One Family Survivor: 1969 Buick Sport Wagon 400-4

When looking at this wagon, someone might say “oh, that’s an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser”, but they’d be wrong. It’s really a Buick Sport Wagon, the corporate cousin to the other wagon with the distinctive raised roofline. Just like the Vista Cruiser was an extended wheelbase version of the Cutlass wagon, the Sport Wagon was an extended Skylark. This 1969 edition originated in California but relocated with the same family to Washington sometime later. It’s in nice condition with just a smidge of rust and a rebuilt engine. It’s waiting for its next owner in Vancouver, Washington and available here on eBay where the bidding has gotten to $12,400 without the reserve being met.

The roof wasn’t the only thing about the Sport Wagon that was raised. The overall level of trim was kicked up a notch, too. Skylights were there to brighten up the area over the cargo and seating area. Like the Visa Cruiser, the Sport Wagon was built in three generations, 1964–67, 1968–69 and 1970–72. But the third generation didn’t get the skylights, making the first six models more distinctive than the last three. The Sport Wagon didn’t sell quite as well as the Vista Cruiser; for 1969, Buick sold about two-thirds as many of these vehicles at 20,000 or so versus 33,000 or so.

As a three-seat wagon, the seller’s car is one of 11,500 made that year. The original owners passed along the Sport Wagon to their son in Washington State about 10 years ago. White paint is always hard to peg as to luster, but the seller says it looks pretty good and we have to generally agree. We surmise it’s mostly the original finish because we’re told a few spots have been touched up over time and there may be a ding or two. We do see a rust spot at the bottom of one of the doors that should be attended to sooner rather than later.

The interior is where the car really shines. The seats and door panels look really solid for 73,000 miles of use and the dashboard has also held up well. It’s a well-featured wagon with goodies like power steering and brakes. The seller says it has power windows and door locks, but I don’t think that’s correct from the photos. It also has factory air conditioning and tinted glass, but we’re told it needs a freon charge. If I were selling the car, I would have gotten that taken care of before listing the car.

Under the hood of the wagon is a 400 cubic inch V-8 with a 4-barrel carb, which would make it a pretty peppy but thirsty machine. The seller says the engine was previously rebuilt and the service records for it are available, but why would that work need to have been done at something below the current mileage? Regardless, we’re told it runs and drives rather well, cruising on the freeway “like a big boat.” The buyer will also be treated to all the books and manuals for the car along with the original date-of-manufacture plate.

Hagerty suggests one of these Sport Wagons in good-to-excellent condition is worth $10-12,000. With only minimal things to take care of on the to-do list, this could be a nice acquisition for someone if the reserve isn’t much higher than the current bidding.

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  1. Kenneth Carney

    Boy, could I have used this while moving
    this weekend! My folks had a ’64 and I
    loved it. I was hooked then and there.
    These have been my favorite wagon
    model ever since. Other than converting
    the A/C system to 134 and adding an
    upgraded sound system, I wouldn’t
    change a thing on this car. Room for
    nine, room to carry a 4X8 sheet of plywood, and honest-to-God towing
    capabilities. What more could you want?

  2. William Fox

    He’s right; no power windows/locks. Has me wondering about what else is amiss with this white wagon? Caveat Emptor

    Like 3
    • Michael Keil

      it does have Tilt Steering Wheel lol

  3. Moparman Member

    Hmmm, definitely fix the rust! Possibly change the color to something more “sporting”. Add a set of Buick Rallye wheels and a GS hood, dual exhaust and cruise in style! GLWTA! :-)

    Like 8
  4. Moparman Member

    Hmmm, definitely fix the rust! Possibly change the color to something more “sporting”. Add a set of Buick Rallye wheels and a GS hood, dual exhaust and cruise in style! Or just leave it as is!! GLWTA! :-)

    Like 4
  5. John

    Fix the rust. The white is a little dull and unexciting. Paint it a nice, light metallic blue to go with the interior and add some wood grain. Yes, add some nice Buick Rally/Mag wheels with 70 series tires.

    Like 7
  6. Jack M.

    The seller didn’t take care of the Freon recharge because they stopped manufacturing R-12 in 1996. Whatever is left out there is very expensive. Most repair shops will tell you to convert over to one of the newer products. Not a cheap fix.

    Like 2
    • Robert Gardner

      Jack , i bet you the freon won’t take care of the problem. a car this old will surely need a new under the dash evaporator and a new heater core while you are at it—not a cheap fix.

      Like 6
  7. Geoff

    Ah my favorite car ad dodge “A/C just needs Freon” No it doesn’t. If it did, it would make sense to spend 75 bucks to recharge thething and make the car infinitely more salable. It needs an RC134a conversion at the least and if its been sitting in an undischarged state for any significant length of time every gasket and O ring in the system will need replacing. All that if your lucky and the compressor still works.

    Like 13
    • Joe


      I have asked sellers if they would take care of the ac if I pay for a recharge and it doesn’t fix it.
      I haven’t had one say yes yet. The look on their face is amusing when you call them out on that.

      Like 4
  8. Chuck

    Looks like Eric Forman had his car painted!

  9. Steve OBrien

    I think my grandmother had one of these. Is it possible that this model possibly came with a standard transmission with the shifter on the column?

    • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

      I asked this question a few years back when I spotted a 1965 Buick SPECIAL convertible where the ad said manual tranny. Sure enough, the local Buick club president told me three on the tree was offered at least through the 1969 model year. He also told me to grab the car I was considering because a non-Skylark convertible with manual tranny was a rare bird indeed. About a year ago I spotted a 68 Skylark Convertible on the Memphis Craigslist with a manual 3spd column shift.

  10. Karl

    SPORT WAGON? Seems pretty darn optimistic!

  11. Kevin

    Just taking care of the AC is not just a simple charge.
    R12 is illegal and a retrofit with new refridgerant costly.

    Like 1
    • CaCarDude

      Actually it is not illegal to own R12, but illegal to make it in the US. I do think it is still being manufactured in Mexico, or at least it was not to many years back. I also heard if you were caught bring it over the boarder to CA it was worse than if you were bringing in a ton of green bud. Get a Rope….
      Back after R12 was dropped from use there was a drop in replacement called Hot Shot that worked very nice with all the right pressures etc. I bought and used it over several years and wish it was still available today. I still find cans of R12 at local swaps and buy if reasonably priced. I still have a 1965 Buick with R12 in the factory A/C unit.

      Like 2
      • Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

        I had a refrigerated Coke machine recharged just as the R12 was being outlawed sometime around 1995. So glad I did. Machine still gives me great service with long neck bottles using a quarter slug. Great conversation piece in my garage. I’d be a buyer for this Buick if it was closer to TN. Oh, and if the air worked. Oh, and if the price was about half the ask.

        Like 1
  12. Maestro1 Member

    Everybody is right. The Air Conditioning, mandatory where I live, will be a big number to fix; and while you’re at it, put a Senden Compressor in it.
    Throw out the GM Monster that’s in there. And I never bought a car from anyone who says things like that that didn’t need the number to fix it. Someone buy this car. Wagons make so much moire sense than the idiotic SUVs.

    Or people talking with no one else in the car at a stop light (the call comes through the radio)

    Like 1
  13. Phlathead Phil

    Some station wagons make awesome Hot Rods and customs. I’m of the thought the big three aught to bring back the Sedan Delivery, and the Nomads. I don’t think this one or a “Vista Cruiser” would make the “Pretty Parade.” To me, there is something strange about a roofline like that.

    Like 3

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