427-Powered 1968 Chevrolet Caprice Wagon

Here’s a familiar sight, I spent quite a few of my teenage years in just such a station wagon. Omnipresent at one time and seldomly seen today, are cars like this ’68 Chevrolet Caprice station wagon. Interestingly, they have a certain collector cachet as their Impala hardtop siblings too, not quite the same level mind you, but they definitely have their fans. This example is located in Elbridge, New York, and is available here on eBay for a current bid of $6,101, reserve not yet met, or a BIN price of $14,000. Thanks to local_sheriff for this tip!

Chevrolet went back and forth with naming conventions for their station wagons, using either unique names like Brookwood, Parkwood, Yeoman, Nomad or just using the same moniker as their passenger model variant, ie Caprice, Impala, BelAir and Biscayne. This year, ’68, marked the final year of using the passenger model name for station wagons until 1973 when the standard naming returned. This being a Caprice, puts this wagon at the top of the heap but it’s really no different than an Impala, it just has faux wood veneer paneling and the Impala didn’t.

This Caprice’s calling card appears to be its 385 gross HP, 427 CI V8 engine which the seller claims is a matching number motor. The seller adds that this wagon is 1 of 191 built but there is no further evidence as to what that claim is based on. If it has to do solely with the engine, that’s just not correct, the L36 (385 HP/390 HP in the ‘Vette) engine was fairly common. If it’s the exact equipment and configuration possessed by this Chevy, that’s a possibility but Chevrolet’s record keeping from that time frame wasn’t too detailed and much of it is now lost to posterity. Whatever the case, it is a 95K mile motor and the seller adds, “Within the last year it’s gotten a new battery tray, fuel pump, rubber fuel lines, power brake booster, master cylinder, brake hoses, replacement gas tank and sending unit, rebuilt carb, tune-up and front tires. The car starts stops, runs and drives”. Transmission duty is handled by a Turbo-Hydramatic 400, three-speed, automatic unit.

The body, which we are told is one repaint in the original shade, is starting to fail where ’68 Chevy bodies usually fail, the lower fenders, lower doors, and lower quarters. It’s all fixable if it isn’t too excessive but you won’t know that until you start chipping away at what is evident. In spite of the repaint, the finish is pretty flat and the “wood” veneer is bubbling and fading away. Beyond that, there is chipped paint and surface rust in places, especially around the rear window, and there’s a bump in the driver’s side fender where sheet metal screws have been employed to reattach the trim.

The underside, however, appears to be pretty firm. The floors look sound, as does the frame. The large steel gas tank-like looking thing perched behind the twelve-bolt differential is actually the storage compartment well, or the fold-in well for the third seat which this Caprice does not have. The fuel tank on station wagons of this era is located in the driver’s side quarter panel. Speaking of the third seat, Chevrolet used two different model numbers to delineate between the two and three-seaters, 6635 (this example) references a two-seat model and 6645 is a three-seat version.

The interior is about what you would expect, it’s worn but passable. The front seat actually looks like it has been reupholstered and the black seatbelts are correct – you had to pay for optional color-coded ones if that’s the way you wanted to roll. The carpet is typically shot and the dash pad is split but the instrument panel looks pretty good still. The steering wheel is cracked too and I’m yet to find one on a ’68 Chevy, of any model, that isn’t. Note the fuel gauge, it looks like the ground wire has come off. Miraculously, the headliner is still intact, it’s a big one to replace!

This Caprice is a bit unusual with its 7.0-liter engine, no A/C, and no third seat but that was the standard approach to building a Chevy, and a lot of other cars as well, back in the ’60s; you could mix and match as you so desired. You would think this wagon was equipped for towing but there’s no sign of a hitch so maybe the original owner just wanted to be able to get wherever he was going in a hurry, while fully loaded. As stated at the outset, station wagons have garnered some collectability these days and one like this will be a draw, but at this price? The BIN option gives you an idea of the reserve and it seems a might bit rich, don’t you think?

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Comments

  1. Steve Bush Member

    Seller is nuts on the price. While the 427 is nice and the car seems to mostly complete and in decent shape, with no AC and no third seat, it’s just a basic station wagon. Also, it seems likely many of the original parts the seller mentions will probably need replacement. For these reasons, seller probably won’t get close to his asking.

    Like 22
    • Superdessucke

      This one’s going to get pretty expensive. I’m going with the over on this auction, but we’ll see!

      Like 4
    • JoeNYWF64

      Maybe if it had the ultra rare hidden headlites, 4 speed, aux gages, & buckets.

      Like 7
    • Eric

      In this area
      This would bring $6500 tops

      Like 3
  2. Cadmanls Member

    Have to agree, other than the vinyl wood package and the big block it’s a pretty plain package.

    Like 11
  3. angliagt angliagt Member

    Anyone else remember how much we hated those
    old wagons? I guess some of us forgot,& are paying crazy
    money for them.

    Like 9
  4. Stevieg

    Being an only child (siblings are step siblings, one on each side of the family) my family was never big enough to warrant a wagon, so I never had that animosity toward them.
    My Mom and Dad each were part of larger families while growing up, and both had wagons in their past. Dad never mentioned any issues with them, he had enough with his parents in general & didn’t need to stack on that with bad memories of an embarrassing car lol.
    My Mom? She hates wagons. Grandparents had one the family called “Old Smokey” lol. I have heard many stories from many sources (some not even family) about her. Not good lol.
    Since I have no animosity toward these, I like them. Even as a kid I wanted my parents to buy a wagon. Maybe I thought life would be more normal if we looked the part. Hindsight being what it is, a different family car wouldn’t have helped lol.
    Might have helped Dad escape prosecution once or twice though lol!

    Like 4
  5. Jonathan

    For $14,000, this car would have to be pristine off the factory floor perfect.

    This is a $3,000 (max) vehicle.

    The idea of this classic wagon is cool though.

    Like 8
    • Superdessucke

      Well, he’s at 8.1k with several days to go so obviously not.

      Good to see people still tossing money around. Perplexing to me but good sign for the economy. I’m going with the over on the BIN. I think it’ll bring in at least 14k, if not more.

      Like 7
      • local_sheriff

        It’s interesting to watch bidding in auctions involving original BB cars – oftentimes bidders just seem to loose their senses and the sellers are prepared for that with corresponding high reserves.

        The 427 and Caprice trim are its only assets – if one could live with a SB or non-matching# BB wagon of lesser trim this kind of $ would buy a much better example

        Like 2
      • Superdessucke

        Yep, you just hit the nail on the head. If this is a 327 car, all else being equal, I doubt it tops six grand, on a good day.

        According to automobile-catalog.com, the 427 with the automatic ran 0 to 60 in 8 seconds and the quarter mile in 15.9. Pretty quick for a heavy wagon but not near fast enough for me to justify paying more than twice the price to get it.

        Like 3
    • Adam

      I own the car and have been offered 6k sight unseen for just the engine.

      Like 10
      • Mikey8

        The price is high, but that is a really neat package. I’ll bet that station wagon kicked some butt when it was use regularly!

        I have a 66 427 I just put in my 70 chevelle. I can’t wait until I can light it up!

        Like 4
  6. TimM

    The price is high but if Chevy would have made an SS wagon this would have been it!!!

    Like 1
  7. Karl

    I grew up looking out of the back window of a 69 Kingswood estate, it was red with the genuine wood stickers on the side. It had a 350 with a 4 bbl Q-jet. It was the first car in our family with power steering and power brakes and OMG air conditioning which of course was off limits to anybody, I think I saw my father use it once after of course slowing down to like 25 mph before turning it on because it might be hard on the AC clutch to start it at any more Rpm.

    Like 3
  8. JohnD

    Start sanding around that rear window and it’ll be wayyyy more than surface rust. I like it, but rebuilding areas around windows is a chore . .

    Like 1
  9. Maestro1 Member

    I don’t buy full sized cars without A/C. I am in a very warm temperature area in the US, and I would not consider Vintage Air/Heat either. And the price is
    too high.

    Like 2
  10. Shaggin Wagon

    Ours was a 327 with the extra seats in the back, but color and wood grain were the same. Good memories for me.

    Like 2
  11. JoeF

    Priced to high , but with a little engine work , leave the body alone and lets go racing .

  12. Dave

    I just don’t see this combo in a wagon very often. While 440/350 motors were available in Mopar wagons, I’ve never seen the 440/375 in them. Likewise, how many 428 Cobra Jets have you seen in Torino or LTD wagons? 427/385 has to be a hi-po motor and the story behind the ordering process must have been a great one. The rear end gears would tell us the story, but since the car hasn’t been thrashed out I would guess they’re highway cruiser gears.

    Like 4
  13. SDJames

    Never thought I’d see a 427 look small. There’s almost enough room for a 250ci kicker under that hood!

    Like 2
  14. 19sixty5 Member

    This car reminds me of a featured car in the February 1986 Hot Rod Magazine, a 68 Caprice wagon that had a 471″ big block Chevy running 7:1 compression with an 8-71 blower that was used on one of Don Prudhomme’s AA/FC. It was built as a driver, family and parts hauler. The owner was a former drag racer, and was at the track in the opposite lane after a friends funny car made a solo run, he decided to run it down the track. It ran an 11:32! That was with 5 crew members on board, misc tools, through the mufflers on street tires! I still have the article, although I quit saving magazines, they just took up so much space, so I just cut out articles I wanted. Now I wish I had all the old magazines, subscribed to HR, CC, PHR, High Performance Pontiac, Muscle Car Review, etc since the early 70’s

    Like 6
  15. 1-MAC

    My father had a white one with 396 and fully loaded .Nice car even had hide away headlights. When he traded it for a 72 Olds Custom Cruiser, he said the Olds sure does not run like that Chevy. I would sure like to have it today.

    Like 4
  16. Adam

    I own the car and have been offered 6k sight unseen for just the engine.

    The gas gauge is off because the tank was out for replacement when the photo was taken.

    The 1 of 191 made refers to how many 427 Caprice wagons were built in 1968. The information came from an online source who obtained factory documents.

    Like 7
  17. dogwater

    Pull the motor put it in a hot rod crap the rest.

  18. Adam

    The gears are 2.96’s.

    Like 3
    • Rudy Samsel

      Adam, GuysWithRides featured your car on May 20th if you didn’t see the write-up based on your Craigslist post. Great car – GLWTS!

      Like 3
      • Adam

        Never heard of it, but thanks!

  19. Kelly Waldrop

    Rare yes, collectability maybe. Probably a limited market but find the right buyer who knows? I like the car for being rare.

    Like 1
  20. Johnny

    My x-girlfriend,s dad had a green one with the trim and small block. Its not a big car IF you try and have fun in behind the back seat. My 66 Fairlane had more room. We used his car once and once was enough. The car wasn,nt that comfortable to ride in either.

    Like 3
  21. Pete Phillips

    Just look at the number of comments and interest this thing has generated. Many people who grew up in the 1960s–including me–can relate to it. Try finding another ’68 Caprice wagon with an unmolested 427 in it–go ahead–I’ll wait. Spend another $10,000 on a cosmetic restoration, which is all this one needs, and I’ll wager that you can name your selling price and there will be 50 people standing in line to buy it.

    Like 5
  22. Pete Phillips

    Very unusual car. Top-of-the-line Chevrolet with dog dish hub caps and black wall tires. Just look at the number of comments and interest this thing has generated. Many people who grew up in the 1960s–including me–can relate to it. Try finding another ’68 Caprice wagon with an unmolested 427 in it–go ahead–I’ll wait. Spend another $10,000 on a cosmetic restoration, which is all this one needs, and I’ll wager that you can name your selling price and there will be 50 people standing in line to buy it.

    Like 2
  23. martinsane

    Curious to the cars coast to coast journey as it has fairly current Washington State plates.

    • Adam

      It’s just a random plate I threw on it. As far as I know, the car has been on the east coast it’s whole life. Just today someone told me they remember the car in Northern Virginia in the late 90’s. The car has been off the road since 2004.

      Like 2
  24. keith Member

    I think its an awesome car I would love to own.Either drive as is or restore, which would be done as a labor of love.

    Like 4
  25. GuysWithRides

    GuysWithRides.com first featured this car on May 20th when Adam had first listed it on Craigslist for $12,000. For everyone saying “that’s too expensive”, that’s $2,100 less than the Hagerty Insurance #4 “Fair” estimate of $14,100 and they assumed the 427 is an L36. If its an L72 it would be even slightly higher. you can read their take by searching on either “Wagon Wednesday” or “L36 or L72: 1968 Chevrolet Caprice 427 Station Wagon – $12,000” Adam, whatever you do, please don’t separate the engine from this car – it deserves a better fate than that!

    Like 6
    • Adam

      Thanks for the comments! I’ve never heard of your website before, but I’ll check it out. I don’t want to separate the car, but I have a 67 Impala 2 door, 65 SS Impala, 66 Biscayne and a few others that could use this engine, haha. And if you think this wagon is cool, you should see my 1967 396 Impala wagon. That one still has the original hose clamps on it!

      Like 3
  26. Little Joe

    Ive always loved wagons.A bygone era for sure.Ive owned several 68’s over the years and always my 60’s era Chevrolets favorites.The 427 is unique but moreover the fact that its a Caprice.The hideaways were so cool if you had them I’d take this 68 over any of these SUVs and stupid crossovers anyday!! Go American!!!!!!!

    Like 2

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