Garage Find 1973 Chevrolet 400 V8 Station Wagon

After the Impala and then the Caprice came along to occupy the top spot for Chevy’s full-size cars, the Bel Air soldiered on. Sometimes as the mid-level big car, other times the entry-level. The seller of this 1973 Chevy wagon doesn’t specify which series it is, but it’s not fancy enough to be one of the others, so we’ll default to the Bel Air. It looks to be in good condition after being parked for 10 years and could be okay once you get it running again and replace the tires. Located in Henderson, Nevada, this rust-free people hauler is available here on craigslist for the tidy sum of $4,000. Thanks, Taylor W, for the heads up on this one!

The full-size Chevies would get restyled for 1971 and that platform would carry them through 1976, after which all of GM’s big cars would get downsized (remember the energy crisis of the mid-1970s?). The ’73 models got some new sheet metal, taking on a bit more of a square look than the 1971-72s. While the Caprice and Impala editions would appeal to buyers wanting more comfort on a bigger budget, the Bel Air was targeted at families who needed the room to carry the brood from Point A to Point B without breaking the bank.

This ’73 Chevy wagon has been dormant the past decade, having recently been brought out of storage in a garage. There’s no mention as to why the car was put away, so we don’t know if it has a prior mechanical condition or will have developed one or more for sitting so long. It looks solid overall with no visible rust and a paint job that probably would perk up with a wax job (although beige is a hard color to get perk out of).

Under the hood is a 400 cubic inch V8, which would only be good for 150 hp if is a 2-barrel set-up (also remember that engines were being detuned in the ‘70s for fewer emissions). If you wanted more zoom than that would deliver, the original owner would have had to spring for the 454 V8, which wasn’t a  barn burner by then, either. The seller tells us this is a numbers-matching motor, and we’re guessing the automatic is a TH-350. The odometer has probably turned past 100,000 miles, so it’s a well-used wagon. But if you can get running cheaply and clean it up some, it might not be a bad buy for the asking price.


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  1. Steve R

    Are there many houses that look like that in Henderson Nevada?

    Steve R

    Like 6
    • Chris M.

      Noticed that Steve. Unless there’s a Nevada in Ohio???

      Like 6
      • Mike Brown

        Actually, there is a Nevada, Ohio. It’s pronounced Neh-vay-da and is about an hour away from my house.

    • Evan

      I live 3/4 of a mile from Henderson, Nevada, and your answer is “No.”

      Like 9
  2. Bruce

    I learned to drive in one of those “aircraft carriers”, a 71 Kingswood Estate wagon with a 400 big block with the air cleaner lid flipped on it, yeah it screamed when the 4 opened but it also got slightly better gas mileage that way too

    Like 9
  3. JW454

    It’s gone already. My bet is its on it’s way to a Demo Derby soon. Too bad if it is. These are mostly gone over the whole U.S. due to the wrecking crews.

    Like 4
    • Steve R

      It’s not, people don’t spend $4,000 on a car just to enter it in a demo derby.

      Steve R

      Like 17
      • AMCFAN

        $4K wouldn’t be out of the question when you consider some build new engines for them. A virgin GM wagon can be prepped to run many events over and over so even if you consider only 10 events and folding the rear top into the rear floor and making a Sedagon that would be $400 per which is in perspective. Outlaw events pay pretty well.

        Like the Jeep fad of spending money on bro wheels for something that is never going off road. Derby guys spend for bragging rights and try and win at any cost.

        Like 4
      • bone

        I’ve seen engineless junkers sell for around $500.00 to be made into derby cars , but like you said, 4G is way off to wreck one. They can and do use them over and over, but there is also a chance it could be destroyed in one derby .

        Like 4
    • nlpnt

      Are there any demo derbies that would still allow it? It all seems to be blob Tauruses and GM10s where I am.

      Like 4
      • DON

        Many places have outlawed 1980 and down cars from entering derbies , mainly because of their toughness . Can you imagine a car like this going against front drive Century’s and Taurus sedans ? In most parts of the country cars pushing 50 years old have disappeared from the earth, so a prepped car like this would really clean up.. and possibly hurt other drivers.

        Like 5
  4. local_sheriff

    It’s a clamshell! 🙌 Definately not the fanciest model for ’73 but 4K (maybe even less?) for a seemingly fairly rust free longroof with acceptable finish in and out – IMHO someone struck an extremely good deal

    Like 13
  5. Pete

    Last gasp for the smogged up sbc… :-(

    Like 1
  6. Luke Fitzgerald

    That’s gold and it’s gone. Centre caps on colour coded rims – yum.

    Like 7
  7. Charles Sawka

    Why ?

    Like 1
  8. Tom Kistler

    Bought one for 100 bucks in 82. Made a great demolition derby car. I won!

    Like 1
  9. Kyle Hill Member

    the wagons at this trim level were badged as Townsman or Brookwood which I thought were both the Bel Air trim level.. although by 1973 one of these may have been discontinued- I’m a Mopar guy but love wagons of all makes. Does anyone have more details?

  10. CCFisher

    This is a very, very basic example. I believe the handle on the tailgate indicates that it is lowered and raised manually. Most of the clamshell wagons had power tailgates. I recall a school friend’s mother complaining about how long it took the window and tailgate to retract and how her grocery bags would get soaked if it was raining (paper bags back then).

    Like 5
  11. Don Eladio

    This car may have been a 402 Big Block. The 402 cars were badged as 400’s. I’m not a Chevy guy, but was that still a thing in 1973 or, did it end in ’72?

    Like 2
  12. DN

    This did not sell for derby use, but rather to a member of a FB car group focusing on unlikely survivors. Hopefully it will remain in good hands and not flipped…

    Like 8
    • Jimmy

      Derby guys have the nicest driver wagons and have the most access to parts. Guy could make 10k off it easy just by selling it to a REAL car guy(derbier). And 4000 is nothing for a derby car, and no they aren’t outlawed! Check out the wagon that was on display in Sidney, Montana this weekend! Bakken Beatdown! Work of art with more engineering than most people do in their whole life!

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