 2
  10. Doug

    Is it just me- or is this repainted, revinyled hearse? There were certainly many of them made that seem to look just like this- just in black. Nice re-do and I am sure there is a buyer for it. Just don’t laugh as is goes by- as the saying goes.

    • Steve H

      No, they were built at specialty shops – our ’71 Fleetwood was built in Michigan – it left the regular Cadillac factory as a four-door Fleetwood trim car. It was taken to the shop and all the “back end” parts were added to it. In our case, those parts were from an Oldsmobile wagon. The price for a ’71 Fleetwood four-door car back in 1971, was around $10,000 – the wagon conversion was another $11,000 for a total of $21,000 – a lot of money back in 1971. The doctor I worked for really liked it though. We kept it for over ten years.

      Like 1
  11. Steve H

    The doctor I worked for bought a 1971 Fleetwood wagon right off the showroom floor of Chesapeake Cadillac in Baltimore. It had a single exhaust exiting behind the driver’s side rear wheel – you could barely hear the exhaust at all when it was new. ( especially at idle – just like the “regular” four-door Fleetwood cars )

    Like 4
  12. Terry

    I agree with others, the exhaust is wrong. In fact, I believe, this era of Cadillacs were offered only with single exhaust tucked out of sight.

    Like 5
  13. Steve Clinton

    For the price he is asking, you’d think he could search out a grille that isn’t missing a ‘tooth’.

    Like 4
  14. Johnny

    First of all. I,d look else where. I had read where that dealer does not stand behind any warranty and its a shadey dealer. Read about their complaints. It look nice,but the ugly tail pipes,loud exhaust (what are they hiding) and broken grill piece. I,ll pass on this dealer. Whoever buys it. I hope and wish them good luck.

    Like 2
  15. Jetfire88

    Aside from looks or sound, the exhaust on this is flat-a$$ed dangerous.

    Wagons since the 60’s have had the exhaust exit out the side at the rear, into the slipstream along side the car.

    One exiting like this will suck in exhaust fumes from the low-pressure area behind the gate.

    Any flaws in the weatherstripping, or just having the window down a bit will pull in the fumes, along with the carbon monoxide. Bye-bye new owner…

    Easy fix that should never have been needed.

    Other than that, I love it.

    Like 5
  16. chuck dickinson

    100% agreement about the hideous exhaust system some yahoo decided would look/sound good on a FW wagon. Text mentions AM radio. The car came new w/AM/FM stereo since it has the stereo dash (2 side speakers vs one center one), so that could be in error. Couldn’t tell from the photos. One of the nicer Cad wagon conversions.

    Like 3
    • Bill McCoskey

      Chuck,
      If you look at the photo of the 3rd seat, you will see the twin rear stereo speakers on either side of the seat back, at the tops of the interior quarter panel covers.

      Like 1
      • Steve H

        Our ’71 had speakers in the rear just like this one ( from the Oldsmobile wagon parts ) It had an AM/FM 8 track in the dash.

        Like 1
      • chuck dickinson

        First of all, I was pointing out that, yes, the car was stereo due to the two speakers on the dash, but that the TEXT OF THE LISTING said “AM radio”. I was pointing to THAT being in error. So, I would expect two rear speakers as well. I think we got lost in translation.

      • Bill McCoskey

        Chuck,
        Yep, lost in translation for both of us! I was agreeing with you, and probably should have added a line confirming your correct statement.

        And to give the benefit of doubt, it’s possible that the original radio might have stopped working, and was replaced by the only ’73 Delco radio they could find, an AM. Without clear radio photos, we can’t visually determine what radio is actually in place.

        And if the current owner, or a possible future owner is interested, I think I have the correct AM/FM stereo radio available, and I also have the Delco stereo radio with the fairly hard to find CB, with the original CB microphone & coiled mic wiring.

        Like 1
  17. Brian Weyeneth

    I’d have to save a week of Sundays for the expense to putting on those windows. Too bad the custom shop didn’t do a 3 way gate as in clamshell. That would have been keen. The exhaust? Flowmaster Hushpower with side exits behind the rear tires is needed.

    Like 2
    • Bill McCoskey

      Brian,

      While the Clamshell tailgate was an engineering success, it also meant figuring out how to keep the 3rd row of seats, so GM did it by making all the seats forward facing, with a small folding back seat to access the 3rd row from the rear side door.

      That allowed GM to retract the tailgate to where the 3rd row seating footwell used to be. I’ve sat in the forward-facing 3rd row seats, and I can tell you the lack of legroom meant only small kids could possibly be comfortable there.

      Due to the interior design of the pre-clamshell cars, it simply wasn’t financially possible to change the entire body underside and chassis, to the Clamshell type.

  18. Ron Ron

    I don’t care what anyone says. I just LOVE the sound of that exhaust!! So iconic!!!

  19. Dave

    I had a 73 Buick Estate Wagon that was essentially a wagon version of the Electra 225. The Electra 225 shared the body with the Cadillac. I thought about putting on a Cadillac front clip and rear bumper / tail lights. I believe they would just bolt on. I never got beyond the thinking stage, but it would have been much cheaper than a custom conversion like this one.

    Like 1
    • Bill McCoskey

      Dave,

      While the front clip will likely fit without any problems, the Buick wagon has different rear quarter panels at the back edge. The Caddy’s taillights are in the bumper ends, and have a curving side for the back edge of the fender. The buick taillights are half height and mount to a vertical edge on the rear fender. Plus the rear Buick bumper has a recess along the fender’s bottom edge, as the bumper wraps underneath.

      I do think you could cut the last few feet off a Buick wagon’s quarters, plus a matching section from a Cadillac, and make it work.

      Don’t forget the Cadillac dashboard. It’ll fit, but you might have to do some wiring changes, unless the Buick’s basic body wiring harness correctly plugs into the Cadillac dash harness. This means you would need both the Buick and Cadillac wiring harness diagrams.

      Like 1
  20. Ron Ron

    Have to say that I really like the style of this car. However, I’ve never heard or seen a Cadillac wagon. My feeling is that this was originally a hearse that was nicely converted into a wagon. That being said, along with a broken grill, “original” 72,000 miles, and a really cheap paint job, this car is worth a lot less than asked. However, wagons are in high demand, so maybe 20k max. Just my opinion. No offense. Good luck with the sale!

    • Steve H

      See my other posts, above . . They were not hearses – they left the factory as a four-door car. A specialty shop used Oldsmobile parts ( in our case ) to convert them.

  21. Ron Ron

    It’s nice but pieced together too much.

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