$4,500: 1953 Dodge Meadowbrook Suburban

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A two-door wagon that was only offered one year? Yes, please! This 1953 Dodge Meadowbrook Suburban is one good-looking project and it can be found here on Craigslist with an asking price of $4,500. It’s located in Bethany, Oklahoma, just northwest of the beautiful state capital in Oklahoma City. A big thank you goes to Miguel for sending in the tip for this very desirable Dodge Meadowbrook Surburan!

I seem to remember a couple of Barn Finds regulars mentioning that two-door wagons were appreciated by parents because they wouldn’t have to worry about kids opening the back doors when the car was on the road. That makes sense and I had never thought of that before. I always wondered why there was ever a two-door wagon. Now that I think about it, they had to be pretty handy in the days before SUVs, when people needed a way to haul their tools or goods around and a big cargo space was more important than having two rear doors.

This car appears to be in good and/or solid condition. It’ll need work, of course, don’t we all? And, speaking of that cavernous rear cargo space, here it is in all its glory. The Meadowbrook was made for the 1949 to 1954 model years and the two-door Meadowbrook Suburban was only made for 1953, making this car even more desirable, in my opinion.

The sagging seat and door fabric may look daunting but the biggest trouble with the interior of this car appears to be the rust in the floorboards. The seller says, “Need floors in front rest is good awesome project”, I agree, awesome project! The back seat looks to be in good condition but also with heavy rust on the floors. They have uploaded 20 photos including overall photos, details, and even two engine photos – well done, seller!

This is the Meadowbrook “Six” Suburban according to period literature of the day and here is the six: Dodge’s 230 cubic-inch L-head six which would have had 103 hp and 190 ft-lb of torque. They say that the “engine turns by hand have not tried to start.” The seller has “automatic” listed for transmission. My guess is that’s either a mistake or it’s a GyroMatic, Dodge’s version of Chrysler’s FluidDrive, which was a fluid-coupling between the clutch and engine, not actually a transmission. It’s an interesting system where the driver could start and stop without pressing on the clutch pedal but needed to use the clutch to shift between gears. It prevented the car from dying at a stop because of not having the clutch pressed in. I would restore this car back to bone-stock spec, how would you bring this one back?

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  1. geomechs geomechsMember

    I always loved the old Dodge and Plymouth wagons. They’re about the boxiest things ever to run down the road but they just have lots of appeal to the likes of me. Too bad my wife doesn’t share my enthusiasm. I came across a ’52 Plymouth Suburban one time. It had languished in a garage for 20 years and had something like 30K miles on it. The price was right and I wanted to bring it home. I told my wife about it and showed her some pics. She gave me a ‘Don’t even think about it,’ stare and asked me if I wanted to have a different zip code from hers. She hates station wagons. Then somehow she loves a panel…

    Like 7
    • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

      Geo, you’re supposed to ask your wife before buying a vehicle?! NOW he tells me! I have done that exactly twice in our 30 years together, I should probably do that from now on, says the guy who just bought another winter vehicle two weeks ago and didn’t mention it…

      I remember your story of how she grew up riding in the back seat of a wagon and the exhaust fumes were too much, I can see why she would rather not relive that experience.

      Like 6
      • geomechs geomechsMember

        Hi Scotty. Yeah, clearly, my wife doesn’t like station wagons. She tolerates a woodie but barely. I do have to laugh at her because we have a circulating tub just off the master bedroom. I cut out some vinyl wording: ‘Be sure to wash your woodie,’ and stuck it on the wall. Wifey immediately got a picture of a ’49 Plymouth woodie and put it on the wall. Then she was going through E-bay and bought a 1/24 scale diecast model of a ’49 Ford woodie that was given a place of honor just above the sign. But then, maybe she was just trying to clarify things in case people got the wrong idea…

        Like 3
      • David Frank David FrankMember

        Hmmmm, this looks like something I could purchase within our house rules. I could sleep in it, but I would really miss the central heat and indoor plumbing!

        Like 1
    • Solosolo UK ken TILLYMember

      The only time my wife got to see my latest acquisition was when it arrived in our driveway. She has never asked me if she can buy a new outfit so why would I ask her if I can buy another car? After all, she has far more outfits than I have cars.

      Like 7
      • Miguel

        It is understood in my house that if I buy a keychain or if she buys me a keychain, that means I get to buy another car.

        She hasn’t given me a keychain in a while.

        Like 2
  2. Mike

    The early Chevrolet Suburban 68-72 only had a right side rear door for the same reason . It prevented a backseat passenger from exiting on the traffic side . “ Now you know the rest of the story “ .

    Like 2
  3. Kenneth Carney

    Hi geomechs! My SIL’s thinking is the same way as your wife’s–she won’t be
    caught dead driving a wagon. Got a
    sweet deal working for her on a 2000
    Ford Taurus wagon I can get for $500
    (Cheap here in Florida) as used car lots
    in my neck of the woods are charging
    anywhere betwreen $20K to $30K for
    a 20 year old used car that’ll surely quit
    before the payments do. Oh sure, it’s
    got 184K miles on it, but I don’t think
    she can do much better than the Taurus
    right now as she has very little cash to buy a decent car here. As for this car,
    my Granddad had one in the mid ’60’s.
    His was a ’54 powered by a 241 CID
    hemi V-8 back by a 3 on the tree. What
    a cool car that was! It even had all the
    books and paperwork in the glovebox
    too. Sure wish I had that car now!

    Like 1
    • geomechs geomechsMember

      Hi Kenneth. I think $500 for a car that runs and isn’t perforated with rust is a heck of a deal. 184K miles has barely got the paint scorched on the exhaust manifolds. I don’t think it matters what part of the country you’re in, used car lots can really charge a premium, but then, look at the price of a new vehicle. The last new (off the lot) vehicle I bought was my ’02 Ford 3/4 ton. $36K, and I thought I needed my head examined. My wife and I bought a lightly used (15K miles) ’13 Chevy Avalanche 3 years ago and we paid $36K for it. Ditto, that head examined thing.
      Your grandfather’s wagon: the one that got away. I saw a feature on one with the baby Hemi in HCC a few years ago and I’m still green with envy. I remember showing it to my wife, and getting rolled eyes, a hmmph, and a tsk that was loud enough to set off the neighbor’s car alarm.

      Like 1
  4. Miguel

    I have this car in my sights.

    It is a 1952 DeSoto Diplomat wagon. Apparently these cars were not sold in the US nor in Canada. They were sold in South America or in Europe.

    This one is in nice condition and he is asking a little more than the featured car.

    It is a super rare car, but I am not sure what kind of value it would have in the US. It is certainly unappreciated in Mexico.

    Like 5
    • Royal

      Not sure about this but this wagon pictured above is a 51 judging by the DeSoto Head Hood Ornament, not a 52. DeSotos built 51 & 52 models together on the same line due to restrictions imposed by the need to produce jeep like vehicles for the Korean War. I have seen DeSoto Wagons that were produced for the American Market for 51.

      52 was first year for the Hemi V8 for the DeSoto line and the 52’s were different in that they had a recessed scoop for a hood ornament instead of the Head with the face that lit up. However, if this was sold outside the USA, who knows what they may have done. Lettering on the hood was also different. Everything else though was the same due to being built on the same line.

      I own a 51 DeSoto Custom Limo that used to be an old Ambulance in Missouri so I have done research on these cars. Sadly the Grilles were all sapped up by teens building custom hot rods.

      Like 1
  5. Del

    Pretty neat and rare Wagon.

    Needs a V8

    I see this being rodded soon.

    Price a bit high for another non runner with rusty floors

    Like 1
  6. Tom S.

    I do love a two-door wagon. Restoration or preservation in the stock configuration would be very nice, but I can also see this with one of the small displacement early hemis and dolled up with fresh paint and chrome smoothies.

    Like 1
  7. 427Turbojet 427TurbojetMember

    My solution to this problem was to buy a retired turkey production set-up. 2 barns, each 40’x280′, on 5 acres far enough away that my wife seldom goes out there. My vintage tin purchases usually don’t stop at home, just go straight to the “Tin Roof Ranch”. I rent the 3 acres of farm land (and mainly the good access to the surrounding farm land) to a family of farmers who also keep an eye on it for me. The rent pays the taxes. It’s far enough away that it makes a nice weekend run for my collectable cars

    Like 1
  8. moosie Craig M Bryda

    A potent ( but not too radical) 360, overdrive automatic, all the modern amenities, cherry out the body, paint it black with a leather interior to match, nice wheels & tars & I’d drive the wheels offa it !

    Like 1
  9. txchief

    I’d chop that roof 2-3″, put in a small block Mopar/727, and convert to coil-overs and 4-link. I’d probably just clear the exterior and put in a nice leather interior.

    Like 0
  10. Pete Phillips

    Fully agree with the comment about this being overpriced for a non-runner with rusty floors. It has been on Craig’s List in Oklahoma for many, many months. I almost went to look at it, 175 miles away, but it’s just too high for the condition it is in. At $2500 it would be reasonably priced.

    Like 2
  11. stillrunners

    It’s been fer sale for months….like Pete said…..and it was said it came from Cali so that’s most likely what he paid for it – $2500 and then the shipping = over budget .

    Like 1

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